Stars shine bright at USQ's Mt Kent Observatory

The universe projects infinite possibilities, holds the key to endless explanations about life, and offers us continual opportunities to push scientific frontiers. Inspired by a passion for teaching and an inquiring mind, Dr Brad Carter aims to shed light on the many secrets locked in the night’s sky.


 Dr Brad Carter

Dr Brad Carter

As Director of USQ’s Mt Kent Observatory, Dr Carter’s research is at the forefront of exciting developments in astronomical discoveries.

“I really had an interest in science, technology, space and astronomy for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s, a time when space travel was capturing people’s imagination and transforming our view of our home planet, Earth.

“Knowing that I wanted to be involved with astronomy and space in my career, I decided to study science at school and specialised in physics and astronomy at university. "

“When I finished university, I was fortunate to land an astronomy job working on an automated telescope at Siding Spring Observatory, in New South Wales, and after that I got a job as an academic at USQ in 1995.”

A unique teaching resource, the Mt Kent facility holds a special place as Queensland’s only professional research observatory.

“What we’re trying to do at Mt Kent is to set it up as a facility for distance education students to use, allowing them to learn about astronomy and even to do research.

“Undergraduate students can learn about astronomy by remotely accessing the facility over the internet and our postgraduate students can use it in a more in-depth way so they can do research.”

Mt Kent Observatory’s three domes, high-powered telescopes and cutting-edge technology have helped to shed an international spotlight on the facility.

“Our operation at Mt Kent Observatory is very much done in collaboration with the University of Louisville in Kentucky, through a project called Shared Skies Partnership.

“We have reciprocal rights so we can observe the stars in the northern skies in the same way the students over there can observe the stars Down Under. So we are essentially covering two hemispheres.”
When it comes to inspiration, Dr Carter needn’t look further than the telescope in front of him.

“The attitudes and efforts of some scientists throughout history are inspirational, but it is science itself that inspires me.

“People like to understand the world around them and I believe we are contributing in the very long term to our understanding of the world around us, to give people a better understanding of where we’ve come from and who we are.”