Atacama Desert, Chile Pale, pink flamingos stride across the salt flats, as galaxies and star clusters blaze in the nearly cloudless skies. In fact, parts of the pampas haven’t seen rain since recordkeeping began, so there’s little humidity to diminish celestial views in the driest place on Earth.
A starry night gleams above Owachomo Bridge in Utah's Natural Bridges National Monument—named the first Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). "Here you see something forgotten," says ranger Scott Ryan, "and reconnect with the sky." Photograph by Jim Richardson, National Geographic. September 13, 2013
Jasper National Park, Alberta The aurora borealis sometimes crackles across the world’s largest dark-sky preserve, high in the spectacular Canadian Rockies. The park lodge anchors the Jasper Dark Sky Festival each October in this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kids can rev up at First Nations drum circles before test-driving the take-home Celestron telescope bundled into the hotel’s stargazing package.