Beyond the light pollution of the big cities is a growing tourism niche. This week Settlement Guide explores the stars, the dark spaces in between and Australia’s growing fascination with ‘dark sky tourism’.
Here in the Southern Hemisphere we see stars and constellations that are not visible from the Northern Hemisphere.
We also benefit from all the dark areas far from the sky glow that is created by bright city lights. Australia has ideal conditions for stargazing.
Duane Hamacher is Associate Professor of Cultural Astronomy at the University of Melbourne.
- Australia’s most famous constellation, the Southern Cross, is best viewed in autumn or winter by gazing into the south-eastern portion of the night sky.
- Founder of Astrotourism Carol Redford is on a mission to grow dark sky tourism in regional Western Australia where the expansive dark spaces present some of the best stargazing opportunities in the world.
- Dark sky tourism is opening the world up not only to Western astronomy, but to the deep traditional knowledge held by First Nations people.
“When I first moved to Australia from the US I was stricken by the beautiful skies and all the things you could see here that I couldn’t when I was up in the Northern Hemisphere: the plane of the Milky Way, the Magellanic Clouds, the area of the Milky Way to the Southern Cross. All of that was brand new to me, and it’s so clearly visible down here in the Southern Hemisphere.”