Almost everything we know about the Universe has been obtained by analysing the light of the Cosmos collected with telescopes. With its 3.9m mirror, the...

The Story of Light – Celebrating Australia’s largest optical telescope

Location:

500 Harris St
2007 NSW
Australia

Venue:
Powerhouse Museum
The Story of Light - Celebrating Australias largest optical telescope

Speakers

Kirsten Banks

Kirsten Banks

Astronomer and Science Communicator

Kirsten Banks is a proud Wiradjuri woman with an intense passion for astronomy and science communication. Ever since a young girl, she’s had her eyes locked to the sky and she first formed her love for astrophysics in high school. Now a fourth year physics student at the UNSW, Kirsten jumps at any and every opportunity to get involved with science communication. She’s appeared on many radio shows such as ABC Mornings with Wendy Harmer, and the Night Shift with Luke Bona on Triple M, as well as joining the television realm on NITV’s The Point, even a Japanese Documentary about Indigenous astronomy!

Dr Angel Lopez-Sanchez

Dr Angel Lopez-Sanchez

Astronomer and science communicator

Dr Ángel R. López-Sánchez is an astronomer and science communicator at the Australian Astronomical Observatory and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Macquarie University. He studies how the gas is converted into stars in nearby galaxies and how this affects galaxy evolution. He also provides support for visiting astronomers to the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT, Siding Spring Observatory, NSW). Since 2017, he is the science communication oficer at the AAO. Dr. López-Sánchez is a passionate science communicator who continuously gives talks and public lectures, writes popular science writings and organises stargazing activities. 

Dr Sarah Martell

Dr Sarah Martell

Senior Lecturer at UNSW

Dr Sarah Martell is a senior lecturer at the UNSW. Her main research focus is on "galactic archaeology" — unwinding the present-day orbits and chemical compositions of stars in the Milky Way to study the processes at work early in galactic history. She is one of two project scientists for the GALAH (Galactic Archaeology with HERMES) survey, which began collecting data at the Anglo-Australian Telescope in late 2013. She is member of the Steering Committee of Astronomical Society of Australia chapter for Early-Career Researchers.

Prof Fred Watson

Prof Fred Watson

Astrophysicist and Science Communicator

Prof Fred Watson is an astronomer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory. His main scientific interest is in the use of novel technology to gather information on very large numbers of stars and galaxies. Until 2009, Fred was based at the AAO's telescopes, where he was astronomer in charge. He is now the head of Lighting and Environment, working closely with state and local government and the Coonabarabran community to preserve the dark skies of the observatory. Fred is well-known for his astronomy slots on ABC radio, and his books. In 2003, Fred received the David Allen Prize for communicating astronomy to the public, and in 2006 was the winner of the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science.

A/Prof Chris Lidman

A/Prof Chris Lidman

Director of Siding Spring Observatory

A/Prof Chris Lidman completed his PhD at the Australian National University in 1994, he currently is the director of Siding Spring Observatory. He was a member of one of the teams that shared the 2011 Nobel Prize for Physics for discovering the accelerating expansion of the Universe. Prof Lidman also shared the 2007 Gruber Cosmology Prize and the 2014 Breakthrough Prize for this research. He is now leading the successful OzDES program at the Anglo-Australian Telescope, which is measuring the redshifts for very faint galaxies in which the Dark Energy Survey is finding distant supernovae.

Access and Inclusion

For more accessibility information see the Vivid accessibility map.

  • Wheelchair accessible - Access to the venue is suitable for wheelchairs (toilets, ramps/lifts etc.) and designated wheelchair spaces are available.

Event Details

Almost everything we know about the Universe has been obtained by analysing the light of the Cosmos collected with telescopes. With its 3.9m mirror, the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) is the largest optical telescope in Australia and has significantly improved our understanding of the Universe. Located at Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran, NSW, the AAT was commissioned in 1974 and it still is a leading edge astronomical facility thanks to the technology developed at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO). 

Join five leading professional astrophysicists for a fascinating overview of the major science achievements obtained analysing the light collected with the AAT and hear about the exciting science and technology projects currently underway in this cutting-edge research facility. Discover how the AAT is ‘digging’ the stars in the Milky Way to understand how it formed.

Move from planets imagined by science fiction to real exoplanets as described by science discoveries, many obtained at the AAT.  Be amazed by the AAT’s amazing fibre optics and engineering technology that allows us to ‘dissect’ galaxies to understand how stars and galaxies form and evolve. Listen to experts who contributed to the discovery of the existence of the mysterious dark energy in the Cosmos and how the AAT seeks for the optical detection of gravitational waves.

After the session, the panel will happily answer any of your questions about the Universe. 

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Access and Inclusion

For more accessibility information see the Vivid accessibility map.

  • Wheelchair accessible - Access to the venue is suitable for wheelchairs (toilets, ramps/lifts etc.) and designated wheelchair spaces are available.