August brings the Perseids, the annual meteor showers that brighten the nighttime sky, with a peak of stargazing opportunities in the middle of the month.
It’s as good a reason as any to head south to Arad, the town bordering the Judean and Negev deserts, and to Kfar Hanokdim, the nearby Bedouin-style oasis, where stargazing activities are ramped up each summer. The highlights of the year, when watching the sky is the most rewarding, take place between July 17 and August 24, and tend to peak around mid-August.
Start with the Star Festival hosted by Kfar Hanokdim, August 9-10 and August 16-17, when the brightest meteor showers of the year are celebrated.
The Kfar, in the middle of a desert valley, is the perfect place to host stargazing parties, with velvety dark skies that extend for miles.
Kfar Hanokdim is hosting hikes under the stars, as well as looking up at them with telescopes into the wee hours of the morning, from a particularly dark hill situated near the oasis.
There will also be drum circles, nighttime safaris to spot nocturnal animals in the desert, and other events in Kfar Hanokdim, open to both daytime and overnight guests.
If you come for the second stargazing weekend, stay through the week for the 37th Arad Festival, a celebration of Israeli song, sung by veteran, contemporary and new singers.
The four days of musical performances include some daytime events, as well as nightly evening concerts from a wide range of performers including Aviv Geffen, Yehoram Gaon, Yishai Ribo, Nasreen Qadri, Shlomo Gronich and others.
Take a look at the Travel Arad website for information and tickets.