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Astronomer-at-Large, Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Australian Astronomical Observatory

Professor Fred Watson is Australia’s first Astronomer-at-Large, an outreach and advocacy role within the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. He is graduate of the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh, and worked at both of Britain’s Royal Observatories before joining the Australian Astronomical Observatory as Astronomer-in-Charge in 1995. Recognised internationally for helping to pioneer the use of fibre optics in astronomy during the 1980s, Fred is best known today for his award-winning radio and TV broadcasts, books, music, dark-sky advocacy and other outreach ventures. He holds adjunct professorships in several Australian universities, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. He has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault. His latest book, Exploding Stars and Invisible Planets, was published by Columbia University Press in January.


  • –present
    Astronomer-in-Charge, Anglo-Australian Observatory, Australian Astronomical Observatory


    University of Edinburgh, PhD/Astronomy


  • 2013
    Star-Craving Mad, Allen & Unwin
  • 2007
    Why Is Uranus Upside Down?, Allen & Unwin
  • 2007
    Stargazer, Allen & Unwin


Member of the Order of Australia