Astronomy Open Night

Astronomy Open Night

AON 2017 

Saturday 20 May 2017, 6:30pm – 10pm, E7B Courtyard 

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).


Campus Map:


Tickets are available for purchase online.

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 8th May. Limited 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)

Please note that it is CASH ONLY on the night and there are LIMITED Tickets on the door, so get your tickets online.

Parking Free parking is available after 6pm in the F5F5C2C3 , X3 and W4 car parks.

Here is a link to the campus parking map:
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!!!


Illustrated Talk @ 7:30pm

Professor Matthew Bailes
Pro Vice-Chancellor at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Director of the OzGrav ARC Centre of Excellence

Title: The Relativistic Universe

Abstract: 100 years after Einstein's completed his masterpiece, the General Theory of Relativity, astronomers used an amazing apparatus (LIGO) to detect the gravitational waves from two merging black holes a billion light years away as, for a brief fraction of a second they outshone every star in the Universe put together! 

In this talk, Professor Matthew Bailes, the Director of the Australian Research Council's Centre for Gravitational Wave Discovery, will
describe how astronomers observe the relativistic universe, and the astonishing systems it contains.

Location E7B Mason Theatre

Biography: Professor Matthew Bailes is an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and the leader of the Pulsar and Fast Radio Burst (FRB) research group at Swinburne and is the theme leader of the Dynamic Universe as part of the ARC Centre of Excellence CAASTRO. He founded the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne in 1998 and served as its Director for the first 12 years. His research mainly concerns developing instrumentation for time domain astrophysics and using it for pulsar and FRB discovery in conjunction with his many collaborators in Australia, Europe and the USA. He is the Australian lead of the 100M Breakthrough Listen project to search (intelligently) for the existence of Extra-Terrestrial life with the Parkes 64m radio telescope in collaboration with the CSIRO and Berkeley. From 2017 he will lead the MeerTIME project that will use the new MeerKAT telescope to time radio pulsars as part of an international collaboration. His team developed a supercomputer for the 50 year-old Molonglo telescope to transform it into a pulsar timing and FRB discovery machine as part of the UTMOST project.

prof matt bailes 

Telescopes & Stargazing

Location E10 Car Park

Join Macquarie University astronomers 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.

Telescopes & Stargazing


Location E7B Courtyard and The Atrium

The Macquarie University portable Planetarium will be in operation this year! There will also be an additional two planetariums located in The Atrium. The three planetariums will be running in conjunction all night long, so there is plenty of opportunity to experience the wonders of the Universe through one of these fantastic domes. Entry to any of the Planetariums will 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 for Astronomy Open Night.


Short Talks

Location E7B Theatres T2 and T5 (Level 3)

The Macquarie University Astronomy Research Centre is pleased to present a series of short talks given by our astronomers and physicists. 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.

The schedule of Short Talks will run as follows:

T2 Theatre
6:30 PM
7:00 PM -
||| ~ Break for Illustrated Talk ~ ||| 
8:30 PM
9:00 PM -  

T5 Theatre
6:30 PM -
7:00 PM -
||| ~ Break for Illustrated Talk ~ |||
8:30 PM
9:00 PM

To see video from some of the Short Talks from 2016, click on the following link: AON Videos 2016

Short Talks

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.

Aboriginal Astronomy

Robotics Demonstrations

Location TBA

Come and drive one of the world-championship robots from the FIRST Robotics Competition.  This program will allow all from ages 5+ to earn their Robotics Driver’s License in a fun and exciting hands-on activity.

Robotics Demonstrations

Activities Room

Location TBA

Come along to see the children’s activity room, suitable for all ages!

Kids Activities

Vendors & Clubs

Location E7B Courtyard

Our indoor courtyard will be full of fun and exciting stalls from the local astronomical community, where you can chat about astronomy, science, studying astronomy/astrophysics/physics/photonics at Macquarie, getting in touch with your local astronomical society, what telescope to buy and much more! The following vendors and clubs will have stalls at our Astronomy Open Night:

Vendors & Clubs

Food & Drinks

Location Food Court (The Atrium) & Central Courtyard

There will be a number of food vendors open for the evening in The Atrium, where we will also be running additional astronomy activities. The following food vendors will be open for the duration of the event:

  • Presse Cafe
  • Wicked Mexican
Food & Drinks

Physics Magic Show

Location E7B Mason Theatre

Come and see the magic and mystery of Physics with our entertaining presenters utilising their powers of physics for good!


Laser Guide Star

Location Eastern Road


Laser Maze

Location TBA


Laser Graffiti

Location Eastern Road


Remote Observing

Location TBA


Art Gallery

Location E11A Chancellery

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