Look up: Where to see the best skies in the world

Arch night sky hike

Astrotourism is big. Really big. Some would say sky’s the limit-big.

And Lonely Planet are the people to listen to when it comes to getting a good grip on where’s good to go to see some of the best skies the world has to offer.

The travel gurus based in the UK, with reach to the four corners of the world just released a new tome, Dark Skies, the ultimate guide to space tourism and worship of the largest canopy in the world; reminding us to take some time and look up once-in-a-while.

The author, Valier Stimac, wrote the comprehensive companion to the tune of 35 dark sky sites and national parks, where you can see the aurora, the next decade of total solar eclipses and how to view rocket launches, plus the lowdown on commercial space flight.

Aurora Borealis in Scandinavia

The book’s the ultimate guide to finding sites accredited by the International Dark-Sky Association; to help you learn about stargazing and astrophotography and to see astronomy in action at 12 observatories across the globe.

“The skies above us are part of our heritage, both natural and cultural,” Valerie writes in her introduction to the book. “Astronomy and stargazing are an important part of human history, one that can connect us back to early myth or awaken us to the vast scale of our universe and its many mysteries. Witnessing the sweep of the Milky Way, the remains of passing comets as they burn up in our atmosphere, or the shimmering aurora, we better understand space and our place in it.”

In a day and age where we all spend so much time looking down and hunched over, this sensationally beautiful read is a timely reminder there’s a whole world and galaxy but a glance away.

Here’s how to use the book…

Dark Skies is divided into sections based on whether it’s about witnessing the dark sky at a specific preserve, observing a natural phenomena such as a meteor shower, eclipse, or the aurora up close, or travelling to a major telescope or laboratory. You can even explore the options for suborbital space flight. Alternatively, maybe you won’t be travelling anywhere but up, by looking at the heavens directly in your backyard. In each section, you’ll learn about different space-related activities, then gain an understanding of where and how to have that experience.

Get it for 29.99 from wherever books are sold.

Dark Skies book Lonely Planet