Stargazing in the Sahara

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On a recent holiday to Morocco I was lucky enough to spend one night sleeping in the Sahara desert. Cut off from the rest of the world, I have never been to a place more beautiful or more quiet. Only when you’re somewhere that remote do you realise just how much background noise you are usually bombarded with in daily life.

The night sky too was immense – I have never seen a darker sky. The Milky Way sprawled overhead (see above) and you could pick out many Messier objects without binoculars. Sporadic shooting stars peppered the sky, as satellites steadily moved across the heavens.

September was the perfect time to go as it meant you could see the familiar summer stars like those in the Summer Triangle before midnight, only to be treated to the ‘winter’ constellations of Orion, Taurus and friends in the wee small hours. Then there was Venus’s piercingly bright light heralding the oncoming sunrise and our journey by camel back to civilisation (see below).

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