Astro Rocks Festival sets our eyes skyward

Midwest Times
Telescopes gave all ages a rare view of the cosmos
Camera IconTelescopes gave all ages a rare view of the cosmos Credit: Picture: Facebook

Clear skies and warm spring nights were the perfect setting for the 8th Astro Rocks Fest in Mt Magnet last weekend.

Hundreds turned out for art exhibitions, ancient storytelling and presentations from leading academics across the three-day event, which was split in two, celebrating the astrological and the geological separately.

Astrophotography took centre stage on the opening night, with heavy involvement from the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research, based out of The University of WA. Visitors were invited to see an exhibition of some of the best deep space photography to come out of WA.

Dr Karen Lee-Waddell closed the night by giving an update on the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, which recently received the go-ahead from all member states to begin construction. GLEAMoscope allowed visitors to see in virtual reality what the massive radio telescope might look like, as well as seeing the night sky with “radio eyes”.

ANZAC Hall was adorned with a mural created throughout the weekend by Ben Beeton, collaborating with local Indigenous artists to showcase traditional knowledge of some of Australia’s oldest rock formations. The artwork is now owned by the Shire of Mount Magnet, and will be put up for permanent display.

Botanist Prof. Stephen Hopper and geologist Dr Michael Wingate led a trip to The Granites, 9km north of Mt Magnet. The 15m-high escarpment is a significant site of Aboriginal art, some of which is 9000 years old.

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