The Australia Day night sky

As the First Fleet sailed into Sydney Harbour on Saturday 26 January 1788, there was no light pollution. The weather was clear and they would have had a clear view of the night sky that today, we can only imagine!  The Milky Way, stretched right across the sky from South to North, the two Magellenic Clouds, Sirius and the stars of the constellations Orion , Taurus and Crux (the Southern Cross) and the planets Jupiter and Mars were seen amidst a celestial sphere of thousands of stars which we can only see from Sydney through telescopes now. There was no daylight saving time. You too can see the sky as it was in 1788 recreated in Sydney Observatory’s planetarium on Australia Day 2015 in our program which runs from 10am to 5pm. Details here.
With no light pollution this is what our sky above Sydney looked like in 1788.

The Sydney Sky 26 Jan, 10pm,1788
The Sydney Sky 26 Jan, 10pm,1788 . Image using @StarWalk

3 responses to “The Australia Day night sky

  • Perhaps a comparison of today’s sky?
    And a reference to make the view(s) more relatable by putting in a horizon.

    • Andrew, this is just a simple representation of what it would have looked like – the colours in the Milky Way would not have been visible. Today you just have to step outside at night (if you live in Sydney) to see how much we have lost. There is a horizon line, just visible, near the bottom of the image.

  • The picture looks awesome! Unfortunately, the pristine nature around has been tarnished to a great extent by human race activity.

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