Scenic Rim Astronomy Association’s Star Party to thrill stargazers

NIGHT SKY: Scenic Rim Astronomy Association secretary Mark Lohmann and committee member David Naughton are eager to welcome guests at this year's Star Party. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia

NIGHT SKY: Scenic Rim Astronomy Association secretary Mark Lohmann and committee member David Naughton are eager to welcome guests at this year's Star Party. Photo: Jocelyn Garcia

SKYGAZERS will be spoilt for choice with telescopes, model rocket launches, workshops and guest speakers to occupy their time at the Scenic Rim Astronomy Association’s annual Star Party.

The event will be held on Saturday, June 16 from 3pm at the old Laravale State School on Christmas Creek Road.

Guests will enjoy telescope viewings, a mercury space capsule replica, a meteorite display, a gravity well demonstration, astronomy talks and radio astronomy – which lets people listen to planets through radio waves.

Special guests will include comet discoverer Terry Lovejoy, Shadow Chaser SEQ Jonathan Bradshaw, meteorites expert Peter Vidot, Noel X from SETI Research and astro-photographer Kate Wall.

Drinks, burgers, hot chips and a sausage sizzle will be available for purchase at a stall and a coffee van will be available.

SRAA secretary Mark Lohmann said after the influx of visitors the event brought to the region, the event would be ticketed to control the space with Scenic Rim residents being able to grab the first round of passes.

“Last year we had 400 people come to the event and we only expected 80,” he said.

“The Star Party surpassed our expectations and because it’s very popular we don’t want locals to miss out.”

Mr Lohmann said the club would expand the picnic area and parking facilities and would include additional activities and equipment to cater for about 500 guests.

“We have about 20 telescopes, five solar scopes and one radio telescope, more guest speakers and we’re making a mini cinema at the old tennis court which will feature astro-based short films,” he said.

Mr Lohmann said the Star Party would satisfy people’s curiosity of the night sky.

“For most people they come to see what they’ve never seen before and to see objects in the sky they wouldn’t believe were there,” he said.

“The night is relaxing but there’s always a buzz of excitement.”

Mr Lohmann said he enjoyed seeing people experience the ‘wow’ factor when looking through a telescope to view the night sky.

The night is relaxing but there’s always a buzz of excitement.

SRAA secretary Mark Lohmann

“Adults notice distant objects where children love seeing the planets, especially Saturn,” he said.

Mr Lohmann said children and adults would enjoy the activities and displays on offer.

Guests can go into a multi draw prize with every ticket purchase to win a telescope and a free lesson or a weekend package for two at Spicers Hidden Vale.

Tickets will be released this week on the SRAA website.