ANU seeks to break own stargazing Guinness World Records title

13 April 2018

 The Australian National University (ANU) is partnering with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) to attempt to break a stargazing Guinness World Records title set by the University three years ago. 

The Mount Stromlo Observatory at ANU holds the current Guinness World Records title for the Most people stargazing multiple venues – 7,960 participants across 37 locations in Australia looked up to the night-sky simultaneously on 21 August 2015.

Dr Brad Tucker from the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, who organised the record-breaking effort in 2015, is now urging Australians to get involved in the new attempt on Wednesday 23 May this year.

“Astronomy is a way to get everyone interested in science and with the future Australian space agency on the way, there’s never been a better time to look skywards,” Dr Tucker said.

“The great thing about this Guinness World Records attempt is that anyone anywhere in Australia can take part and I can’t wait to break our record from three years ago.”

The Guinness World Records attempt will coincide with the ABC’s Stargazing Live TV event broadcast from the ANU Siding Spring Observatory. Hosted by Professor Brian Cox and popular TV personality Julia Zemiro, Stargazing Live will air at 8.00pm AEST, 7.30pm ACST, and 6pm AWST on ABC and ABC iview on 22, 23 and 24 May 2018.

ANU and the ABC plan stargazing parties across the country on Wednesday 23 May in an effort to smash the Guinness World Records title set in 2015.

Dr Tucker will also lead a citizen science project to search for new exploding stars in space, known as supernovae. Scientists use supernovae, which are explosions as bright as 100 million billion billion billion lightning bolts, as light sources to measure the Universe and acceleration of its growth. 

In addition to the Guinness World Records stargazing attempt, the University in association with the ABC will produce an educational program for high students around the country.

This educational program, produced by Dr Tucker and the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, will be live streamed nationally before and after ABC’s broadcasts.

“Last year’s broadcast was a fantastic showcase of the scientists we have working here at ANU and all across Australia,” Dr Tucker said.  

“This year, we will see even more by exploring our Solar System, what we are doing discover more about it, and learning about our place in the Universe.

Stargazing Live shows that science is not just about a few people in lab coats doing work, but that science is everywhere and we can all get involved.”

ANU will host the Canberra Star Party event on Wednesday 23 May from 7pm to 10pm as part of the Guinness World Records attempt. The Guinness World Records attempt will take place from 8pm to 9pm.