Israel provides amazing opportunities for astronomical observation or stargazing, whether in the darkness of the desert or in one of the state-of-the-art planetarium experiences.

 

Stargazing tours from Eilat or Mitzpe Ramon will take you into the deep dark desert with expert astronomers to show you the constellations. These tours will open your eyes to Israel’s amazing natural nightlife, with hundreds of nocturnal animals that only emerge after the sun has set. In the desert you can sometimes see bats, owls, foxes, snakes, hedgehogs, and even hyenas and leopards, on an eye-opening night safari under the stars.

 

Alternatively you can camp in one of the authorized camping sites in Mitzpe Ramon to enjoy a spectacular night under the stars. This natural crater, possibly formed by the earth’s collision with an asteroid many millennia ago, provides a wonderful dark environment for observing the stars and the planets. The Milky Way is easily visible with minimal light pollution, and in August you can see the annual Perseid meteor shower (although you may have to share the skies with thousands of other visitors who travel from all over the world to see it!) The town of Mitzpe Ramon hosts a series of stargazing events in August and even extinguishes its street lights at the weekends to improve the night sky experience.

 

Mitzpe Ramon is the home of Israel’s largest research telescope at the Wise Observatory, which is one of a network of observatories throughout Israel, some of which are open to the public. The Bareket Observatory in the Judean Mountains is an astronomical facility dedicated to both scientific research and public education, and invites visitors to use their technology to uncover the secrets of the universe.

 

The Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv has Israel’s largest planetarium, with a choice of shows about different aspects of the solar system, a flight through the night sky, and an astronaut experience. Technoda in Haifa also brings the night sky to the city so that people can watch and understand the constellations that usually move unnoticed above their heads. Special projectors also superimpose stories about the planets and Greek mythology  on the background of the skyscapes.

 

Whether you prefer to watch the stars outside in the desert or inside under a dome, you will find that Israelis are fascinated by the galaxies and the planets, and by the potential for space exploration. Talk to Shatour about including a stargazing experience in your next tour of Israel, because here the sky really is the limit.

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