Beerstronomy gives star lovers a chance to taste the cosmos

From Left to Right: Grape & Grain's Digital Content Manager Ben Smart and Astronomical Society of Victoria's Event Coordinator Mark Iscaro.

Melbournians will finally be given a chance to taste the cosmos as The Grape & Grain, one of the city’s friendliest bottleshops and pubs, hosts a fundraising trivia night for the Astronomical Society of Victoria and their Pathway to the Planets Program, which aims to provide access for people living with a disability to experience astronomy, on Wednesday, 21 April.

ASV Event Coordinator, Mark Iscaro, said the Karma Keg is perfect for beerstronomers – people who are passionate about local craft beer and the wonders of the night sky.

“A lot of people I know who drink craft beer are into science, whether it’s astronomy or science in general. There’s an odd but fantastic link, I think, between people who enjoy astronomy and people who want to sit down and have a nice quiet drink and look up and stare at the night sky,” Mark said.

Karma Keg will offer passionate beerstronomers the chance to tour the night sky virtually through a projector, and using the astronomy program, Stellarium.

A telescope will be erected outside the venue and attendees will be able to see bright deep sky objects through the projector whilst enjoying a drop of their favourite lager or wine. A trivia quiz – with all questions relating to space and astronomy – will also take place during the night.

“No matter what the weather, we’ll be able to show you some amazing stellar objects currently in the night sky over Melbourne,” Mark added.

Grape & Grain’s Digital Content Manager Ben Smart, who is intrigued by astronomy, said he and the team were very happy and proud to host a fundraising event with all proceeds going to fund ASV’s Pathways to the Planets.

Once fully funded, the program will enable the ASV to create pathways and suitable access for people living with a disability to experience their dark sky viewing site, which is located just north of Heathcote.

The fundraiser will also fund an all-abilities telescope.

“We need to raise $80,000 for the program. We’re just shy of $25,000 with all the fundraising we have done in the last eight months. COVID-19 really stopped our momentum,” Mark added.

Ben recommended attendees to try their quality range of pale ale or IPA beer on tap. “On the night, we’ll also have Bad Shepherd Lager for the Karma Keg. It’s a really nice easy drinking lager,” Ben said.

Mark added: “Event attendees will get a free beer upon entry, and because it’s a fundraiser they can pay $20 for a pint of beer if they wanted to.

“Weather permitting, we’ll also have a couple of other telescopes set up for people to look through. We’ll also have an ASV member who will give a very interesting presentation on the night sky using Stellarium, pointing out awe-inspiring objects like the planets, galaxies and nebulae.

“It’ll be a fun night so that people living with a disability can enjoy the night sky,” Mark said.

Grape & Grain, located in Moorabbin, has hosted other community fundraising events in the past, such as a fundraiser for the Country Fire Authority in early 2020.

The event will start at 6pm on 21 April. Tickets are limited. Please visit: https//www.trybooking.com/BQFVA.

If you can’t attend, but would like to donate to the Pathways to the Planets Program, please visit: https://www.mycause.com.au/page/230471/asv-pttp.

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.

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