Life in the Universe explored at Parkes' AstroFest

Life in the Universe explored at Parkes' AstroFest

All things astronomical will once again be featured at AstroFest on Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July, 2016. AstroFest includes a series of lectures on modern astronomy by prominent guest speakers featuring Dr Peter Worden and the incredible exhibition and announcement of the winner of the 'David Malin' astrophotography awards.

This year's key note speaker, Dr Peter Worden, sets out to explore one of life's most challenging questions - who are we? Dr Worden presents the John Bolton Lecture with the intriguing topic of "Life in the Universe and the Breakthrough Initiatives."  
All are invited to attend the John Bolton Lecture at the Starlight Lounge, Parkes Services Club on Saturday 16 July at 4.30pm for just $5 per person or free for school students who wear full school uniform.   

The scope and power of the Breakthrough Initiatives in the search for life beyond Earth is on an unprecedented scale with a total commitment of $100 million. This innovative program includes a survey of the 1 million closest stars to Earth. It scans the centre of our galaxy and the entire galactic plane. Beyond the Milky Way, it listens for messages from the 100 closest galaxies to ours.   

"The CSIRO Parkes Telescope, as one of the world's largest radio telescopes will join this mammoth search effort in October 2016," Cr Ken Keith OAM, Parkes Mayor commented.  

"The iconic Dish plays an important role in listening for life elsewhere in the Universe and we are excited to have such innovative thinkers at AstroFest."   

Another highlight of AstroFest is the official opening and announcement of the prestigious 2016 CWAS 'David Malin' astrophotography awards.  Dr David Malin, who is a worldrenowned astrophotographer, will judge the entries. The winners of the Awards will be presented at the Conference Dinner at 6.30pm on Saturday 16 July. The winners will receive Canon Australia online vouchers valued at $10,000. Tickets for the Conference Dinner are $55 per person and can be booked online at     

The official opening of the Astrophotography Exhibition will take place from 10am on Sunday 17 July at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre. The opening will be complemented by (weather permitting) daytime astronomy viewings; and The Dish Café will be open for all your breakfast, lunch and coffee needs! 

AstroFest Programme Day One: Saturday 16 July 2016

Venue: The Starlight Lounge of the Parkes Services Club  

From 09:00 Registration
10:00-11:00 Alex Cherney "From the Outback to the Cosmos: Capturing the Universe"
1:30-12:30 Dr Lee Spitler (Macquarie University/AAO) "The Huntsman Telephoto Array:    Cutting-edge Astronomy Research with off-the-shelf Canon Lenses"
12:30-13:30 Lunch - Provided for all registrants
13:30-14:30 Dr Paul Lasky (Monash University/LIGO) "The Dawn of Gravitational-Wave    Astronomy"
15:30-16:30 Civic Reception: Hosted by Parkes Mayor, Cr Ken Keith OAM   Starlight Lounge, Parkes Services Club
16:30-17:30 The John Bolton Lecture: Dr Peter Worden (Chairman, Breakthrough Prize    Foundation) "Life in the Universe and the Breakthrough Initiatives"
From 18:30 Conference Dinner and presentation of the 2016 CWAS "David Malin Awards"   Comfort Inn Parkes International Hotel, Parkes  

AstroFest Programme Day Two: Sunday 17 July 2016 Venue:

The Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre  

From 09:00 Daytime astronomy by the CWAS members - all day (weather permitting)
10:00-10:30 Official opening of the 2016 CWAS "David Malin Awards" exhibition
 The Bowen Room at Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre  
11:00-11:30 Phil Hart:  "Cloud Forecasts for Australian Astronomers" - Public Lecture
12:00-13:00 John Sarkissian, OAM "SETI at Parkes" - Public Lecture  

It all adds up to an astronomical weekend in Parkes! #VisitParkes #AstroFest