Ask an astronomer

Curious about what astronomers in Australia get up to in the dark of night? Email a professional astronomer your questions!  We attempt to answer as many questions as possible, but because of the volume of e-mail we receive, unfortunately we are often unable to answer all of them. It usually takes 1-2 weeks for our volunteers to respond to a question, but in busy periods it may take longer.

Before contacting one of our expert astronomers, please check our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Prof Simon Ellingsen
Main interests: Molecular masers, Massive star formation, Extragalactic Water Masers, Scintillation and Intra-day variability in radio sources.

Prof Simon Ellingsen is a lecturer with the Radio Astronomy Group at the University of Tasmania.

Prof John Lattanzio
Main interests: 
stellar evolution and the creation of elements.

Prof Lattanzio is a nuclear astrophysicist and Director of Monash University’s Centre for Astrophysics. He works on the interior structure of stars, how they live and die and the nuclear reactions inside them that make all the elements in the Universe.

A/Prof John O’Byrne
Main interests
: adaptive optics, interferometry, astrophotonics.

A/Prof John O’Byrne lectures in physics and astronomy in the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, part of the School of Physics within the University of Sydney. His research is centred around astronomical instrumentation, most recently using modern optical fibres in astronomy (astrophotonics). He has many years experience conducting astronomy courses for adults and has also been an author or editor for several popular science and astronomy books.

Prof Sarah Maddison
Main interests:
Star and planet formation.

Prof Sarah Maddison is an astrophysicist at the Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne. Her primary interest is in star and planet formation. Sarah uses supercomputers to model the evolution of gas and dust in protoplanetary disks around young stars, and the Australia Telescope Compact Array to observe dusty planetary disks.