This year promises to be spectacular for stargazing in WA and Australia’s Golden Outback has a star-studded, adventurer’s escape waiting for you! Leave bright city lights behind and visit the golden peace of a world-class night sky.

Away from light pollution, you’ll find you can see so many more stars in the night sky. They are so much brighter, and the darkness will give you a much better stargazing experience. Let’s turn out the lights and check out the best stargazing in 2024 with our friends from Astrotourism WA.

January: Go Galaxy Hunting

Did you know we have about 50 galaxies in our local Milky Way galactic neighbourhood? Two of these, the Magellanic Clouds, are our close neighbouring galaxies that can be seen with the naked eye without a telescope or binoculars. All you need is a location with a very dark night sky with no moonlight.

We’ve checked the lunar calendar for this year and here are the best times to see the Magellanic Clouds. If you’re looking for wonderful itinerary ideas to find dark night skies, you can’t go past Golden Country Stars or the Astrophotographer’s Paradise! These are the perfect galaxy hunting grounds.

February: Hunting with Orion

Orion the Hunter is a well-known summer constellation, and it is up in the early evening for you to see. Head outside and look directly to the east. The brightest star you’ll see is Sirius. Directly to the left of Sirius is what is often referred to as ‘the Saucepan’, which is part of the Orion constellation. Three bright stars in a reasonably straight line make up the base of the saucepan – this is Orion’s belt. Three more stars that angle out to the top right form the handle, Orion’s sword.

March: The Seven Sisters Dazzle

Our top pick this month is a beautiful pairing in the early autumn night sky. On 15th March the crescent moon will appear close to the Pleiades star cluster below the constellation of Taurus in the north-western sky after dark. Pleiades is an important astronomical object within Aboriginal culture.

You’ll need a lovely dark night for good views. See how many stars you can count in the Pleiades star cluster when you’re at Lake Towerrinning near Darkan. A perfect late summer travel destination!

April: Our Famous Southern Cross

The Southern Cross is 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. How do you find the Southern Cross?

A terrific place for stargazing in Australia’s Golden Outback is Avoca Farm near Narembeen. Grab your camera, binoculars or telescope! You’ll have a great night out under the stars.

May: 3 Planets, 1 Moon and 3 Mornings

Put 5th, 6th and 7th April in your diary for an early morning stargazing adventure. Saturn, Mars, and Mercury will all get up close and personal with our planet’s only natural satellite, the Moon. You’ll be watching our solar system in motion over three mornings in a row.

Take the time to explore Wickepin in Albert Facey Country. Stay out at Lake Yealering to explore the night sky and check out the Giant Planisphere while you’re there!

June: Milky Way Galaxy

Milky Way Season is in full swing! If you’ve never seen the Milky Way on a moonless night in Australia’s Golden Outback, June and the months either side are the perfect time to experience it. Sometimes this thick band of stars look so close, you could almost reach out and touch them. The Milky Way is simply stunning and is sought after by astrophotographers near and far. When are the right dark nights to see the Milky Way at its best?

If you’re looking for a great dark skies to share with family and friends, look no further than Perenjori. The Salmons is a natural bushland setting near Perenjori and is a great dark sky location to see the Milky Way in all its glory.

July: Meteors in the Sky

The Southern delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower occurs at a good time to try and spot some meteors (or “shooting stars”). There’s no moonlight at the time of the meteor shower’s peak which makes it easier to see more meteors as they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere. How many can you count?

The Southern Delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower is hitting the sky in July. Best viewing is early in the morning on 31st July. A good place away from bright city lights is The Jam Patch north of Lake Grace, also perfect for astrophotography. Make sure you have your coat, beanie, scarf and your favourite hot drink in a thermos!

August: Sagittarius and a Teapot!

You may have heard about “the saucepan in the sky”. That’s part of the constellation of Orion. Did you know there’s also the shape of teapot in the sky? See if you can find the teapot in Sagittarius…

And another thing… when we look towards the constellation of Sagittarius, we are looking towards the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy! Check out the heart of our galaxy when you’re next in Gascoyne Junction. It’s surrounded by the incredible Burringurrah (Mount Augustus National Park) and Mundatharrda (Kennedy Range National Park). There are stars as far as the eye can see!

September: Watch as a Star Disappears Behind the Moon!

On the 10th September, watch this amazing event happen before your very eyes! The Moon will pass in front of the bright red star of Antares. It’s called a lunar occultation. You’ll see it with the naked eye but see if you can borrow a pair of binoculars for a closer look. What time do I look?

A special place to see this special event is Wongan Hills. You have stunning Lake Ninan for astrophotography and the local stargazing and observing site is at the Wongan Hills Airport. The choice is yours!

October: The Supermoon Rises!

Watching a Supermoon rising is getting more and more popular each year. On 17th October, choose a favourite location in Australia’s Golden Outback where you can see clearly to the eastern horizon and you’re all set for a great evening out. What is a Supermoon and when does it rise?

If you happen to be out in Wildflower Country, there’s a great spot waiting for you at Koolanooka Springs near Morawa.

November: Andromeda

Andromeda is in our galactic neighbourhood of local galaxies. It’s 2.5 million light years away and they say it is the most distant object visible to the human eye! Head out to an Astrotourism Town on a moonless weekend and try your luck. Will you be able to see Andromeda?

Choose a dark sky weekend and head south to delightful Narrogin and the Dryandra Woodland National Park and see if you can spot Andromeda!

December: Christmas Eve Planet Spectacular

Which are the two brightest planets we can see from Earth in our night sky? Venus and Jupiter! On Christmas eve, head outside at 8pm. The two planets will be on opposite sides of the sky to one another. These are the brightest of lights on a Christmas eventing. Do you wonder if there is an astronomical explanation for the Star of Bethlehem? Maybe there is…

There you have it! Australia’s Golden Outback’s top 12 tips to the best stars in 2024. Now all you need to do is plan your holiday getaway and put yourself amongst the stars!

For more stargazing sights and, check out What’s up in the Night Sky and the Astrotourism Towns map.