The XSPOT is a clifftop holiday apartment located on Great Barrier Island, which is 62 miles (100 km) northeast of central Auckland, New Zealand. The island was designated a Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2017. The XSPOT is an eco-friendly luxury accommodation that can be rented along with an additional stargazing package. An EarthSky user describes the observing benefits of XSPOT: “From this elevated clifftop location in winter you are looking straight into the centre of the Milky Way and Omega Centauri is beautifully visible. The Southern Cross is visible all year as are the Magellanic Clouds. One of the most stunning locations in this Dark Sky Sanctuary https://greatbarrier.co.nz/, where there are dozens of other amazing stargazing spots and the Good Havens team https://www.goodheavens.co.nz to guide you through the skies.”
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.