Border Stargaze 2014

The Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga has been very busy lately, with dozens of activities on offer during National Science Week. They are now gearing up for their flagship event, the Border Stargaze, now in its eight year.

The Border Stargaze is a great example of how a small initiative developed by enthusiastic locals has blossomed into an annual festival that now attracts hundreds of people, including astronomers from all over Australia.

With a mix of debates, interactive science activities and popular night-time sky tours, the Border Stargaze attracts amateurs and professional alike, with many astronomy enthusiasts travelling from interstate to attend the festivities. Among past guests have been Nobel Prize winner for physics, Dr Brian Schmidt and Indigenous Astronomy expert Dr Duane Hamacher.

The 2014 program, running from 23-26 October is shaping up to be exciting, with a fantastic line up of speakers on hand to share their knowledge and expertise about the night sky and how to observe it.

On this year’s program are:

  • Alan Duffy, a science communicator and astrophysicist at Swinburne University, who will talk about the Square Kilometre Array and the search for Dark Energy and Dark Matter.
  • Stefan Keller, the Operational Scientist for the Skymapper project at the Australian National University, who will talk about his research on pulsars, stellar evolution and the search for the earliest stars.
  • Roger Davis, of Roger’s Optics and Restoration, who will share his knowledge collected over 45 years in the field of optical construction, showing how to restore old instruments such as binoculars an old telescopes.
  • Greg Gibbs, an award winning astrophotographer and creator of the blog Capturing the Night. Greg will be running workshops demonstrating the techniques he uses to produce his breathtaking photos.

One of the founders of the Border Stargaze is Dave Thurley who says that its success is due to passion, enthusiasm and close collaboration of amateur astronomers with professional scientists from Charles Sturt University.

Big dreams and ambitious planning have enabled this group of self-confessed science nuts to develop their increasingly popular program. Strong support from councils in both Albury and Wodonga helps, as does the participation of many other community groups who host satellite events.

For David, the most rewarding aspect of the Border Stargaze is seeing how much fun participants of all ages and cultural backgrounds experience as they learn about astronomy and other sciences and take part in night time sky tours.

In addition to Border Stargaze, the Astronomical Society is currently teaming up with Murray Arts and the Albury-Wodonga Community College to present an a series of astronomy events in the Murray region entitled We are all made of Stardust. Combining stargazing with Aboriginal storytelling, drawing and animation activities’, this is sure to be enlightening experience for artists, scientists and everyone in between.

The next Stardust astronomy workshop will be held at St John’s Lutheran School, Jindera at 6:00pm – 8:00pm on Thursday 9 October.

For more information about Border Stargaze visit the Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga’s website