"Twinkle little star”: Early Space Tracking in Australia
The nursery rhyme line, “Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are?”, aptly describes the way people around the globe felt about the world’s first satellites. Regular reports of satellite overflights, especially for Sputnik 1 and 2, brought people out into the streets across Australia to gaze up in wonder at the first human-made objects to orbit the Earth.
Most Australian states, including South Australia, had teams of volunteer “Moonwatchers” who were part of a world-wide network of amateur satellite trackers established to assist with the optical tracking of early US satellites. Australian Moonwatch groups made some significant early satellite observations, including solving a few satellite “mysteries”. Even before NASA was established, some of the earliest tracking stations outside the US were established in Australia. Once NASA was formed Australia became home to the largest number of US tracking stations outside North America.
Join space historian Kerrie Dougherty as she unfolds the story of early Australian space tracking and the role of local Moonwatchers and tracking stations in contributing to the wonder and excitement of early space exploration.
Hosted by the Australian Space Discovery Centre, the talk will run for one hour, including time for questions. Attend this event in-centre or on-line.
In-centre attendees will also have the opportunity for one-on-one discussion with Kerrie afterwards, as well as exploring everything else the Discovery Centre has to offer.
This session is suited for ages 12 and up.