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WSU is sleeping on its stars

The Western Sydney University observatory needs your support by Julia Bell...

The observatory contains a 30 year old telescope that was designed at the university, using concave mirrors to reflect the light and show students the celestial bodies they study. The software used to operate the telescope and view the images was designed by a master’s student at the university. This observatory has been labour of love from day one, as this incredible resource gives the university opportunities gives WSU students a unique access to an incredible resource.’ 

Ain De Horta, the Principal Astronomer of the observatory, runs an elective The Cosmos in Perspective: Information and Life during the autumn semester open to every degree. This subject includes practical activities at the observatory in Werrington, so if you want to see the dome roof of the building open, allowing us to see the stars up close while studying the origins of the universe, this is the elective for you.  

The observatory is currently not open to the public, but students and staff alike hope it will be again. Before the pandemic, the observatory hosted an amateur astronomy group for students and local enthusiasts and was open for school excursions and families to tour. Increasing student engagement at this incredible building through Western Life events and the enrollment in its elective is the best way to show the university that it is not forgotten.  

On the 7th of May the Science Society held a movie night in the observatory to watch Hidden Figures.  This was one of many events held by the Science Society, including pizza nights and liquid nitrogen ice cream. Be sure to watch out on Western Life, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on what’s happening.  

The Western Sydney University Observatory sits on an unused campus in Werrington, where it was once filled with students and astronomers.  

The observatory contains a 30 year old telescope that was designed at the university, using concave mirrors to reflect the light and show students the celestial bodies they study. The software used to operate the telescope and view the images was designed by a master’s student at the university. This observatory has been labour of love from day one, as this incredible resource gives the university opportunities gives WSU students a unique access to an incredible resource.’ 

Ain De Horta, the Principal Astronomer of the observatory, runs an elective The Cosmos in Perspective: Information and Life during the autumn semester open to every degree. This subject includes practical activities at the observatory in Werrington, so if you want to see the dome roof of the building open, allowing us to see the stars up close while studying the origins of the universe, this is the elective for you.  

The observatory is currently not open to the public, but students and staff alike hope it will be again. Before the pandemic, the observatory hosted an amateur astronomy group for students and local enthusiasts and was open for school excursions and families to tour. Increasing student engagement at this incredible building through Western Life events and the enrollment in its elective is the best way to show the university that it is not forgotten.  

On the 7th of May the Science Society held a movie night in the observatory to watch Hidden Figures.  This was one of many events held by the Science Society, including pizza nights and liquid nitrogen ice cream. Be sure to watch out on Western Life, Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on what’s happening.  

Image Credit: Sandy Lindsay
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Looking to the stars

On May 23, 2018, hundreds of people gathered at three of Western Sydney University’s campuses to help break the world record for the most amount of ...

On May 23, 2018, hundreds of people gathered at three of Western Sydney University’s campuses to help break the world record for the most amount of people stargazing at the same time.

Organised by the ABC in partnership with the Australian National University, the event featured 285 star parties across Australia and saw an estimated 40,000 people across Australia simultaneously observe the moon through a telescope for 10 minutes.

All up, 14 universities, more than 100 schools, and eight observatories took part in the event, including WSU’s Penrith observatory.

WSU’s participants varied from university students, staff, families with kids, and amateur astronomers, who came to the observatory to take part in the event.

“I find it cool that more people are getting into astronomy. It’s a really interesting thing to learn about,” said David Butler, a WSU Bachelor of International Studies who is studying astrology as an elective.

People who came to the event either brought their own telescopes or bought one in the venue provided. Members of the Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group, a private club that’s partnered with the university, also came to the event and brought their own personal telescopes for the kids to view the moon with. The telescopes show high-depth images of the moon and possibly the viewable planets around us.

“Events like this help bring the community together, it’s fantastic,” said David. “There are so many unknowns and a lot of things we still don’t know about our universe.”

The event concluded with everyone gathered around in front of the observatory for a group photo to commemorate the event.

“I hope we can get more people into astronomy and into stargazing on a daily basis,” said Peter Nosworthy, the secretary of the Western Sydney Amateur Astronomy Group.

But no astronomy event is over without asking the final question – IS THE EARTH FLAT?

“The way the stars move prove to me that the earth is not flat. I can’t prove that the Earth is flat as all the proofs seem illogical,” said Peter.