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The Dark Side is Canterbury College's Astronomy Club.

Our aim is to have some fun and learn a bit about the universe along the way.

We meet on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00.

Introduction How to Join Learning Facebook


Format Program Space Facts Activities Member Creations


Planetarium Star Wars Movie Marathon Star Gazing Family Night Awards

  Other Links  

News and Photos Tidbits Glossary Internet Resources Contact Copyright M1 Maths





The Dark Side is an astronomy club with a side interest in Star Wars. It is open to Canterbury students in Years 5 to 9, with helpers/leaders from Years 10 to 12. We meet on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 pm in D03 (Mrs Sue Garai's classroom) as well as holding occasional evening and weekend events.

D03 is underneath where the Discovery Centre (Junior Library) was. (The Discovery Centre is now a construction site.) See the map below.

The first meetings in 2022 attracted well over 100 students. However, we have had to restrict numbers to about 30 students in Years 5 to 9 plus senior helpers. Membership is by expression of interest.
See the How to Join section of this page (scroll down).

Students can be picked up after the meeting from either D03 or the Junior School car park. A teacher will wait at the car park until all students have been picked up. Any student who needs to be picked up before 5:00 should be picked up from D03.

The club is run by Mr David Ilsley, Mrs Anita Pendreigh and Mr Ian Fish with occasional help from Ms Donna-Marie Forsyth and Ms Marianne Zandona. Click here for photos and contact information.





How to Join

Students in Years 5 to 12 are welcome to complete the Request to Join. Click the link below. Please also email Mr David Ilsley ( saying that you have completed a request so that he knows to look for it.

                                                                                      Request to Join

Numbers are limited, so it may not be possible to accept everyone. There will be an intake at the start of the year. To be part of this, be sure to submit your Request in the first two weeks of term. It may be possible to accept a few more during the year as places become available. Anyone who is not successful when they first apply will be placed on a waiting list and offered a place when one becomes available.

Students will be selected partly on what they write in their Request to Join, but more particularly on the recommendation of their teachers.






The primary aim of the Dark Side is to have some fun and hopefully to be awed by some of the wonders of the universe.

In the Space Facts section of each meeting, members will be explicitly taught various aspects of astronomy.

Astronomy is the study of the universe and, as the universe is everything, astronomy is often called 'the science of everything'.

As such, as well as the astronomical learning, students will be exposed to many fundamental concepts of science more generally. In many cases they will meet these concepts before the year levels at which they appear in the science curriculum. But they will be introduced in a way designed just to whet the apetite and at a depth which assures they make sense. In some cases they will be introduced to ideas that otherwise would wait until senior physics or chemistry or even university astronomy.

Some examples of this learning are: atoms, molecules, subatomic particles and the four fundamental interactions, anti-matter, quantum theory, nuclear reactions, elements, compounds, chemical reactions, mass, velocity, momentum, acceleration, force, energy, entropy, information, temperature, pressure, density, gravity, electric charge and magnetism, electromagnetic radiation, spectra, optics, waves, minerals, rocks, geology, special and general relativity and orbits.

We will also dabble in philosophy, looking at the nature of our perceptions and reality and why anything exists, though, of course, without providing definitive answers.

Mathematical concepts will also be introduced or reinforced. Some examples are: large and small numbers and scientific notation, dimensions, lengths, areas and volumes, angles, Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometries, conic sections, probability, simple formulae and equations like E = mc squared.

Every time a scientific or mathematical concept is introduced, however, it will be with the aim of understanding something astronomical. It will be explained and members will always have the opportunity to ask questions or seek clarification. If the concept is not fully understood there and then, it won't matter - the astronomy should still be graspable.

Scientific and mathematical concepts tend to make more sense and are more likely to be remembered if if they are met in a context where they are essential for understanding something else.

The best thing about the learning is that there are no tests, so no pressure and no feeling bad if something doesn't yet quite make sense. Admittedly, there are competitions and those who learn more will have better chances of winning the prizes. The Cosmic Shield competition which honours the individuals with the greatest astronomical knowledge takes place at the end of the year, but entry is optional. Apart from that, all the competitions are competed in cooperative groups, so, if someone in the group doesn't know something, someone else in the group might.

In the end, even if some of the concepts encountered don't make total sense, they will seem more familiar and more relevant when they are met later in regular classes.

