Top Places for Stargazing

We live on the surface of a planet that is hurtling through space at an amazing speed, all the while rotating on its axis once every 24 hours. With all that activity, it's amazing that some people have never looked toward the heavens and really seen Orion. Or Pegasus, Andromeda, Canis Major or Minor, or even Sagittarius. Perhaps it's because there are so many places where light pollution and population density have made the joy of exploring the night sky difficult to experience. Newfoundland and Labrador is not one of those places. With endless open country and shoreline, and a population density of just 1.4 people per square kilometre, we have some of the best seats in the house.

Our geographic location at the easternmost edge of the continent also gives us our own off-kilter perspective. When you arrive on our shores, you'll have your pick of places to stargaze, and perhaps even see the northern lights, but the following are good places to start.

Terra Nova National Park

 

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This national park in the eastern part of the island is the first Dark Sky Preserve in Newfoundland. Campsites at Malady Head and Southwest Arm are secluded spots near the ocean, and if you are looking for a place more remote, try Dunphy’s Island in the freshwater Dunphy’s Pond. All three are far removed from any population centres, offer varying amenity levels, and will give you a true night sky free from the light pollution that hampers stargazing in the city.  For something different, try one of the new Oasis accommodations at Malady Head campground. These water-drop shaped treehouses sit on stilts, sleep 2 adults and 2 kids, and have a clear glass roof, so you can sleep in comfort with an unimpeded view of the galaxy.

Torngat Mountains, Labrador

 

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Northern Labrador is one of the best places to see the northern lights, and you can explore it at Torngat Mountains National Park. You can also join local Inuit guides on an overnight trip into spectacular fjords where their ancestors camped and walked for centuries. Listen to the ancient stories and legends of the area as you sip on hot tea and eat food prepared over an open fire.

Brimstone Head, Fogo Island


The small population on this isolated island-off-an-island means a wide night sky with little light pollution. Stargaze undisturbed at what the Flat Earth Society considers one of the four corners of the Earth.

L’Anse Aux Meadows, UNESCO World Heritage Site

At the top of the Northern Peninsula sits the home of the first European settlers in North America – the Vikings. Take in the same view of the Milky Way as the Norse settlers more than a thousand years ago - which to a star feels like seconds. A place like this gives you more than history and perspective. When you look up at night you’ll see a view of the galaxy not many can claim to see. 

Gros Morne National Park, UNESCO World Heritage Site

 

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There are many great places to view the night sky in Gros Morne. Perhaps you'll choose The Tablelands, a place that looks as if it could be the setting for the next Star Wars movie. Here, where the continents of Africa and North America collided and exposed the richly colour ocean floor, the otherworldliness of the landscape is a perfect match for the spectacular stars and galaxies above. Whether you bring C3PO as your guide is up to you.

Codroy Valley

 

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At the southwestern tip of Newfoundland sits the Codroy Valley, with sandy beaches and vast rolling hills. You can see for miles during the day, and experience a whole galaxy at night. Like all the places on this list, it is free from light pollution and urban sprawl.

Battle Harbour

Battle Harbour is about as far away from the everyday as you can get. Located in Southern Labrador, it is a place perfect for unplugging from the modern world. Situated on the coast and unencumbered by contemporary afflictions like wi-fi or roads, make sure to bring your telescope – and your childlike wonder – to see the whole sky the way it is intended to be seen.

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These are just a few of the top places to stargaze around Newfoundland and Labrador, but there are many more. When you find a special place to look upon the heavens, take a pic share it with us using #ExploreNL.

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