Two years ago, we published our guide to Perth’s Best Stargazing in 2020 - and this year we’re back at it with a brand new breakdown for all the best sights to see for anyone who gets starry eyed about stargazing!
We’ve reached out to our friends at Stargazers Club WA who have checked through this year’s astronomy almanac to come up with their top tips to the best stargazing for every single month of the year throughout 2022.
It’s a great opportunity to escape the bright lights of the city and experience the clear skies of country WA, allowing you to see so many incredible stars shining in the dark night sky. So, let’s turn out the lights and check out the best stargazing experiences in 2022!
Perth Stargazing 2022
January: Go Galaxy Hunting
The only thing better than being able to see one galaxy is being able to see two!
Between the 6th and 15th of January, you’ll be able to spot both the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC & SMC) in the night sky from around 8:30pm onwards. Best of all, you don’t even need a telescope or a pair of binoculars - they can be seen with the naked eye!
So, find a spot under the sky, grab a picnic blanket and chair, and set yourself up for an evening of galaxy hunting as the dark night sky rolls over. The Magellanic Clouds can be seen at different points throughout the year too, so see the best dates for checking them out here.
February: Jupiter & The Moon
On the 3rd February, Jupiter makes a close approach to the Moon, making it super easy to find in the night sky, even without the assistance of a telescope or binoculars (although if you do own these, you’ll have an even better view).
While Feb 3 isn’t quite Valentine’s Day, gazing up at the moon and stars while cosying up together on a picnic blanket is the perfect date night for star-crossed lovers! Learn more here!
March: Planet Parade
Early risers are in for a treat in March, with FIVE planets observable in the morning sky throughout the month. You’ll be able to spot Mars, Venus, Saturn, Mercury and Jupiter from 5am onwards (the earlier you get up, the clearer the view) but from the 17th to 25th, all five will be visible in the sky at the exact same time! Now that’s worth waking up early for. Where and when can I see the parade?
April: Our Famous Southern Cross
Nothing says Australia like the iconic Southern Cross - it’s so recognisable it’s even on our nation’s flag!
The Southern Cross constellation is actually only visible from the Southern Hemisphere, so we’re super lucky to be able to see it from down under. From 7:30pm each night throughout April you’ll be able to track the Southern Cross as it makes an appearance over the southern skies. You can find some more info about how and when to see it here.
May: Catch A Falling Star
Ever heard of the eta-Aquarids Meteor Shower?
It’s active from April 19-May 28, but May 6 is when the magic really happens! It’s predicted that there’ll be up to 50 meteors per hour during this peak period, and even better still is the fact that this year we’re expecting very dark, clear skies during this prime time!
It’s a great opportunity to grab some comfy seats and drinks and stay out late (around midnight you’ll get the clearest views) to catch the gorgeous meteor shower as it happens.
June: Milky Way Galaxy
We hear so much about our galaxy, but how many times do we get a chance to SEE it?
Well June is when the Milky Way season begins, and the best way to experience it is on a dark, moonless night in country WA. June is also a great time to head out on a mid-year road trip, so why not plan a little country stay, and check out the Milky Way on a clear night at the same time!
Check out some of the best country locations that are also great stargazing hotspots to visit.
July: Meteors In The Sky
Did you miss the eta-Aquarids back in May?
Well, the Southern delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower takes place in July, hitting its peak on July 29th just after midnight. They’ll be so easy to spot, you’ll be able to count as many meteors as you can as they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere!
August: Sagittarius & The Teapot
August is when the famous Sagittarius constellation becomes visible in the WA night sky, and while many people have heard of this constellation (or at least it’s star sign), most people don’t know that when you’re looking at Sagittarius, you’re actually staring into the heart of the Milky Way Galaxy itself!
The Teapot is a pattern of stars within the Sagittarius constellation (this star pattern is known as an asterism), and eagle-eyed astronomers will be able to spot the curved “handle” of the teapot up above. Since it’s a cold August night, why not make yourself a nice cuppa tea to warm yourself up while you’re out there!
September: Jupiter At Opposition
As the planets move around the Solar System, they sometimes align with the Earth. This year the Sun, the Earth and Jupiter will form a straight line on 26th September, an event known as opposition. This opposition makes Jupiter the brightest and largest it will be all year, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to see it as clearly as you possibly can! Find out where to look for Jupiter.
October: The Moon, Saturn and Jupiter
October is a great month for stargazers, with Saturn and Jupiter both visible and a full moon rising in the east! You’ll be able to spot Jupiter above the full moon, and then spot Saturn above that, making it super easy to line up your telescope or binoculars to discover all three.
If the Milky Way is our home, then Andromeda is our galactic next-door neighbour.
The Andromeda galaxy is 2.5 million light years away, and experts say it’s the most distant object visible to the human eye! Head out to your local Astrotourism Town on a moonless weekend and try your luck in spotting the Andromeda galaxy!
December: Christmas Eve Stargazing
Everyone has a different Christmas Eve tradition - whether it’s laying out cookies and milk for Santa, heading to church, or just getting together with family and friends.
But if you’re looking for an extra-special way to ring in Christmas Day - especially if you’re too excited about the upcoming food and festivities to sleep - then why not head outside to spot some of summer’s best constellations instead, including the Seven Sisters and Orion the Hunter. These favourites will even be joined by three planets: Saturn, Jupiter and Mars! Find out where to look on Christmas Eve.
There’s clearly plenty to gaze up at throughout the year, but if you’re keen to get the most out of your stargazing experience, then check out our page on Stargazing In Perth - it’s full of tours and astronomy hotspots that offer stargazing experiences that are (literally) out of this world.
Nothing beats the peacefulness and awe of gazing up at the heavens on a calm night, so make 2022 the year you start your astronomy adventure!