The 2013 Murchison Astronomy Festival on Saturday the 17th of August saw over 300 keen star gazers travel from all over the state to the remote settlement of Murchison in Western Australia's mid-west.
The action kicked off at 11am with various presentations, including key-note talks given by Dr Lisa Harvey-Smith - CSIRO's ASKAP Project Scientist and Dr Ken Freeman - winner of the 2012 Prime Minister's Prize for Science. Other interesting activities were run concurrently including a special display at the Murchison museum and guided walks by Wadjarri Bush Professor Uncle Alan Egan. There was also plenty on for the kids including Lego space shuttle consrtuction, colouring in and the 'What is your weight on Mars?' scales were a novelty for both young and old!
The Geraldton Astronomy Group and ICRAR (International Centre for Radioastronomy Research) kindly made their telescopes available to attendees from early afternoon through to late at night. Solar telescopes were on hand for great views of the sun and as the dark night fell fantastic viewings of the Moon, Saturn and Globular Clusters had many of the gazers in awe.
The food was well received - judging by the little leftovers - with guests enjoying a delicious lunch, dinner and breakfast on the Sunday morning prepared capably by Geraldton chef Terry Taylor. Thanks to the Murchison Arts Council for hosting the cake stall filled with delicious home baked goodies.
Once dinner was devoured the towering Astro-fire was lit, keeping attendees warm as they enjoyed a few drinks and the sounds of live band Fusion Music; a delightful mix of Didgeridoo, guitar and sitar music.
The majority of attendees then camped out under the stars at the Murchison Oasis Caravan Park or made the short drive to nearby Wooleen Station for a comfy bed.
From professional astronomers to keen hobbyists both young and old, there was something to enthral everyone at Murchison Astrofest 2013.
Sincere thanks must go to all our guest speakers and sponsors. Thank you also to all of our attendees who ventured into the outback for the second ever Murchison Astrofest.
We look forward to welcoming you in 2015!