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Oct 27

Ordinary Meeting with Prof Fred Watson delivering the 2023 Gordon Patston Memorial Lecture

Date & Time
27 October 2023 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
(UTC+11:00) Australia/Sydney

Guest Speaker: Professor Fred Watson AM

Title: John Tebbutt's telescope –  heritage, legacy and people

Abstract: On 20 May 1886, the Astronomer of Windsor John Tebbutt, took delivery of his largest telescope, which is still in place at his observatory today. Bought second-hand, it is a fine example of the work of a Dublin optical company that had been founded in 1832 by an engineer named Thomas Grubb. By the 1880s, the Grubb name was synonymous with the world’s greatest telescopes, a reputation that continued into the late 20th century with its successor, Sir Howard Grubb, Parsons & Co Ltd. Perhaps appropriately, Australia’s Astronomer-at-Large, Fred Watson, began his career working there and, in this entertaining and fully-illustrated talk, he presents an insider’s view of the Grubb company, its origin, flourishing and eventual demise, and the exciting story of today’s giant telescopes.

Biography: Professor Fred Watson AM has been the Australian Government’s Astronomer-at-Large since 2018. He is a graduate of the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and worked at both of Britain’s Royal Observatories before joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory as Astronomer-in-Charge in 1995. Recognised internationally for pioneering the use of fibre optics in astronomy during the 1980s, Fred is best known today for his award-winning radio and TV broadcasts, books, music, dark-sky advocacy and co-hosting the Space Nuts podcast. He is an adjunct professor in several Australian universities, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010 for service to astronomy. He also has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault. 

The Gordon Patston Memorial Lecture is usually presented in October or November each year, in honour of our founder. Find out more about Gordon Patston here:

Event Type
Hybrid meeting at the ECC and ZOOMing online
Event Location
Epping Creative Centre
26 Stanley Road
Epping NSW 2121

Thursday 26th Oct 2023
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Wednesday 15th Nov 2023
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