Hundreds of Katherine locals turned out to observe a rare astronomical event alongside NASA scientists.
Scientists from the United States and students from Charles Darwin University made the trip to Katherine to observe the rare Pluto occultation event, with the public invited to come along to a preview.
CDU STEM Pathways Lecturer Dr Carla Eisemberg helped coordinate the community event to educate the public about the Pluto occultation and astronomy.
"The event was a great opportunity for CDU students and the Katherine community to learn more about astronomy and see distant stars up close through NASA telescopes," Dr Eisemberg said.
"The public got to ask questions to the NASA scientists, and it can be really exciting for the community when Katherine suddenly becomes the centre of international attention during this significant astronomical event."
CDU PhD candidate Kiran Sreedhar Ram volunteered at the event, which he said provided him with an incredibly rare research opportunity.
Mr Sreedhar Ram's research focuses on organic solar cells, and although not an astronomer himself, he said using computational physics and insights into the process of data analysis during the Pluto occultation had been beneficial for his research career.
"I feel really lucky to have been involved in this rare opportunity. Observing the centre flash, which is when the star appears three times brighter like an explosion, was the best part," Mr Sreedhar Ram said.
"The community event was a huge success, with a large crowd turning up to see the star through NASA telescopes. There were also other astronomers all eager to see this rare sight."
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