While wandering around aimlessly online last night, I discovered that today is the 446th birthday of Galileo Galilei, the guy widely considered to be the father of modern astronomy. Which got me to thinking about some of the amazing stargazing experiences I’ve had over the years.
My all-time favorite has to be the weekend we spent at Benson, Arizona’s Astronomers Inn. This four-room bed-and-breakfast located an hour southeast of Tucson isn’t much to look at. But its amenities—including an in-house observatory where your own personal astronomer will roll back the roof and take you on an eye-opening tour of the galaxy using one of their eight telescopes—made for one of the most memorable nights I’ve spent in any property anywhere.
Then there’s a program at the nearby Kitt Peak Observatory that sure to be an unforgetable once-in-a-lifetime experience for anyone who’s ever looked up at the night sky with a sense of wonder. Along with its more modest public stargazing sessions, the observatory—which sports the largest collection of optical research telescopes in the world—offers an Advanced Observing Program that allows a limited number of visitors to view and photograph deep space objects through a telescope that would make a professional astronomer drool. Note that these sessions fills up fast, so don’t delay if you’re interested.
Finally, there’s a lot to be said for just laying on your back gazing up at a night sky so dark the stars look like the aftermath of a powdered sugar donut binge on the dark blue suit of the universe. And for such low-tech stargazing it’s hard to beat southeastern Utah’s Natural Bridges National Monument, a spot so ideal it was designated as the world’s first International Dark Sky Park.
Spend some time at any of these places and chances are you’ll be thinking “Galileo, eat your heart out!”
If you’ve had an amazing stargazing experience, tell us about it via the Leave A Comment link below.