Star-gazing in Thailand

On 7 February 2014 astronomical photographer Matipon Tangmatitham took a photograph of the sky above the Doi Inthanon National Park in Northern Thailand.

Beautiful image of the Milky Way from Doi Intanon National Park, Thailand. Photo credit: © Matipon Tangmatitham, 2014.

The stunning image above shows the luminous Milky Way as well as the glow of Chiang Mai city at the bottom left hand side. But the image also contains a couple bonus features.

The first is the plume of the Ariane 5 Rocket flight VA217, which was launched from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, carrying two satellites into orbit. You can see this bright spot just to the right of centre at the top of the photo. As if that wasn’t enough, you can also see the streak of a passing meteor just to the right of the rocket plume!

For a really detailed version of this image visit NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day site here.

Star-gazing in Thailand – give it a go yourself!

Thailand is a great place to gaze at the stars – you just need to head out of the built-up city areas and into the countryside. And it’s obviously best to avoid the rainy season (which is generally from May/June to October).

Thailand’s National Parks are a good place to view the wonders of the night sky and many offer star-gazing activities.

Interestingly, King Rama IV (or King Mongkut) was an enthusiastic amateur astronomer and had an observatory built at his hilltop palace in Petchaburi Province in the 1800s, now part of the Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park.

If you’re really interested in getting a more detailed view of the stars, you can visit the Kirdkao Observatory in Kanchanaburi Province and take a look through the 16-inch telescope housed there.

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