Country Western Australia is perfect for stargazing. Perth is the most isolated capital city on a continent and after you escape its bright city lights, you’ll find you can see so many more stars in the night sky. That’s because the darkness away from the skyglow of Perth helps your eyes see more stars.
Hi, I’m Carol Redford, Founder of Astrotourism WA. Here are my top Stargazing WA Travel Tips for 2020.
What to See & Where to Go
There’s plenty to see up in the night sky and the great thing is that each night brings a new view! There are planets, the Moon, meteor showers, eclipses, comets and constellations!
We’ve done the research, checked through the 2020 astronomy almanac, considered rising and setting times, when the Moon is up and have come up with our best stargazing WA sights for 2020.
More importantly we’ve also suggested places where you’ll find a great stargazing experience! We’ve mixed and matched special Astrotourism destinations with the best stargazing highlights which makes it even easier for you to find the perfect experience.
Let’s head out into country WA and check out what and where the best stargazing will be!
Summer Stargazing WA
The Magellanic Clouds are our Milky Way’s neighbouring galaxies and can be seen with the naked eye without a telescope or binoculars. All you need is a very dark night sky with no moonlight. There’s one waiting for you at Koolanooka Springs near Morawa.
The Jam Patch north of Lake Grace is perfect for astrophotography. If you find your way there in February, a great photography target will be Mars with a waning crescent Moon. It will be an early morning image and photographers may be able to capture the Lagoon and Trifid Nebulae on either side of Mars!
Autumn Stargazing WA
Watching a Supermoon rise is getting more and more popular each year. There are two Supermoons this year, in March and April. Take a picnic and a great bunch of friends to Norring Lake, 19 km south of Wagin. You’ll see the Moon rise over the water from your very own campsite.
The Southern Cross is Western Australia’s most iconic constellation. It’s on the flag and in our hearts! Did you know it can only be seen from the Southern Hemisphere? In Autumn, you can track it over time as it graces the southern skies. Head to The Pinnacles near Cervantes for a spot of stargazing. Visitors are welcome after dark.
If you’re just starting out in astrophotography and looking for a great little spot not too far from Perth to practice your skills, Koojan Salmon Gum Reserve south of Moora is perfect. There are some clearings within the trees and the location is well back from the road.
Winter Stargazing WA
The Milky Way Season is underway! If you’ve never seen the Milky Way on a moonless night in country WA, winter is the perfect time to experience it. Sometimes this thick band of stars looks so close, you could almost reach out and touch it. Perkins Well #2 is a natural bushland setting near Mullewa and is a great dark sky location for stargazing.
If you’re an astrophotographer who wants to capture images of the Milky Way over nightscapes, try Touche Road Lakes. This lakes system is on a local road near the town of Coorow. In winter the water reflects the light from the stars.
When you want to capture the stars above historic ruins, Glenfield Homestead is on the picturesque Katrine Road west of Northam. There’s a pull over bay where you can park and set up for astrophotography.
The Southern Delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower is hitting the sky in July. Best viewing is early in the morning so a good place not far from bright city lights is Spoonbill Lake south of Bindoon. Make sure you have your coat, beanie, scarf and your favourite hot drink in a thermos!
Did you know there’s the shape of teapot in the sky? It’s in the constellation of Sagittarius. When we look to Sagittarius, we are looking towards the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy and a dark sky location like Yandanooka Hall near Mingenew, is a great place for a spot of stargazing.
Spring Stargazing WA
Have you ever seen Mercury? It’s the smallest planet in the Solar System, but is visible to the naked eye. The Lakes Lookout at Carnamah is a fantastic vantage point to see Mercury setting on the western horizon. There’s an opportunity for photographers to capture the night time scene with a panoramic view over salt lakes.
They say the Andromeda Galaxy, a mere 2.5 million light years from Earth, is the most distant object visible to the human eye. You need a very dark night sky to see Andromeda with the naked-eye. A great location to try this at is the Talc Mine Lookout near Three Springs.
The Geminids Meteor Shower is going to be spectacular this year. The peak of the meteor shower occurs when there’s no moonlight in the night sky. Lake Ninan near Wongan Hills will be a great location for counting shooting stars!
When summer starts again, hit the road to the southern Wheatbelt. Lake Towerrinning near Darkan will provide a wonderful setting to see the Saturn, Jupiter and the Moon in a delightful conjunction in mid December.
You’re all set for 2020. What to see in the night sky and the best places to go are at your fingertips.
Now all you need to do is plan your holiday getaway in country WA and put yourself amongst the stars!