Explore the stellar beauty and mystery of our universe

Date: 13/05/2009

From Earth, planetary nebulae appear to be brightly coloured orbs of light. They are the fireworks of the universe, which many consider to be the most beautiful objects in the entire night sky.

On Saturday 23 May 2009, the University of Western Sydney Observatory will hold a special Astronomy Night at the UWS Penrith campus to explore the fact and theories of planetary nebulae and how they came to be.

Dr Ragbir Bhathal, Director of the Observatory, says planetary nebulae are essentially glowing shells of gas and plasma.

"Many astronomers believe that planetary nebulae are formed when certain types of stars die. However, there is an increasing amount of evidence to suggest that this theory is flawed," says Dr Bhathal.

"It is now being considered that planetary nebulae are formed when a companion star, or even a large planet, orbits the primary star at some distance. But at this stage, it is still only a theory."

The astronomy night will feature Dr Orsolo De Marco, Associate Professor of Physics from Macquarie University, as special guest speaker.

WHAT: "Planetary Nebulae: the death shroud of a lonely star, or the result of a stellar duet?"
WHEN: Saturday 23 May 2009, 7pm - 9pm.
WHERE: UWS Observatory, Penrith campus (Werrington North)
COST: $12 adult, $8 child, $35 family

For bookings, phone: (02) 4736 0135 (Mon, Tues or Thurs), email: r.mccourt@uws.edu.au, or visit: www.uws.edu.au/observatory



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Danielle Roddick
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