ACCLAIMED astronomer Fred Watson gazes at the heavens and ponders some of life’s most profound questions.
Where do we come from? Are we alone in the universe?
But it’s another question that’s been filling the space in his mind lately – why isn’t astronomy sexy?
Mr Watson, the astronomer-in-charge of Siding Spring Observatory in Coonabarabran, has spent much of his life trying to bring stargazing into the mainstream.
“It is sexy, but in a different way,” Mr Watson said.
“When people think about astronomy, they recognise the science has the potential to uncover the really big questions in life, like ‘are we alone in the universe?’
“So for people like me, it’s really a question of taking people outside their normal day-to-day experience and encourage them to think outside the box.”
The author of four books and a regular on radio and television, Mr Watson will speak at Tamworth Library from 5pm today as he promotes his new book, Star-Craving Mad – Tales from a Travelling Astronomer.
He said residents of regional areas like Tamworth were well positioned to gaze at the cosmic ballet overhead.
“Being away from the major metropolitan areas, Tamworth is great because it doesn’t get as much light pollution,” Mr Watson said.
He said fledgling stargazers could start with as little as a pair of binoculars.
Admission to Mr Watson’s talk in Tamworth today is free.