Astronomy is one of the world's oldest sciences, both fascinating and inspiring, and sharing in the experience is as easy as stepping out of your front door.
From the familiarity of constellations such as Orion, Cassiopeia and Ursa Minor, to the mystery of distant galaxies and the sweeping aurora, the dignified majesty of comets and eclipses, and the heart stopping excitement of meteor showers, the transcendental beauty of the cosmos is something that everyone can and should experience.
We weren't sure where to put this category - but feel it belongs in the Natural World. For those of you who are interested in seeing what the night sky at its peak has to offer, and those for whom astronomy is a hobby and a passion, our list recounts some of the best stargazing opportunities across the world, many of which are in the middle of deserts, far from ambient electric light. For some of them you'll need only your star chart and some binoculars, while others repay investment in a telescope, or the cost of a cruise - but all will take you on adventures to remote places where the sky is at its darkest. And if you are new to this hobby, consider joining an organised astronomy tour.
Experts in Astronomy: Anna Dejardin