Earth’s Best Place to Stargaze

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This Might Be the Best Stargazing Spot on Earth, According to Scientists

by Nora McGreevy/Smithsonianmag.com

Scientists have identified what they think is the best place in the world to stargaze—but don’t make any travel plans just yet. Dome Argus or “Dome A,” as the site is known, sits on a high, frigid plateau 746 miles inland on Antarctica.

An international team of scientists, led by Zhaohui Shang with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, studied three sites in the frozen continent—Domes A, F, and C—to figure out which might make the best potential telescope site. Dome A won out, according to a statement.

Researchers measured Dome A’s stargazing potential with a specialized telescope placed on a 26-foot-high platform on the site. The telescope was specially designed to withstand Antarctica’s freezing temperatures, and the entire apparatus was operated remotely by researchers.

As the team wrote in an article in Nature last month, one key feature distinguished Dome A from all the rest: The stars “literally twinkle less” up there, as Brandon Specktor notes for Live Science.

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