The ICRAR Outreach & Education team visit schools & community groups, coordinate events, and run astronomy sessions where you least expect them.
Astrofest galvanises the astronomical community, bringing science communicators and educators together to deliver an event that showcases science happening in WA while connecting the public with our own inspiring night sky.
Astrofest takes place at Curtin Stadium and Edinburgh Oval. Each year more than 3,000 people of all ages attend to enjoy, learn and experience the largest event of its kind in the country. Astrofest is a free event featuring an astrophotography exhibition, inflatable planetariums, science shows, public talks and of course a host of telescopes pointed to the sky above.
Based on this successful model, regional Astrofest events have begun to occur outside of metropolitan Perth, with an annual event now established and supported by ICRAR in Carnarvon and Mount Magnet, as well as a similar event managed by CSIRO and the Shire of Murchison in the Midwest.
Delivering events of this size and scope would not be possible without a proactive and collaborative network. To deliver Astrofest ICRAR works closely with WA’s science centre Scitech, the Astronomical Group of WA, Perth Observatory, Gingin Observatory and several other entities.
To attend the next Astrofest, or for more information, visit the Astrofest event page.
School Incursions and Excursions
ICRAR Outreach staff and astronomers have visited schools all around the Perth metropolitan area and all over Western Australia.
We give presentations on a wide range of topics from general astronomy to the Square Kilometre Array project. We also bring optical telescopes with special solar filters so that students can safely look at the sun, or our Tiny Radio Telescope (TRT) so students can get hands on with radio astronomy.
School groups sometimes visit us at Curtin University or The University of Western Australia where we give them a taste of what it is like to be a professional astronomer through various activities. We demonstrate the use of optical and radio telescopes, show students how to weigh an entire galaxy and give them a hands-on experience working with real radio astronomy data to explore the Milky Way and nearby galaxies.
Sometimes the best science experiences happen when people least expect it. ICRAR’s sidewalk astronomy is about setting up telescopes in unusual places and inviting people to observe the West Australian night sky as an unexpected break in their evening.
The beauty of sidewalk astronomy is in the way it brings science to anyone. Events are not advertised and no attempt is made to gather an audience, instead telescopes are taken to where people already are; the side of a bike path, a shopping centre or an outdoor event.
Outreach staff and professional astronomers simply stand with their telescopes and wait for people to come and take a look — and people always do. ICRAR’s astronomers also speak to people about what they see and answer questions about astronomy and their work. The unexpected experience leaves people walking away with a newfound sense of wonder and appreciation for the Universe.