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Australian Astronomy & Stargazing: Constellations To See In The Outback
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The lack of light pollution makes the Australian outback one of the best places for astronomy tours in Australia. The Australian outback sky is a glittering canvas upon which the First Nation people weaved legends and stories that echo throughout generations. As you stand beneath this otherworldly canvas, it’s not unusual to feel swallowed up by its eternal wonder.

 

You can now gain a deeper appreciation for the outback sky while staying at Mt Mulligan Lodge. This luxury Queensland resort offers an unforgettable outback stargazing experience. Join your guide after sunset and explore the southern night sky using the lodge’s telescope. You’ll be able to learn about the various planets, constellations and other unique Southern Hemisphere formations only visible in the outback.

 

Speaking of constellations, here are some of the most noteworthy ones to keep an eye out for during your next outback stargazing experience at Mt Mulligan Lodge.

Astronomy & Stargazing: The Most Amazing Constellations to See In Australia’s Outback

Photo by Sean Scott

Orion the Hunter

 

Orion the Hunter is a world-famous constellation. It’s usually only visible between November and February. One of the most recognisable parts of Orion the Hunter is Orion’s Belt, which comprises three stars. See if you can spot the star Betelgeuse, which depicts the hunter’s right shoulder. It’s the only red giant in the constellation and is one of the largest stars currently known. 

 

Orion the Hunter is steeped in Greek mythology. However, it has a very different meaning to Indigenous Australians. The Yolngu people of Northern Australia say it’s a canoe and that the three stars in Orion’s Belt represent three brothers who ate a forbidden fish and were punished.

The Seven Sisters

 

Also known as the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters is an open cluster of stars positioned in the constellation of Taurus. It’s visible from almost anywhere on Earth and has thus been named countless times throughout histories and cultures.

 

In Australia, our First Nation people have many stories concerning the Seven Sisters. However, these stories typically always tell of seven sisters who were forced to flee into the night sky away from an unwelcome man. This male pursuer is often depicted by the constellation Orion the Hunter, which is slightly below and to the left of the Seven Sisters.

Emu in the Sky

 

Emu in the Sky is a unique constellation that’s made up of dark nebulae instead of stars. These opaque clouds of dust and gas are often visible against the centre of the Milky Way, forming the figure of an emu. The Emu in the Sky is referred to extensively in Indigenous lore, including rock carvings in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

The Southern Cross

 

The Southern Cross is a kite-like asterism only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. This is easily Australia’s most famous constellation. The Southern Cross is a prominent part of the Australian flag and it has always played a major role in Indigenous culture. For some Aboriginals, it’s a stingray being chased by a shark. For others, it’s an eagle’s footprint. But for almost all it brings to life stories of morals and gods. 

Milky Way

 

Although it’s not technically a constellation, the Milky Way deserves to be on this list. It is quite simply magnificent. Just imagine, gazing up and seeing the galaxy that contains our solar system. It appears as a hazy band of light comprised of faraway stars and ethereal Magellan Clouds. 

 

For many Indigenous Australians, the Milky Way represents a great river that transports deceased souls to the afterlife. However, for most of us who find ourselves staring up at it, it is a reminder of how small our planet really is and how much is left to be discovered.

Photo by Sean Scott

Otherworldly Skies on Astronomy Tours in Australia

 

Discover the wonders of the night sky with our unique astronomy experiences. Combine the beauty and peace of the outback with unbridled luxury at Mt Mulligan Lodge. Browse the range of accommodation packages and experiences for your next holiday. 

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