Astronomy Open Night - Saturday 23rd May, 2015

Saturday 23rd May 2015, 6:30PM – 10:00PM

The Macquarie University Association for Astronomy (AfA) and the Department of Physics & Astronomy are proud to present the annual Macquarie University Astronomy Open Night. The AfA was established in 1988 by Dr. Alan Vaughan to promote astronomy outreach to the public, enabling various parts of the astronomical community to interact, and encouraging teaching and research in astronomy and astrophysics at Macquarie University. This has made the Astronomy Open Night one of the most treasured events on the Macquarie University astronomy calendar over the past 25 years.

Please join us for an incredible evening of astronomy, astrophysics, photonics, astrophotonics and all things physics – including a large outdoor area full of telescopes, where you can observe celestial objects for yourself! Weather permitting, there will be up to 30 telescopes aimed at the glittering night sky, operated by both Macquarie University astronomers and amateur astronomers alike. Meet and chat with real-life astronomers, observe stars, planets, nebulae, star clusters and much more, and discover the night sky like you never have before!

Activities include:



Open Night Details

E7B Courtyard, Macquarie University. The Campus can be reached by car or by train (Macquarie University Station is on the Northern Line).



Tickets are available for purchase online here.

Please bring your printed ticket or (preferably) digital ticket on your smartphone/tablet, to check in when you arrive. All ticket barcodes will be scanned upon arrival, so please ensure that all members of your group have access to their own ticket (especially for those buying multiple/group tickets who will be arriving separately). If you are purchasing a Family ticket, all 4 members of your family (2 adults + 2 children) must arrive together, as you will only be issued with one ticket.

Earlybird tickets are available online until midnight Sunday 17th May. Tickets will also be available on the door, at the following rates:

Adult – $20.00 on the door
Child – $12.00 on the door
Concession – $14.00 on the door
Family – $48.00 on the door (2 adults + 2 children)

Parking Free parking is available after 6pm in the F3A, F5A, F5B, C2 and C3 car parks.
Weather The evening will not be cancelled in the event of bad weather, although the telescopes will not be available if it is very cloudy. But don’t worry, there will still be plenty to do!!!
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Illustrated Talk @ 7:30pm

Amanda Bauer, Astronomer and Outreach Officer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory

Title A Long Time Ago in Galaxies Far, Far Away

Location E7B Mason Theatre

Topic Galaxies found in the distant, early universe look and behave differently from those in our local universe. In this presentation, I describe triumphs and tribulations towards our understanding of these changes over time, by highlighting some fundamental insights into the current mysteries of galaxy evolution, derived from telescopic observations and theoretical simulations.

Biography Amanda Bauer is an Astronomer and Outreach Officer at the Australian Astronomical Observatory. She uses earth-based and orbiting space telescopes to explore variations in how galaxies formed, how they lived their lives, and how they evolved into the diverse array of galaxy species we see today. You can find her online as astropixie at

Telescopes & Stargazing

Location E10 Car Park

Join Macquarie astrophysicists and local amateur astronomers and explore the cosmos using various telescopes from Macquarie University Observatory, local astronomy clubs, and individual astronomers.  Look at celestial objects such as planets, star clusters, and nebulae, talk to members of your local astronomical society, and join in the action!  Several telescope vendors will be present and eager to answer all your questions about buying your very own telescope.


Macquarie University Planetarium

Location E7B Courtyard

The Macquarie University portable Planetarium will be in operation this year! Entry to the Planetarium will only be available for a gold coin donation, payable to the Planetarium staff on the night. Please note that this gold coin donation is separate to the general ticket price (i.e. the ticket you purchase to the Astronomy Open Night does not automatically include entry to the Planetarium).

Please be aware that the Planetarium is always in high demand, and we unfortunately cannot guarantee that everyone will be accomodated for. The Planetarium has a maximum capacity of 50 people at any one time, so although we aim to showcase our guided Planetarium shows to as many people as possible, we may not have room for everyone. However, if we can’t fit you in on the night, there is no need to despair! We do hold public Planetarium sessions on-campus throughout the year, for a full one-hour astronomy show :-) so please check our website and come along to one of our special hour-long sessions instead!

Short Talks

The MQ Astronomy, Astrophysics and Astrophotonics Research Centre is pleased to present a series of short talks given by our astronomers. These talks are aimed at the general public and amateur astronomers and present the diverse range of interests that are present in our growing Astronomy Department.

More details coming very soon!

Aboriginal Astronomy

Documentary Screening: Star Stories of the Dreaming

Don’t miss this special screening of the documentary Star Stories of the Dreaming, which will be run in a loop for the duration of the evening.

Location E7B Room 100

Synopsis Ghillar Michael Anderson is an ANU-trained lawyer who worked for the U.N. First Peoples program in Geneva for many years. He returned to Australia some years ago, and settled on his Euahlayi family’s country on the Bogan River outside of Goodooga in northwest NSW. His Euahlayi heritage stretches back beyond written history, and he is the cultural keeper of knowledge passed down from grandfathers to grandsons for uncounted generations. In working with a research project that Bob Fuller ran from Macquarie University into the astronomy knowledge of the Kamilaroi and Euahlayi peoples, he provided much previously unrecorded knowledge about the culture of these language groups and the relation to the sky. An outgrowth of the project was the development of a documentary by Eleanor Gilbert showcasing Michael’s knowledge, and including some interesting conversations with Dr. Ray Norris, a CSIRO radio astronomer, and a founding member of the current research groups into Indigenous Astronomy.

Emu Dreaming tracing

Activities for Adults & Kids of all Ages

Come along to see the children’s activity room, robotics and laser activities. Some activities are only suitable for older children, while others are perfect for the youngest ones.

Vendors & Clubs

  • Details coming soon!

Food & Drink

Details coming soon!

Keep informed

…about this and other Physics and Astronomy events: