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Feel like you’re seeing more pictures of space than usual lately? There’s a good reason for that. After spending decades designing and developing it, NASA shared the first images from the James Webb Space Telescope, the new and improved successor to the Hubble, this week. The ultra-sharp images of galaxy-speckled skies and cloudlike nebulae are entrancing, a look literally millions of years into the past. No wonder everyone you know has made them their phone wallpaper.
But you don’t need to spend billions of dollars or hitch a ride into orbit to see space yourself—all you need is a dark sky. And there’s no better way to find one than—surprise!—taking a long walk away from civilization. In honor of astronomy’s new frontier, we’ve gathered up 13 of our favorite night sky hikes, ranging from a beginner-friendly trip through the Badlands to a 70-mile journey that will take you deep into Idaho’s Sawtooths. We also polled one of the scientists who helped create the James Webb about her personal favorite stargazing hikes. So pack up, head out, and take a journey into the stars. —Adam Roy
After a long day on the trail, the temptation to climb into your tent and go to sleep can be overwhelming. But fight it: Brew that cup of coffee and wait a while. If you can hold off long enough, you’ll enjoy the best show that the summer sky can offer. Read on for nine of our favorite places to peep planets, constellations, meteors, and more. Read More
Don’t know your nebulae from your zodiacal light from your spiral galaxies? No problem. Get a crash course in stargazing with these beginner-friendly tips. Read with O+