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2023 Burbidge Dinner

10/11/2023 @ 6:30 pm - 10:00 pm

This year’s Burbidge Dinner will be held on Friday 10 November at The Sorrento in Cornwall Park, just up the hill from Stardome. This year’s guest speaker is Professor Fred Watson and he will be talking about the James Webb Space Telescope.

Fred is Australia’s first Astronomer-at-Large in the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, having worked at both of Britain’s Royal Observatories before joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory as Astronomer-in-Charge in 1995.

Recognised internationally for helping to pioneer 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.

Fred has adjunct professorships at Macquarie University and the Universities of New South Wales, Sydney, Western Sydney, Southern Queensland and Wollongong. In 2003,he received the David Allen Prize for communicating astronomy to the public, and in 2006 was the winner of the Australian Government Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science. In January 2010, Fred was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to astronomy, particularly the promotion and popularisation of space science through public outreach.

Fred’s books include “Stargazer – the Life and Times of the Telescope”, “Why is Uranus Upside Down? – and Other Questions About the Universe” (which won the 2008 Queensland Premier’s Literary Prize for Science Writing) and “Star-Craving Mad – Tales from a Travelling Astronomer”, featuring highlights from his science tours around the world. His most recent books are “Cosmic Chronicles – a user’s guide to the Universe”, and “Spacewarp – Doomsday Comets and other Cosmic Catastrophes”, aimed at the 10+ age group.

Fred has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won’t be his fault.

Webb’s new window on the Universe

After decades of planning and construction, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is now fully operational. Its first science images made global headlines with their breathtaking clarity and depth when they were released last year. They show cosmic detail that was only hinted at by the Webb’s smaller cousin, the ageing Hubble Space Telescope, and foretell a game-changing career of discovery for the new instrument. In this entertaining and copiously illustrated talk, Australia’s Astronomer-at-Large describes the Webb, its images, its mission and some of its discoveries.

In addition to Fred’s presentation, the Burbidge Dinner will host the awards for the 2023 New Zealand Astrophotography Competition.

Tickets can be ordered by sending an email to Niven Brown at [email protected]
Earlybird Members Price: $65.00 for payments received prior to 27 October 2023.
Earlybird Non-members Price: $70:00 for payments received prior to 27 October 2023.
Prices after 27 October are $70.00 and $75.00 for Members and Non-members, respectively.


6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Category:


Bill Thomas


Sorrento In the Park
Cornwall Park
Auckland, New Zealand