It was a perfectly clear and crisp evening on Friday 17 May, when we officially opened the ELTHAM College Observatory. This magical evening was a wonderful celebration of community endeavour and our commitment to providing daring adventures for our young people.
With luminaries like Dr Megan Clarke, the CEO of the Australian Space Agency, officially declaring the Observatory open, and guests from the Astronomical Society of Victoria sharing their expertise regarding the night sky, our community experienced a truly magnificent evening full of insight and wonder.
Darren Smith, our Head of Mathematical and Scientific Thinking, eloquently spoke of the amazing opportunities this technologically advanced facility will enable, while pondering the capacity of humankind to explore the immense nature of the universe.
The following is an excerpt of Darren’s speech:
It is wondrous. It inspires wonder.
It is wonderful. It fills us with wonder.
And it also inspires us to wonder: to wonder how? Wonder why?
To wonder what is actually out there in the seeming ‘emptiness’ of space that surrounds our tiny blue planet?
What are those faint pinpricks of light?
What is between them? Beyond them?
Curiosity is a defining human characteristic. Our capacity to wonder about the nature of our surroundings has driven our species’ development and helped to shape who we are.
Every technological advancement our species has ever made, every giant leap, was driven by curiosity, observation and our imagination.
We look up and we feel inspired. We feel small. We feel awe. We feel wonder … and we wonder …
As we stand here this evening it is not so hard to imagine our earliest human ancestors huddling together around the warming glow of their latest technological innovation, looking up into their night sky, gazing at the stars overhead and just wondering.
And now we huddle here together around our latest technological innovation, looking up at our night skies … at those same stars and constellations … wondering …
And ultimately this is why we rebuilt our Observatory.
To give our young people the opportunity to look up at their night sky and wonder.
And to give them the means to see further … to observe more … to be curious … to find their answers to their hows, whys and whats. And to imagine …
We look forward to sharing many more stories about the rich and varied learning opportunities our Observatory will facilitate, as it captivates our imagination and challenges our intellect.
Click on the thumbnails below to view a gallery of images from the evening.