Twinkle, Twinkle: How to Make the Most of the Night Sky in 2024
New Scientist Discovery Tours shares the top astronomical events and space-inspired tours to book in 2024.
With ‘astro tourism’ set to be one of 2024’s biggest travel trends(1), Abigail Beall, astronomy expert at the UK’s leading provider of science-inspired tours, New Scientist Discovery Tours, shares her insights into the astronomical highlights for 2024 – and how you can make the most of them.
Abigail explains, “The year ahead promises lots of exciting astronomical events. Highlights include a total solar eclipse on 8 April, which will be visible to those lucky enough to find themselves in parts of central and north America, and the commencement of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory’s decade-long operation scanning the night sky with a huge telescope from its base in Chile.”(2)
“Closer to home, the usual yearly meteor showers present the perfect opportunity for striking spectacles visible to those living in the UK; these include the oldest known meteor shower, the Lyrids, which occurs every year in April, and the Eta Aquarids in May, which, this year, will take place during a time of minimal moonlight, making 2024 one of the best times to watch it.”(3).
2024 astronomic and cosmic calendar highlights(4)
- Apr 7: Lunar occultation of Venus (visible in North America)
- Apr 8: Total solar eclipse (visible across North America, Canada, and Mexico)
- Sep 17: Partial eclipse (visible across Europe, Africa, North & South America)
- Oct 2: Annular solar eclipse (visible in South America)
Piqued your interest? You’re not the only one…between 2022 and 2023, New Scientist Discovery Tours increased the capacity of its space-inspired tours by 450% to meet rising demand. This included popular tours to Chile, aka the world capital of astronomy, Prague, the UK itself and looking ahead, three new 2024 tours in the USA that coincide with the total solar eclipse. Here guests will get to witness this fascinating phenomenon from a private viewing point, alongside a renowned astronomer.
Most of these space-related tours are led by Abigail Beall, who will be joined by local guides and other experts to take you on a fascinating journey of astronomic discovery.
See below for a selection of space-related tours from New Scientist Discovery Tours, available to book or register for now…
NEW for 2024. Price from £4,149pp, departing 6 April 2024 for seven days
- Seminars, eclipse commentary, and evening talks from renowned astronomer Dr John Mason
- Accompanied by Abigail Beall, New Scientist features editor and the tour’s astronomy expert, who will deliver briefings and informal lectures throughout the tour as well as guide guests during stargazing opportunities
- Tour includes private viewing site on exclusive ranch for eclipse, stargazing in Wimberly Texas (Dark Sky Place of the Year in 2023), visiting Texas Natural Science Center, Texas State Observatory, and Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory
- Accommodation on bed and breakfast basis staying at the four-star Hilton Garden Inn San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Hampton Inn & Suites, as well as one lunch and two dinners
- Full touring itinerary (including transport, entry to all sites and attractions etc.)
This seven-day tour takes guests on a once-in-a-lifetime journey to Texas to witness a rare total eclipse of the sun (taking place across north and central America on 8 April 2024) from the perfect private viewing site – with expansive scenic views, refreshments, and commentary throughout from renowned astronomer Dr John Mason (who will also deliver seminars and evening talks). Guests will also be able to expand their knowledge of the universe with briefings and informal lectures from Abigail Beall, New Scientist features editor and the tour’s astronomy expert, and visits to several astronomical and historical sites of interest, including Curtis Vaughan Jr. Observatory, Texas Natural Science Center and LBJ Ranch.
