Astrotourism - A great opportunity for our region

Published: Wednesday, 6 November 2019 at 8:55:26 AM

We are so privileged here in WA to live in one of the last places on earth to enjoy relatively low levels of light pollution. This makes us an ideal location to take in all the splendour of our night skies. In fact, the Shire of Wongan-Ballidu was one of the first locations in WA to become an official astrotourism town, providing year-round access for tourists to come and enjoy our night skies. We have dedicated stargazing locations at the airstrip and at picturesque Lake Ninan, already a renowned location within the astrophotography community.

Our 120 guests at Saturday's "Explore the Night Sky" event were in good hands with our co-hosts for the evening, Mike Whait and Jillian Carlson from Astrotourism WA as well as Greg Rowbotham and Kathryn Ross from The International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research. These four experts made our evening both interesting and entertaining, sharing their knowledge about black holes, the planets and the moon, the Milky Way and much, much more. The kids had a great time trying to stump “the Greg” with their questions and official guide for the evening Mike Whait showed us how to take some awesome moonscapes on our mobile phones. We are still trying to decide amongst us who had the best Moonscape shot. We think it's a tie so we’ll credit Cr Mandy Stephenson with hers.

“It was great to see so many of our local community taking to the telescopes, but also how many visitors this event attracted”, said Cr Stephenson. “We see great potential for Astrotourism and Astrophotography in our area and it’s good to see how well this event was supported with visitors from Perth and as far away as New South Wales” she added.

To find out more about the amazing stargazing experiences available in our region, visit Astrotourism WA.

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