Capturing the Cosmos at Astrofest

By Debra Gooley

Astrofest is a free family event where people of all ages can discover the night sky and learn from experts about the Cosmos.

Hosted by the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO) the inaugural Sydney Astrofest is a free event for the whole family at the University of Sydney planned for Saturday 30 July 2016. Together with a host of Australian research organisations, science outreach initiatives, astronomy societies and many others, CAASTRO has designed an exciting program of free events including night-sky telescope viewing, a Planetarium and more.

Explore the cosmos with astrophysicists and local amateur astronomers who will bring a range of telescopes for you to use. Weather permitting, you will be able to observe the night sky, search for planets and stars and pick the brains of leading astrophysicists.

Astrofest will also unveil CAASTRO’s new planetarium show Capturing the Cosmos, a two-year collaboration with the Melbourne Museum, written and directed by astronomer Dr Tanya Hill, the Scienceworks planetarium’s manager and senior curator. This show reveals the most cutting-edge research on dark energy taking place through two new projects that are helping to connect the dots – the Skymapper telescope at Siding Springs in NSW and the Murchison Widefield Array in WA.

Find out about Capturing the Cosmos in this video.

Amazing speakers

Throughout the evening, a range of astronomy topics will also be presented in talks by experts well-known in their fields. Appropriate for all ages, these talks will inspire you and demystify complex subjects.

Invited guests include:

  • Dr Alan Duffy who will discuss space science in the movies – how well do the Hollywood blockbusters depict science in space? Is it right? And does it even matter?
  • Professor Ray Norris will share his passion for Aboriginal astronomy with a thought provoking talk that will have you running outside to search for the Emu in the Sky stretching across our Milky Way
  • Dr Tara Murphy will explain how big data is helping us to discover the mysteries of the universe
  • Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith will reveal the science behind the ‘awesome project’ that is the Square Kilometre Array and what they are looking for
  • David Malin pioneered new ways of making true colour images of astronomical objects and he will be presenting two talks on Colours of the stars and Colour of the night-sky
  • Dr Vanessa Moss will take you on an amazing journey through the universe
  • Joe Callingham will demonstrate how another SKA precursor, the Murchison Widefield Array is changing the way we explore the universe.

Interactive activities and demonstrations

There will be around 20 booths offering an array of activities to keep the whole family busy.

For your chance to win a Celestron telescope or a night-tour at the Sydney Observatory, register to attend this FREE event.

To find out more about CAASTRO visit the website at