100 Hours of Astronomy 2-5 April

Astronomy Year

On Thursday 2 April we start 100 Hours of Astronomy, one of the cornerstone events of the IYA.

100 Hours of Astronomy includes over 60 public events and viewings from professional observatories around the globe, and in space.

In this special bulletin we’ve got more details on this remarkable collection of events taking place from 2 to 5 April.

To assist newcomers to astronomy, maps of the sky, showing the major stars, star clusters, nebulae, galaxies and the positions of the planets and comets are available free from Skymaps. During 2-5 April the Moon will be just over half full and a splendid sight in the early evenings. The planet Saturn will also be well placed for viewing.

If you’re involved in an event that isn’t listed, please register your event on the Australian IYA website. Many thanks to all of you who have already registered! Information you register on international websites connected with IYA does NOT automatically flow through to the Australian website, so please make sure you register locally.

Please feel free to forward this bulletin to others with an interest in astronomy and to cut and paste from it for your own publications.

If you have any queries, please contact me on iya@aao.gov.auiya@aao.gov.au or (02) 9372 4251.

If you have suggestions for future bulletins, or want to subscribe or unsubscribe to this bulletin, please send your request to astronomy@scienceinpublic.com: we’re using this email address just for the bulletins.


Helen Sim

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy


Tel: +61-2-9372-4251

Mob: +61-419-635-905

(sent by Niall Byrne, Science in Public, on Helen’s behalf)

In this bulletin:

1.  Around the world in 80 telescopes – view, interact and direct from Friday 3 April

2. Public viewings and activities as part of 100 Hours of Astronomy

1  Around the world in 80 telescopes – view, interact and direct from Friday 3 April

Around the world in 80 telescopes is a 24-hour live webcast during 100 Hours. It will run from 8pm Australian Eastern Daylight time on Friday 3 April. The webcast will begin with observatories on Mauna Kea in Hawaii and move west across New Zealand, Australia, Asia, Africa, Europe, Antarctica and the Americas, finishing on the west coast of the US. All the details are posted at www.100hoursofastronomy.org.

The webcast will feature advanced astronomical observatories on earth and in space, using visible light, radio waves or other wavelengths. Observatories will be observing distant galaxies, searching for planets around other stars and studying our own solar system. You will be able to see images of the cosmos, send in questions and discover what astronomers are doing, on the spot. You can also sign up to control a telescope online, and have them take pictures for you.

Five Australian telescopes – CSIRO’s Parkes telescope, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, the Mount Pleasant radio telescope of the University of Tasmania, the Molonglo Observatory Synthesis Telescope, and the Australian International Gravitational Observatory – are taking part.

Other observatories include the Kepler Mission, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the IceCube Neutrino Telescope at the South Pole. A timetable is at http://100hoursofastronomy.org/program/75-live-24-hour-research-observatory-webcast.

To view the webcast

You don’t need to sign up or register to view the webcast – just view through your web browser at www.100hoursofastronomy.org.

When playing the stream, 100 Hours recommends clicking on the “Toggle fullscreen” button in the bottom right, to play the video in full screen, for the best view. While there will be advertisements at the bottom of the video window (which are out of our control), these can be closed by clicking on their “X” icon. Viewing the video in full screen also means that the webcast video will be larger relative to the advertisements.

Remote astronomy

Now 100 Hours of Remote Astronomy adds a new dimension to this unprecedented effort with several observatories generously donating time for the public. You can sign up to control a telescope online and take pictures or have them taken for you, all with telescopes in remote locations that can be controlled from anywhere on Earth. No astronomical knowledge is required and it’s all free! To take part, go to http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/component/content/article/34-site-navigation/228-100-hours-of-remote-astronomy

2. Public viewings and activities as part of 100 Hours of Astronomy

The following events are listed on the http://astronomy2009.org.au website.

Australian Capital Territory

  • Public star-gazing with the Canberra Astronomical Society in the Commonwealth Place car park (between Questacon and the lake) on Saturday 4 April.
  • “Space at Questacon” day at the National Science and Technology Centre on Saturday 4 April.

