If you have always been amazed by the stars and the universe as a whole, don’t miss the chance to visit the 8 best astronomical observatories around the world. With their amazing locations, these high-tech towers give you a chance to study the heavens from behind a telescope.
1. Cerro Mamalluca Observatory in Elqui Valley, Chile
Cerro Mamalluca Observatory is one of the top spots for stargazing in the world located in the Elqui Valley region in northern Chile. Its goal is to offer everyone an opportunity to gaze at the stars in the same way as researchers, from beginners to aspiring astronomers. Peak through the optical telescopes to watch the clusters and nebulae in a plethora of captivating colours.
2. El Caracol in Chichen Itza, Mexico
Your Yucatan trip will be incomplete if you don’t drop by at Chichen Itza, an ancient Mayan city. And while you’re there, don’t miss the chance to visit the observatory there. Known as El Caracol, it is believed that the observatory is where Mayans watched the heavens on top of the landscape of the jungle.
3. Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California
The Griffith Observatory high above the sprawl has become a favourite stop on the Los Angeles circuit together with Venice Beach and Hollywood Boulevard. The Art Deco observatory was finished in 1935 and has been featured in several TV series and films.
4. Jantar Mantar in Jaipur, India
Maharajah Jai Singh II ordered the construction of Jantar Mantar in the pink city of Jaipur in 1734 and has soon become a certified astronomer’s delight.
This observatory is an assortment of 19 astronomical instruments that include the largest sundial in the world made completely of stone.
Visitors are allowed to take a stroll amid the architectural wonders and bask in the calming atmosphere right in the heart of the most exciting cities in the country.
5. Mauna Kea Observatory in Big Island, Hawaii
Be ready to be in awe during your trip to the summit of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea volcano whether you visit during daytime or nighttime. With a location of 14,000 feet above sea level, you can find the largest astronomical observatory in the world at the summit which offers the perfect opportunity for stargazing.
Although the public doesn’t have access to the 13 telescopes here, watching the sunset over the landscape is already a memorable experience in and of itself.
6. National Observatory in Athens, Greece
Once you have completed strolling through the Acropolis, don’t miss the chance to visit the 1842 Athens National Observatory. Perched on top of the Hill of the Nymphs in Thiseio central district, the observatory was the country’s first research center and is accessible to the public.
You can explore here by yourself or hire a knowledgeable guide for an amazing nighttime tour of this stunning facility.
7. Royal Observatory in Edinburgh, Scotland
The capital of Scotland is home not just to one but two observatories: the newer Royal Observatory located on Blackford Hill and the City Observatory on Calton Hill. The former, constructed in 1896, currently serves as the home and model of the astronomy of the Victorian era.
Drop by at the visitor center where you can try using the Victorian telescope dome facilities. There are also astronomy evenings every week where visitors are allowed to gaze at the stars using the copper domes.
8. Royal Observatory Greenwich in London, England
Royal Observatory Greenwich is the origin of GMT or Greenwich Time. Located atop Greenwich Hill which overlooks River Thames, the observatory had a critical role in astronomy’s history. You visit the museum on site for free, catch a show at the only planetarium in London, and stand on the Greenwich Meridian Line.
If the universe conspires, be sure to visit any or even all these astronomical observatories in the world!