This month, stargazing travellers have an incredible chance to see the lunar eclipse of the century from the world’s largest telescope.
A new Airbnb experience in the Canary Islands will allow six lucky guests to see two of this summer’s most amazing astronomical events from a very special viewing spot. From 27 to 31 July, Mars will come the closest to Earth it has been in 15 years and 27 July will see the longest lunar eclipse of the century. That night, the six stargazers will get to admire these phenomena from the world’s largest single-aperture optical and infrared telescope, the Gran Telescopio Canarias (GTC), in Spain’s Canary Islands.
Guests will get to visit this unique place along with astronomy experts Juan Antonio González, a local astronomy guide and night photography expert, and Antonio Luis Cabrera, chief of scientific operations of GTC. They will head into the dome of the telescope and learn about the importance of dark-sky preservation.
After midnight, the group will then head outdoors to observe and photograph the lunar eclipse with special equipment. As the GTC is incredibly powerful, guests will view Mars through smaller telescopes in order to see the planet clearly from one of the best spots on the planet for stargazing. If this piques your interest, the experience is only available once for only six people. The spaces can be booked online – though they will likely be gone fast – for only €40 (£35). All of the booking fees will be donated to WWF Spain. Find out more here.
Airbnb is also partnering with Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, Gran Telescopio Canarias and Fundación Starlight to promote astro-tourism as a sustainable form of travel, bringing people away from the usual tourist spots and into more remote regions. If you aren’t in the Canaries this month but are looking to spend your next holiday gazing cosmos, there are plenty of new destinations to add to your bucket list: spots in Joshua Tree National Park, New Zealand, Idaho and more have all recently been given international dark sky recognition.