Shooting for the stars – and a world record

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Raelene Sommer at Penrith Observatory. Photo: Melinda Jane

If being part of a world record is on your bucket list, then you could have the chance to tick it off next month thanks to Western Sydney University.

The ABC, in partnership with The Australian National University, will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the ‘Most people stargazing – multiple venues’ next month.

Joining the world record attempt will be Western Sydney University, who will be holding an event at Penrith Observatory.

Education and Administration Officer of Western Sydney University’s School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics, Raelene Sommer, said everyone involved was excited to see if they could make history.

“We are anticipating that the record will be smashed, and it will be a wonderful experience for families in western Sydney to be a part of,” she said.

This is the second time that the university will be participating in an event of this kind, after helping to achieve the current world record set in 2015 by the Australian National University, which saw 7,960 people across 37 locations participate.

Astrophysicist from the Australian National University, Dr Brad Tucker, said these types of events were a unique way for everyone in the community to engage with science in a fun way.

“I think that it’s a cool way to get people talking and engaging with astronomy and more broadly with what we do in science in general,” he said.

“There are lots of cool things happening with space and astronomy here in Australia and it’s a great way to allow people be a part of it.

“Plus, who doesn’t want to break a world record?”

In order to break the current record, participants will be required to stargaze through binoculars or a telescope for a 10-minute period simultaneously.

But for those new to stargazing, you don’t need to worry, as the ABC have purchased 30,000 telescopes, which people will have the option to buy for just $7.15.

To keep track of the number of participants, people are required to register prior the free event, which will be held on Wednesday, May 23 from 7pm.

For more information or to register, visit www.westernsydney.edu.au/observatory. 

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