Atlanta, with its glittering downtown, and a suburban sprawl that stretches for miles in all directions, isn’t always the ideal setting for stargazing.
The nighttime light pollution can make stars, meteors and other celestial bodies difficult to see. In some cases, you may have to venture outside the city to get a good view of the nighttime sky, or employ the help of a telescope.
The following are some of the best places to see the stars near Atlanta:
Georgia Tech Observatory
The Georgia Tech Observatory hosts public nights, usually held once per month if the weather is clear. A talk is given about 30 minutes before the public event begins.
Location: Midtown - Ferst Drive NW; Website: astronomy.gatech.edu; Contact: 404-385-8133
Fernbank Science Center
The Fernbank Science Center’s observatory has the largest telescope in the southeastern United States, and offers free public observations every Thursday and Friday from 9 p.m. until 10 p.m., as weather permits. Additional details are available on Fernbank’s Facebook page.
Location: Druid Hills - 156 Heaton Park Drive; Website: fsc.fernbank.edu; Contact: 678-874-7102
Tellus Science Museum
The Tellus Observatory houses a 20-inch telescope that allows viewers to explore the Moon and planets in our solar system. Tickets to the observatory can be purchased alongside general admission tickets, and tours of the observatory are available during special events and astronomy workshops.
In addition to these public destinations, you can also stargaze on your own and try to catch cool, celestial events such as the Delta Aquarid meteor shower.
Stars look brightest an hour after sunset and 50 minutes before sunrise. Meteor showers, on the other hand, are best viewed between 3-4 a.m., James Sowell, director of the Georgia Tech Observatory, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in a 2015 phone interview.
Generally, you’ll need a spot that’s away from as many streetlights and other sources of light as possible, and one that offers an unobstructed view of the sky.