Travel Picks: Top 10 places to sky watch

Fri Nov 7, 2008 9:52am EST
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SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Wondering where are the world's starriest skies? "Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2009" guide lists the best places to eye the heavens.

This list is not endorsed by Reuters.

1. McDonald Observatory, United States

For a night-time even like no other, head 2,040 meters (6,700 ft) above sea level to the top of Mount Locke. The McDonald Observatory, at the Davis Mountains in Texas, enjoys some of the best dark skies in the continental United States, ensuring jaw dropping views of celestial splendor. It also holds regular star parties, allowing you to look through the kind of massive telescopes that make astronomers rub their hands with glee.

2. Stonehenge, Britain

Thought by some to be a giant, primitive observatory, Stonehenge suggests that going "wow" at the heavens' twinkling bits is nothing new -- they began building this monumental circle of standing stones around 5,000 years ago. It's still a good place to stargaze today -- out in Salisbury Plain, in Wiltshire there aren't many lights around interfering with nature's display.

3. Abu Simbel, Egypt

Even in a country crammed full of awesome ancient sites, Abu Simbel, one of the most important ancient observatories in the world, inspires. Its four 20 meter (66 ft) statues of Ramses II and the monumental main hall were laid out to honor sun gods. The whole structure was moved, lock, stock and statuary during the construction of the Aswan High Dam, and rebuilt, still precisely aligned.

4. Caribbean Islands   Continued...

<p>Winter morning fog is seen in the valleys and hills over the village of Studencice, central Slovenia December 15, 2006. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic</p>