Born from astronomy… Looking to a star-studded future
In 1768 the British Admiralty sent Captain James Cook to the Pacific to monitor the transit of the planet Venus across the Sun. On his way home to England, Cook mapped Australia’s east coast, and claimed New South Wales.
For about 40,000 years before that, the indigenous peoples of Australia had been developing remarkably sophisticated explanations of the workings of the Southern Sky.
And in the 20th Century, an independent Australia was at the forefront of radio astronomy, receiving the first signals from the Moon.
Today Australian astronomers continue to unravel the mysteries of the southern sky.
The stories are grouped into broad themes, covering:
- Australian Nobel laureate Brian Schmidt and the search for dark energy
- Indigenous perspectives of the night sky
- Australia’s rich history in optical astronomy
- Understanding our galaxy and our solar system
- The journey from wartime radar to The Dish to the Square Kilometer Array
You’ll find stories about: invading alien stars; searching for extra-solar planets; detecting gravitational waves; quaking stars and what they can tell us; looking at the skies through Aboriginal eyes; understanding our home – the Milky Way; a 268 mega pixel camera; unmasking the Universe’s dark secret; amateurs making big discoveries; stimulating the Arts; and Australia’s role in creating a giant radio telescope – the Square Kilometre Array – that will look out to the beginning of time.
You can also find out what’s happening in astronomy in your state or territory:
- New South Wales
- Australian Capital Territory
- Western Australia
- South Australia
- Northern Territory
Stories of Australian Astronomy 2012 is part of the collection of stories of Australian science from Science in Public.
This collection could not have happened without the Australian Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Helen Sim from CSIRO/AAO and David Malin. Click here for our full acknowledgement and thanks.
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I invite you to read these stories and to follow up with any organisation whose work captures your interest.