This year promises to be spectacular for stargazing in WA. The best stargazing in 2021 is only the switch of a light bulb away!
We’ve done all the research, checked through this year’s exciting astronomy almanac, considered rising and setting times, when the Moon is up and have come up with our top 12 tips to the best stargazing in 2021.
If you can escape bright city lights and visit country WA, 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 2021!
1. January: Let’s 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.
2. February: It’s an Early Morning Planet Party
Valentine’s Day is extra special this year with a fantastic grouping of four planets just before sunrise. Saturn, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are all together for this rare treat. You will need a low horizon but it’s well worth getting up early to enjoy this special Planet Party!
3. March: Four Supermoons in a Row!
Watching a Supermoon rising is getting more and more popular each year. Choose a favourite location 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?
4. 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?
5. May: How Do I See a Total Lunar Eclipse?
One of the most extraordinary cosmic phenomena to witness is a total lunar eclipse and in the early evening of 26th May we will have the chance to do just that. Often referred to as a ‘Blood Moon’, this is one to put in your astro calendar.
6. June: The Brilliant ‘Evening Star’
Venus will adorn the western sky just after sunset for the next few months and is always a sparkling sight to enjoy. It will be joined by the thin crescent Moon on the 12th, being only 2° apart and both forming a pretty duet.
7. July: Milky Way Galaxy
Milky Way Season is underway! If you’ve never seen the Milky Way on a moonless night in country WA, July 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…
8. August: Teapot in Sagittarius
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 a teapot in the sky? It does appear upside down for us in the Southern Hemisphere but is a fun star pattern to pick out. See if you can find the teapot in Sagittarius…
9. September: Have You Seen Mercury?
Did you know that Mercury is visible with the naked eye? It is easy to see this month in the early evening sky! You will need a clear view to the western horizon to spot the closest planet to the Sun.
10. October: Moon Visits Gas Giants!
This month both Jupiter and Saturn are in the perfect position for observing, lying high in the early evening sky. And for an extra-special treat, on the 14th, the Moon joins Saturn and the day after, Jupiter, for another lovely cosmic view. Grab your camera, binoculars or telescope!
11. November: The Andromeda Galaxy
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?
12. December: All I Want for Christmas is a Stargazers Light Show!
Cue the Geminids Meteor Shower! Watching meteor showers is one of our favourite stargazing events and the Geminids Meteor Shower due on the 13th & 14th December should be a good one, possibly producing up to 120 meteors (or shooting stars) per hour. How many can you count?
There you have it! Stargazers Club WA’s top 12 tips to the best stars in 2021.
Now all you need to do is decide where to go!
Subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on the latest astro events in WA
Stay in the loop with all the latest news and events from the Western Australian astronomy community! Subscribe and join Stargazers Club WA as a free bronze member!