UWS lecturer helps to explain Australian contribution to astrophysics in new book

Mt Stromblo

The extraordinary contributions of a little observatory in the Canberra bush to the worldwide astrophysics landscape are explored in a new book by University of Western Sydney lecturer Dr Ragbir Bhathal.

The book 'Mt Stromlo Observatory: From Bush Observatory to the Nobel Prize' explores and explains how the unknown Observatory built in the bush capital of Canberra in the 1920s has today become one of the top ten astronomical institutions in the world.

Mt Stromlo Observatory has played a leading role in astronomical highlights on Australian soil including the discovery of the Magellanic Stream, the production of the largest map of the galaxies in the universe, and the discovery that the universe is accelerating which contributed to the 2011 awarding of the Nobel Prize to Brian Schmidt.

"The Observatory has played a crucial role in the development and introduction of new theories, scientific instrumentation and observations in astronomy and astrophysics over the last 100 years," says Dr Bhathal of the UWS School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics.

The Observatory has now obtained full participation in the international Giant Magellanic Telescope and is also building some of the most sophisticated scientific instruments to probe the secrets of the universe including where the first stars, galaxies and black holes came from.

"The Observatory has played a pioneering role in science, and also teaching as part of the Australian National University and even warfare as an optical munitions factory during World War Two. The astronomers at the Observatory continue to produce new ideas and new fields of astronomical endeavour, such as galactic archaeology," says Dr Bhathal.

Dr Bhathal co-authored 'Mt Stromlo Observatory: From Bush Observatory to the Nobel Prize' with Professor Harvey Butcher, former Director of the Observatory and Dr Ralph Sutherland as part of his invitation to be a Visiting Fellow at the Research School for Astronomy and Astrophysics. The book will be launched on 2 December 2013 at the Australian National University by ACT Minister for Education and Training Joy Burch.


27 November 2013

Photo: Australian National University 

Contact: Hannah Guilfoyle, Media Assistant

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