This year promises to be spectacular for stargazing in Perth and Western Australia. The best stargazing in 2020 is only the switch of a light bulb away!
The Stargazers Club of WA have done all the research, checked through this year's astronomy almanac, considered rising and setting times, when the Moon is up and have come up with top 12 tips to the best stargazing in 2020.
If you can escape bright city lights and visit the Avon Valley and Swan Valley regions, you'll find you can see so many more stars in the night sky. Perhaps you're on a visit to Rottnest Island where the stars are 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 2020!
January: Go Galaxy Hunting
It's a great time of the year to see two galaxies in the southern night sky 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: Watching for Mars
Mars can be seen easily with the naked-eye. It looks like a red-coloured star when in fact, it is really a planet you’re seeing. This month, Mars passes between two nebulae which are star forming areas in the Universe. Grab your camera, binoculars or telescope!
March: The Supermoon Rises!
Watching a Supermoon rising is getting more and more popular each year. Choose a favourite location where you can see clearly to the eastern highway and you're all set for a great evening out. What is a Supermoon and when does it rise?
April: Our Famous 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: Catch a Falling Star!
This year, the eta-Aquarids Meteor Shower has some competition from the Moon. Light reflected from the Moon can wash out the view of fainter meteors. However, you may still be able to see some of the bright "shooting stars". 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, 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...
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?
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: Have You Seen Mercury?
Did you know that Mercury is visible with the naked eye? It is easy to see it this month in the early evening sky! There's a great time this month to spot the closest planet to the Sun.
October: Halloween Micro Blue Moon!
It’s definitely a treat at Halloween this year! In WA, there are two full Moons in October. They are both what's popularly known as Micromoons! We're in for a Micro Blue Moon on Halloween! What is a Micromoon and when does it rise?
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 destination like Northam or Chittering on a moonless weekend and try your luck. Will you be able to see Andromeda?
December: All I Want for Christmas is Mars…and Jupiter…and Saturn…
A spot of summer night stargazing is a great way to relax and unwind at the end of the year. Get ready for the busy Christmas Day by spending a lovely time out under the stars. On Christmas Eve you'll spot three of the brightest planets in the evening sky. Where will Mars appear?
There you have it! Stargazers Club WA's top 12 tips to the best stars in 2020. Now all you need to do is decide where to go!