Charcoal Night: Drawing the night skies

From the ‘Jewel Box’ to nebular clusters, from craters on the moon to discovering a giant emu in the Milky Way, the night sky was the star attraction when students and staff from Albury Wodonga Community College journeyed overnight to the Great Aussie Holiday Park, Wymah.

They came to participate in three informative presentations about the night sky as part of a collaborative project titled ‘Charcoal Night’ presented by the Astronomical Society of Albury Wodonga (ASAW), Albury Wodonga Community College (AWCC) and Murray Arts.

Charcoal Night has been funded by Inspiring Australia (NSW) to present a series of arts workshops where community members will learn how to produce charcoal animations that illustrate Indigenous astronomy.

Beneath a stunning night sky on a cold, crisp night, secondary students heard from David Thurley, president of the ASAW, who talked about the planets and constellations.

Dr. Duane Hamacher, a lecturer in Indigenous astronomy at the University of NSW, then invited the students to recreate an Indigenous story about the phases of the moon using a visual representation of the earth and moon orbiting the sun.

Gregory Gibbs stunned students into silence with his incredible images of landscape astrophotography time-lapse films.

Rugged up warmly, students were inspired to peer down into powerful telescopes and ‘to get away from artificial lights and simply look up’.

A special thank you to those members of the ASAW who cheerfully endured crisp evening temperatures to set up their telescopes and share their passion and knowledge about the stars.

A film documentary created throughout the project will record opinions, observations, charcoal drawings and photographs. This will be screened throughout Albury Wodonga as part of National Science Week.

Dr Hamacher will also be delivering a free public lecture exploring the relationship between astronomy and calendars, navigation, food economics and social structure in the lives of Indigenous Australians.

Where: CD Blake Lecture Theatre, Charles Sturt University Albury-Wodonga campus
When: 7pm, Tuesday 13 August

More information.