Our greatest hope is that members will develop their interest in and fascination for astronomy and science more generally.






Dark Side members, their families and other members of the Canterbury community are welcome to join our Facebook group   Canterbury Dark Side





Meeting Format

Meetings run from 3:30 to 5:00. Most meetings have a 5-part format.

Some Music Videos from YouTube are played while people arrive before the start of the meeting proper at 3:30.

The News (the first 15 minutes or so of the meeting proper) consists of news about anything interesting happening in the astronomical world and announcements about things happening in the Dark Side.

The Snippet (the next 5 minutes) is a fun video snippet, not necessarily related to astronomy, or perhaps a slideshow of photos from an earlier meeting.

In Space Facts (the next 30 minutes) we learn about some aspect of astronomy (like Pluto, Black Holes or Galaxies), usually through a slide show and discussion.

The Activity (the last 40 minutes) varies from week to week and may include quiz games with chocolate prizes, videos, development of student projects (slideshows, videos, models, dramatic or dance performances etc.), using telescopes to observe the sun or moon, making rockets and parachutes or creating impact craters, virtual reality experiences and light-sabre training. There is often some choice.

The last meeting of each term will be a party where members bring food and drink to share.

There will also be a number of evening events: star gazing, movie nights, a family night; and also a Sunday afternoon trip to the Brisbane Planetarium.

Astronomy is often called the Science of Everything and students will meet some of the fundamental ideas of Earth science, physics, chemistry and even philosophy. They are also introduced to more advanced (and fascinating) ideas like relativity, subatomic particles and quantum mechanics (Schrodinger’s theory of dead cats), dark matter, black holes, string theory etc.





Program 2023

For previous years click here:   2022

The program for the year is partly decided, but it will evolve and change.

The following will give some idea of what we will be doing.

Term 1     Term 2    Term 3     Term 4

2023 Term 1                             

                                        (Mon 23 Jan - Fri 31 Mar)


News    (3:30-3:45)

Space Facts    (3:50-4:20)

Activity    (4:20-5:00)

Feb 13

Procedures, expectations, communication

Introduction to the Universe - Part 1

Emperor's Cup Quiz Game

Feb 20

Program for the year, space facts, activities

RAP, videos, slideshows and web pages, copyright, Sways


Feb 27

Planetarium arrangements

The Sun

Observing the Sun and Moon with Telescopes

Mar 6

Extra-curriculuar points, Borrowing telescopes and books

Atoms to Dust to Planets

Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


Mar 13

Planetarium arrangements

Party arrangements

The Night Sky

Stellarium activity

Mar 19


(Sunday afternoon)

Mar 20

Star Wars arrangements

Party arrangements

Beetle Juice

or RAP

4-Corners Quiz Game

Mar 27



Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


Back to start of Program               Home  

2023 Term 2                               

                                        (Tue 18 April - Fri 16 June)


News    (3:30-3:45)

Space Facts    (3:50-4:20)

Activity    (4:20-5:00)

Apr 24

Star Wars arrangements


4 percent of the Universe

Making Craters


May 1

Labour Day Holiday

May 5

Star Wars Movie Marathon

(Friday afternoon-evening)

May 8

Cosmic Shield

Galactic Shield

96 percent of the Universe

Relay Game

May 12

Star Wars Movie Marathon

(Friday afternoon-evening)

May 15

Black Holes

Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


May 19

Star Wars Movie Marathon

(Friday afternoon-evening)

May 22

Star Gazing Arrangements




May 29

Telescopes Part 1



June 5

Party Arrangements

Telescopes Part 2



June 12



Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


Back to start of Program               Home  

2023 Term 3                               

                                      (Tue 11 July - Fri 15 Sept)


News    (3:30-3:45)

Space Facts    (3:50-4:20)

Activity    (4:20-5:00)

July 17

Star Gazing Arrangements

What we will see at Star Gazing


July 21

Star Gazing

(Friday evening)

July 24

Introduction to the Universe - Part 2

Freddo Challenge Quiz Game

July 31

History of Astronomy

Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


Aug 7

Position in the Sky


Aug 14

Logan Show Day

Aug 21

Atoms Part 1

Emperor's Cup Quiz Game

Aug 28

Family Night Program

Atoms Part 2

Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


Sep 4

Family Night Preparations

Party Arrangements

Geology of the Earth


Sept 11



Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


Back to start of Program               Home  

2023 Term 4                               

                                      (Tue 3 Oct - Wed 29 Nov)


