Epic Stargazing Destinations
"The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena," said Carl Sagan. As travelers, we live our lives exploring this stage. But there are places here on earth where the night sky can serve as a reminder of the unknown worlds beyond our pale blue dot of a planet. There's so much exploring to be done.

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Sand Dunes, Thar Desert, Rajasthan State, India.

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So long as you don't mind a little bit of sand in your knickers, a night in the Thar Desert under a star lit sky is an experience unlike anything you've experienced in your entire life.

We rode out into the desert on ill-tempered camels, bouncing and bopping so hard I thought I would crash back to earth at any moment. Our guides tossed a few bedrolls and pillows onto the sand and told us to enjoy ourselves - and watch out for scorpions (though I well and truly believe that they were only kidding).

We wrapped ourselves in blankets and marveled at the constellations overhead - The Stooges, Mel Gibson, and the Flying Camel being my favorites - and marveled at the quiet of the night. Though India is home to well over a billion people, it felt as if we were alone out there in the desert. And then our camel farted, and we knew we were not alone.

Just about every taxi driver or hotel operator in Delhi or nearby Jaisalmer can put together a camel tour for you - and I suggest you do it. At roughly $20, it's a steal of an experience.

Photo Note:
I put my camera on a tripod for this frame, opened the shutter for about a minute and a half, and popped off a few quick flashes with a handheld speedlight to illuminate the cart and our guide. A large aperture helped expose the stars, while a shutter speed of roughly 30 seconds helped keep them in place.

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