Space is star of Astro­fest

Narrogin Observer - - News -

Univer­sity of WA’s Farm Ridgefield in Pin­gelly hosted 130 stargaz­ers over the week­end, with many of them be­ing bussed down from Perth.

In a joint ini­tia­tive by UWA’s Fu­ture Farm 2050 Project and the In­ter­na­tional Cen­tre for Ra­dio As­tron­omy Re­search (ICRAR), Pin­gelly Astro­fest of­fered a num­ber of in­door and out­door events on Satur­day night to get those at­tend­ing think­ing about our uni­verse.

ICRAR cos­mos con­sul­tant Gre­gory Row­botham said the Pin­gelly Astro­fest had a myr­iad of in­ter­est­ing and en­gag­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to help stargaz­ers learn about the night sky.

“Pin­gelly Astro­fest brings down peo­ple to the farm to show them the sky, be­cause dark skies are re­ally im­por­tant,” he said.

“In the city, in Perth, ev­ery­thing is hid be­hind or­ange clouds and bright lights. You can’t see a thing.

“Come out to Pin­gelly and you can see the Milky Way quite clearly.”

Dr Luke Davies and PhD stu­dents study­ing as­tron­omy shared their knowl­edge of the uni­verse with the crowd, while dis­plays of state-of-theart tele­scopes, as­tropho­tog­ra­phy and by Scitech­were there to in­ter­est the crowd on the cloudy night.

UWA’s Fu­ture Farm 2050 Project’s Graeme Martin said the project was part of the univer­sity’s ef­fort to com­bat food se­cu­rity chal­lenges in the years to come.

“In 2050 we’re go­ing to have 50 per cent more peo­ple on the planet and we’re go­ing to have to find food for them,” he said.

“Busi­ness as usual will not cut it.”

He said the farm in Pin­gelly was used for re­search projects in agri­cul­ture and bio­di­ver­sity.

Pic­ture: Michael Traill

ICRAR PhD stu­dents Pikky Atri, Robin Cook and Ron­niy Joseph.

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