One of the most amazing aspects of our beautiful Golden Outback is the amazingly clear sky. This makes for beautiful blue skies during the day, but at night, the sky really comes to life. The lack of light pollution in some of the more remote areas in our region means you will be treated to an incredible star show once the sun sets.
There are a number of official Astrotourism towns in the Golden Outback, as well as a few Astrophotography Hot Spots and specially chosen Observing Sites, where the local community welcomes you to stargaze with telescopes and binoculars. The Gascoyne Murchsion is a particularly rich area for stargazing, with hotspots scattered around Mingenew and Morowa areas.
If you’re camping, these spots provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing night’s sleep, but they’re a real favourite with stargazers and astro-photographers. There are so many things to see, from planets, the Moon, meteor showers, eclipses, comets and constellations!
There are a lot of special nights coming up this year, and the team at Astrotourism WA have put together a list of the best things happening each month in 2019. Happy stargazing!
January – Magellanic Clouds
It’s a great time of the year to see another galaxy and you don’t even need binoculars or a telescope! The Magellanic Clouds can be seen with the naked eye. All you need is the darkest night sky you can find, your favourite picnic rug or chair and a great bunch of friends or family to enjoy the evening with. When’s the best time to see the Magellanic Clouds?
February – Supermoon
Watching a Supermoon rising is getting more and more popular each year. Choose a favourite location where you can see clear to the eastern highway and you’re all set for a great evening out. What is a Supermoon and when does it rise?
March – Saturn
Did you know you can see Saturn without a telescope or binoculars? It looks like a bright star. It’s certainly one of the most beautiful planets in our Solar System and you can see Saturn in the morning sky…
April – Southern Cross
This 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? Starting this month, you can track it over time as it graces the southern skies. How do you find the Southern Cross?
May – Eta-Aquarids Meteor Shower
This year, the Moon is bright during some of the more popular Geminids and Perseids Meteor Showers which means they might not necessarily be the best ones to experience. So, in 2019, let’s try looking for shooting stars in some different meteor showers. The eta-Aquarids Meteor Shower holds potential…
June – Milky Way Galaxy
Milky Way Season has just begun! If you’ve never seen the Milky Way on a moonless night in country WA, April is 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…
July – Partial Lunar Eclipse
Eclipses are always fun to see. Imagine the Sun, Earth and Moon in a straight line in space and you’ve got yourself an eclipse! Watch as Earth’s shadow is cast across the surface of the Moon…
August – Sagittarius and a Teapot!
Most of us know 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…
September – Saturn Goes Behind the Moon!
Something strange and amazing is happening in September! Saturn has returned to the late evening sky and the ringed planet will disappear behind the Moon. Hopefully visible with the naked eye and also a great time to get out your telescope or ask to look though a friend’s! What night do you need to be out?
October – Halloween Planets!
What more do you need when you are out trick or treating on Halloween? There will be four planets and the Moon all lined up just after sunset. Which planets are they?
November – Andromeda
They say the Andromeda Galaxy, a mere 2.5 million light years from Earth, 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?
December – Venus on Christmas Eve
Venus looks like a very bright star just after sunset. A spot of summer night stargazing is a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the year. Where will Venus appear?