Indonesian Astronomers Explore Australian Astronomical History

Peter Verwayen is an astronomy guide at Sydney Observatory and an operations manager for the ANU at Siding Spring Observatory. Last weekend Peter gave a guided tour to some special visitors…

On Saturday the 17th of September, Dr Premana Premadi and two of her colleagues from the Bandung Institute of Technology in Indonesia visited Sydney Observatory. They are in Australia visiting various observatories and universities gathering information about observatory operations, astronomy outreach and other research activities.

Sydney Observatory astronomy guide Peter Verwayen shows visiting Indonesians astronomers through the North Dome telescope. Image courtesy of Dr Premana Premadi.
Sydney Observatory astronomy guide Peter Verwayen shows visiting Indonesians astronomers through the North Dome telescope.
Image courtesy of Dr Premana Premadi.

They have recently applied for, and been granted money to build a new observatory on Mt. Timau, West Timor. The observatory will include a visitor’s center along with a 3.8m telescope and possibly a radio telescope. The project will not only dramatically enhance Indonesia’s astronomy research capabilities, but will also provide much needed services to the local community around the new observatory including clean water, roads and electricity. They will also greatly improve the educational facilities in the area, providing STEM education and resources.
After their visit to Sydney Observatory, Dr Premadi said “The exhibition covers a great combination of science, history, culture, and graceful respect of the tradition of building and sharing knowledge. I learned a lot.
I got ideas on what to do with some of the old instruments we have at Bosscha Observatory. For the Timor public outreach, I hope we could replicate some of the program and the exhibition.”

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