CQ astronomers feature on Channel 9 show My Way
Rubyvale will be highlighted on the big screen this weekend as a television episode airs featuring two amateur astronomers who live in The Gemfields region.
The Channel 9 show, My Way, will feature Phil Miles and Anthony Wesley and their passion for capturing planets and stars with planetary imaging.
Speaking about their recent stardom, Phil and Anthony shared how their friendship and hobby came about.
Phil has lived at Rubyvale since 1970. He came to The Gemfields as a tourist mining sapphires and never left.
A few years ago, he got interested in astronomy and bought a telescope and got learning about the night sky.
By coincidence Anthony had come to The Gemfields one night and borrowed Phil’s telescope and the pair developed a mentor relationship.
Anthony had been living in Canberra for nearly 20 years but the cold and wind made for not ideal astronomy conditions.
He travelled around Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland doing astronomy on holidays and eventually came to The Gemfields where he found ideal conditions.
After coming to the area “on and off” over the years, he moved permanently in 2017.
Anthony and Phil went about their hobby and word started to get around of their work and the astronomy they did, and they got some recognition from the media.
Eventually this travelled to Channel 9 and they were contacted to take part in the show.
A crew of three came to visit them for a couple of days and followed them to see what they do.
“They had a live look through the telescope,” Anthony said.
“The camera crew were interested in the camera we used.”
The pair was pleased to get some recognition for the “long hours of work” they put into their astronomy.
It’s not the first time they have received attention – they have featured on ABC and had two visits from a NASA engineer over the years as well.
“A lot of work has been published in scientific papers around the world,” Anthony said.
“We did some quite unusual work of Venus, that was recognised by a number of organisations around the world as groundbreaking work that has been done by anyone, let alone an amateur.”
The beauty of astronomy is that you never know what you are going to get.
“Every night you go out and take one of these pictures, you are seeing something new every night,” Anthony said.
The equipment they use is quite specialised as well.
“We have built our own telescopes by buying equipment all around the world to make them work,” Phil said.
“They are bit like a formula one car, they are amazing telescopes and they need constant work to get them working.”
The pair jokingly likened their astronomy hobby to an “addiction”.
“We are unpaid professionals, we do put in a lot of time and effort … just because it is so interesting and there is a lot to learn,” Anthony said.
“It is really is quite a lot of fun and takes up all of the night-time hours.”
“When you get into it you start to get adrenaline, it is addictive, you are really on a high,” Phil said.
“This is the most exciting fun I have ever had.”
Each episode of the show introduces four inspirational Australians, each with unique stories.
The show will air on Sunday, March 7, at 5.30pm on Channel 9.