Virtual reality journey across Murchison and space on show at the Museum of Geraldton

Jamie ThannooGeraldton Guardian
Radio telescope dishes at the CSIRO Murchision Radioastronomy Observatory.
Camera IconRadio telescope dishes at the CSIRO Murchision Radioastronomy Observatory. Credit: White Spark Pictures

Viewers will be taken on a 360° journey to the outback to see the night sky in a whole new way with a virtual reality documentary being shown at the Museum of Geraldton, starting this weekend.

Beyond the Milky Way is a 25-minute tour of the future site of the Square Kilometre Array-Low (SKA-Low) telescope, part of the world’s largest radio telescopes, which is being built in the Murchison and is designed to try to investigate some of the universe’s biggest mysteries.

The documentary comes from Australian company White Spark Pictures, which previously produced the award-winning VR documentary The Antarctica Experience, features several experts, and is narrated by physicist and BBC presenter Brian Cox.

Viewers will taken across the vast bush where the ASKAP radio telescope and Murchison Widefield Array currently stand, and see the night sky that lies above.

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There will also be a free public talk on Saturday at the museum from the creative director behind the project, White Spark Pictures’ Briege Whitehead, who will be sharing her insights into developing the VR experience.

Ms Whitehead said she was thrilled to help people in Geraldton learn more about the massive project taking place in the Murchison.

“Visitors will be swiftly transported onto Wajarri Yamaji country in the remote Western Australian outback, where we hope to uncover the secrets of the Universe through the future SKA project, the world’s largest radio-telescopes,” Ms Whitehead said.

“With our immersive VR films, we are passionate about giving people unique and memorable experiences by taking them to places that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to visit.”

Museum of Geraldton regional manager Leigh O’Brien said she was eager to share the experience with visitors.

“It is great to be able to bring such a uniquely immersive experience to Geraldton and work with the team at White Spark Pictures,” Ms O’Brien said.

Beyond the Milky Way runs from May 13 until July 23, and Ms Whitehead’s public talk, Art & Technology of Virtual Reality, will take place at 10am on Saturday.

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