Gazing up at the night sky, a child’s eye twinkles with surprise.
“What’s that?” the seven year-old excitedly asks her mother, pointing to the cloudy band of stars that form the Milky Way.
As mother explains to daughter, the wonder of the spiral galaxy that we humans call home, a streak of light catches the child’s eye, her first shooting star. You see, living in Melbourne the stars just aren’t all that bright with all that city light.
“Now you can make a wish,” her mother says, but before the child can decide what to wish for, another, then another, then another star shoots across the clear night sky.
The meteor shower they’d come to see doesn’t disappoint as the Loddon Valley night sky comes alive with a light show to rival a New Year fireworks display.
There’s no better way to catch your first shooting star than to come to the Loddon Valley. In 2021 there will be plenty of opportunities to see meteor showers in the southern hemisphere night sky.
An abundance of great camping spots in wide open spaces and clear night skies with no light pollution make the Loddon Valley the perfect location for budding stargazers to see the stars clearly for the first time.
Astronomical events to plan your visit to Loddon Valley in 2021:
April 22 to 23 - Lyrids meteor shower
One of the oldest recorded meteor showers, with early Chinese accounts dating back over 2,500 years, each April the Earth passes through debris of the comet Thatcher lighting up the night sky.
May 6 to 7 - Eta Aquarid meteors
Look for glowing trains of light in the pre-dawn sky as Earth passes through the debris from Halley’s Comet for the first of two events in 2021.
August 12 to 13 - Perseids meteor shower
Formed from tiny space debris from the comet Swift-Tuttle, the constellation Perseus gives the Perseids meteor showers their name. This light show usually starts to fire up around midnight but is at its peak in the hour before first light.
October 8 to 9 - Draconid meteors
Named after the constellation Draco the Dragon this will be one of the fainter meteor shower events in 2021. Allow around 30 minutes for your eyes to adjust to the night sky or you might miss this one.
October 21 - Orionid meteors
Comet Halley is at it again in October, creating the Orionid meteors. This steady stream of shooting stars appears to come out of the constellation of Orion on the northern nighttime horizon, hence the name.
December 13 to 14 - Geminids meteor shower
Lasting for several hours, the Geminids meteor shower will be the last but strongest meteor show for 2021. At its peak, around 3am on December 14, it is estimated that 120 meteorites will be visible per hour. That’s a lot of wishes to start coming up with!
To avoid disappointment when stargazing in regional Victoria check the weather forecast before you come, as wet or cloudy weather can affect your stargazing experience.