“It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience.” – Carl Sagan
Welcome to BrightStar Astronomy!
My name is Teale Britstra, and I’m currently studying a Master of Science (Astronomy) degree through Swinburne University – though I’ve had a passion for space science as long as I can remember. In this regard, I don’t think I am alone. I’ve heard numerous stories from people who wished they’d learnt about the universe when they were younger, but for one reason or another, never got around to it. That’s one of the reasons that I formed BrightStar Astronomy.
What do I do?
BrightStar Astronomy is focused on astronomy outreach and education, with the aim of engaging as many people in this exciting field as possible. It gives me the opportunity to involve the general public in a subject that I (and many others) find fascinating, and also to pass on a little of the knowledge that I have acquired over the course of my studies. The great thing is that I can’t ever see myself running out of new and exciting astronomy-related information to pass on!
Of course, the other great aspect of astronomy is the sheer awe and beauty of the cosmos. It never ceases to amaze me how many people have never looked through a telescope at astronomical objects – besides perhaps the Moon. And while typical amateur astronomy equipment ISN’T going to show you the American flags at the Apollo landing sites (sorry – Moon-orbiting satellites actually can though!), sights such as cloud bands on Jupiter, Saturn’s icy rings, and even clusters containing millions of stars can be seen from a typical suburban yard with modest equipment.
I formed BrightStar Astronomy with three main goals in mind:
- Give people an opportunity to experience first hand the wonders of the cosmos,
- Pass on a little of the science behind these objects – but in such a way as to minimise the confusing, technical language, and
- Inspire others to be more engaged with astronomy, and perhaps begin a personal journey to learn more about the cosmos.
BrightStar Astronomy currently achieves these goals through the provision of a number of services in the greater Brisbane area, which include presentations to schools, businesses and community groups, sidewalk astronomy, and short ‘dark sky’ tours which gives participants an opportunity to experience amateur astronomy away from the light pollution associated with the suburbs. I’m also often involved in voluntary astronomy outreach, such as during National Science Week, and occasionally as a guest astronomer during Fraser Cain‘s live Virtual Star Parties (when the equipment works!). I’m also slowly beginning to incorporate some associated skills (night sky photography, video, blog writing, etc.) into my skill-set, and utilizing it wherever possible.
Help us Achieve our Goals!
BrightStar Astronomy is operated as a social enterprise with the primary goal of providing people with an in-person, hands-on experience with astronomy. We hope to use our amazing, globally-shared day and night skies to encourage more people to become actively engaged with science in general and amateur astronomy in particular. In order to maximise our ability to achieve this goal, we are currently offering visits to schools within 250 kilometers of Brisbane at no charge.
If you would like to assist us in accomplishing this lofty goal, and keeping our service free of charge to students, we would be extremely grateful if you would consider leaving a small donation. Alternatively, if you would like to offer sponsorship or in-kind support, please do not hesitate to contact us!
BrightStar Astronomy is currently supported by the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, an Australian Government initiative