Outback Stargazing: A Guide To The Red Centre Night Sky

“For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream” – Vincent Van Gogh

The stars have inspired and fascinated mankind for generations. Throughout the ages we have gazed up into the glittering canopy above us and tried to make sense of what we see. We’ve created myths and legends about the stars, named the constellations and given them stories and sung countless songs about them.

These days the night sky in all its glory is not a common sight. Most of us spend the evenings gazing at the glow of the television rather than looking up to the heavens. However, the stars can still shine through to our eyes when we venture somewhere remote, dark and vast – such as Australia’s Outback.

Why The Outback Is A Dream Destination For Star-Gazing

Thanks to the remoteness of the Red Centre in Australia and the lack of light pollution, it’s possible to see a dazzling range of stars. There are no streetlights, no neon signs, very few cars and very few buildings. Plus, since it is in the Southern Hemisphere it offers one of the best views of the Milky Way in the world.

This space spectacle is a dusty white trail sweeping across the sky – the stars clustered so close together that they merge in a glowing blur. The Milky Way often radiates with so much power that it is visible even when the moon is shining. The moon setting can sometimes look like a sun setting, because it has small clouds behind it that create a hazy glow.

A half moon in the pitch black night sky
Photo Credit: Stocksnap

When the moon disappears, the milky way changes colour. You can see photos of this, but nothing prepares you for the experience of seeing this inspiring natural wonder with your own eyes.

You’ll also see the Jewel Box cluster, the Magellanic Clouds and the Southern Cross – which cannot be seen from Europe or North America. It’s amazing to consider the fact that these stars are always there, but they are not often seen from the city as the night sky is washed from our vision by the glare of billboards and street lights.

When you look up at the night sky, you are looking back into the past. Since light has to travel such vast distances to reach our eyes, many of the stars that we see shining down on us today may have died millions of years ago. The galaxies we see now are as they were billions of years ago.

Photo Credit: Stocksnap

The stars meant a lot to the Aboriginal People of the Outback – they used them for navigation and to predict the upcoming seasons. In fact, read this fascinating article to find out how the country roads in Australia’s Outback were originally mapped out by Aboriginal people thousands of years before the Europeans arrived.

Tips For Enjoying The Night Sky In The Red Centre

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  • Bring along a printed chart of the Australian sky, so that you can try looking for the constellations and matching up the names with what you see above you.
  • You don’t have to buy an expensive telescope – try looking at the sky with binoculars and seeing the clusters of stars a bit closer.
  • Use a red flashlight to find your way around, rather than a blue or white light. This will save your eyes from adjusting to the bright light, which will hinder your ability to see stars.
  • Check out Google Sky Maps. It’s like Google Maps, but for space. You can use it to figure out what you are looking at and learn more about the constellations above you.

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

Field of Lights Art Installation at Uluru

Where the beauty of nature meets the beauty of Art.

The Field of Lights art installation by artist Bruno Munro is one of the most creative and beautiful ways to experience Uluru and the stunning beauty of the Australian outback.

The exhibition is named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara which is exactly as it describes. The installation features more than 50,000 slender man made stems that hold frosted glass spears which illuminate at night.

The outcome. Heavenly.

Once inside the Field of lights the artwork bends and grows to appear as if walking through a landscape of beautiful terrestrial flowers. The illuminating array of colours merge to reflect the beauty one would find in the Australian landscape.

Most visitors choose a self-guided meander through the art instillation to enjoy the beauty of Munro’s work at their own pace. However for those wanting to make the night one to remember you can indulge in a little luxury.

The Field of Lights Star experience includes dining with the stars but not in the Hollywood sense. Guests are welcomed to an exclusive dune top to watch the amazing transformation of colours as the sun sets on the horizon whilst indulging in delicious snacks and sparkling wine. Wanting to go all out? Why not enjoy a guided camel tour of the surrounding red sand dunes before your dinner booking and learn of the history of the land.

However you experience it the Field of Lights Art Installation is guaranteed to be a night to remember. The installation is open until March 2018.

