One of the many benefits of living out of the city is enjoying our breathtaking country skies. On a bed of inky blackness, our stars shine brilliantly, outlining many beautiful constellations. The Milky Way spreads out majestically, just waiting to be explored. We can often take these views for granted but it is thought-provoking to remember that around 30% of the world’s population cannot see the Milky Way because of artificial light pollution at night.
Make the time to go out and look up at nature’s astronomical wonder. It is a window out to the incredible and mysterious cosmos beyond.
An object that is easily visible now is the constellation of Scorpius, commonly known as Scorpio. It is one of the easiest constellations to pick out in the night sky because it actually resembles a Scorpion. It is currently visible throughout the evening, lying overhead at around 8pm and is a lovely, large constellation.
First, find Jupiter. Jupiter is the brightest star-like object you’ll see when looking up to the north west. To the lower left of Jupiter is Antares, a bright red/orange coloured star in the centre of Scorpio. Antares is a super giant red star several hundred times the diameter of our Sun. It’s known as the heart of the scorpion and is about 550 light-years from Earth. See if you can find the curve of Scorpio’s body and the sting in its tail stretching up to the centre of the sky! For more stargazing tips, visit www.astrotourismwa.com.au.
Kickstart your close encounters with Scorpio at an upcoming stargazing night at the Pinnacles, ‘Starry Night Pinnacles Adventure’ is a Spring into Parks event supported by Chevron and the Shire of Dandaragan. 6 pm-8.30 pm, Saturday 19 October. Tickets and special accommodation packages available from the Turquoise Coast Visitor Centre on 9652 0870 or visit www.visitturquoisecoast.com.au.