Astronomy For Dummies
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Telescope motels are establishments where the attractions are the dark skies and the opportunity to set up your own telescope in an excellent viewing location. They usually have telescopes of their own that you can use, perhaps at an additional fee. If you fancy enjoying a stargazing vacation without lugging your own equipment across the country or the world, telescope motels are a good option.

Check out these telescope motels worth visiting in the United States:

  • The Observer's Inn: Located in the historic gold-mining town of Julian, California, this hotel has an observatory and concrete pads on which guests can place their own telescopes.
  • Primland: Situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Meadows of Dan, Virginia, Primland no mere motel; it's a luxury resort that features stargazing in its own observatory. Invite your rich uncle and suggest that it's his treat.
  • Furnace Creek Resort: Venture into Death Valley National Park in California, where conditions can be ideal for stargazing. Bring your own telescope or attend a star party there conducted by the Las Vegas Astronomical Society.
Overseas, telescope motels worth visiting include the following:
  • AstroAdventures: In the United Kingdom, consider a stay at this facility in North Devon. It offers an observatory, two lodges, Wi-Fi, and (for seasonal use) a swimming pool.
  • Carlo Magno Hotel Spa Resort: Visit this facility in the Italian ski village of Madonna di Campaglio and observe with the hotel telescope, guided by a PhD astronomer from the University of Heidelberg.
  • COAA (Centro de Observação Astronómica no Algarve): Located in southern Portugal, this facility features telescopes, several guest suites, and a radar system to observe meteors day and night.
  • Hakos Guest Farm: Bright stars and dark skies above a remote desert highlight this outpost in Namibia. The observatory is close to the guest rooms. Study the website before you go.
  • SPACE (San Pedro de Atacama Celestial Explorations): This telescope motel in San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, offers lodging, tours (guides speak English, Spanish, and French), and telescopes on the high Atacama desert at an elevation near 8,000 feet. The region is considered one of the finest locations for astronomical observatories on Earth.

About This Article

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Stephen P. Maran, PhD, is the retired assistant director of space sciences for information and outreach at the NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. An investigator of stars, nebulae, and comets, he worked on the Hubble Space Telescope, Space Shuttle missions, Skylab, and other NASA projects.

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