The Roundup

4 Stellar Spots to Survey Outer Space (Or Feel Like You're In It)

by Team Popupla
Photo courtesy of Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel.

Two worlds collide when viewing outer space from Earth at these four stunning destinations — some of which even make you feel like you're walking amongst extraterrestrial terrain. Gazing up at the galaxies beyond inspires a sense of awe and wonder at how small we are in comparison, especially when experiencing these views from a new continent. So astronomers and thrill-seekers alike, come get cosmopolitan to view the cosmos.


El Blok Hotel.
The modern El Blok Hotel. Photo courtesy of El Blok Hotel.

Vieques, Puerto Rico

For a cosmic connection to nature and sky, head to the sparsely inhabited Puerto Rican island. This small, lush island nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea is totally free of movie theaters, stop lights, and chain restaurants. With room to roam, you’ll find unadulterated beaches, wild horses, a huge wildlife sanctuary, and a spectacular bioluminescent bay that glows like the moon.


The Aurora Australis as seen from Mt. John Observatory in Lake Tekapo.
The Aurora Australis as seen from Mt John Observatory in Lake Tekapo. Photo by Dallas Poll / Earth & Sky.

South Island, New Zealand

With a population of slightly more than one million spread out over some 58,000 square miles, New Zealand’s South Island is stunningly beautiful and pretty empty. Fewer people mean fewer buildings, and that means very little light pollution, which brings you incredibly close to the stars right here on Earth. The Southern Cross, Magellanic Clouds, the Aurora Australis, and the Milky Way — just some of what you'll see clearly within the 2,700-square-mile Lake Tekapo region.


Valle de la Luna. Photo
Valle de la Luna. Photo Photo by Berit Baugher.

Atacama Desert, Chile

Travel south to one of the driest and most astonishing environments on planet Earth. The eerie silence and striking lunar-like landscape will take your breath away. Sloping sand dunes, dry lakes and alien rock formations have been carved out by thousands of years of intense wind and little rain. Scientists have deemed this valley the ideal spot for prototyping the Mars rover. Stargazing in this dry, high altitude desert is considered some of Earth's best.


Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel.
Photo courtesy of Ion Luxury Adventure Hotel.

Iceland

Behold otherworldly terrain, both in the sky and on the earth around you: black volcanic lava beaches, spacey igneous rocks, and jagged glacier ridges point towards the beautiful views above. Bring a bikini – volcanic activity pulses under the island, producing geothermal energy that powers natural hot springs year-round. Surrounded by bubbling geysers, the slight scent of sulfur and the Northern Lights coloring the sky above, it's not hard to imagine that life is possible on one of those gaseous planets out there.

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