News    (3:30-3:45)

Space Facts    (3:50-4:20)

Activity    (4:20-5:00)

Oct 9

Family Night Arrangements

The Big Bang

4-Corners Quiz Game

Oct 16

History and Future of the Universe


Oct 23



Presentations deadline

Oct 30

Family Night Arrangements



Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience


Nov 6


Cosmic Shield preliminaries


Nov 13

Family Night Arrangements



Nov 17

Family Night & Star Gazing

(Friday evening)

Nov 20



Light-sabre Training

Virtual Reality Experience

Back to start of Program               Home  





The activities consist of quiz games (Freddo Challenge, Emperor's Cup, 4-Corner Quiz and Relay), light-sabre training, videos, virtual reality experiences, RAP (Research and Production) sessions, Family Night preparation and a party on the last Monday of Terms 1, 2 and 3. Details are given below.

Freddo Challenge     Emperor's Cup    4-Corner Quiz    Relay    Light-sabre Training

Videos     Virtual Reality Experience     RAP    Family Night Preparation     Parties

Freddo Challenge

Judges sit behind tables in a side room with copies of the answer sheet. A guard (imperial or otherwise) stands at the door to the judging room.

Students form teams of 3, 4 or 5. There are two divisions: to be in Division 5-6, all members of the team must be in Years 5 to 6; otherwise they are in Division 5-12. When they have their team, the members go together to the guard to get a blank answer sheet with 3 sets of 10 answer spaces, numbered 1 to 30. The group then finds a place to work, and writes their team name and members' names at the top of the answer sheet.

The 30 questions are uploaded to the Dark Side website (this site) under Quiz Questions. Students will be able to access them once they have their answer sheets and can then begin.

Teams may do whatever research they like (including on the Internet with laptops or phones) to find the answers. They can even phone a friend. When they have the first 10 answered, one member of the team returns their answer sheet to one of the judges. (The other members can continue working on the other questions.) The guard stands at the door of the judging room and allows in only one students per sheet. The judge checks the paper and tells the competitor how many of the first set are right (not which ones). The group can go back and try again as many times as they wish. When they are satisfied with their score they tell the judge that that is their final try and the judge writes the score at the bottom of the column. Once the score is recorded for column 1, they can have column 2 judged and so on. They can work on columns 2 and 3 while working on column 1, but cannot have them judged until the previous column is finalised.

The teams are warned 5 minutes and 2 minutes before time-up so they can get their un-finalised columns finalised and their total mark entered. When they do this, they leave their sheet with the judges.

The judges then determine the winning team in each division. They then present the prizes – one large chocolate Freddo Frog per team member. If anyone gets to 30 before time-up, the first team to do so in each division wins, though it is not announced until all have finished.

Quiz questions will be uploaded here at the start of the Freddo Challenge. Once uploaded, they can be accessed by clicking the link below.

Freddo Challenge Questions

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Emperor's Cup

The Emperor's Cup is a trophy cup. It is filled with Cadburys Favourites before each competition.

Those present are divided into teams of about 10. This can be done in varying ways. For instance, students might choose their own. Other times they might be assigned randomly, e.g. by house or by each person picking a team name from a hat.

At the previous week’s meeting, the students might be told what topics the questions will be on so that those who wish to can research them.

In the competition, each team works in a different room or area. Computers and phones can be allowed or can be disallowed. If disallowed, one person from each team works as scrutineer with the next team to check for cheating. The scrutineer can walk around and watch, but not distract.

A teacher walks around each team in order handing out sheets. They can start when they get their sheet. After 20 minutes the teacher walks round again and collects up in the same order.

Papers are marked. One point is given per correct answer. The team with the most points wins. If two or more teams are equal, the team with the correct answer to the highest number question wins; if those are the same, then the next highest and so on.

While the papers are being marked, it can be goood to go through the correct answers with the students. This will add to their knowledge as well as occupying them while they wait for the results.

The winning team gets to share and eat the chocolates.

