Tour Locations | Highlights from the Virtual Solar System Drive with Fred Watson
Hello. Welcome to Gomeroi land. The first nation people who lived and understood the land you are travelling through today. You may also hear of them spoken about as Kamilaroi or Gamilieray people. But we'll refer to them at the Gomeroi people throughout.
From here out to the Warrumbungle Mountains, this land is their home, comprising of 75,000 km2, and we'll be their guest.
We start this tour in front of the Coonabarabran Visitor Information Centre on John Street. We recommend taking some time to go inside and check out their displays including the bones of a dinosaur called a Diprotodon.
Long before any humans lived here, the land was home to the Diprotodon, the largest marsupial ever to have lived. Imagine the biggest, baddest Wombat the size of a big car!
The remains of the Diprotodon were found in the creek bed of Cox's Creek near Tambar Springs in 1979. The exhibition, created by the Australian Museum, also provides information on another megafauna that were believed to have existed at around the same time.
There is also an area located in the Museum which showcases artwork from local artists, as well as the Aboriginal Keeping Place.
For the next hour or so, we'll be travelling around the town of Coonabarabran. We as terranauts, my name for astronauts travelling on land, will journey along the highlights of the Virtual Solar System Drive to the virtual sun represented by the Anglo Australian Telescope.
Along the way, you might like to stop the car and grab a photo of the planets of our Solar System. We won't pass by the outer planets, pluto, Uranus, or Neptune, but start with the planet Saturn. When you hear us talking about the planet, you'll know that the planet will be coming up shortly and you can slow down and get ready to stop.
If you're short of time, you can pretend you're in a spaceship hurtling towards the sun, and just wave to the planets as they pass by!
Soon, we'll be joined by Fred Watson, a professional astronomer who has studied our universe from Siding Spring Observatory. For over 30 years he was the Astronomer in Charge of two enormous telescopes. He'll share some exciting space facts with you, and he might even tell you which of the planetary objects in our solar system is his favourite!
As you get ready to hit the road let me tell you a little bit about how VoiceMap works.
First, make sure you don't go over the speed limits or VoiceMap might miss a stop. VoiceMap uses your location to play audio automatically at the right time and place. Don't worry if we're silent for a while or telling you anything. I'll catch up with you at the next stop on the tour. There's a map on your screen if you ever feel lost, and if you do get way off track without noticing, VoiceMap will let you know. You can also pause the tour or stop it at any time and come back to where you left off.
We better get going, heading out of town towards the Siding Spring Observatory. As you leave the visitors centre, turn left into the heart of the town.