The annual astronomy festival, StarFest, held over the October long weekend, has capped off a huge year for staff at Siding Spring Observatory.
After hosting BBC and ABC film crews for Stargazing Live in April and opening the new Lodge accommodation facility in June, organisers of StarFest were anticipating a big turnout for their annual event lineup, but were blown away with the response.
Peter Verwayen, senior operations officer at the ANU’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, said he was personally ecstatic about how the weekend went.
“Feedback was very, very positive - ‘well organised and very enjoyable’ was the general consensus.
“There were a couple of minor hiccups, but I believe it was the best StarFest we’ve had to date!”
While Science in the Pub and the Bok Lecture were both sell-out events, it is estimated that 2000 people attended Open Day on Saturday - the biggest crowd yet.
“I was very pleased to see the market area bustling with local business and visitors,” Mr Verwayen said.
“It was great to see the support from local businesses and interest groups.
“The day was a huge success for not only Siding Spring Observatory, but for the town.”
StarFest 2017: additional car parking was created to cater for 2000 visitors to Siding Spring Open Day on Saturday, 30 September. Photos courtesy Angel R. Lopez-Sanchez (AAO/MQU).