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One of Australia’s leading astronomy experts has offered his expertise to help establish an Observatory on Russell Island.

Space and Astronomy expert, David Reneke, an old friend of the Friendly Bay Islander, has offered to provide information and assistance to help establish the island observatory.

David Reneke is one of Australia's most well known and respected astronomers and lecturers with links to some of the world's leading astronomical institutions.

David is the editor for Australia's Astro-Space News Magazine and a writer/publicist for Australasian Science magazine.

A special photograph of David produced by Gerard Thompson of the FBI several years ago, has become synonymous with David and his space and astronomy advisory service.

“That photograph you produced, has gone all around the world,” he told us.

The idea for an island observatory has come from Margaret Broome, whose land she made available to Redland City Council in a recent exchange. It is to become a prominent island park for island families and visitors.

In a story in the FBI recently, Margaret suggested that an Observatory on the prominent site on Canaipa Point Road, would be ‘ideal’ for an amateur observatory.

Cr Mark Edwards was also keen to further investigate if these types of facilities fall within the zoning of parks.

“I have asked for a meeting with officers to establish what process needs to be put in place."

Cr. Edwards also said that he didn’t want to limit the opportunity to just one island.

David Reneke said he has helped establish and offered advice to many similar installations around Australia.

“First step is to decide what type of observatory and telescopes your community wants.

“There are two types, the older manual telescopes; or the newer Go To telescopes. These are computerised for precision probing of the universe.

“I would recommend the the Go To option.”

David Reneke said that telescopes of this type are between $10,000 and $15,000 and could be obtained via grant applications.

He also recommended ‘where to go to next’ in the planning phase.

Most observatories are contained in a small building with a movable circular section for placement and movement of the telescope.

Cr Edwards said he believed there was enough interested island residents to form a group of astronomers and space observers.

Keen amateur, Ian Larkman, says an observatory as suggested, would be a wonderful addition to the islands’ infrastructure.

“It could be used for a multitude of purposes and could attract visitation and assist in education,” he said.

• Space and astronomy expert David Reneke in the famous photo taken by the FBI about 10 years ago.


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