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4-Corners Quiz

A multiple-choice question with four answers, A, B, C and D, is projected onto a screen. Cards marked A, B, C and D are placed in four corners of the room. Competitors go to the corner corresponding to what they think is the correct answer.

Those who go to the wrong corners are dead and have to go to the morgue (a separate area in the room). Those who are still alive get to attempt the next question and so on. The last person alive wins their choice from the chocolate bar basket. If a question kills all remaining competitors, that round ends without a prize being given.

Once a winner is decided and they have their prize, everyone comes back to life for another round. Rounds continue while time is available.

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The game is played between teams. Each team has a judge who sits a few metres away from where the team is working.

The game consists of a number of rounds. In each round, each judge is given a sheet containing 8 multiple-choice questions plus an answer sheet.

On the word 'Go', a runner from each team goes and collects the question sheet from their judge and brings it back to their team. The team then decides on an answer to Question 1, writes it on the sheet and the runner takes it to their judge. The judge tells them 'right' or 'wrong'. If right, the judge ticks it off on their answer sheet and the team then proceeds to the next question. If wrong, the runner goes back and the team tries again. They keep doing so until they get it right, then they move on to the next question. Teams must get the questions right in order. They may look things up on phones or laptops.

When a team has got the correct answer to Question 6, the runner goes and rings a bell or bangs the front desk. That runner's team then receives a chocolate for each team member.

If a team has won one round, they have to answer 7 questions on subsequent rounds; if they have won more than one round, they have to answer all 8.

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Light-sabre Training

Mrs Pendreigh is a black-belt in Haidong Gumdo, the Korean sword-fighting style used in the choreograpy of many of the Star Wars light-sabre duels. She can provide training for those who wish to participate.

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A video is shown. The videos will be on some aspect of astronomy. In some cases, options may be offered and the most popular one selected.

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Virtual Reality Experiences

Members can experience the school's virtual reality equipment in contexts including space travel.

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RAP (Research and Production)

Students work on producing something astronomy-related or Star-Wars-related that can be shown at Dark Side meetings and/or the Family Night, on the Dark Side website, and maybe in Dark Side displays for the school at large to admire. Options include but aren't limited to slide shows and videos, models, posters, theatrical or dance performances and costumes.

Some suggestions for slide shows and videos: astrology; exploration of the solar system; inter-stellar travel; living in space; alternative homes elsewhere in the galaxy; Mercury; Venus; the asteroids; Saturn; Uranus and Neptune; the mythology of the constellations.

Some suggestions for models: the structure of Earth and/or other solar system bodies; the solar system (to scale or otherwise); the local galaxy cluster; light sabres; Star Wars characters and scenes.

Some suggestions for posters: the acivities of the Dark Side Astronomy Club; light sabe techniques; a summary of the universe; various other aspects of astronomy as listed under 'slide shows and videos' above.

Some suggestions for performances: light sabre battles; other scenes from Star Wars; dancing in Star Wars costumes; dramatic performances for Family Night; skits.

Costumes might be for the dance and theatrical performances or for other situations like advertising the Dark Side; light sabre battles; other scenes from Star Wars; dancing in Star Wars costumes.

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Family Night Preparation

Towards the end of the year, many students will be involved in devising and rehearsing performances for the Family Night. It is hoped that students will run most of the evening with little up-front help from teachers.

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The last meeting of most terms will be a Party. Members should bring a contribution of food or drink to share. Hopefully there will be a suitable mix of savouries, sweets and drinks.

It always happens that some members forget to bring something. They are still welcome to attend, but should eat and drink sparingly and try to make up for it at the next party.

After eating and drinking, members have a choice of light sabre training, virtual reality experience, RAP, or just chilling.

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Member Creations

Below is a link to a section of this website where Dark Side members may post astronomy-related or Star-Wars-related items (videos, slideshows, web pages etc.) that they have produced, e.g. in the RAP sessions. So as not to infringe copyright laws, any material produced by others and included in the items must be Creative Commons licensed and acknowledged. The page is password protected to safeguard students' privacy.

                                                                                  Click here for access.






We plan to visit the Brisbane Planetarium on Sunday March 19 to watch an astronomy show. Dark Side members and their families are welcome. Actually, being a public show, everybody is welcome.

There is quite a bit to look at at the planetarium besides the shows, so it is probably worth arriving early to go though the displays.

