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The Field Guide to Natural Phenomena

These are our best stories about how to see and understand rare phenomena around the world.

Where to Go

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The best way to catch aurora borealis in all its lit-up beauty: go to the darkest places on earth, at just the right time, and hope for the best

You need more natural silence in your life. Find it in these parks.

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Who needs headlamps? From a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico to a Japanese trail lined with glowing mushrooms, these ten hikes are at their best when it's dark out. Pack your camera (leave the flash at home) and prepare to be amazed.

Ten thousand geothermal features make this hot spot a must-see. It's our 62 Parks Traveler's 24th stop on her journey to visit every national park in the U.S.

Greg Melville

It seems like the list of natural wonders withering under the ravages of climate change gets longer every day—from the shrinking snow atop Mount Kilimanjaro to the dying Great Barrier Reef. Many will be gone, or nearly extinct, within the coming decades, so the clock is ticking on…

Summer nights are worth staying up for at these 7 dark-sky parks

Richard Panek

Just another day of the extreme science at Mauna Kea, the most breathtaking observatory in the world

What to Know

Ignore the countless images of the super bloom in your Instagram feed—the real miracle of the desert is just how much life it contains

Bruce Barcott

Monster earthquakes are going off all around the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire. Is the West Coast of North America next?* And can you surf a tsunami?** Join us on a footnoted foray into the terrifying world of megaquakes, tidal waves, and the fine art of being your own Jesus. *YES **NO

Feel the Awe

Capturing footage for Salomon Freeski’s latest installment was a once-in-a-lifetime event

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From $30,000 Airbnb rentals to animal sacrifices to 25,000 sometimes-naked umbraphiles, this is the weirdness that went down in the Wyoming resort town leading up to last week's astrological dance

Following a tragedy, a photographer finds a new sense of purpose in the wintertime sky

After tragedy followed Hugo Sanchez from El Salvador to Canada, he started photographing the northern lights, finding a new sense of purpose in the wintertime sky

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Two bold men, one reckless plan: to watch the sun go dark atop a huge snow-covered peak in South America. You won't believe what happened next.