Embark on a celestial journey with us as we explore the wonders of the night sky and the best stargazing in 2024.

Discover the magic of constellations, planets, and meteor showers in settings that elevate the art of stargazing.

Whether you’re a seasoned astronomer or a casual observer, these celestial spectacles offer awe-inspiring moments that transcend the ordinary. Join us in anticipation as we unveil the best stargazing in 2024, where the universe unfolds its mysteries. If you can, escape bright city lights and visit country WA for a better stargazing experience: you’ll be amazed by how many more stars you can see in the night sky.

Let’s turn out the lights and look to the skies for the best stargazing in 2024!

January: Nebula Hunting

One of the most impressive sights in the summer southern sky is the Orion Nebula (also known as Messier 42).

Because Orion is one of the brightest objetcs in the sky, you won’t need binoculars or a telescope to see it. If you need help finding the nebula, look above the north eastern horizon for the “saucepan” in the sky.

Look above the three stars of Orion’s Belt (the base of the “saucepan”) for the faint line of stars that form Orion’s sword (the handle of the “saucepan”). The nebula is halfway along the sword, appearing as a fuzzy-looking star.

February: Watching Mars and the Moon

February’s stars bring a conjunction of Mars and the Moon (where the two appear close together in the sky), and it’s best seen without a telescope — good news for all you naked-eye astronomers.

The best morning from Perth is 8 February when the pair will be visible from around 4:30am, until an hour or so before the Sun rises around 6am.

March: The spectacular Southern Pleiades

Perth’s March skies bring us the spectacular Southern Pleiades star cluster — also known as the Theta Carinae star cluster.

The Southern Pleiades is visible all night in Perth, appearing after dusk and reaching its highest point around midnight before disappearing at the break of dawn.

This stunning star cluster is best seen under a dark sky and is visible to the naked eye; however, you’ll appreciate it even more through a pair of binoculars or a telescope.

April: The Southern Cross

The Southern Cross is the most iconic constellation in our beautiful Southern Hemisphere night sky.

April is the best time to start watching for the constellation when it rises in the southeast during the early evenings. Just look for the two “Pointers,” which are two stars that seem to point towards the cross.

May: The dawning of the age of the Aquarids

The Southern Hemisphere is the best place to see the eta-Aquarids meteor shower, and this year’s new moon promises dark skies around their peak on 6 May.

The meteors are known for being fast, hitting Earth’s atmosphere at around 66 km/s and leaving glowing trails as they cross the sky. The best time to catch the Eta Aquarids meteors is around 2am on 6 May when the meteor shower peaks.

Look to the east, where the meteors will seem to appear from the constellation of Aquarius.

June: The Moon meets Scorpio

What an early evening sight this will be. Look to the east at about 7pm to find the Moon sitting right under the heart of the constellation of Scorpius. Antares is a giant red star and is often referred to as the heart of the scorpion.

Can you see the shape of the scorpion with its claws above and to the left of the Moon? Find the sting in the tail below and to the right.

July: Meteors in the Sky

The Southern delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower coincides with July’s new Moon, peaking on 30 July and likely producing its best displays around 2am AWST.

Make the most of it and head out somewhere with dark skies with a sleeping bag, blanket, or camping chair: you could get lucky and spot some of these faint meteors. Start viewing from midnight and look directly east.

August: The ‘blue’ Sturgeon moon

According to the Farmer’s Almanac (popular in the USA), any full moon during August is known as the ‘Sturgeon moon’.

This year’s full moon falls on 20 August, and it’s also the third full moon in a season, so it’s a ‘blue moon’ by some definitions (although it won’t look blue, or anything like a sturgeon).

The Moon rises at 6.30pm in the constellation of Aquarius, and Saturn is the bright star-like object just below it.

September: Zodiacal light season

Look to the west in the hour following twilight.

Patient stargazers might see a cone-shaped pillar of faint light stretching upward from the horizon; this phenomenon is called Zodiacal light. Zodiacal light is sunlight reflecting off the interplanetary dust cloud that fills the inner solar system to just past Mars.

For best viewing conditions, head to as dark a location as possible, because any light pollution or faint glow from distant cities on the horizon will wash out the Zodiacal light’s faint glow.

October: The Small Magellanic Cloud

The Small Magellanic Cloud is the Milky Way galaxy’s smaller sibling, and the galaxy reaches its highest point in the sky at around midnight AWST on 4 October 2024.

While the Small Magellanic Cloud is visible to the naked eye, it’s even better when viewed through binoculars. Check it out in the southern sky when you’re in a dark sky location.

The Small and Large Magellanic Cloud galaxies are named after the Portuguese coloniser Ferdinand Magellan, but they’ve been observed and documented by the world’s first astronomers for millennia before Europeans.

November: When the Moon meets the king of the planets

Look to the eastern horizon after sunset in November 2024. If you do, you’ll be treated to a rare meeting of the Moon and Jupiter — the king of the planets.

On 17 November 2024, the pair is visible together soon after the moon rises around 9 pm in the constellation of Taurus, and their meeting is best viewed with the naked eye.

December: Planetary lineup

After Christmas day’s fun and excitement, it’s time to unwind in the evening.

Put your feet up and appreciate the incredible night sky that gives us so much throughout the year. Step outside at 9:45 pm, and you’ll be wowed by a view of four planets visible to the naked eye.

Mars is rising in the northeast, Jupiter is bright and high above the north horizon, Saturn is about 20 degrees above the western horizon, and a spectacularly bright Venus is nearby, getting ready to set for the night after an exhausting day.

… and that’s just the highlights of the best stargazing in 2024!

There’s a whole universe out there for you to discover; whether you’re a naked-eye observer, favour a trusty pair of binoculars, or don’t need an excuse to take your telescope for some dark sky tourism. Countless more sights await you!


New dark sky stargazing locations are popping up in country WA