Ray Stathakis describes the work of a modern astronomer at the Anglo-Australian Observatory

Video of Dr. Raylee Stathakis discussing her work as an astronomer at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, Siding Spring, New South Wales, Australia.

Zoltan Nemes-Nemeth

© Powerhouse Museum


The AAT (Anglo-Australian Telescope) is situated in the beautiful Warrumbungles. With a mirror nearly four metres wide, it is one of the largest optical telescopes in the world and the largest in Australia. Astronomers from Britain, Australia and many other countries come to observe at our telescope. Being an astronomer today is very different from being an astronomer in Henry Russell’s time. We no longer have to stand in the cold dome and put our eye to the eye piece. We sit in front of computers in an air-conditioned room off to one side and we let detectors far more sensitive than the human eye pick up the light from the objects we’re observing. We’re able to get much more than just pictures of the objects, we’re able to do things like split the light into its colours and form a spectrum, which tells us much more about the object.

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