Community Events

  • Cosmic Shambles event—PhD candidate Toby Brown talked about galactic evolution and dark matter to an audience of 350 people at UWA’s Octagon theatre.
  • SKA and general astronomy talks for the community were given at:
    • Sorrento Bowling Club for an audience of 57.
    • Yokine Bowling Club for an audience 51.
    • Leeming Sports Association for an audience of 87.
    • Westcoast Community Centre for an audience of 56.
    • Fleur Freame Pavillion in Padbury for an audience of 49.
    • Glen Forrest Sporting Club for an audience of 54.
  • A community observing event was delivered at Hampton Senior High School in Morley. 110 people attended including students, teachers and parents. The event included several night sky telescopes observing Jupiter, the Moon, the Orion Nebula and Jewel Box as well as laser guided sky tours and water rocket launches.
  • A regional Astrofest took place in Geraldton. The event featured telescopes, sky tours and an astrophotography exhibition and was attended by 350 people.
  • A regional Astrofest was delivered in Carnarvon at the Space and Technology Museum on the site of the OTC Satellite Earth Station. The event was attended by 250 people.

ICRAR Outreach staff setting up for a guerrilla astronomy in Geraldton. Credit: Kim Steele

School programmes

  • Prof. Simon Driver presented at the Perth Modern afterschool Science Club to 30 Year 9-12 students. He spoke about GAMA and his path into astronomy.
  • Dr Franz Kirsten presented Solar System on a String and Space Q&A to 20 pre-primary students at Collier Primary School.
  • Greg Rowbotham travelled to Subiaco Primary School to talk about the Solar System and engage 52 Year 5 students with hands-on activities.
  • Kirsten Gottschalk visited Mosman Park Primary School to talk about planets and constellations with 25 pre-primary students and made stargazers.
  • Kevin Vinsen talked to 55 Pinjarra SHS students for their career day.
  • Kirsten Gottschalk went to Bullsbrook College to present to 29 Year 10-12 students.
  • Kirsten Gottschalk presented to 130 regional primary and secondary teachers (Murray and Waroona District Schools) about why STEM is important.
  • 13 female students from years 5, 6 & 7 of Perth College, Methodist Ladies College visited ICRAR for a tour, a chat to our researchers, solar viewing and a presentation from Dr Luke Davies about the prospect of living on other planets in the future.

Work Experience

  • Ella Goonrey, a year 10 student from from St Mary Mackillop in Busselton, spent two days at ICRAR-Curtin and two days at ICRAR-UWA in early June.
  • Lachlan Gill and Antony Bondetti, year 10 students from St Stephen’s School in Duncraig, spent a week with ICRAR in late June.

SPIRIT Remote Telescopes

Following the trend of recent years, SPIRIT has experienced very heavy use again during the first half of the year thanks to excellent weather. A number of on-site visits have been made to John XXIII College and Iona Presentation College, with year nine Iona students also visiting ICRAR.

Use has been dominated by two major projects:

  • PHYS3003 crowded field CMD project
  • ‘Girls in STEM’ variable star light curve project

The second of these sees school students successfully submitting photometric observations to the AAVSO for credit—a first for Australian high school students. The project will be highlighted at the inaugural Robotic Telescopes, Student Research and Education Conference in June, including a conference proceedings paper.

Ad hoc SPIRIT use has included students from:

  • Willetton SHS
  • Perth Waldorf School
  • John XXIII College

Students from Iona Presentation College Perth visiting the SPIRIT observatories with their science teacher Katrina Prendergast and coordinator of the SPIRIT program, Paul Luckas.

Report provided by the ICRAR