The Central West Astronomical Society (CWAS) AstroFest is back this weekend, July 23-24, after a two-year, forced hiatus brought on by the COVID-19 restrictions.
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The CWAS AstroFest will incorporate a one day conference and a program of associated events.
The conference will be held in the Starlight Lounge of the Parkes Services Club on Saturday, July 23 July.
In a series of lectures, guest speakers will provide fascinating insights into various aspects of modern astronomy.
On Sunday, July 24, events will move to the CSIRO Parkes Observatory Visitors Centre with a program of daytime astronomy and talks.
This year the keynote address, the John Bolton Lecture, will be presented by Dr John Reynolds. His talk is titled "The Future of the ATNF towards the SKA".
Dr Reynolds is the former Officer-in-Charge of the Parkes Observatory and is currently the Head of CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility (ATNF) Operations.
He will present the plans for the future of Australian radio astronomy in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) era.
All are invited to attend the John Bolton Lecture in the Starlight Lounge of the Parkes Services Club on Saturday at 4.30pm for just $10 per person or free for school students who wear full school uniform.
"In addition, we have other exciting speakers, notably Tori Tasker from the Australian Space Agency. Tori is the Senior Space Technology Officer - Human Spaceflight," said John Sarkissian OAM, operations scientist and one of the organisers of the festival.
"She will detail Australia's plans for the Moon to Mars program, including the options for an Australian human spaceflight program, which she is leading."
Blake Estes of Coonabarabran's itelescope.net Observatory and Garry Copper of the Tamworth Astronomy and Science Centre will also provide details of their impressive facilities.
Another highlight of the AstroFest is the announcement of the prestigious 2022 CWAS David Malin Awards in astrophotography.
Dr David Malin, who is a world-renowned astrophotographer, has judged the entries.
The winners will receive Celestron Australia prizes valued at $10,000.
The official opening of the astrophotography exhibition will take place from 10am on Sunday, July 24, at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory's Visitors Centre.
Daytime astronomy viewings will also be held (weather permitting) on the lawns of the Observatory's Visitors Centre, and The Dish Café will be open for all your breakfast, lunch and coffee needs.
Registrations are required to attend the full conference. Visit www.cwas.org.au/astrofest/ for more information.
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