Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australasian Sky

Australasian Sky column

June 2013 star chart

Your guide to the night sky this month.

Solar eclipse guide and May 2013 star chart

By David Reneke

Your guide to the night sky this month, and details of this month's solar eclipse.

Get set for a rare and amazing sky event this month. Australia will witness one of the most awe-inspiring sights in nature as an "annular eclipse" of the Sun takes place early on the morning of May 10. Few people who witness eclipses fail to be deeply moved by the experience.

An annular eclipse of the Sun, when a fiery solar ring remains around the Moon’s silhouette, will sweep right across Australia and into the Pacific Ocean. Weather permitting, everyone in Australia, except for the western third of Western Australia, will be able to see a partial or full eclipse.

Star chart and guide for March 2013

By David Reneke

Your guide to the night skies this month.

Get ready to spend more time outside for stargazing fun in March. This is shaping up to be the ‘year of the comets.’ The entire astronomy community is waiting for the visit of three amazing comets to our solar system, and it starts next week!

Comet Pan-Starrs is due to pass by and should be visible in early March in the West as it swings around the Sun and re-emerges into our evening twilight. Comets are usually named after their discoverers but in this case, Pan-Starrs was named after the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System which was used to find the visitor.

April Star Chart

By Dr Martin Anderson, Sydney Observatory

Your guide to the night sky this month

January Star Chart

By David Reneke

Your guide to the night skies this month.

Summer in Australia is great for sky gazers. We have some of the best skies in the world full of bright stars, prominent constellations and fascinating celestial sights. Lots of budding astronomers get their start in January, using telescopes they got for a Christmas present.

Advice for First Time Telescope Buyers, and December Star Chart

By David Reneke

Get it right when you put a telescope under the Christmas tree.

What’s on the top of your Xmas list this year? Maybe a telescope?

I get a lot of people asking me about the best telescope to buy, and the short answer is: the dearest one you can afford.

Modern telescopes are a compromise between price and quality and any telescope in this country under $300 is not going to do any serious work for you. Don’t buy from a department store. Buy from a dealer who knows about telescopes, a camera shop for instance, or a telescope retailer.

Total Solar Eclipse and November star chart

By David Reneke

Your guide to the solar eclipse on 14 November, and your map of the night sky this month

A total eclipse of the Sun is arguably nature's most spectacular and awe-inspiring phenomenon. Australia will play host to such an event next week and all eyes will be on the horizon overlooking the Coral Sea in Tropical North Queensland as the total solar eclipse casts an incredible shadow across the region on November 14.

Port Douglas and Cairns will be the best places in the world to witness this natural phenomenon and well known Australian astronomer Dave Reneke, writer and publicist for Australasian Science magazine, will be on hand to record it all.

September 2012 guide and star chart

By David Reneke

Your guide to the night skies this month.

Someone who once tried to count them said there were more stars in the Universe than heartbeats for every human who ever lived! Now that’s a big number. Have you ever wondered where the names of some of the stars come from?

There are billions and billions of stars but only some 6,000 or so are visible to the naked eye. Of those only a handful of the brightest have proper names like Sirius or Betelgeuse, the rest are simply given letters of the Greek alphabet.

October 2012 Star Chart

By Dr Martin Anderson

Your guide to the night sky this month.

Star Chart for June

By David Reneke

Find out about the transit of Venus and download the Sydney Observatory's star chart for June.

It’s a twice in a lifetime moment. On Wednesday morning, June 6, an event that takes place only four times every two centuries will enthrall the world's astronomers, as it has ever since the 1600s.

People all over the world will be craning their necks to get a look at one of the rarest sky events possible, the Transit of Venus – and nobody alive will ever see this again. The next one will be in 2117.