See stars with Dr Karl at Uluru

Aug 22, 2014

Dr Karl Kruzselnicki

Dr Karl Kruzselnicki, known to millions of Australians as the ‘face of science’, will spend this weekend [22–24 August 2014] at Uluru guiding visitors around the rich skies of outback Australia.

He’s well qualified to do so. The popular broadcaster and author of 33 books has studied astrophysics, and even has an asteroid named after him (18412 Kruzselnicki).

Thanks to the glare of artificial lighting, city slickers can see only tens or at most a few hundred stars at night. But the dark skies of Central Australia reveal at least 2,000.

Even these are just a fraction of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy in which we live. And there’s a whole Universe beyond.  To help explain it, Dr Karl will be joined by four of Australia’s top astronomers, brought together by CAASTRO: Professor Bryan Gaensler (University of Sydney), Professor Rachel Webster (University of Melbourne), Professor Steven Tingay (Curtin University) and Professor Ray Norris (CSIRO). Dr Karl himself is the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow at the University of Sydney.

Together they’ll be giving talk and ‘sky tours’ from Friday to Sunday, covering everything from the history of the Universe to whether there’s life out there and how Australian astronomers are blazing a trail to the future with the telescopes they’re building.

Stars over Uluru at sunset. Photo: A. Lopez-Sanchez
This weekend’s event, the Uluru Astronomy Weekend, is an activity for Australia’s National Science Week. It’s an initiative of Ayers Rock Resort, in partnership with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics (CAASTRO). CAASTRO is a collaboration between Curtin University, The University of Western Australia, the University of Sydney, the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of Queensland. CAASTRO is funded under the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence program and receives additional funding from the seven participating universities and the NSW State Government Science Leveraging Fund.