Stargazing at Fellows Oval at ANU. Photo by Lannon Harley.

Stargazing at Fellows Oval at ANU. Photo by Lannon Harley.

Reaching for the moon

ANU partnered with the ABC in May to take on its Guinness World Record for the most people stargazing in a country at the same time. Rose Schmedding reports on an event that brought together tens of thousands of people around Australia.

In 2015 ANU took out the Guinness World Record for the most people stargazing at multiple venues in a country simultaneously, along with another for the most in one place. Almost 8000 people took part around the country, with 1869 at one site, ANU.

This year ANU astronomer Dr Brad Tucker came up with the idea to combine two of the University’s events – Stargazing live, run successfully with the ABC last year, with an attempt to beat the previous world record for the most people at multiple locations in a country.When he first suggested we attempt the World Record again, none of us realised how much a project like this would capture the public imagination.

In Canberra, more than 3500 people gathered on Fellows Oval at ANU – members of the public and ANU staff – despite a chilly night. Fortunately, with such a large crowd gathered together, it didn’t seem too cold.