Q&A With Dane Certificate The Travelling Magican

In anticipation of Dane Certificate’s travelling magic show coming to Erldunda Roadhouse, we asked Dane a little more about himself and what we can expect!

Q: Dane, for the last 3 months you have shifted your focus from performing at Dane Certificate’s Magic Tricks, Gags & Theatre to performing in a travelling magic show, what drew you to the idea of travelling, and what brings you to Erldunda Roadhouse?

The purpose of creating the magic theatre was to have a space to invent, create and perform magic tricks and develop routines. For the past five years I have done so with a regular audience coming to my shows in Melbourne. I have a 91 year old friend who spent his whole life travelling with his magic show-he would visit all the towns around Australia in his bus, truck or whatever he needed to carry his different shows. “Mandrake” would give me advice over the phone on travelling and turned my dream into reality sooner than I would have without him I think.

I started imagining taking my show to people across Australia in a bus and trailer and now that is happening. Last year I spent months at a time travelling around in a small combo van taking magic to WA, East coast NSW, Tas, SA and VIC-I don’t know how I fit my show/myself in that tiny car but I did..sometimes I’d sleep under the stars-doves would appear at shows, disappear and reappear at the next location. What people forget is life is an illusion and a magician defies logic.

I am going over to Uluru and I wanted to stop along the way at Erldunda Roadhouse.

Q: We understand this will be your first time performing in Outback Australia, what are you expecting, and what can our guests expect from you?

You can expect a little magic show inspired by magicians from 1900s..a look at the art of illusion-I will simply take ordinary objects and do something impossible with them. Something for all ages.

Q:When did you first discover magic, and decide that you wanted to be a magician?

I first discovered magic when I was very young. I saw a homeless man levitating lit candles out the back of a butcher shop where I worked after school. I quietly practiced magic and saw a working magician on the streets of Melbourne. To this day I think he is the best magician I have ever seen. I think he’s name was Benny Hutton but I’m not too sure it was so long ago. But after seeing a professional magician I went straight to Bernard’s magic shop and bought a couple of things and It snowballed from there.

Q: What would you say are the best and worst aspects of your profession?

Best aspects: Doing the impossible, taking people to a world of wonder, flying
Worst aspects: Being on the road for months on end can get a bit hard at times but overall it’s enjoyable and it’s all part of the adventure.

Q: Who has influenced your magic and performance style?

Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardie, Benny Hutton, Syd Barrett, Thurston the magician.

Q: If you could pick a superpower (outside of magic) what would it be and why?

I would take away sickness and suffering-and make more people realise that love is all you need. I believe that is the truth and everyone is a healer.

Q: Here at the Roadhouse, there are no smoke and mirrors, are you concerned our guests may be able to uncover the secrets to your tricks, in such an intimate setting?

You can come up as close as you like. You can even use binoculars!

Q: Do you have a favourite trick to perform? One we might see at Erldunda Roadhouse? (No spoilers though!)

All my tricks are favourites. People will be surprised.

Q: When attending another magician’s show, can you usually figure out how they have pulled off a trick, or are you just as stumped as the rest of us?

Depends on the show..I enjoy a good magician based on how they make you feel and of course being baffled is a part of the experience but it’s not always the reason I would re-watch a show. I don’t think it always comes down to knowing or not but being taken to another world or just enjoying other aspects.

Q: How do you ensure your act engages people of all ages?

I don’t ensure the show engages all ages, it’s not what goes through my head when I create but of course there is nothing that is explicit and its family friendly. When I do children’s shows I do a similar thing only because I treat everyone the same and try to make the visual magic something that can be understood by all ages without language coming into it. I have also done shows for deaf people with the same outlook- magic eye candy.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseeable circumstances, the performance of Dane the Great Magician at Erldunda Roadhouse this Friday, 21 April has been postponed (date to be confirmed).
In the meantime, we will honour any bookings which have been made using our “MAGIC25” discount code, and be sure to let you know when the show has been re-scheduled!