Thence we came forth to see again the stars

YiS Team: Alessandra Vigliotta

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

Thence we came forth to see again the stars

With few unnatural light sources and clean air, the sky above Sardinia is free from environmental and light pollution, free to offer its best and showcase, in the dark of night, the moon and constellations, planets and meteors. It will be a time of vast, open night skies, an immense planetarium where you can see the first stars appearing at dusk, solitary and full of energy, or in the company of the ‘supermoons’ , full at their maximum perigee, the closest point to Earth. You can see the most distant constellations and galaxies and in all seasons there will be swarms of shooting stars, the most beautiful in August, which create romantic nights to spend with your gaze turned upwards. One thing that never fails is the Milky Way, which you can admire from the island’s solitary open-air observatories, a flood of astral light that fills the heart after a dark winter.

In the ancient world, the stars were seen as powerful and primordial manifestations of the divine. They were marvelled at by the prehistoric peoples in Sardinia who lived in symbiosis with the sky and built thousands of megalithic monuments in harmony with the movement of the stars: domus de Janasmenhirsacred wells, towers and Nuragic tombs. The ‘people of the stars’ are on their way to these same magnetic places, packing a beach towel for romantic night-time bathing, a sleeping bag and a telescope in their rucksacks. At dusk, in small groups, they walk along the star hiking trails through places of a rare and wild beauty, made even more beautiful by the evening light, the silence broken only by the sounds of nature and the scents of helichrysum, myrtle and thyme, which are more intense at night. Along the way, they may come across a nuraghe, a Giants’ tomb, a Romanesque church, an old stone and reed hut used by shepherds, scenes set against a backdrop of starry skies that remain etched in their memory and captured in photographs. Late in the evening, tacchi, plateaus, cliffs and sheer headlands are the extraordinary stargazers offered by Mother Nature.

And not just with the naked eye, there is a technological giant overlooking the San Basilio plain to allow you to look at the heavens. It is a highly sophisticated radio telescope, 70 metres high and 64 metres wide, with astonishing capabilities, picking up sounds and lights from distant worlds. Just catching a glimpse of it from the road passing by, one is intrigued and amazed. You can book a visit, accompanied by international researchers working there. If, on the other hand, you want to look at the sky on special occasions with instruments more powerful than your eyes and telescopes, you can book a visit to one of the two astronomical observatories in Ogliastra, one on the Tacchi di Ulassai, the other in the Selene forest in Lanusei. Or, if you are simply curious about the Universe, you can take a fun astronomical walk through Cagliari‘s Planetarium, the first steps towards becoming a passionate astronomer.

Sardegna Turismo

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