This Autumn Equinox edition of the Perth Observatory Newsletter has lots of interesting news, views and reviews on topics related to Astronomy and Space Science, all written by our volunteers and collated by our very energetic Newsletter teams.

Looking back, over another hectic summer viewing season on the hilltop at Bickley, the highlight has been the continued enthusiastic public attendance and very positive feedback. The partnership with Landsdale Bus service from the city has meant that country, interstate and international visitors can easily book, join in and enjoy the southern sky viewing experience with city dwellers and hills locals.

The intense summer viewing of the program from September through May combined with the additional winter night events in June through August means there are now more than twice as many night viewing events as in 2015/6 when we began this journey.   This is only possible thanks to the energy, passion and hard work of volunteers and support staff who plan, organise and run events, and maintain the site and equipment, and also prepare reports and funding submissions in their spare time!!.

Our sixteen event hosts ensure that each event has its own character and ambience. They even step to host special events such as visits from special guests, fundraisers and exclusive group tours and star adoptions. Most memorable among the vast range of special events at the Observatory this season was the Super Blue Blood Moon on Wednesday the 31st of January when we welcomed 100 visitors to the hilltop viewing and gained an international profile from a live feed through

We were also able to slot in some midweek special events in February.  There were two fundraisers for the Turbo Safari team, led by POVG volunteer and experienced pilot Ed Jones, for the Royal Flying Doctor’s Outback Air Race.   Then those at the Valentine’s Day celebration were also able to have a peek through the 30” Obsession telescope that is being prepared for next season.

In late February, we were thrilled to be able to welcome the WA Governor, Her Excellency Kerry Sanderson to the Observatory. Her charm and enthusiasm for astronomy and its history in WA made our vollies shine for several days afterwards.

A traditional highlight at Bickley is always the annual Summer Lecture, this year held on Friday the 16th of March.  The focus was the science and history of Orion and Pleiades.  The story of scientific discovery was delivered by Dr Stacy Mader from CSIRO who told about his early career and his work at Parkes Observatory.  He was supported by interpretations of Orion and Pleiades in different cultural traditions as told by Josie Boyle and Bronwen Goss.  The delightful multi-lingual choral music beforehand was given by the Madjitill Moorna choir.
Looking ahead, we have fun costumed events commemorating Star Trek First Contact will be coming on April the 5th and the Star Wars “May the force be with you” on May the 4th.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.

Diana Rosman
(POVG Chairperson)