I'm an experienced corporate communicator and editor with an eye for interesting events and an attachment to my trusty Oxford dictionary.
A simultaneous celestial celebration with 30,000 people
There's nothing quite like a clear, crisp winter's night for stargazing with a few friends. But what if you could do it in community with thousands of others in a Guinness World Record attempt to get the most people in one country stargazing at one time? You can join thirty thousand other Australian sky scanners on Wednesday May 23rd at a free community event near you for Stargazing Live.
The ANU already holds the current record for this event, set in 2015 with 7,960 people across 37 locations, and this year is already set to be bigger and better. The Stargazing Live - Guinness World Record Attempt is a partnership between the ABC and the Australian National University, and astronomical groups, schools and community organisations are getting on board with enthusiasm. Star parties will be scattered about the country like stars in the night sky. At the time of writing there are already more than 100 events organised throughout the country from Kuranda to Kiama and Bunbury to Ballarat. You can check to see if there's an event near you on the Facebook page here. You need to register your attendance but if you BYO telescope entry is FREE. Check the Facebook event listing and Eventbrite listing for your chosen venue. And check out the video here.
You can BYO telescope or order online and collect on the day. In larger centres there will be guest speakers, astronomy activities, and ABC and local personalities. Participants everywhere will enjoy a screening of Stargazing Live with Brian Cox and Julia Zemiro, broadcast live from Siding Spring Observatory in NSW.
It's not too late for you to hold your own event. If you can muster a minimum of 25 people, have a large open space like a park or oval and can organise a couple of volunteers to keep things on track, then you're in. Once you have confirmed a venue you can fill out a form here to register. Once your details are finalised a Facebook page and Eventbrite link will be created for you. Easy.
If you can't be a part of the event but you're still interested in stargazing then tune in to ABC TV on 22 and 23 May for Stargazing Live series 2, as well as material on Radio, iView and online from 22 to 24 May. And if that's not enough for you then maybe you'd like to experience the wonder of a meteor shower. The Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower will be visible in Australia from its peak on 5 May until 28 May. Read all about it in Roy's article here.
Let's face it, unless you have the world's longest fingernails or largest teddy bear collection, or you're an outrageously talented exponent of the fine art of blowing up balloons there aren't going to be too many opportunities for you to hold a world record so seize the day, or the night to be exact. Get along with your friends, a telescope and some celestial enthusiasm to a star party near you; the wintry night sky is beckoning.