Shows last about an hour. After the show, we might gather in the foyer for a group photo. Then those who wish to might go up to the top of Mount Coot-tha to admire the view and maybe get some refreshments in the kiosk. This would provide an opportunity for families to get to know one another and to get to know us, the Dark Side team.

It is easiest if families book and pay online direct to the planetarium.

Bookings and payment can be made using the link below. Enter the date - from March 19 to March 19, leave the other boxes, and click 'Search Events'. Then click on the show and follow the instructions.

Admission last year was $12 for an adult, $8 for 3-14 year olds. Children under 3 were free.

                                                                            Planetarium Booking Link

Just in case there are more people wanting to go than the number of seats available, it may be worth booking as soon as you know you are going.

The plan is for students to travel with their families and for us all to gather inside the planetarium during the hour or so before the show.

The planetarium is located in the Mount Coot-tha Botanical Gardens. The map below shows the location.

From the Logan area, head west along the Logan Motorway, turn off on the Centenary Highway and head to ‘Northern Suburbs’. The road becomes the Western Freeway. Continue to the roundabout at Toowong and turn left onto Mt Coot-tha Road just before the roundabout. The exit is marked ‘Planetarium’. Then just follow the signs. There is plenty of free parking. An alternative is to go via the SE Freeway and Milton Road. Or just follow your phone.





Star Wars

The Canterbury Dark Side was hoping to hold a Star Wars movie marathon last year on Friday evenings 20 and 27 May and 3 June, showing the first six movies.


However, the stop-go start to the year left us with insufficient time to make the necessary arrangements.

We started to plan to hold it in Term 3 or 4 instead, but that didn't worked out either. But we will make sure that it happens in Term 2 2023.

Information about the Movies

Movie Classification

The Star Wars movies contain some violence. Parts 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6 are classified PG. Part 3 is classified M. M is a classification which advises viewing by Mature Audiences. Unlike MA, however, it does not impose any restrictions on who can view the movie. As a parent, please purchase tickets only for the movies you are happy for your child/ren to watch.

Educational Value

This event will contribute to students’ understanding of and interest in various science and technology concepts. It will also contribute to their grasp of some issues in the social and environmental sciences. The themes of identity and self-knowledge in the movies are very relevant to the same themes in Pride and Prejudice which Canterbury students study in English. There will also be value for those students who study Film and Television as a subject. Religious and moral education is an essential part of the curriculum at Canterbury. The themes of the light and dark sides of the force present some of these concepts in a way which the students can easily grasp and to which they are generally receptive. The themes of the Star Wars movies deal with the qualities of integrity, compassion, social and environmental responsibility, community and scholarship, five of Canterbury’s core values.





Star Gazing

The blue and yellow sections below give the original plans for the 2022 star gazing night, written at the end of 2021 on the assumption that the event would be planned and conducted the same way as in 2011-2013. But these plans were made without realising that procedures and requirements are different now and so they have had to change.

Because of safety concerns, we cannot have a fire with damper and milo. A sausage sizzle was suggested as an alternative, but wasn't approved.

Also, astronomers from the Scenic Rim Astronomy Association were booked to bring powerful computerised telescopes allowing us to see a lot of things that we wouldn't be able to see with the school scopes and also to do an expert show-and-tell on what can be seen with the naked eye. But, again because of safety concerns, we have had to cancel their visit. As a result, there would probably not be enough to keep most people interested even for an hour and it became uncertain whether it was worth holding the event for that.

When it was suggested to students at a Dark Side meeting that an alternative might be to do some star gazing in conjunction with the Family Night in November when people will be here anyway, the members were overwhelmingly in favour of that option. So, the request for an event in Term 3 was withdrawn. We held an hour's star gazing from 7:45 to 8:45 pm after the Family Night on Friday 11 November.

It is hoped to hold two star gazing nights in 2023 on July 21 and November 17.

We normally hold two star-gazing evenings a year. However, for the first half of 2022 all of the five easily visible planets will be below the horizon in the early evening. Also, the moon isn't terribly cooperative with our Friday evening time slot. This year, therefore we will hold just one night starting at 6 pm on Friday 2 September. On that night a crescent moon and Saturn will be up throughout the event, Mercury will be up for the first half and Jupiter will be up for the second half. Of course there will always be other features worth looking at, like star clusters, nebulae, other galaxies etc.

