The AstroLight Festival has come and gone, so for those who missed it, for those wanting to relive it or for those who want to know what else happened on the night, here is the final wrap up!
WARNING: Lots of amazing photos taken by Stewie Donn, source: Scienceworks. Lots of thank you’s and much enthusiasm!
So for the stats, we had 2,400 visitors, 250 staff, technicians, volunteers, stall holders, telescope operators, artists, speakers and entertainers, 20 talks and one panel discussion, 5 art installations, 15 stalls, a laser maze, 5 planetarium shows, 7 lightning room shows, 3 test labs, a telescope giveaway and a field of telescopes including 2 radio telescopes. Representatives from 6 different Universities, 10 industry and research organisations and 4 associations, with special guests both international and local – so many representatives from so many places.
Highlights were so many, certainly the big drawcard was the talk by retired NASA Astronaut, Marsha Ivins, out in Australia to promote the IMAX movie ‘A Beautiful Planet’ who took time out to talk about her experiences living in space. Standing room only in the CAASTRO Amphitheatre, the 600+ audience were captivated by this amazing woman. Although whether it was the CAASTRO Amphitheatre holding hundreds, to the smaller Science Stage which hosted our family friendly talks, all of the talks and shows all night were packed to the rafters, which was amazing to see.
The Eness Stellarsphere in the middle of the Arena captured everyone’s imagination and steadily drew people outside despite the rain. The sphere interacted with you when you touched it by making sounds and changing it’s light sequences. People of all ages were captivated as they crossed the Arena to the food trucks or Pumping Station.
By the end of the night though, the rain cleared and the telescopes were uncovered. Everyone was finally given the opportunity to see amazing views of the Moon, Saturn and Mars and the wonder continued.
Of course you couldn’t miss the costumers from the 501st Legion TAG – Knightfall Squad Victoria, Rebel Legion Hoth Base and the Sandhawk Clan – Mandelorian Mercenaries. The Star Wars characters were out in force, posing for photos (a lot!), escorting the telescope giveaway to the CAASTRO Amphitheatre and standing guard while the Celestron telescope was awarded to Erin White, the lucky ticket holder by local astrophysicist extrodinaire, AstroKatie.
The atmosphere of the evening was one of wonder and excitement as people of all ages had the chance to explore the many wonders of light and astronomy in almost every space of Scienceworks. One of the themes running through the night, was Dark Skies and the importance they play in our culture, health and astronomy. Talks, panel, stands and the movie, ‘The City Dark’ all focused on this issue.
Visual, interactive and visual interactives, you could build a LEGO spaceship, play with lasers, make a Mars rover, use VR and AR, find out about living on Mars, drive the virtual Parkes telescope and so much, much more.
Massive thanks to our amazing sponsors;
Galactic sponsor CAASTRO (Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics)
Stellar sponsor Celestron Telescopes
Stellar sponsor Eness
Thank you to all of the speakers and presenters who shared their fabulous research and passion to full theatres and stages. Thank you to the artists who shared their beautiful work with us and their interpretation of light and astronomy. Thank you to the Masters of Ceremonies for looking after our speakers and audiences, entertaining and introducing and keeping us aware of everything else that was happening. Thank you to all of the stall holders for showing and talking to us about your organisations, your research and your knowledge, for letting us play with your equipment and explore light and astronomy. Thank you to the volunteers who brought their telescopes to see the night sky, who helped people throughout the night and helped to organise the whole event. Thank you to the staff at Scienceworks who opened their doors and put the festival on, from the littlest things to the biggest, they had it covered.
An event like this does not happen without the vision and passion of so many people who all want to share it with you. So a special thank you to everyone that came to the festival, those who dressed up, who asked questions, who went to talks, looked through telescopes, tried new things. We hope you enjoyed your time, learn’t about the amazing science being done right here in Victoria and saw some amazing sights. We would love to hear about your experiences, so leave us a comment. If you are interested in being involved next year, please send us a message. We would love our stats to grow.
You can see more of the festival on the Storify of all the social media or find out more with all the stories on all the participants via the blog. Stay tuned for next year’s event which is sure to be bigger yet!