Home' Traveller : Scoop Traveller WA 021 Contents 36 Scoop Traveller January - June 2012
scoop.com.au Explore WA
Soak up the splendid views of Western Australia’s brilliant night
skies on a balmy summer evening, sitting around a campfire
other Nature is constantly putting
on new and different shows for
WA stargazers. This is no more
evident than when we will be
treated to a special conjunction of Venus and
Jupiter. On March 14, in the western sky at
early evening twilight, Jupiter will be just
3° above Venus. These are the two brightest
planets in the sky, and when they appear
close together in a rare grouping, it will be a
remarkable view to enjoy.
The dance of the planets doesn’t end there.
From February 25, 26 and 27 and March 26
and 27, Jupiter and Venus will be joined by
the thin crescent Moon to make for an even
more spectacular sight.
Another familiar object to explore in
our southern skies is the constellation
of Orion the Hunter. The stars form the
better-known asterism of the Saucepan,
and through March and April they will
lie high in the northern sky. If you train a
telescope onto the middle star in the handle
of the saucepan, you will find that it is not
a star at all, but the spectacular gas cloud
of the Orion Nebula, where new stars are
being born. This is the closest star-forming
region to Earth, lying 1500 light years away.
Through a telescope, you can easily see
the huge gas cloud with darker dust lanes
running through it. A definite favourite for
astronomers and stargazers.
But if you don’t have a telescope you
can still enjoy the star pattern of Orion the
Hunter. Of course, we see him upside down
but once you can make him out, he is easy
to recognise. Getting familiar with the star
patterns is just a matter of practice. Don’t
forget to take the time to look up and enjoy
the ever-changing show in the heavens.
For more information, go to www.
“Getting familiar with the star patterns is just a
matter of practice... take time to look up and enjoy”
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