Astronomy talk to focus on Siding Spring telescope

Published 04 August 2008

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Northern Tablelands astronomy enthusiasts will have a chance this week to hear about the 2.3-metre Advanced Technology Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory near Coonabarabran.

Donna Burton, who works at the Observatory for the Australian National University, will talk about the telescope at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 6 August in an event organised by the University of New England Northern Tablelands Astronomical Society (UNENTAS).

Built in the early 1980s, the Advanced Technology Telescope incorporated three radical features never before combined in a single instrument: an uncommonly thin mirror, an alt-az mount, and a rotating building.

Ms Burton, who lives in Coonabarabran, is a postgraduate student of astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland, conducting research that involves photometry and spectroscopy on active young stars.

She is vitally involved in astronomy education and outreach in the community and, as a committee member of the Astronomical Society of Coonabarabran (ASC), is keen to develop links between ASC and UNENTAS. She is particularly interested in the possibility of collaboration in events to mark the International Year of Astronomy in 2009.

Her talk on Wednesday will be at the University of New England’s Kirby Observatory on Weirs Road. The President of UNENTAS, UNE Physics postgraduate Martijn Boerkamp, said the talk would be preceded by a social gathering – with pizza – starting at around 6.30 pm.

Everyone is welcome to this event. For more information, contact Mr Boerkamp on 0427 833 154.