This article was written by Carol Redford; creator of AstroTourismWA.com.au
Stargazing Seasons and Your Travel Tips 2019
Country WA is perfect for stargazing. After you escape bright city lights, you’ll find you can see so many more stars in the night sky. That’s because the darkness helps your eyes see more stars. It gives you a much better stargazing experience.
There’s plenty to see up in the night sky and the great thing is that each day brings a new view! There are planets, the Moon, meteor showers, eclipses, comets and constellations!
What is there to see and where should you go to discover these wonderful stargazing sights?
You’ll see that we have done the research, checked through the 2019 astronomy almanac, considered rising and setting times, when the Moon is up and have come up with our best stargazing in 2019.
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 in 2019 will be!
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 and there’s one waiting for you at Yandanooka Hall near Mingenew.
Watching a Supermoon rise is getting more and more popular each year. There are three Supermoons this summer! Take a picnic and a great bunch of friends up to the Talc Mine Lookout near Three Springs. You’ll be high up with a panoramic view.
Did you know you can see Mars with the naked-eye? A spot of summer night stargazing is a great way to relax and unwind. Set yourself a challenge to find Mars in the night sky this summer! If you visit Lake Ninan near Wongan Hills on 12th February, you’ll see Mars and the Moon set on the opposite side of the lake.
What is that bright “star” on the eastern horizon every morning this autumn? It’s not a star at all. Planet Venus is the brightest object to be seen. You’ll also see Saturn! Choose your favourite Astrophotography Hot Spot and see what images you can capture.
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 Moora for a spot of stargazing. New Astrotourism destinations in Moora are coming soon!
It’s also time to do some “shooting star” spotting! This autumn the eta-Aquarids Meteor Shower holds potential. It may not be one of the most active meteor showers but the Moon isn’t up which makes it easier to see shooting stars! You’re welcome to visit any of the Astrotourism WA Observing Sites to try your luck.
Winter heralds the beginning of what astrophotographers call the Milky Way Season! 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 look so close, you could almost reach out and touch them. The Salmons near Perenjori would be perfect for a late afternoon picnic and early evening stargazing. Rug up warm!
A lunar eclipse is always fun to see. Imagine the Sun, Earth and Moon in a straight line in space and you’ve got yourself an eclipse! This one is a partial lunar eclipse. It is possible to see a lunar eclipse anywhere. If you’re planning to take images of the partial lunar eclipse, give it a go at The Pinnacles near Cervantes.
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? It’s in the constellation of Sagittarius. When we look to Sagittarius, we are looking towards the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy. Try a dark night sky location like Perkins Well #2 near Mullewa.
Something strange and amazing is happening in September! Saturn 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! Choose an Astrotourism Town as a destination for more beautiful stargazing at the same time!
The King of the Planets, Jupiter, is also on show through spring this year. It’s the biggest planet in our Solar System and can easily be spotted in the night sky. There’s a special night when Jupiter will appear with Saturn and Venus. If you’re an astrophotographer, head to the Lakes Lookout in Carnamah. It’s an opportunity to capture the 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 Koolanooka Springs near Morawa.
You’re all set for 2019. 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 in 2019!
Country towns in WA are making it easier for you to find great places where the local communities welcome you for stargazing and astrophotography. They are all listed on the Astrotourism WA Map.
This article was written by Carol Redford, who experienced these stargazing experiences independent of Australia’s Coral Coast tourism. Australia’s Coral Coast did not review or approve this story. Visit AstroTourismWA.com.au for more information.