Gascoyne Junction part of Eclipse Discovery Tour

Published on Wednesday, 22 February 2023 at 5:40:01 AM

Stargazing Discovery Tour to promote dark sky tourism to eclipse chasers

Astrotourism WA has released a series of 22 dark sky stargazing events to celebrate the Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse and promote Western Australia’s world-class night sky to eclipse chasers and visitors from around the world.

The Eclipse Discovery Tour dark sky stargazing events are planned to coincide with the weeks around the Ningaloo Total Solar Eclipse. Events begin on 25th March with the first stargazing night in Three Springs and the final event in Narrogin on 28th April. During the month-long celebration, events will cover four regions and visit towns such as Wickepin, Perenjori, Mingenew, Murchison Settlement, Gascoyne Junction and Onslow.  The event in Gascoyne Junction will be held just two days after the solar eclipse event on Saturday April 22.

The aim of the events is to disperse visitors across WA’s regional areas and encourage eclipse chasers to stay longer on their holidays. The events will promote WA’s dark night skies and the emerging space science industry. Visitors will also be able to view through telescopes to see special Southern Hemisphere star clusters, constellations and the Magellanic Clouds, not visible in the northern hemisphere.

Western Australia's clear and dark skies offer an experience second to none for recreational stargazers and nature lovers. Dark Sky Tourism is becoming a huge new driver for visitors to WA.

Carol Redford, CEO of Astrotourism WA said: “Places such as Jurien Bay’s Turquoise Coast Visitor Centre, on the Astrotourism Towns map, is receiving an average of one enquiry a day from visitors asking where local stargazing places are.”

“Western Australia is perfectly placed to become the stargazing capital of the world and grow a Dark Sky Tourism economy across the State. We have many comparative advantages that make us an ideal destination to access a pristine dark night sky where the billions of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy can be seen as they are meant to be.”

“The ever-increasing artificial light that spills up into the night sky, means we see less stars. More than 80% of the world’s population live under a light polluted sky and as a result, the Milky Way is hidden from more than one third of humanity. Just as people travel to see natural icons such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon Rainforest or Antarctica, people will travel to Western Australia to see the Milky Way.

“The development of this tourism niche offers huge opportunities for regional operators and destinations – from desert tours, traditional Aboriginal cultural experiences, nature-based camping, festivals, photography and education-based experiences.”

The Eclipse Discovery Tour is supported by Tourism WA, CSIRO, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, Scitech and Curtin University. The tour is also supported by WA's Astrotourism Towns and 18 regional Local Governments.

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