Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA)

Gippsland plumber wins Australian astronomy medal for 400,000 star measurements over decades

Plumber and award-winning amateur astronomer Rod Stubbings pictured with his telescope.
Plumber and award-winning amateur astronomer Rod Stubbings, pictured with his telescope. Credit: Rod Stubbings

Every clear night for decades, Rod Stubbings from Tetoora Road in Gippsland has looked at a set of about 700 stars annually, recording changes in their brightness.

He is just one of three people worldwide to have made 400,000 measurements of the brightness of variable stars. His observations have helped astronomers in over a dozen countries to understand stars in the Milky Way. “When I report an interesting outburst, ground and space telescopes can zoom in for a closer look,” Rod says.

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Dark matter in colliding galaxy clusters, travelling back to the cosmic dawn, enabling ‘impossible’ research, and more

National recognition for astronomers from Perth, Canberra, and Melbourne

  • How dark matter behaves in colliding galaxy clusters, explained by UWA/ICRAR student William McDonald
  • Why the Universe’s earliest stars are so elusive, by Dr Piyush Sharda of ANU (now working at Leiden Observatory, the Netherlands)
  • A sharper focus on when the Universe lit up, by Dr Nichole Barry of Curtin University/ICRAR
  • The chemistry of starlight helps explain our galaxy’s evolution, says Dr Sven Buder of ANU
  • A mission to study 6 million galaxies in 5 years, by A/Prof. Michelle Cluver of Swinburne University of Technology
  • Software that enables ‘impossible’ research, by Dr Manodeep Sinha of Swinburne University of Technology.

The Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) will honour the 6 at its Annual Scientific Meeting at the Macquarie University Wallumattagal Campus in Sydney 3-7 July 2023.

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Massive X-ray blasts, thousands of black holes revealed; a universe in a computer and more

Next generation astronomers win national recognition

A Sydney student, early-career researchers from Perth and Melbourne, and a fast telescope have received awards for changing our view of our galaxy and the Universe.

The Astronomical Society of Australia (ASA) will honour the five at its Annual Scientific Meeting in Hobart 27 June – 1 July.

“Australian astronomers are among the best in the world, and the breadth of these prestigious awards shows why we lead the world in so many areas. It is a pleasure to recognise these examples of individual brilliance, as well as teamwork, and technical innovation,” says ASA President Professor John Lattanzio.

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Backyard astronomers win recognition from the professionals

200 supernovae found by six mates – enabling discoveries about the evolution of stars and the ingredients of life

Ex-miner from Broken Hill discovers a massive electrical storm on Saturn and guides NASA mission

Two amateur astronomy projects were awarded the 2022 Page Medal on Saturday 16 April at the National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers held online.

The six friends who make up The Backyard Observatory Supernova Search (BOSS) Team monitor distant galaxies to detect the death throes of massive stars as they explode in brilliant supernovae. The team then alerts professional telescopes to swing into action and study these phenomena at the crucial moment. The sooner those observations begin, the more is learnt about the lead up to the star’s final moments.

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