They say everything is written in the stars, destiny waiting to happen. Twinkling stars shining like bright beacons of hope, diamonds in the dark sky. The beautiful works of art created by nature have inspired many, from ancient civilizations to yesterday’s travellers following the stars to chart their destination. Today is inspiring me to travel and see the magnificent wonders of the night sky.
The dark void of sky and space is said to hold many secrets, with many yet to be discovered. Throughout history dramatic tales of the dancing Northern Lights, legendary wars between the sun and moon when eclipses took place and phenomenal ancient structures around the world like Stonehenge coming into all their glory during events such as the summer solstice.
Let me take you on a journey, chasing the wonders of the night sky.
Chasing The Wonders Of The Night Sky
While travelling I have learned so much about the ancient art of astronomy from the Inca’s, Mayan’s and other civilizations.
Did you know the Inca civilization placed great importance on astronomy? They worshipped the stars and dark constellations, which played a large part in their agricultural cycle.
Here in Scotland, we have lots of Neolithic standing stones, including those of Callanish on the Island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. They have been studied for more than 80 years with the astronomical lines being said to have been positioned to signify the rising of the star Capella, the setting sun at the two equinoxes and outer stones symbolizing the moon rising to its maximum.
Over the years it has been one of my dreams to see the spectacular light phenomenon the northern lights. Once upon a time seen with the naked eye in the north of Scotland, but with increasing light pollution this has become rare.
The first trip was to Iceland, within easy reach from Scotland. Icelandair has frequent direct flights from Glasgow to Reykjavík. Reaching Reykjavik in under 3 hours. Reykjavik is a very pretty city with characterful low built buildings, Tjörnin and 360-degree views from the rotating Perlan restaurant.
We booked a late evening bus tour chasing the northern lights, it was disappointing to have not seen anything. Thankfully the trip had lots packed in to see more of this beautiful country. Can highly recommend a visit to Gullfoss Falls, Hreyfing – Blue Lagoon Spa and the Geysir hot springs. If travelling independently, why not hire a car and Drive Iceland’s Ring Road.
We decided we had to travel further afield, to a destination that we were guaranteed to see the northern lights. What better destination than Norway. I’m so glad that we did!
Having cruised and worked onboard cruise ships it was time to get my sea legs back on and see more of Norway. With #Hurtigruten offering a cruise stopping at 32 ports departing from Bergen all the way to Kirkenes in the Arctic, there was an increased chance of seeing the light phenomenon. Once past the Arctic Circle, we were all on the lookout and had our cabin intercoms to listen for northern light sighting announcements. It wasn’t till we arrived in Tromsø that we had our first sighting and wow. It was worth waiting for. A voyage of a lifetime. You can now enjoy Astronomy Voyages onboard Hurtigruten.
I didn’t have to travel far to witness my second eclipse in Edinburgh. Back in 2015, the crowds gathered on top of Calton Hill. The hill is situated in the heart of Edinburgh’s city centre at an elevation of 103 metres. The moon starting to pass the sun just after 8:30 am and by 9:35 there was a 93 percent solar eclipse. The crowd was outstanding, with everyone so happy to witness this incredible sight in Edinburgh. The next partial eclipse will not occur until 2026 and full solar eclipse in 2090, but you could travel to the city of Buenos Aires in Argentina to witness a full total eclipse in 2019!
Shooting Stars/Meteor Showers
Did you know you can see shooting stars with the naked eye in Australia? I couldn’t believe what I was seeing when I first arrived in Coogee, Australia back in 1997. The phenomenon could be anything from meteors to satellites.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about wonders of the night sky, and are inspired to look up and journey with the stars. Happy Travels:) x