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Australia's first 'dark sky park' draws in stargazers

Astronomy in focus atop the Warrumbungle mountains

Sunset at Australia's Siding Spring Observatory in the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran, New South Wales. (Photo by Filippo Rivetti, courtesy of Destination NSW)

SYDNEY, Australia -- Gazing at the stars in wonderment has been part of the human experience since the dawn of time, and on a freezing cold night in Australia there may be no better place to do it than in the Warrumbungle mountain range 400 km northwest of Sydney.

From a chilly vantage point among the jagged peaks of the Warrumbungles, where the only light comes from a rising moon, the majestic Milky Way galaxy spreads across the dark southern hemisphere sky. Billions of stars twinkle in this swirl of gas and dust, part of a greater vastness that we know simply as the universe.

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