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Thursday, February 12, 2009


Bushfires and Astronomy Education

Amidst the many heartbreaking tragedies and destruction in the recent bushfires are some small, but still significant losses.

On Tuesday with the Gippsland bush fires, Westall Secondary College
lost its school science telescope and all the astronomy equipment
amongst other buildings and equipment at our school campus at the
township of Balook. After discussing this with my Research Science
students, we considered that we need to work towards a replacement. We
came up with an Arts - Technology project to work at turning our hands
towards making our own low-power telescope as Galileo did. We would
like to use this technology to draw what we can see with our eyes,
much as he did many years ago.

Our school is already involved with the NASA CloudSat and GLOBE
missions With these projects we ground truth satellite images from
space, collecting environmental data used with climate models. A
curriculum bridge to link new and old technologies that have helped us
to change our view of the world and gives us a chance to celebrate the
work by technologists, scientists and artists. We look forward to a
replacement and engagement with some astronomy activities later in the

It would be great if we could run this as a larger, international
project and are calling for other interested people to join in.
If anyone is interested in helping, please contact me and I will pass you on to the appropriate contact person.

The generosity of people in times of trial never ceases to astound me and fill me with warmth. Over at ScienceBlogs US-based Science Woman is hosting a fund raiser where anyone donation to the Australian Red Cross goes into the draw for two darwin T-shirts. Thanks Folks!

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Very nice blog, Ian. This was an interesting article, too. I'm an ex-Melburnian living in Texas now, and the amount of people who have approached me to voice their concerns, sadness and anger at what happened back home was staggering.

Keep up the good work.

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