And We Just Can't Wait To Get On The Road Again

In late 2019, Perth Observatory volunteers have travelled out to the country for several offsite events. It’s always great to visit country towns around WA, as we get to see how great our state is, and people are often pleased to see us.

Showing the Moon on my Laptop which it connected to a camera that's attached to the telescope at Carnarvon, Western Australia. Image Credit: Matt Woods

In July, our volunteer John Ford and I hit the road, travelling to Carnarvon to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing at the Carnarvon space and technology museum by putting on a telescope night with other members of the Astronomy WA community.

MC for the night was former news presenter Greg Pearce, and former members of the tracking station and their families who had come back to Carnarvon to celebrate this momentous occasion. It was great to talk to everyone about all the good old days when they were helping NASA communicate back and forth with the Gemini Apollo and Skylab missions.

The night sky was incredible, and we even managed to live stream the moon rising through a telescope so everyone at the event could see our beautiful moon.

Thanks to all the team for inviting us up! If you are travelling north and going through Carnarvon, it’s a place to stop and learn about how vital Australia was to NASA’s Space Program in the 60s and 70s.

Southern Cross
Milky Way at Southern Cross, Western Australia. Image Credit: Matt Woods

In August, volunteer Roger Groom and I travelled out to Southern Cross to run a telescope viewing and an Astrophotography workshop at the Southern Cross District High School.

It was a great night, with the kids enjoying seeing the planets and star clusters. After the telescope viewing finished, some of the adults stayed back to learn about Astrophotography. The images from the night are breathtaking. One person, in particular, had just bought a new camera for the workshop got some spectacular shots of the Milky Way’s Sagittarius on her first attempt at astrophotography.

Mount Magnet
The Milky Way and Zodiac Light at Mount Magnet, Western Australia. Image Credit: Matt Woods

In September Volunteers Geoff Scott, Ted Williamson and I joined members from the Astronomical Group of Western Australia (AGWA) and International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and drove up to Mount Magnet for the Astro Rocks Festival (September 20th to 22nd)

The Astrofest part of the festival was on Friday night, and it was a great success with a lot of people attending. We started with solar filters on the telescopes so we could show the people the sun safely as it set and once it was dark and some of the clouds had moved away, we started showing people the awesome southern sky.

During the day on Friday, we joined ICRAR members on the tourist route around Mt Magnet and saw some fantastic scenery. If you’re into Astrophotography, these spots will provide incredible views for nightscape photos, including the Granites, the Amphitheatre, and the Lennonville Townsite.

On Saturday night, we joined AGWA members driving 12 km east of Mount Magnet. Following tyre tracks for about a kilometre, we came out onto a beautiful flood plain. For six hours, we were stunned by the clear dark skies, revealing zodiacal light from dust and ice in the plane of the ecliptic (the imaginary plane containing the Earth’s orbit around the sun) reflecting sunlight and the Milky Way’s glorious Sagittarius arm. It was also humbling to be able to see objects in great detail that we can’t see in Perth due to light pollution.

This year’s Astro Rocks Festival will be from September 18th to 20th, and we hope to see you there.