These past 6 months have been an interesting journey for the Ballarat Observatory. We have been working hard at planning the future direction of the Observatory from expansions to refurbishments and maybe getting a planetarium (one can only dream!). Maintenance works on the buildings are helping keep the history of the observatory alive. In April of 2014, two of our staff presented a paper at NACAA outlining the exciting life of Captain Henry Baker, which was very well received. The event was packed with speakers and workshops to cater for a broad range of astronomical interests. Thanks to the organisers for a fabulous event! More recently, we decided to expand our weekly program by starting a monthly lecture series entitled: “Revealing the Cosmos”. These lectures aim to simplify the different aspects of current scientific research in astronomy and space-sciences to the general public. Our first lecture was held in August and the next one will be held on the 18th of September. It is a night when the public can interact with the presenter, ask questions and learn how new discoveries are enriching their lives. Following on from the success of the first ever Sci-Fi event earlier this year, we have commenced preparations for our second Sci-Fi Event that will be held on the 31st of January 2015. This event is aimed at demonstrating the long-standing relationship that science and science-fiction have had over centuries. We have had a good number of school groups coming up to observatory over the past few months and hope that this will increase over time as more of the community become aware of us. Our themed school holiday program due to start in mid-september will focus on Comets and specifically the Rosetta Mission. We have been gradually modifying our Introduction to Astronomy course to include a broader range of topics and have had requests to increase the frequency that we offer them. All in all, it has been a busy 6 months and we look forward to the second half of the year being as fruitful if not more!
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