Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 020 Contents 50 Scoop Traveller July - December 2011
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WA is one of the best places in the world to see stars. We have
some of the clearest and darkest skies, with little interference
from pollution or artificial lights. Stargazer Donna Vanzetti
shares some celestial happenings set for July to December
inter is the time to see the
best Aboriginal constellation,
The Emu in the Sky. Through
the main band of the Milky
Way it is best seen under a moonless sky. The
constellation is made up of the dark areas
between the stars and is fantastic once you
make it out. The Australian Aborigines are the
oldest astronomers in the world: with their
knowledge of the land and seasons, they used
use the stars as a guide for when best to hunt
for certain foods. The Emu in the Sky signifies
the traditional time for hunting emu eggs.
A special opportunity for planet hunting will
occur on September 28 with Venus and Saturn
a few degrees apart and setting in the western
sky right on sunset. The very thin crescent
moon will be just to the left – but a bit hard to
see. Binoculars and a low horizon will help.
Venus can be seen setting in the western sky
after sunset until the end of December.
All intrepid stargazers must see a meteor
shower. These can be mesmerising and well
worth staying up late for. The Southern Delta
Aquarids are one of the strongest and most
consistent, visible late evening until dawn from
July 12 to August 19, with maximum activity
between the July 28 to 30. The Delta Aquarids
are typically white with some blue members
and occasionally leave lovely long trails.
The easiest constellation to find is the
Southern Cross. In winter you can find it lying
high in the southern sky – just look for five
stars in the shape of a diamond. The twin bright
stars Alpha and Beta Centauri point directly to
the cross and make it easy to pick out.
Public viewing facilities in WA that offer the
chance to explore our amazing celestial skies
include Perth Observatory, Gingin Observatory
and Pingelly Heights Observatory.
To talk to a stargazer at Gingin Observatory,
call (08) 9575 7740.
The Emu in the
The Southern Cross over
the Pinnacles at Cervantes
(Photography James Anthanasou).
A nimbus phenomenon (Photography James Anthanasou).
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