Price from £859 (Early Bird Offer available until 31 January), departing 30 August for three days; no single supplement
- Accompanied by Abigail Beall, a New Scientist features editor and the tour’s astronomy expert, who will also guide naked-eye stargazing (weather permitting) sessions
- Tour includes talks and demonstrations from leading experts in astronomy and tour of Jodrell Bank (a UNESCO World Heritage Site with iconic Lovell Telescope)
- Accommodation at stunning rural retreat, the Grade II-listed, 4-star De Vere Cranage Estate Hotel, including two breakfasts, two lunches, and two three-course dinners
This three-day UK-based weekender allows guests to immerse themselves in the mysteries of the universe whilst staying at a stunning rural retreat in the UK, Cheshire’s Grade II-listed, four-star De Vere Cranage Estate Hotel. With private tours at Jodrell Bank (home to the iconic Lovell Telescope and a pivotal site in the history of astronomy), talks from leading astronomers, astrophysicists and cosmologists – covering everything from the Big Bang and galaxy formations to iconic telescopes and stargazing – and the tour’s accompanying expert, Abigail Beall, guests are set for a journey of fascinating discoveries.
Price from £2,139pp, departing 15 September 2024 for six days• Talks and walking seminars from astronomer and historian Martin Griffiths and local guides
- Tour includes visits to world’s oldest astronomical clock, Klementinum astronomical tower, Stefanik Observatory, Kutna Hora (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and Prague Castle
- Accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at the four-star K+K Hotel Central, one of the oldest Art Nouveau buildings in the city, and three dinners at local restaurants
- Full touring itinerary (including airport transfers, all sightseeing and entrance fees etc.)
Accompanied by astronomer and historian Martin Griffiths, this 6-day tour gives guests the opportunity to unlock a new level of understanding into Renaissance history and astronomy by retracing the footsteps of the astronomers Johannes Kepler and Tycho Brahe in Prague. Highlights include seeing the world’s oldest astronomical clock, stargazing at the Stefanik Observatory, exploring Kutna Hora (a UNESCO World Heritage site) and visiting Prague Castle and the Klementinum astronomical tower.
Price TBC, departing March 2025 for 12 days
- Talks and walking seminars from Abigail Beall, a New Scientist features editor and the tour’s astronomy expert, and local expert astronomers
- Tour includes visits to several observatories including the world leading ALMA and Paranal, traversing the Mars-like Atacama Desert, and the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere
- Accommodation on bed and breakfast basis at three four-star hotels and Hosteria San Pedro, one of the oldest hotels in the region
- Full touring itinerary (including observatory entrance fees, services of local tour leader astronomist, internal coach and flight transport etc.)
This 12-day tour takes guests on a journey of discovery to the world capital of astronomy: Chile. Home to 70% of the world’s telescopes, the tour includes visits to several observatories including the world-leading ALMA and Paranal, exploring the Mars-like terrain of the Atacama Desert (where the NASA Mars Rover was recently tested), watching the sunrise over the southern hemisphere’s largest geyser field, and enjoying the rich culture of the capital, Santiago. Each guest’s understanding will be further enhanced by Abigail Beall, New Scientist features editor and the tour’s astronomy expert, who will accompany the tour delivering talks, leading stargazing sessions, and offering expert insights into all thing’s astronomy.
Notes to Editors:
- (1) Research includes: https://www.cntraveller.com/article/travel-trends-2024
- (2) https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg26034712-100-vera-c-rubin-observatory-will-start-scanning-the-night-sky-in-2024/
- (3) https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg26134722-400-the-stargazing-events-to-watch-out-for-in-2024/
- (4) https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg26134722-400-the-stargazing-events-to-watch-out-for-in-2024/
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About New Scientist Discovery Tours:
New Scientist Discovery Tours offers science-inspired tours, expeditions and cruises, creating carefully curated itineraries to the world’s most fascinating destinations. Designed for curious minds, tours are tailored for guests with an appetite for expanding their knowledge while travelling.
As part of New Scientist, the world’s leading science and technology magazine, the tour provider has an expansive network of editors, science specialists, academics and authors, who lead its experiential and exploratory trips.
Launched in 2015, New Scientist Discovery Tours currently offers over 50 tours and experiences worldwide to a committed audience of travellers. New Scientist Discovery Tours help travellers discover science through the joy of travel with minimal environmental impact, in a way that doesn’t harm the environment, people, cultures or wildlife.
For more information on the itinerary and to book, visit newscientist.com/tours or email [email protected] to speak to a New Scientist Discovery Tours agent.