Article originally written by Ángel R. López-Sánchez for the “AAO Observer” 132, August 2017.
In June 2017 the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO) started a new Science Communication collaboration with historic Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. The events “Stargazing at The Calyx” combine a short talk given by an astronomer followed by a stargazing session with amateur telescopes.
The first of these events was held on Monday 19th June 2017. It was so successful that the following “Stargazing in the Calyx” session, scheduled on Tuesday 4th July, was sold out in just 8 minutes after the tickets were available.
The organization of these events have received a hugely positive feedback, both about the venue (the brand-new “The Calyx” building at Sydney’s Botanic Gardens) and the atmosphere (people enjoyed dinner with drinks under the stars) and the entertaining and knowledgeable talks about the Southern Sky (given by AAO and Macquarie University astronomer Ángel López-Sánchez).
Besides some clouds and Sydney’s light pollution, participants really enjoyed the views of planets Jupiter and Saturn and the Moon through the telescopes, as well as observing globular cluster Omega Centauri and the famous “Jewel Box” star cluster in the Southern Cross, as well as learn to recognize the constellations of the winter nights at the southern hemisphere. Some of the telescopes were kindly provided by CSIRO, Sydney University, Macquarie University and some amateur astronomers who were also invited to these events.
The next “Stargazing at The Calyx” event is scheduled on Tuesday 3rd of October. We expect they will be repeated each 1 or 2 months.