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The Traveller's Magazine
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Stars are gaseous sphered of hydrogen and helium, seemingly floating around in the sky lightyears away. Did you know that the stars are in danger… of not being seen? Conservationists and astronomers are working together to create Dark Sky Reserves, protecting the skies from being blocked out by light pollution.

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It’s hard to believe that we need to protect the stars since they’re so far away but it’s true. The more the world develops, the more we need to think about protecting the visibility of the night sky. Thus the Dark Sky program was born, creating designated star-gazing spots which have maximum night sky visibility.

The night sky has been inspiring culture, art, music, poetry, literature for as long as time. The stars give bearings and show the changing seasons. Telescopes at the ready! These three Dark Sky Reserves are your best chance to get the best views of the star-lit skies.

NamibRand Nature Reserve

Namibia, Africa

NamibRand

NamibRand is one of the largest natural reserves in Africa and apart from the wildlife and nature on the ground, the reserve is also dedicated to preserving its night sky as well. The nearest communities, which are mere villages, are 60 miles away which means that park is almost completely free of light pollution.

Exmoor National Park

Devon and Somerset Counties, England

What’s great about Exmoor is that it has the darkest skies in the UK but it’s also easy to reach. With a rental car from London, you can reach the park in less than four hours. Top spots for star-gazing in the park include Holdstone Hill, County Gate, Bredon Two Gates and Wimbleball Lake. Exmoor is the only Dark Sky Reserve in Europe.

Reserve at Mt. Megantic

Quebec, Canada

Quebec

The Dark Sky Reserve on Canada’s rural Quebec measures an astonishing 5,500 km². With an observatory right in the centre, visitors can come either day or night to explore the role of astronomy in Quebec and Canada. In the night though, the park really comes alive. The observatory is primarily a research facility but two nights a year it is opened to the public for the Festival d’astronomie Populaire du Mont-Mégantic. 

Where are your favourite spots to star gaze?

Imgs: jurvetson / Flickr cc, namibrand.com, astrolab-parc-national-mont-megantic.org  

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