UWS offers view of the heavens

Date: 09/08/2002

Visitors will be treated to a view of the heavens at the University of Western Sydney's Nepean Observatory at the Penrith campus on Friday, 16 August, as part of national Science Week.

Through several telescopes provided by the Western Sydney Amateur Astronomical Society, visitors will be able to see the craters on the Moon, the beautiful multi-coloured open clusters and the 13 billion years old globular clusters.

According to program director for Astronomy at UWS, Dr Ragbir Bhathal, National Science Week is undertaken by all the major universities to encourage young people to take up careers in science, technology and engineering.

"Science and engineering are the way to create wealth for nations," says Dr Bhathal.

"Australia needs a lot more scientists and engineers in order to not only compete with the US, Japan and Europe but to also capture the high technology markets for the economic growth of the country and Western Sydney.''

The Astronomy Night will begin with a talk by famous Australian astronomer, Dr Fred Watson, a pioneer in the use of fibre optics in astronomy - a technique that is used today in all major observatories worldwide.

Dr Watson will speak on Cosmology, which deals with the origin and evolution of the universe and on how astronomers think the universe began from a big bang almost 15 billion years ago.

The talk will be fully illustrated with exciting images of galaxies and other astronomical objects and will captivate all - from small children to grandparents.

"Visitors will be able to find out whether the universe will continue to expand forever or will start contracting and eventually collapse in a big crunch,'' Dr Bhathal says.

Dr Watson is the Astronomer-in-Charge of the Anglo-Australian Observatory at Siding Spring, which houses the largest telescope (4 m) in Australia.

Visitors will also be able to find out the type of telescopes they can purchase for their children.

For further information contact Ross McCourt on 02 47 360 135 from 9am to 2pm on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.

No bookings are necessary for the program, however, there is a charge of $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Where: UWS Nepean Observatory, Werrington North site, Penrith Campus
When: Friday 16 August at 7pm
Cost: $10 adults, $5 children

For more media information contact:

Asha Chand
Snr Media Officer
Ph: 02 9678 7429