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The best places in the world to see the Milky Way
Posted on 24/01/2018


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We live in a world of glowing electric street lamps and burning neon signs. But these places have learned the value of turning the lights out.

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  • AURA Observatory, Chile
    AURA Observatory, Chile

    The AURA Observatory is actually one of only two Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world, which means that it is situated in a very remote location with few nearby threats to the quality of its dark night skies. Their isolation can often limit opportunities for visitors so the programme helps to increase awareness and promote their long-term conservation.

  • Aoraki MacKenzie, New Zealand
    Aoraki MacKenzie, New Zealand

    Less rural than its Chilean counterpart, Aoraki MacKenzie is what's known as a Dark Sky Reserve. It means that its night skies are specifically protected from light pollution for scientific and cultural reasons, as well as for public enjoyment. In Aoraki, natural light has played an important role in the lives of native Maori people, who used the night sky to navigate to the island and integrated astronomy into their culture.

  • Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales
    Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales

    Another Dark Sky Reserve, Brecon Beacons is one of many areas in the UK prized for its fantastic night skies. Here in south Wales, communities living within the park follow special light-restricting measures to help keep the skies at as high a quality as possible.

  • Mont-Mégantic, Québec
    Mont-Mégantic, Québec

    Mont-Mégantic became the very first Dark Sky Reserve in the world back in 2007. Since then it has been a pioneering force for countries seeking to enhance the quality of their natural night skies. It encompasses a huge area of 5,300 km2, including Mont-Mégantic National Park, its observatory and a fantastic visitor centre.

  • NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
    NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia

    Namibia?s NamibRand Nature Reserve remains Africa's only Dark Sky Reserve. It was actually established to help protect and conserve the unique ecology and wildlife of the southwest Namib Desert, but it's also been attracting nighttime photographers in droves since it was designated a reserve in 2012.


The night skies have a lot more to offer than the beauty of twinkling stars. They hold the secrets of our universe, of galaxies far, far away, they help us navigate the globe and they even protect ecosystems.

All this, and more, is what the International Dark-Sky Association aims to protect. With its program of Dark Sky Places, it encourages communities around the world to protect their night skies and to learn the importance of limiting light pollution all over the world, so that we can continue to enjoy those beautiful star-filled skies.