Australia's first Internet telescope, which will provide real-time images of the southern skies during daylight hours in the northern hemisphere, will be officially launched by Environment and Science Minister Judy Edwards tonight.
The telescope, from the University of California (Berkeley, USA) and the Lawrence Hall of Science and valued at about $50,000, is one of two that Perth Observatory is hosting as part of the Hands on Universe Project.
The second telescope, from the Oil City Astronomical Society and Clarion University in Pennsylvania, is still to be installed.
Dr Edwards said Western Australia’s participation in the project would help enhance physical science education for students around the world.
“The real-time images sent from this telescope will be accessible to students on their classroom computers during the day in the northern hemisphere,” she said.
“The objective of the project is to use the captivating science of astronomy to provide school students with an introduction to physical science and computing.”
Since installation of the Internet telescope was completed earlier this month, about 10 user groups have accessed the telescope from California, Pennsylvania, Japan, Queensland and Perth.
Dr Edwards said Perth Observatory’s record of scientific and educational accomplishments and technical support was one of the considerations that led to the invitation to join the project.
“On an international level, the Perth Observatory has established an excellent reputation among international astronomical organisations,” she said.
“This project is consistent with the observatory’s education and outreach mission and significantly extends its outreach capability.”
User groups can apply to subscribe to the internet telescope by contacting Dr Jamie Biggs at the Perth Observatory on 9293 8255.
Minister's office: 9220 5050