Tara's Astronomy Program
Wherever you want to go, Tara can help you get there" - Year 12 student
Tara runs an innovative astronomy program called Space Odyssey through which Years 9 to 11 students from Tara and a range of other schools learn practical astronomy and imaging on a range of large and small telescopes and associated technology. The students also gain leadership experience as they run viewing nights and workshops for other students and adults. This program supplements our work with Oxford University on the Global Jet Watch Program.
“ Tara was selected by Oxford University ”
Tara was selected by Oxford University as the Australian school to participate in the Global Jet Watch Program which links astronomers at Oxford University with students from four high schools around the world in Australia, Chile, South Africa and India in order to carry out cutting edge research. Oxford University has installed a research grade 20 inch RC Optical telescope, together with custom designed instrumentation and an observatory with a 4.5 metre dome in Tara's grounds for use by the students.
Tara also has formed a partnership with the Astronomical Society of NSW (ASNSW) though which the students are mentored in complex astronomy projects by experienced amateur astronomers who volunteer their time and expertise. The ASNSW runs astronomy courses at Tara and has opened Crago Observatory at Bowern Mountain to students of the Space Odyssey Team.
Featured in the December 2011/January 2012 double issue of "Universe", the ASNSW journal, are the winning entries from the ASNSW Young Writer Awards (pages 10-14). Congratulations to Tara student, Brittany Fossey, winner of the ASNSW Young Writer medal, along with Runners-Up, Rebecca Newman and Fleur Combridge and to Anneliese Cooper, who was Commended for her article.
“ students are mentored in complex
astronomy projects ”
Transit of Venus recount
On 6 June 2012, Venus passed in front of the sun in what is called a planetary transit, something that happens only twice every 100 hundred years or so, with next one in 2117. Although Venus is always going around the Sun, it is rare that the Sun, Venus and Earth line up directly. It has only been observed 6 times in history since the invention of the telescope. The Transit is extremely important historically as it allowed man to measure the distance between the Earth and the Sun and Captain Cook was returning from the viewing of the 1769 Transit of Venus when he discovered the east coast of Australia.
The Tara Space Odyssey Team (SPOT) and Dr Bronwyn Walters organised a program allowing each Tara student from Year 2 to Year 12 to use the school’s solar telescopes and telescopes brought in by the Astronomical Society of NSW to witness this rare event. The transit lasted for 6 hours, from 8:16am to 2:44 pm, and Sydney was one of the best places in the world to view it. The challenging cold and showery weather did not deter our young astronomers and most managed to see the transit in progress. Nicole Anderson from SPOT designed and produced a commemorative token which may be passed down to the girls’ grandchildren who may see the transit in 2117.
To find out more about Tara's Astronomy Program, visit the student designed website http://telescope.tara.nsw.edu.au
Latest version of the Cosmic Chatter, Newsletter of the Space Odyssey Team
Archive: Cosmic Chatter v.1, Cosmic Chatter v.2
For more information regarding Tara's Astronomy Program, please contact our Observatory Coordinator, Stephanie White, via email
TARA'S SPACE ODYSSEY TEAM MAKES FRONT COVER NEWS
On 9 September, SPOT made contact with the NASA International Space Station and spoke with Astronaut, Sunita Williams. The story was covered in the Parramatta Advertiser on 12 September 2012.
Congratulations to the following winners of the ASNSW Young Writer Competition for astronomy journalism. They will have their articles published in the journal of the Astronomical Society of NSW as well as receiving prizes and certificates:
1st place: Fleur Combridge