On Wednesday 23 May we had an intergalactic night not to be forgotten!
The night started with a Year 1 and Year 6 Viewing night, organised by Lesa Moore who is our Astronomer in residence, Mrs Sinclair and the SPOT Team. We met the Year 1 students and their parents at Mouleric where they then rotated through 3 different activities. They had a chance to look at the Moon and Jupiter through our Dobsonian telescopes, learn about constellations and planets using Sky Map apps on iPads and lastly visit Tara’s Oxford Telescope to learn about what the SPOT team does and how the telescope is used. After Year 1 had finished their session, the Year 6 girls and their families arrived and participated in the same activities.
The next part of the night was Tara’s participation in the Guinness World Record Stargazing attempt. This event was organised by the ABC and The Australian National University (ANU).They called on people across multiple Australian sites to simultaneously observe an object in the night sky through individual telescopes for the same 10 minute period. We had a stellar turnout with over 90 students, staff & their friends, families and wider community in attendance at Tara, braving the cold weather to be part of this exciting event.
We are excited to announce that the ABC has confirmed more than 40,000 people simultaneously observed the moon through telescopes for 10 minutes on Wednesday night, eclipsing the previous Guinness World Records title, set by the ANU in 2015 of 7,960 people across 37 locations. Due to the overwhelming number of participants involved, the exact number of people that helped to win this record is still being counted!
The SPOT team would like to thank everyone in the school community who supported us in helping to break the world record. We would also like to thank Ms Lesa Moore, Mr Bruce Comerford, Mrs Jenny Westerbrink, Mrs Bronwyn Walters, Mr Jason Kerr and Mrs Stephanie Sinclair who were the official stewards, timekeepers and witnesses on the night.
Stargazing Live host Professor Brian Cox summed up our feelings in his following statement: “It's great to break the world record for the number of people stargazing simultaneously, but I think this is only half the story. The real value is that many thousands of Australians have been introduced to the wonders of the night sky, and many of those will be children. They will develop a lifelong interest in astronomy and science, and the impact of that will be felt in decades to come.”
Elise Morley, CEO, Tara Space Odyssey Team (SPOT)