Astronomy tours

Astronomy vacation ideas

Beyond the solar eclipse

Shedding new light on destinations

Solar eclipses may only last a few minutes but they provide a glorious spur to create lifelong memories around the sky show. And they take place in a host of diverse, distinctive spots. In August 2017, you can hit America's NW corner and discover the joys of Washington State and Oregon - rugged Pacific coast, unspoilt wilderness, sophisticated cities like Seattle and Portland, stupendous mountains including Mount Rainier and Mount St Helens - still scarred by its cataclysmic 1980s eruption. Or head to Tanzania in September, taking in Kilimanjaro, Big Five national parks and tribal culture.

Want to see an eclipse in 2019? Then Chile and Argentina are your best bet for landscapes which are truly out of this world. NASA may have used the arid Atacama desert to stand-in for Mars but their earthly vistas are just as awesome. Think salt plains, granite towers, icy fjords and glacial fields beneath star-spangled heavens.

For a real trip of a life time, Antarctica will be the place to see December 2021's total eclipse. The austral summer brings new light, and life, to the continent as seal pups, penguin chicks and whale calves make their debut. Just don't forget to pack your camera.

Getting starry-eyed

Eclipses are rare daytime wonders but the night sky offers year-round dazzling spectacle. Get away from light pollution and an infinity of stars magically become visible. Seeing the silvery smear of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, for the first time is humbling and magical. Learn too about the heavens' brightest stars Sirius, Vega, Aldebaran, Rigel plus other galaxies and passing meteors.

It's far from grim up North

The Northern Lights come imbued by ancient myth. The Inuit thought they were the souls of the dead, while Nordic folklore saw them as the spirits of unmarried maidens. Science more reliably pinpoints speeding solar particles arcing down Earth's polar magnetic fields to smash into upper atmosphere atoms, energising them into the aurora's shimmering green, violet and magenta hues.

The winter landscapes of Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden frame auroral displays like nowhere else on Earth. Some of Europe's most dramatic mountains reach up to touch the shimmering celestial curtain, while Iceland's jet black lava fields provide dramatic contrast. Dark fjords, vast gleaming snowfields or glistening blue glaciers present mesmerising Nordic mirrors to the sky. Each place has favoured spots far from light and people. Peak sightings occur in the depths of winter but displays can occur from October to April.

Dazzling science

You can learn a lot gazing upward with an open mind as well as open eyes. Ask the experts on astronomy trips and eclipses become lessons in celestial mechanics, while Northern Lights colourfully illustrate the physics of atoms, magnetic fields and electric charge.

The panoply of major stars and the Milky Way reveal the awesome truths of cosmic distance, brightness and multitude, whether seen from a Spanish peak, African plain or Saharan desert.
Photo credits: [box 1 - Kilimanjaro: Kyle Taylor] [Getting starry-eyed : LassenNPS] [Astronomy: Grand Canyon National Park]
Rocky Mountain solar eclipse and wildlife tour, USA

Rocky Mountain solar eclipse and wildlife tour, USA

Wildlife, thermal pools, mountains and walking in Yellowstone

From US $3399 12 days ex flights
Solar Eclipse in the National Parks of USA

Solar Eclipse in the National Parks of USA

See glaciers and volcanoes, geysers and hot-springs

From US $3726 15 days ex flights
2017 solar eclipse vacation in the Rockies, USA & Canada

2017 solar eclipse vacation in the Rockies, USA & Canada

For those who seek a true wilderness experience

From US $4339 18 days ex flights
Yellowstone NP Solar Eclipse vacation, USA

Yellowstone NP Solar Eclipse vacation, USA

Three celebrated national parks in the Rocky Mountain Range

From US $3566 12 days ex flights
Sahara Desert astronomy tour in Morocco

Sahara Desert astronomy tour in Morocco

Stargazing and exploring , see the best of Morocco.

From 2300 12 Days ex flights
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