Stellar attractions at the Murchison Astrofest 2013

One of the Murchison’s iconic events is back! Join star gazers from across the Mid West at the Murchison Astrofest 2013, which kicks off at 11am on Saturday 17 August 2013 at the Murchison Settlement. Stellar attractions at this year’s Murchison Astrofest include CSIRO’s Dr Lisa Harvey- Smith and Professor Ken Freeman – winner of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.
Dr. Lisa Harvey-Smith, Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Project Scientist, will speak about some of the complex mysteries of the universe that will be tackled by astronomers using information from this cutting-edge CSIRO ASKAP radio telescope.
Lisa Harvey-Smith is a research astronomer at CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Science division and is based in Sydney. Lisa has research experience spanning over a decade in observatories in the U.K., The Netherlands, Germany and Australia. Her research interests range from measuring weak magnetic fields in our Galaxy to capturing images of the birth and death of stars.
According to Mr Sandy McTaggart - Chair, Murchison Astrofest Committee “Lisa is a fantastic ambassador for astronomy as she is able to convey her enthusiasm for science to the general public”.
Also, speaking at the Murchison Astrofest is prominent International astronomer Professor Ken Freeman. Prof Freeman was awarded the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Science.
As well as the above, in early 2013 the prestigious Henry Norris Russell Lectureship of the American Astronomical Society was awarded to Professor Freeman in recognition of a lifetime of influential contributions to astronomy.
Ken is the Duffield Professor of Astronomy at the Australian National University’s Mt Stromlo Observatory, a man regarded internationally as Australia’s most renowned astronomer.
Among many other achievements, Ken is perhaps best known for putting “dark matter” on the galactic map. In 1970, he published a paper showing that what we see of galaxies - as stars, gas and dust - is only a small fraction of their mass. The rest is invisible, dark matter. It’s a finding which changed the course of astronomy. But that was only the beginning of his career.
More recently, in 2002, he became a founder of what today is one of the hottest fields of investigation in astronomy, galactic archaeology - determining the age and movement of stars in our own galaxy through analysing their chemical composition. The aim is to work out how galaxies were constructed. And the field has become a major driver in the commissioning of new ground and space-based telescopes.
“It is not every day that the general public get to meet and hear internationally recognised Australian scientists tell us about their work. What an opportunity! “ says Mr McTaggart and is urging people to register to attend the event.
The Murchison Shire is the home of the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) where the cutting edge radio astronomy instruments can be found including ASKAP, the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA), EDGES and in the future the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).
Tickets to the Murchison Astrofest are:
$80 /family (2xadults; 2xprimary school aged children); $20/child (age 13 -16);
Registration Fees entitles participants to 3xmeals (lunch, dinner and breakfast) plus access to all public lectures and activities including star viewing.
For further details visit:
Or contact Priscilla Clayton E: Phone: (08) 9923-7755

Pictured: Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith and Prof Ken Freeman


Jason Smith

Jason is the author of Everything Perth. He’s also a law student, small business owner, husband, and father of three boys.