What is StarFest?

StarFest is the weekend (October long weekend each year) extravaganza of events hosted by Siding Spring Observatory during Festival of the Stars. For more information on the full month of events go to the Festival of the Stars website.

StarFest includes the popular Bok Lecture, the exciting Science in the Pub and the full array of Open Day activities that occur on top of Siding Spring Observatory.

If you want to know more about StarFest events as details are announces then please like us on Facebook!

festival of the stars
If you visited any Starfest events please fill in our Starfest survey

Happy Birthday SSO

Thank you to everyone that attended the 2014 Starfest weekend 3-5 October. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Siding Spring Observatory (SSO) celebrates not one, but four significant anniversaries in 2014. In 1964 SSO was established with the opening of the ANU 40 inch Telescope marking its 50th anniversary, the Anglo-Australian Telescope, Australia’s largest optical telescope will celebrate its 40th anniversary, the ANU 2.3m Advance Technology Telescope will celebrate its 30th anniversary and Faulkes 2m Telescope will celebrate its 10th Anniversary.

Taking its first images 12 February 1964, the ANU 40inch Telescope was the first telescope constructed at Siding Spring Observatory. The telescope was designed for photography and became renowned for its research into the structure of the Milky Way and Magellanic Clouds.

Ten years and eight months later, 16 October 1974 HRH Prince Charles and the then Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam officially opened the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT). Operated by the Australian Astronomical Observatory as part of the Department of Industry of the Federal government, the AAT continues to provide one of the most productive, world-class optical and infrared observing facilities.

In 1984, Prime Minister Bob Hawke officially opened the Australian National University’s 2.3 metre Advanced Technology Telescope (ATT). Operated by the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, the 2.3 ATT has played a pivotal role in probing the cosmos to answer questions about Dark Matter and the evolution of the Universe, and continues to play a significant role in astrophysical research.

In 2004, Faulkes Telescope South saw first light. The Faulkes Telescope South is a 2m (79 in) Ritchie-Chretien telescope designed to be operated remotely with the aim of encouraging an interest in science by young people. The telescope is owned and operated by LCOGT which is founded and funded by Wayne Rosing.

To mark these significant anniversaries, the SSO astronomical institutions join under the banner of StarFest for a very special long weekend in October.

Open Day – Virtual Visit

We will upload the talks presented on Open Day, October 4th 2014, the week after the event.

AAT Lecture Program 2014

When the talks are available you will be able to follow links on each of the talks below.

Prof Fred Watson – Good Morning Starshine

Dr Daniel Bayliss – Planet Hunting at Siding Spring

Dr Remo Collett – Beauty, symmetry and complexity in the universe

Dr Andy Green – Bigger than big: how do we know how big?

Prof David Malin – Photography at the AAT

Dr Pamela Gay – Exploring the cosmos from your computer

Dr Andrew Pickles – Why we keep you in the dark

Elise Hampton – When galaxies collide; The who-dunnit of our galaxy’s fate

Prof Warrick Couch – Rich clusters of galaxies: Cosmic ‘Mix-Masters’ at work

Prof Matthew Colless – What we know (and don’t know) about the Universe

Prof Brian Schmidt – The big questions: How researchers are unlocking the mysteries of the universe