New South Wales

  • Public viewings at the Kirby Observatory and in local parks in Armidale, with the University of New England and Northern Tablelands Astronomical Society, on Thursday 2 April to Sunday 5 April.
  • “100 Hours of Astronomy” event run by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service at Bradley’s Head, Sydney with Andy McQuie, Ray Norris and David Malin on Thursday 2 April. (Note: this event is free but requires booking. Please ring Cadman’s cottage on 02 9247 5033.)
  • “NSW/Victoria – International Sidewalk Astronomy”, public viewings with the Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga, in Albury on Thursday 2 April.
  • “Starry, Starry Night” events in National Parks around the state:
    • Bournda National Park on Thursday 2 April
    • the South East Forest National Park, Dorrigo National Park, Bombala Endeavour Reserve and Kur-ing-gai Chase National Park on Friday 3 April
    • Royal National Park, Mutton Bird Island Nature Reserve, Cattai National Park, Blue Mountains and Warrumbungle National Park on Saturday 4 April.
  • Astronomer Fred Watson is guest speaker with the Sutherland Astronomical Society on Thursday 2 April
  • The 3rd International Sidewalk Astronomers Night, with the Sutherland Astronomical Society, in Cronulla on Friday 3 April.
  • “Baradine Village Astrofest”, afternoon talks and night sky viewing with the Astronomical Society of Coonabarabran, on Friday 3 April.
  • “Astronomy Outreach – IYA09: activities and resources”, a talk by Jeff Stanger with the Astronomical Society of NSW, on Friday 3 April.
  • The “Young Starwatchers” program runs at the University of Western Sydney on Friday 3 April.
  • “Our place in space: under the Southern Cross”, the National Trust of Australia (NSW) Heritage Festival 2009, on Saturday 4 to Sunday 19 April.
  • “Willoughby Star Party” with the Northern Sydney Astronomical Society on Saturday 4 April.
  • “Sidewalk Astronomy” events including:
    • Coonabarabran on Saturday 4 April
    • Mudgee on Friday 3 April and Saturday 4 April
    • Parkes on Saturday 4 April
    • Forbes, Dunedoo and Wellington – details to be listed soon (contact John Sarkissian (02) 6861-1769 or0414-551-304, John.Sarkissian@csiro.au for details)
  • “The Jewel Box in the Southern Cross” and a view of Saturn without its rings, stargazing at Sydney Observatory on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 April.
  • “Eyes on the sky: modern astronomical telescopes”, a one-day course examining the tools of modern astronomy run by the University of Sydney’s Centre for Continuing Education, on Saturday 4 April.

Northern Territory

  • “Sidewalk astronomy” with the Gove Amateur Astronomers in Nhulunbuy on Thursday 2 April and Friday 3 April.


  • “400 years of discovery with Galileo’s telescope”, talk and stargazing at the Runaway Bay Library, Gold Coast, on Thursday 2 April.
  • Springbrook Observatory, Gold Coast, is running a number of activities during 2-5 April.
  • “International Sidewalk Astronomers Night – Sidewalk Astronomy with Matt and Mikael”, viewing at York Optical’s Brisbane store, on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 April.
  • “Saturn Night on the Sunshine Coast”, an open night at the Mapleton State School and Community Observatory on Saturday 4 April.
  • “400 years of discovery with Galileo’s telescope” at the Runaway Bay library on Saturday 4 April.
  • A public viewing night at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Brisbane, in conjunction with local astronomical societies, on Saturday 4 April.
  • Telescope viewing on Hamilton Island with the Great Barrier Reef Observatory on Saturday 4 April.

South Australia

  • “The Heights Observatory open night” with the Astronomical Society of South Australia on Friday 3 April.
  • “Look through telescopes” to see the moon and Jupiter at Black Forest on Saturday 4 April.


  • “The Universe from beginning to end” talk by Brian Schmidt at Monash University on Thursday 2 April.
  • “NSW/Victoria – International Sidewalk Astronomy” public viewings with the Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga in Wodonga on Friday 3 April.
  • “Shallow sky viewing night” with the Astronomical Society of Melbourne on Friday 3 April.
  • “Heavens above” stargazing with the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society at the Briars on Friday 3 April.
  • “Observing the constellations” from a banana lounge in Wattle Park with expert guidance from the Astronomical Society of Victoria on Friday 3 April.
  • Solar viewing and Q&A session with astronomer Tanya Hill at the Melbourne Planetarium on Sunday 5 April.

Western Australia

  • “Scitech Space Pirates” will be out in force at Little Creatures brewery, Fremantle, to show landlubbers the stars on Thursday 2 April.
  • “The night sky as viewed from both hemispheres”, students at Ardross Primary school will participate in overnight astronomy exchange with students from Glasgow, Scotland.
  • “Big Scopes at the Beach”, stargazing at City Beach, Perth, on Friday 3 April.
  • “Astronomical Society of WA public viewing night” at Gooseberry Hill Primary School on Saturday 4 April.
  • “Saturn starkers”, astronomer Peter Birch will reveal Saturn without its rings at the Gingin Observatory on Saturday 4 April.
  • BYO Telescope class at the Gingin Observatory on Sunday 5 April.
  • “Big Scopes in Busselton”, stargazing at Busselton on Sunday 5 April.


  • “Great discoveries in astronomy”, a public talk by Martin George, will be followed by stargazing with telescopes in Launceston on Thursday 2 and Saturday 4 April.
  • “Vela Masers – Mt Pleasant Observatory”, Mt Pleasant radio telescope and Grote Reber Museum are open to the public on Saturday 4 April.
  • “Mt Canopus viewing night” held by the Astronomical Society of Tasmania on Saturday 4 April.
  • “Star-studded launch for IYA” at the Imaginarium Science Centre with exhibitions, talks, star-gazing and sausage sizzle in Devonport on Sunday 5 April.


Helen Sim

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy


Tel: +61-2-9372-4251

Mob: +61-419-635-905