Venturing further into space
THE wonders of the night sky will soon be more accessible than ever before, once renovations and renewal is complete at the Charleville Cosmos Centre.
In the lead-up to peak tourist season, a host of changes and renovations are happening, and chief astronomer Mike Dalley is excited to see the science come to life.
"The planetarium is going to be... just wow.
"That's the one that is going to be a big project for us and it blows my mind just seeing it in the construction stages right now.
"Once it is done, the guests will be able to come and see the universe in a different way.
"It's not just the night sky, it is so much more and we really want to take people on a journey where they can actually go and travel to a different galaxy,” he said.
"People can really see the universe in a way that, once upon a time, they would have to use their imagination and nothing else.”
A new schedule of tours will also be rolled out just before tourist season and Mr Dalley said they would combine astronomy with art and history.
"All of the tours are smaller projects compared to the planetarium but, to me, they are really special because I have a personal connection to all the tours we are about to do.
"I can't say too much at this stage, but I can mention the astrophotography.
"I am an astrophotographer and a big fan of empowering people the use their own camera.
"A lot of people don't get to really understand their camera and I want to change that.
"Here, they will be able to get a full understanding of how to use their camera properly, and the best way to do it is by taking photos of the night sky, because you have to learn a lot of different things to do it.”
As the projects finally begin coming to fruition, Mr Dalley said they had all been in the making for a long time
"Everything has been in the works since I started with the centre eight months ago.
"From the moment I walked in I was able to get a lay of the land and from that point start to go 'okay this is what we need to do'.
"It's been a slow process, the whole research and development behind it, but that's because we wanted to try and make sure what we deliver is something different to the other astronomy centre throughout Australia and also on the international level,” he said.
A passionate team is a cornerstone of the centre's operations and Mr Dalley said they would be recruiting for the high season.
"I'm very lucky to have an amazing team,” he said.
"They are all passionate about what they do whether they work in the cafe, on the floor or guiding the tours.
"We will be looking at building the team - getting bigger, stronger and better ahead of our busy period,” he said.
The new series of tours are scheduled to start their trial run in March and, at this stage, the Planetarium is on track to open in April.