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Fred Watson

Australian Astronomical Observatory

Professor Fred Watson is astronomer in charge of the Anglo-Australian Observatory at Coonabarabran. He received his PhD for a thesis on Multi-object Astronomical Spectroscopy with Optical Fibres, and helped to pioneer the use of fibre optics in astronomy in the early 1980s. He has contributed to several major surveys of the motions of stars and galaxies, and is interested in future extremely large telescopes, dark-sky preservation, global virtual observatories and astronomy education. His role at the Anglo-Australian Observatory includes maintaining the scientific productivity of the AAO’s two telescopes, which includes long term strategies planning and protecting the Observatory’s night sky from light pollution. Watson has contributed to several major surveys of the motions of stars and galaxies, including a project to measure the speeds of a million stars. His interests include future extremely large telescopes, dark sky preservation, astronomical education and the history of scientific instruments. Fred has regular slots on ABC Radio and Catalyst. Fred wrote the text for Star Chant, a choral symphony by the Australian composer Ross Edwards, which also used celestial images by David Malin, and premiered at the Adelaide Festival in 2002. Watson is also a member of the Educational Advisory Group of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Steering Committee. In 2004, the International Astronomical union named an asteroid after him, 5691 Fredwatson.

Media Articles: 2

Darkness is disappearing and that's bad news for astronomy

Astronomers have much to celebrate in the International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies (IYL). Until the 1930s, every scrap of information about the universe came to us in the form of light. Admittedly, once radio telescopes began to make the first inroads into the invisible regions of the electromagnetic spectrum, the game changed. Today, there’s no portion of that universal hum of radiation that is off-limits to...

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Space junk and the environment: it's a very dark picture indeed

Since the launch of the first artificial satellite in 1957 – the Soviet Union's Sputnik 1 – countries around the world have been putting satellites and spacecraft into Earth orbit. While the majority of objects return to Earth, there are still more than 20,000 trackable pieces of "space junk" orbiting our planet, posing a collision risk for further ventures. Professor Fred Watson is the Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory near Coonabarabran in New South Wales. _In this interview he steers...

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Academic Publications: 3


Why Is Uranus Upside Down?

Star-Craving Mad

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