Top 5 stargazing locations

1. North Korea

North Korean Army

With no industrial activity or street lighting to pollute the atmosphere with soot or light, North Korea is probably the best place on Earth to see the stars at night. However, getting into the country is difficult as the government has strict controls on tourists and any sort of outside influence, to prevent the possibility of any economic activity that would otherwise ruin their crystal clear skies. And, presumably, to give North Koreans dying of hunger something to feel superior to the rest of the world about.

2. Antarctica

Mt_Herschel,_Antarctica,_Jan_2006

If you’re not a fan of 70’s Korea or a permanent internship at one of their work camps, Antarctica is similarly untouched by human activity, if you discount the frozen human waste that is just left there and never spoken of again. As one of the driest locations in the world, not only can you see stars that would wouldn’t in the Northern Hemisphere, but get 24 hour nights to see them, and the Southern Lights to boot. This provides the ideal opportunity to one-up your friends who managed to see the Northern Lights in the comfort of their own country last year, or took a mere three-hour flight into the Arctic Circle.

3. The Moon

moon[1]

For those with a more generous budget the Moon is the single best stargazing location in the Solar System: it has no atmosphere of any kind to get in the way, while boasting relatively close proximity to Earth. $1.2 billion will buy you a cramped little module on the head of a giant space dick, and potentially the interest of the US government. Constraints on baggage are high, made worse by the fact that with the temperature swinging between 130C and -170C, you’ll need to pack both summer and winter clothes.

4. Northern Chile (VLT)

The_VLT%C2%B4s_Laser_Guide_Star[1]

(Not to be confused with the Veal Lettuce Tomato sandwich) If the Moon is luxury, then Chile is a package holiday to Benidorm, about as exciting and imaginative as the telescope’s name. Hosting the planet’s largest telescope means that bringing your own will not be necessary, and is probably better than that piece of shit you bought from Argos. Enjoy the sight of stars, planets and gamma ray bursts otherwise invisible to the naked eye, with the added bonus of craning over an eyepiece while you spend more time trying to adjust the focus than seeing stars and philosophizing and how small you feel and drawing analogies to your sex life.

5. Earth before the Industrial Revolution

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

If neither money nor the laws of physics are an object, just dial the clock on your time machine back three hundred years. Travel insurance is a must: if the food doesn’t kill you outright, the doctors probably will. It’s also strongly advised not to use your phone: while you will be charged at local rates if you stay in the country (and it’s unlikely you’ll be able to leave with a passport that hasn’t even been issued yet), they will be in 1713 pounds so they’ll cost an astronomical amount in the present day, and that’s without including the late fees incurred by three centuries of non-payment.

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