It’s something you’ve got to see for yourself. The night sky in rural Australia is one of the brightest, best and most well-known specialties to behold in the world. Not only that, but it’s free of charge; no entry-fee for an open sky! So grab your favourite people, a blanket, a thermos and a midnight snack and begin your celestial celebration!
Here’s a list of facts to rattle off while you count shooting stars and make faces at the man in the moon.
You can’t miss the moon
You can’t get past it. The moon is sometimes a bit of a bully as it can drown out even the brightest constellations. But the great thing about the moon is it’s way closer to you than the stars, so even with a pair of binoculars (or even the naked eye) you can get a pretty good look at the moon and its impact craters. The moon is tidally locked to the earth, so we always see the same side. Here’s a great animation to understand the moon’s rotation quickly and easily
Morning star… or planet
Called the morning or evening star as it’s often the first bright light you’ll see after sunset and the last one you’ll see before a sunrise, Venus is not actually a star at all. Venus is a planet, slightly smaller than earth and named after the Roman goddess of love. It’s got a rich history here on earth, and you can learn all about it by watching this fun video. If the sun is setting, keep an eye out for her.
The star that keeps our plants growing, gives us vital vitamin D and is the source of all of our energy is much bigger than earth. You could fit over a million earths inside out sun. Did you know that our sun is over 4 BILLION years old and, though it’s way bigger than earth, is classified as a dwarf sun and is smaller than many other visible stars in the sky? So when you look up at the heavens, it’s pretty cool to realise that many of the stars you see are actually much more massive than our local star. Many of the stars you see have their own solar systems with planets orbiting them.
Behold Orion’s Belt
Northern or Southern hemisphere, Orion’s Belt can be seen all over the world. Most visible from January through to March, this constellation has a distinctive hourglass pattern made up of seven famous stars including the red supergiant star Betelgeuse and the blue supergiant star Rigel. It’s also famous for its nebula (a beautiful colourful space cloud), which you can see with your binoculars if you’re lucky.
Here’s one last piece of advice; if you want detailed map to help you find things in the sky, download the free and fun Google sky app. Just don’t let your mobile distract you too much from your one-on-one time with the stars!
This blog post provided by: Ballina Central