• ‘Funarium’, an inaugural family-oriented event took place during the July school holidays. ICRAR staff and students delivered a range of astronomy and space themed hands-on activities in the ‘Cosmic Science Zone’ for more than 5,500 visitors over 3 days.
  • A Cosmic Perspective’, an event with Neil deGrasse Tyson hosted by ICRAR’s Dr Luke Davies, took place at the Riverside Theatre (Perth Convention Centre) in early July. 2,500 people attended, generating excellent exposure for ICRAR.
  • A regional ‘Astrofest’ event was delivered for Mt Magnet—one of the closest towns to the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory—in late August. ICRAR coordinates this event every year, which involves collaborating organisations such as Scitech, Perth Observatory and the Astronomical Group of WA. The event includes an astrophotography exhibition, science shows, inflatable space domes, a dozen telescopes and night sky tours. 150 people attend—which is most of the town. Interestingly, a number of attendees from out-of-town had travelled there just for the event—from places such as Geraldton (several hundred kilometres away)—or were passing through Mt Magnet and decided to stay for longer in order to attend.
  • As part of National Science Week, WA’s inaugural ‘Battle of the Brains’ event was held at the Astor Theatre in Mount Lawley. Described as an intellectual obstacle involving the best, brightest, and funniest physicists in the land, the featured Luke Davies, Ryan Urquhart, Ronniy Joseph, Pikky Atri and Robin Cook from ICRAR and was a full house.
  • ICRAR’s annual astrophotography exhibition was on display at the Western Australian Museum in Geraldton from the end of July to the beginning of September, where it was viewed by more than 5,000 people.
  • At the end of September, the Director General for the European Space Agency gave a free public talk titled ‘Space Exploration: The next generation’. The event was attended by 250 members of the public. An expert panel featured after the talk, taking questions from the audience about Australia’s future in space. This event was also live-streamed to a national audience via Australia’ Space Channel—the first time ICRAR has done this.
  • During this period, we also began recoding, producing (all in-house) and airing a fortnightly Vodcast called ‘Astro Morning Tea’. This light-hearted look at astronomy and general science stories making the headlines, goes out to online audiences via Australia’s Science Channel and is hosted by Dr Luke Davies and Greg Rowbotham


Excursions (visits to schools)

In addition to the usual talks for students at local high schools, the following activities took place during this period:

  • A talk for high school students was delivered at the US Consul General’s Residence in central Perth. 18 students in years 10 and 11, from 4 schools, attended.
  • A programme was delivered at Mt Magnet District High School for students in Years 7 to 9.
  • At the ‘Frontiers of Science’ Schools Forum, Dr Luke Davies spoke to almost 200 high school students about his path into astronomy and about galaxy evolution galaxies.
  • ICRAR’s Gemma Anderson and Charlotte Sobey participated in a speed networking type event for young female high school students (and their parents) called the ‘Innovator’s Tea Party’ at FLUX, a co-working space located in the Perth CBD.

Work Experience Students

  • Jackson Booth, a Year 10 student from Helena College, Grade 10.
  • Miah Gardner, a Year 10 student from St Mary’s Anglican.
  • Jude Chrulew, a Year 9 student from Living Waters Lutheran.

All 3 students spent 4 days at ICRAR during September, working with researchers and outreach staff across a wide range of tasks and experiences.

SPIRIT Telescopes


ICRAR’s remote telescopes, SPIRIT I & II, have been used during term 3 and 4 by a number of students, including Masters (Swinburne), under-graduate (UWA) and local schools including St. Joseph’s School Northam, Perth Waldorf School, Mater Dei College.

ICRAR is currently assembling a 3rd SPIRIT telescope, to be installed in a dark sky site an hour north of Perth.

Report provided by ICRAR