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Celestial Events of 2019 Worth Traveling For and Where to See Them

Follow the stars to see spectacular sights from these wondrous locations.

This year will be chock full of exciting astronomical events, but not all are visible from the comfort of your home. Follow the stars to see some spectacular sights, from some spectacular locations.

Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower, May 5-7

2019 Celestial Events 2 To guarantee a dark sky and a clear horizon, head to the sea with a luxurious cruise with Quasar Expeditions around the Galapagos Islands of the coast of Ecuador. iStock/Getty Images

Meteor showers are always exciting, and though this will not be the brightest of the year, you will still be able to see a good show. Radiating from the brightest star in the constellation Aquarius, the shower will best be view from the equator or the southern hemisphere, with a clear view of the southern horizon.

To guarantee a dark sky and a clear horizon, head to the sea with a luxurious cruise with Quasar Expeditions around the Galapagos Islands of the coast of Ecuador. Walk in the footsteps of Charles Darwin to see the celebrated wildlife of the islands, while staying on the honeymoon yacht of Grace Kelly. The deck or dry land in the hours before dawn will have a stunning view of the meteor shower.

Total Solar Eclipse, July 2

2019 Celestial Events 3 La Serena, Chile will be one of the few places that the eclipse will be completely visible. iStock/Getty Images

For four minutes, the moon will completely block out the sun. Though total eclipses usually happen multiple times a year, they are visible from small areas of the earth, so are rare in any one part of the world. This particular solar eclipse will be visible exclusively in South America, with the total solar eclipse only being visible in parts of Chile and Argentina.

La Serena, Chile will be one of the few places that the eclipse will be completely visible. The eclipse will last a little over two hours, but the full eclipse will only last two minutes starting at 4:38 PM. While in La Serena, visit the National Humboldt Penguin Reserve on three islands of the coast. A short plane ride will allow you to visit the Atacama Desert, the terrain of which is considered comparable to Mars. For a space themed trip, the Atacama Desert is also an excellent place for stargazing.

Partial Lunar eclipse, July 16

2019 Celestial Events 4 For those who don’t mind layering, head to South Africa for star gazing in Kruger National Park. iStock/Getty Images

Later in the same month, a partial lunar eclipse will be visible from Europe, Africa and parts of central Asia, though Eastern Europe and Africa will afford some of the best views. During the eclipse, the moon will be in the constellation Sagittarius.

The options are numerous, though weather in parts of the southern hemisphere may be a little chilly. For those who don’t mind layering, head to South Africa for star gazing in Kruger National Park. The park offers beautiful darks skies by night and exciting safaris by day. To round out the trip, travel west to Cape Town and explore South Africa’s celebrated wine country.

Perseids Meteor Shower, August 12-13

2019 Celestial Events 5 Antelope Island State Park is a great option for those who what to enjoy a wide range of activities. iStock/Getty Images

This is one of the most popular meteor showers, as you can see upwards of 200 meteors an hour. Unfortunately this year a bright moon will wash out some of the magic, but there will still be plenty to see. The shower will start around 10:00 pm local time while Mars and Saturn will be visible until 4 am and 2 am respectively. This is visible in the northern hemisphere, promising warm weather and an opportunity for romantic stargazing on a blanket below a dark sky.

Anywhere in the northern hemisphere will suffice, so why not stay close to home and visit some stargazing spots in the United States. California, Idaho and Pennsylvania all offer great options, but Utah boasts nine international dark sky parks to choose from. Antelope Island State Park is a great option for those who what to enjoy a wide range of activities. The park is situated on an island in the Great Salt Lake, so boating, hiking and even golfing are all options.

Mercury Crossing the Sun, November 11

2019 Celestial Events 6 To escape the cold, Morocco is a great option. iStock/Getty Images

Happening only thirteen times a century, Mercury transiting across the sun is a relatively rare occurrence and therefore, a must see. The sight will last five and half hours so there’s plenty of time to find the perfect spot to sit and watch. This sight doesn’t require a dark sky, as it takes place during the day, so the options are numerous. The transit will be visible from pretty much anywhere but Asia and Australia.

To escape the cold, Morocco is a great option. To connect to the natural world, a trek through the desert or a guided camel tour will provide a secluded spot to enjoy the transit of Mercury. But you can also stay in Marrakech or Casablanca and head to the roof of the riyadh for a spectacular view.

Geminids Meteor Shower, December 13

2019 Celestial Events 9 Start with Barcelona, and then head to the old town of Girona, which is only an hour south of Albanya. iStock/Getty Images

The Geminids meteor shower may boast upwards of 100 meteors per hour but an almost full moon may dampen some of the effect. A dark sky will maximize the visible meteors. The best places to see the meteors may be a little cold, so remember to bundle up.

Located a few hours outside of Barcelona, Albanyà has thriving astrotourism. Start with Barcelona, and then head to the old town of Girona, which is only an hour south of Albanyà. If a coastal road trip is for you, stop by the town of Tossa de Mar to explore the old town, a 12th century fortress city perched on an outcrop in the Mediterranean Sea.

Annular Solar Eclipse, December 26

2019 Celestial Events 7 One of the best places to view the eclipse is Singapore. iStock/Getty Images

Unlike a total eclipse where the sky goes completely dark, an annular eclipse will create a bright ring of light. This will be visible over most of Asia and Australia, starting around 10:00 am and lasting about six hours. Because this is a day time occurrence, the viewing options are open.

One of the best places to view the eclipse is Singapore. The city offers amazing food and luxurious hotels to make the most of your trip. The rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands offers an unencumbered view of the eclipse while relaxing in an infinity pool. For something a little more off the beaten path, a short trip will lead you to the tropical Riau Islands in Indonesia. Bintan Island is a fifty minute ferry ride from Singapore for between $30-50. You can explore the Banyan tree temple, go elephant watching or just find a spot on the beach to lie back and enjoy the eclipse.

Northern Lights, September-March

2019 Celestial Events 8 To enjoy the less touristy side of Alaska’s great attraction, visit Denali State Park in the winter months. iStock/Getty Images

The Northern Lights are visible each year during winter when the nights are long. This famous phenomenon, known as Aurora borealis, is caused by collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun. The Laplands of Finland are synonymous with the Northern Lights, but there are other options within the United States. Fairbanks is a perfect city to set up shop, just 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle. To enjoy the less touristy side of Alaska’s great attraction, visit Denali State Park in the winter months. Dog sledding and winter trains tours provide daytime entertainment while waiting for the lights to begin. Give yourself a week or two, as the lights are not visible every night.

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