Two Teaching Telescopes for the Territory

Released 25/09/2019

Today I joined students and teachers to officially open the McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescope 2, just two years after the opening of Canberra's first Teaching Telescope.

Located at the ANU Mt Stromlo Observatory, the McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescopes (MSATT) provide a unique opportunity for ACT public school students in the Science Mentors ACT program to conduct astronomical research projects.

Students in the program are mentored by a passionate and skilled ACT Teacher, Mr Geoff McNamara, and industry representatives from a range of university and research institutions from all over Canberra.

This year, 30 students are conducting their research projects using the telescope. The telescopes are a unique and special resource for our students offering the opportunity to work at levels not previously possible in the ACT or in many other jurisdictions throughout Australia.

Students are taught how to use high-end astronomical equipment independently providing invaluable experience, not only in understanding the nature of astronomical work, but in appreciating the nature of scientific research.

This professional grade facility is an excellent example of a successful collaboration between private donors, the ANU and the ACT Government.

The ACT Government will further invest $5,000 per year for three years to assist with the maintenance and upkeep of the McNamara-Saunders Astronomical Teaching Telescope facility.

Mr McNamara has also been presented with the Lifetime Award for Service to Students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in recognition of his many years of service developing the STEM skills and knowledge of Canberra’s students.

Quotes attributable to Yvette Berry, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development

"The ACT Government is committed to providing opportunities for all students to participate in science, technology, engineering and maths education.

"These real-world problem-solving skills are increasingly important for workplace innovation and productivity. Many growing and emerging industries will require these skills, so it is important that students develop these skills through their schooling.

"I am confident that Canberra will continue to be a leader in this space."

Quotes attributable to Mick Gentleman, Minister for Advanced Technology and Space Industries

"The ACT Government is committed to building careers in space right here in Canberra starting in our schools.

"Helping provide access to equipment, technology and experts gives the students of today the opportunity to play key roles in the science and exploration missions of tomorrow.

"Almost one in four of the nation’s space sector jobs are in the ACT and we intend to grow this number to cement our status as the space capital."

Quotes attributable to Mr Geoff McNamara, Convenor Science Mentors ACT and Manager of MSATT

"The ultimate goal is to inspire and empower students to undertake tertiary science education with enthusiasm and confidence; to not be afraid of manipulating, operating and calibrating scientific instruments; to get the most out of such instruments as they develop their understanding of the cosmos."

- Statement ends -

Section: Yvette Berry, MLA | Media Releases

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