Inspire

Stargazers Will Love Uluru’s Astronomy Weekend

It's one of the best places in the world to see the night sky.

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Light pollution is what does it. In cities and towns across the world, the glow of artificial light makes it difficult to observe the nighttime stars. So much goes unseen. Experts say that in the USA and Europe, only 500-odd stars are visible near cities compared to the 15,000 stars that can be witnessed away from light pollution.

But here, in Australia, in the middle of the Outback, minimal light pollution and low humidity result in an outstanding dark night sky, so stargazers flock here to see the whole universe hanging overhead. And it’s not just stars – we’re talking interplanetary dust, Zodiacal light and the endless fabric of the cosmos.

For the third year, Voyages Ayers Rock Resort are hosting an event to celebrate the spectacle of the southern night sky. The Uluru Astronomy Weekend will see a crew of leading astronomers descend on Ayers Rock Resort to host a bunch of celestial events: there’ll be astronomy demonstrations, an outdoor cinema screening The Martian under the stars, astro-photography sessions, lessons on Aboriginal astronomy and navigation and talks on the Big Bang, Einstein’s theories on space and heaps of other delightful nerdy things. And aside from optional extras, like an Astro Trivia Lunch and a starlit outdoor dinner with a local bush tucker-inspired menu, the whole event is free.

Uluru’s Astronomy Weekend is run in partnership with the Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics and will be hosted by science journalist and ABC radio broadcaster Robyn Williams. It takes place from August 26–28, 2016.

The cosmic weekend is also a killer opportunity to check out Bruce Munro’s massive Field of Light installation, which is currently illuminating the nearby desert with 50,000 slender glass spheres each night after the sun sets.

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Photo: Mark Pickthall