In July 2005, the Central West Astronomical Society's astrophotography exhibition and competition was held once again as part of the CWAS AstroFest. Amateur astronomers and photographers from around Australia were invited to take part in the exhibition and to submit their astrophotographs for consideration in the prestigious "David Malin Awards".
A collection of the very finest astrophotographs received were selected to tour the country in a travelling exhibition. On Thursday, 8 December, the exhibition was offically opened at Mt Stromlo Observatory, Canberra, where it will remain until the end of January 2006.
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In the recently refurbished Mt Stromlo Observatory Visitors Centre, the Observatory Director, Dr Penny Sackett, welcomed the assembled guests, staff and students of the Observatory to the opening of the 2005 CWAS "David Malin Awards" exhibition. She expressed her delight at having the award winning astrophotographs on exhibit at the Observatory. She thanked the Central West Astronomical Society for bringing the exhibition to Mt Stromlo. She described how wonderful it was to see how science and art can combine in a way that can inspire people to appreciate the beauty and mystery of the universe. In introducing Dr David Malin, she described how he had achieved that remarkable feat in his long and distinguished career.
Dr David Malin expressed his delight in seeing the wonderful work of some of Australia's finest amateur astrophotographers on display at the Observatory. He described the work of the winning entries. In particular, he pointed out how the overall winner, Eddie Trimarchi's, "Tarantula Nebula", was a subject of great study at the Observatory, beginning with drawings of the nebula in the early years of the Observatory, through to the photographic studies by Ben Gascoigne in the 1950's. Both examples were on display just below Eddie's photograph.
Vince Ford, RSAA Outreach Officer at Mt Stromlo, welcomed the guests before introducing Bishop Chris Toohey, President of the CWAS, and Michael Sidonio, one of the award winners.
Michael Sidonio gave an amusing description of how he used to do astrophotohgraphy in his cupboard in the good old days. He finished by explaining his String Theory of modern digital astrophotography which he applied on his winning photo of the "Trifid Nebula".
Bishop Christopher Toohey, President of the Central West Astronomical Society, expressed the Society's appreciation to Dr Penny Sackett, Vince Ford and the Mt Stromlo Observatory for hosting the exhibition in Canberra. He thanked them for the wonderful way they have displayed the astrophotographs in the Visitors Centre. He described the genesis of the competition in 2004 and how the Society was looking forward to next year's exhibition, and hoped to see it back at Mt Stromlo again. President Chris Toohey, also thanked the CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility and Canon Australia, for their wonderful support of the exhibition and competition - an association that will continue to grow in the future. He concluded by declaring the exhibition open in our nation's Capital at Mt Stromlo Observatory.
The CWAS thanks Dr Penny Sackett, Vince Ford, the ANU and the Mt Stromlo Observatory for hosting the 2005 CWAS Astrophotography Exhibition in Canberra.
The 2005 CWAS Astrophotography Exhibition and Competition is proudly supported by CSIRO's Australia Telescope National Facility and Canon Australia