When I was younger, back in Essex, I used to love to lie on the hills local to me and stare at the stars. I could lie there for hours working out the constellations and wondering whether there were any beings on any of the planets circling those faraway specks of light. Even as a child I worked out that you had to be away from urban lights to get a good view of the night sky. There are some areas of the world though that are ideal for stargazing and for people who love to stare at what is beyond our world there are certain destinations where one will be able to marvel at the stars beyond.
Tasmania is a unique and beautiful destination that offers a wide range of experiences for travellers, it’s renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, which include rugged coastlines, pristine beaches, ancient rainforests, and dramatic mountain ranges. For those travellers with a passion for stargazing, Tasmania is the perfect location due to its geographical advantage and southern location, offering views of certain celestial events that aren’t easily found elsewhere, including access to the Aurora Australis.
Here’s an interview with Tasmania’s Dark Sky President Landon Bannister below. He makes a great case for a visit to an amazing part of the world.
Why does Tasmania offer some of the best stargazing in Australia / the world?
Tasmania is home to some of the best stargazing opportunities in the world primarily because of two reasons. Firstly, Tasmania has a geographical advantage with our southern location, offering views of certain celestial events that aren’t easily found elsewhere, including access to the Aurora Australis. Secondly, the island’s relative small population, and isolated position, means we don’t have the light pollution issues other regions. Whilst population isn’t directly correlated to the spread of light pollution, it does tend to follow development with infrastructure like street lighting, signage, interior building lighting all contributing. Even air pollution can increase the spread of skyglow, the phenomena that bocks the stars. This leaves us relatively unaffected compared to most places in the world, as Tasmania has some of the cleanest air in the world. We are also lucky that large areas of our state are protected and relatively free from development.
Where are some of the best areas in Tassie for stargazing?
Everyone has their favourites. Around Hobart, Taroona and Howrah beaches are popular, so is Kunanyi. I personally love it up around the Central Highlands and the Tasman Peninsular. Bruny Island is a classic as you can general position yourself to avoid the clouds somewhere there. Basically, anywhere were there isn’t light pollution, and there is a good website for checking that Radiance light trends (lightpollutionmap.info)
What are some of the best times of year?
We generally say during the winter months, when the skies are clear and crisp (and longer!). However, anytime is a good time. If we had to put a range on it, probably February right through to October would be the premium times.
What kind of tours/experiences does Tassie offer for stargazing?
Everything from night walks, astronomy tours, right through to Astrophotography tours that can run over a few days. For example, you can explore the dark skies and southern stars from kunanyi / Mt Wellington with Walk on Kunanyi. Immersing yourself in the southern night sky, starting with the Moon and the solar system, and depending on the time of year, the planets. See the Milky Way and into deep space.
The Astronomical Society of Tasmania hosts its popular Public Night Sky Viewing Evenings at its observing site at Mount Pleasant. It is an opportunity for people and families of all ages to see the many wonders of the southern night sky through telescopes and explore astrophotography, planetary skies, astrophysics, cosmology, the history of astronomy, space exploration and travel, with experts.
Also, most accommodation in rural Tasmania have an outdoor firepit or bathtubs to enable people to sit out under and enjoy some amazing Tassie night skies. Wherever you are, you usually aren’t far from an amazing night sky, all you have to do it head outside and look up.