A rare astronomical event will mark the launch of Australia’s biggest astronomy education facility at Gingin next Tuesday night.
A spectacular and enormous pale supermoon will rise above the Darling scarp just as the bright red sun sets over the Indian Ocean. Only in Western Australia will the timing be so perfect.
Supermoons occur when the moon comes closer than 360,000km to the Earth and next Tuesday’s supermoon will be visible from the top of the Leaning Tower of Gingin from 6.25pm to 6.36pm.
In the same way that comets brought life to the Earth, a group of high school students will launch their own “icy comets” made of sand, ice and liquid air to match the properties of the comets beyond Pluto.
Like real comets, they will leave a trail of white cloud as they crash to the ground, and make significant craters on impact.
The Hon Jim Chown MLC, Member for Agricultural Region, will open the event as the Premier’s representative.
The Gravity Discovery Centre Observatory is Australia’s biggest Astronomy Education Facility and now contains three new state-of-the-art telescopes, including the largest public viewing telescope in WA (the Brodie-Hall telescope).
It also includes a cluster of new optical and radio telescopes that have the largest optical telescope in Western Australia operated by UWA, and the new Falcon Telescope, a collaboration between UWA and the Gravity Discovery Centre.
US Consul General Cynthia Griffin will launch the Falcon Telescope, a robotic telescope developed by the US Air Force Academy for space situational awareness.
It will monitor natural and man-made space debris, helping to protect the Earth and spacecraft from catastrophic collisions.
The telescope will be housed in a dome structure which will soon be constructed next to the observatory, and has been made possible by a philanthropic donation by leading WA builder, Pindan Constructions.
For more information about the Gravity Discovery Centre Observatory visit http://gravitycentre.com.au/observatory/
David Blair (Director Australian International Gravitational Research Centre) (+61 4) 09 687 703
Gravity Discovery Centre Observatory (GDC) (+61 8) 9575 7577
Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Officer) (+61 8) 6488 6876