This Summer Edition of the Perth Observatory Newsletter ends a stellar year for the Perth Observatory. Milestones this year would not have been achieved, without our dedicated staff, committed volunteers and support from businesses and community groups across government, academic and private sectors. 2018 has indeed been a year to celebrate. First, among the highlights, this year is the significant funding from Lotterywest awarded to enable us to implement most of the heritage and cultural aspects of our strategic intent. With additional support from Rotary Kalamunda, local businesses and a huge volunteer effort the Observatory’s heritage professionally will be preserved and shared. Heritage clocks that set WA time for most of the 20th century will be set in motion; thousands of glass photographic plates dating from 1900 will be digitised, saved and re-analysed; documents, letters and personal stories of scientific discoveries will be captured for posterity. Alongside these memories of 120 years of scientific discovery, an Aboriginal Astronomy Centre will be created to acknowledge 60,000 years of celestial storytelling through art.
Yet, as we embark on this period of restoration and development, the challenge will be to maintain operations, particularly the busy schedule of events, while responding to new opportunities as our facilities develop and grow. Volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are invited to join us in training to be part of this challenging adventure. We will also partner with other local tour operators to develop and host interesting new events and activities using our site and facilities.
Other highlights for this year include work in restoring the 20 metre Lowell Dome, plans to resurrect the Boller & Chivens telescope and refurbish the historic Grubb Astrographic telescope.
There have also been so many site visits and viewing events to remember. Most recently, we were delighted to host an outdoor TEDXPerth salon event, when three “out of this world” speakers and two hundred guests shared personal stories of zero gravity, space telescope development and mars exploration. A sky tour and star viewing under a perfect moonlight sky added to the enjoyment.
Our gift vouchers for events and our shop sales have been incredibly popular, too. Looking ahead, we have Valentines on the 14th of February 2019, then on Friday, 1st of March after the busy schedule throughout January and February, the Perth observatory’s annual Summer Lecture will be delivered by Australia’s Astronomer at Large, Fred Watson (www.fredwatson.com.au). I can’t wait to hear Fred speak about the volcanic solar system!
On behalf of the POVG volunteers and staff, I’d like to thank all our supporters, donors and sponsors for making 2018 a year to remember with pride and gratitude.