Astronomy is the study of physical objects outside Earth. Very few people get the privilege to visit space, but everyone with good eyes can see at least some of the miracles of the universe from the Earth's surface.


There are many reasons to combine travelling with a look upwards.

In modern cities, light pollution means that the starry sky is hardly visible. The far-off countryside provides an astounding view of the stars. Mountains and deserts are also better places to look at the stars than other, firstly because they usually lack the light pollution of modern civilization and secondly because air and all that's in it (primarily water) obstructs the clear view of the stars. If you are at 4,000 meters altitude, you already have a lot of the air below you. And a cloudy day is unlikelier in the Sahara than in say Oslo, making high lying desert areas ideal for observation of the sky, resulting in many observatories being in such places. A further thing to take into consideration when visiting professional observatories is that large lenses or mirrors are very sensitive to temperature and thus they are usually not heated.

Also, astronomy is among the few sciences where amateur scientists regularly make discoveries on their own, given that nobody can watch all the sky all the time and just having a good enough piece of equipment and looking at the right place by chance, you may discover your "own" comet, asteroid or other object.


Astrology is the superstitious belief that astronomic events interact with human life on Earth. Though dismissed by modern science, astronomy and astrology used to be the same thing in ancient times, and provides a historical background to today's knowledge. While western astrology is loosely based on Graeco-Roman mythology, there are other traditions of astrology in places such as China.


Astronomic navigation

See Navigation.

Research observatories

Pre-modern observatories are usually obsolete today, and remain as museums, or sites of education.

Most modern research telescopes are enormous facilities in remote areas with favorable atmospheric conditions.


North America

South America

While the headquarters of the European Southern Observatory are in Garching near Munich, Germany the observatories are located in northern Chile.

See also

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