Awesome Guide for Brisbane Kids Who Love Astronomy
If your Brisbane Kid is in to the moon, stars, planets and the universe in general, why not engage their imagination, nurture their interest and ignite their passion for learning through these awesome resources!
The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium
The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is definitely the must-see place for budding astronomers in Brisbane. Although some presentations require tickets, general admission to the planetarium is free! The Planetarium focuses on education with an approach that is easy for kids to follow. It features display areas, interactive activities, feature shows, an observatory and even a Galaxy Gift Shop!
The Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium is located within the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, on Mt Coot-tha Road at Mt Coot-tha. See here for further details about everything there is to see and do at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, or visit the Brisbane Planetarium website for more information.
Brisbane Astronomical Society
The Brisbane Astronomical Society is a group of enthusiastic amateur astronomers who love to share their knowledge of astronomy and impart practical advice for both novice and experienced observers, making it the perfect starting point for kids who are interested in astronomy. They offer FREE public viewing nights open to members and non-members, held once per month on a Saturday night at Mt Coot-tha. These public viewing nights offer the opportunity to explore the night sky through a telescope and gain knowledge of astronomical features, from marvelling at the impressive views of the moon’s mountain ranges and craters, to observing the stars and planets. Visit their website at bas.asn.au for dates of upcoming viewing nights, and since these events are always subject to the weather, we advise that you check their website or Facebook page before heading out.
You can also become a member of the Brisbane Astronomical Society (currently $36 for the whole family for a year, as at September 2015). This gives you access to a wide selection of library material, equipment hire, meetings and newsletters, as well as invitations to exclusive society events, including monthly Star BQs and Astrocamps held away from the city lights.
Redlands Astronomical Society
The Redlands Astronomical Society is a community-based astronomy interest group that is suitable for all ages and knowledge levels. The society organises FREE Public viewing nights every month, where you will see planets, nebulae and even faint galaxies through the clubs’ telescopes. You can also bring along your own telescope if you would like help to learn how to use it. The public viewing nights take place at Doug Tiller Reserve, Montgomery Drive, Wellington Point, and are weather dependent. See their event calendar for up-coming nights. http://www.ras.org.au/event-calendar
The Redlands Astronomical Society also offers lots of extra resources and involvement for those who wish to become members (currently 40 for the whole family, as at September 2015). They also offer school education nights for a small fee per student.
South East Queensland Astronomical Society
The South East Queensland Astronomical Society’s members have many years of experience in amateur astronomy so they are more than suited to help everyone with their enjoyment and satisfaction of astronomy. They offer many FREE community activities, such as bi-monthly Urban Observers evenings. You can join the group to see the stars, planets, nebula and galaxies in the night sky. They can also help you make the right decision when looking to buy a telescope or help you solve problems using your telescope. The group meets at the Barrett St Reserve, Bracken Ridge (entry off Jude St) on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month, weather permitting. You can find out more here.
The South East Queensland Astronomical Society also runs camps two to four times a year at Watts Bridge Memorial Airfield site near Toogoolawah in the Somerset Region. They also offer a school night programme which aims to provide members of the school community with the opportunity of observing the wonders of the night sky at a low cost per person. You can also join the society for exclusive access to club events and activities.
Spot the Station Over Brisbane
Kids who are into astronomy will love being able to step outside and spot the International Space Station crossing the night sky! The space station is clearly visible with the naked eye and is so bright that it is easy for kids to spot. They will love gazing at the orbiting research lab, realising that astronauts are up there right now, and pondering the reality of life in space.
To learn more about the International Space Station, find out when it is going over Brisbane and for some fun facts about the space station, click here.
Stargazing Help for Brisbane Kids
You don’t have to join a group or pay a lot of money for your kids to be able to enjoy stargazing. There are many free and cheap stargazing apps that are available for Apple or Android devices. Simply download them to your phone or tablet and you can enjoy exploring the night stay and learning about planets, stars and constellations, right from your own backyard! See here for our great guide to apps to help you read the stars.
There are also many online resources for kids who are interested in astronomy. For example, spaceinfo.com.au provides news of fascinating developments in astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, spaceflight and earth observation science. Or visit abc.net.au/science/starhunt for a beginner’s guide to the night sky, for spotting stars, planets and galaxies and discovering fascinating Indigenous stories.