from USA TODAY 10Best

Here are some of the best places for stargazing in the world

If you're seeking the darkest night skies, look no further than dedicated International Dark Sky Reserves: locations protected from light pollution. Here are 10 places that offer the best stargazing conditions.

Aoraki Mackenzie - New Zealand

Located on New Zealand's South Island, the massive combined area of Aoraki and the Mackenzie Basin provide a stunning backdrop for searching the heavens.

Brecon Beacons National Park - Wales

Primarily populated by sheep, this part of Wales lacks the population density that would have a negative effect on the night sky, although it is within easy reach of over a million people.

Central Idaho - United States

The only International Dark Sky Reserve in America, Central Idaho is nearly 100% rugged wilderness with no infrastructure. And that means no electric lighting to taint the celestial atmosphere.

Exmoor National Park - England

The 81 square kilometers of protected core land at Exmoor are a treasure trove. In addition to the dark sky, you'll find other attractions of interest like a deserted medieval settlement and Bronze Age burial mounds.

Kerry - Ireland

If you plan to follow the Wild Atlantic Way trail in Ireland, you'll also come across Kerry. It's worth stopping overnight to enjoy the brilliant sky.

Mont-Mégantic - Québec

Located close to the Maine border, Mont-Mégantic is a pioneering force in reducing light pollution, having decreased the area's contributions by 25 percent.

Moore's Reserve, South Downs National Park - England

You'll be surprised to learn that Moore's Reserve is within 100 kilometers of London, one of the most light-polluted locales on the planet. Yet, the reserve area within South Downs is shockingly dark.

NamibRand Nature Reserve - Namibia

Situated in the Namib Desert, this reserve is one of the darkest places on Earth. You'll probably also have the chance to see plenty of local wildlife.

Pic du Midi - France

Pic du Midi is incredibly photogenic, home to a massive observatory and surrounded by gorgeous mountains. Taking in the scene will make you feel like you're in a James Bond movie, especially in the dead of night.

Snowdonia National Park - Wales

With a magical name like "Snowdonia," it's no wonder that you'll find the starriest of skies here. The interior is made up of uninhabitable wilderness making it one of the darkest places left in south Britain.

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