Meteor Showers and Beyond: Top Observational Sites in Iran
What you will read in this article:
In urban life, streetlights, houses, and cars create so much light pollution that the stars appear much less visible. Therefore, those who want to see a clear and starry sky look for the best places to watch meteor showers. Meteor showers occur several times a year. The most famous is the Perseids, which can be seen from mid-July to mid-August. The Orionids can be seen in late October. The Geminids occur in December, and the Quadrantids occur in January. Meteor showers have a specific duration but peak in a single day. Anywhere with low city lights is suitable for viewing meteors. Move away from big cities and go to a place with an open horizon free from light pollution. Then, wait about 20 to 30 minutes to let our eyes adjust to the darkness. There’s no need for professional equipment like telescopes or cameras.
Few places make the stars feel as bright and close as the desert. The Maranjab Desert is located near Kashan and is one of the places welcoming those interested in astronomy and meteor watching. The drive from Tehran to Aran and Bidgol takes about 3 hours. On the Artesh Boulevard of Aran and Bidgol, you will see the sign for the Maranjab Desert. From Aran and Bidgol to the Maranjab Desert, there are about 40 kilometers of dirt road ahead.
The Caravanserai of Pasangan was built during the Sassanid period. It has been renovated several times and is now a traditional inn. This caravanserai is located on the Qom-Kashan highway. It’s about a half-hour drive from Qom. The advantage of the Pasangan caravanserai is that it provides a comfortable place to stay and has the necessary facilities for sky observation. The caravanserai complex has a traditional dining hall and a souvenir shop. They also organize astronomy tours at the Pasangan Caravanserai.
Near Garmsar, there’s a notable caravanserai named Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai. This caravanserai dates back to the Sassanid period and is nationally registered. However, environmental permission is required to observe meteor showers and sky gazing here. It’s a 3-hour drive from Tehran to the Qasr-e Bahram Caravanserai and 2 hours from Garmsar. To reach this caravanserai, you must pass through the industrial city of Charmshahr.
If you continue from Garmsar towards Aradan, you will arrive at the village of Deh Namak and the Shah Abbasi caravanserai of this village. It’s a little over 2 hours drive from Tehran and 35 minutes from Garmsar. The Deh Namak Caravanserai is a remnant of the Safavid era and is suitable for meteor shower viewing. This caravanserai has recently been converted into an eco-lodge with sufficient accommodation and observation facilities.
Tochal is a hub for mountaineering and skiing. However, on meteor shower nights, astronomy and meteor enthusiasts come here. If we don’t have enough time to leave the city to watch meteors, Tochal’s Station 7 seems like a good option. We must take the cable car to Station 5 and the following line to Station 7. Tochal Hotel is nearby, and we can stay there if we don’t have breathing issues.
Abuzeydabad Desert is located northeast of Kashan, and its historical castles and houses are architecturally significant. This desert also enjoys the unique silence of the desert and the view of flowing dunes. From Tehran to Abuzeydabad Desert, it’s a 4-hour drive. We should take the Tehran-Qom highway. We enter Kashan city after passing Qom and continuing on the Amir Kabir highway or Qom-Kashan road. In Kashan, we enter Qotb Ravandi Boulevard and continue on Mollasadra Boulevard until we reach a fork in the road on the left. We should turn left and continue to go to Abuzeydabad.
Mesr Desert is very familiar to nature enthusiasts and has more fans than other deserts in Iran. This desert is also a suitable place to watch meteor showers. Mesr village is part of Khor and Biabanak in Isfahan province, located 45 kilometers east of Jandaq and 60 kilometers north of Khor. Mesr is also known as the sandy sea of the desert.
From Tehran, it’s less than 3 hours to Semnan. In Sufiabad, 5 kilometers away from Semnan, is the Khanqah of Ala’aldoleh Semnani, which offers an open horizon and a clear sky. This Khanqah was the mausoleum of a great mystic named Ala’aldoleh. Coordinating in advance is essential; if we visit unexpectedly, we might not be granted entrance. Traveling with observational tours seems like a good option.