The event will take place on the school oval behind the senior library. Because there will be a lot of children present in the dark, to ensure that everyone is safe, the procedures in the yellow section below will need to be adhered to.

If it is too cloudy, the event will be cancelled. Whether it is going ahead will be announced in the 'News and Photos' section of this site by 3 pm on the day.

Some members of the Scenic Rim Astronomy Association have offered to come along and bring telescopes more powerful than any owned by the school. Also, people will be able to cook food (damper and golden syrup will be provided) over a fire. Coffee and milo will also be provided. To cover the expenses of the astronomers and the food and drink, there will be a charge, probably between $5 and $10 per person over the age of 5. This can be paid through the link below once we know the cost and the link becomes live.

Star Gazing Payment

In the event of a cancellation, the money paid will be refunded.

All students must be accompanied by a parent or other supervising adult. Parents who attend are welcome to bring along any other children, like siblings of the student. This adult will need to stay with the student and other children and take responsibility for them throughout the evening, especially if they need to leave the group at any stage, e.g. to go to the toilet. Everyone, adults and siblings, can join in all the activities with the students. In the past, family members have enjoyed the evening as much as the students.

If your son or daughter would like to come along, but you cannot make it, you are welcome to ask another family to look after them for the evening.

When you arrive, a Canterbury staff member will be sitting at a table with a light. Please register everyone in your party with them when you arrive and also, importantly, check out with them when you leave. That way we will know who is there in case of any emergency and, at the end of the evening, we will know that everyone is accounted for. If we do things this way, we don’t need consent forms to be signed beforehand. Signing in and out is also necessary for credit towards extra-curricular points etc.

We will have three rotating groups, Group A, Group B and Group C. When you sign in, you will sign into one of the three groups. You can look to see who has already signed into each group if you wish to be with friends. As people in smaller groups will get more telescope and cooking time, hopefully the groups will naturally stay fairly even.

There will be an introductory talk at 6:00. Then the three groups will rotate through three activities, beginning the sessions at 6:15. 7:00 and 7:45. The activities are:

• looking at the sky with the naked eye (with a commentary)

• looking through the telescopes

• cooking damper and drinking milo or coffee at the fire

Group A will start with the naked-eye viewing then proceed to the telescopes, then to the fire. Group B start with the telescopes, then proceed to the fire, then the naked-eye viewing. Group C will start at the fire then proceed to the naked-eye viewing, then the telescopes.

People who wish to eat damper should bring a stick about a metre long and 1 to 2 cm thick. People are welcome to bring along marshmallows and marshmallow sticks also. Cold soft drinks will be available for $2 a can.

Camp chairs or blankets (or waterproof sheets if the ground is likely to be wet) may come in handy for sitting around the fire as well as for looking up at the sky, so feel free to bring them if you wish.

The best place to park is probably in the Junior School car park on High Road. From there you should be able to see us on the oval.





Family Night

The Family Night is a culmination of the year's work where members put on an entertaining show for their families showcasing what they have been doing during the year.

The 2023 Family Night will be held on Friday November 17. More information will be provided closer to the date. In the mean time, the following blurb about last year's Family Night may help to give an idea of the evening.

2022 Family Night items will include:

• a slide show of the year's activities

• presentations by students of the Dark Side

• a fun quiz game for students and family members

• the finals of the Cosmic Shield competition for the students with the most astronomical knowledge

• the presentation of attendance certificates and the Cosmic and Galactic Shields

Be aware that, in keeping with Dark Side tradition, Darth Vader and a few of his associates may make an appearance during the evening and a number of fatalities may result.

The event will begin at 5:45 pm behind the secondary library with pizza courtesy of Daniel Hay and Power2 Accounting & Financial Advice Brisbane and soft drinks and bottled water courtesy of Jaime Thomson of Blair Henry Designs (who make hot and cold packs for the body).

The presentations will take place in the Digital Hub (underneath the library) from 6:00 to 7:45, after which, if the sky is reasonably clear, we will go outside to do some star gazing with the school telescopes and our naked eyes. We will finish about 8:45.

Further information (including maps) has been sent out in the Thursday Email on 20 October and the attached Letter to Parents. A copy can also be downloaded through the link below.

                                                                                  Letter to Parents







There are a number of awards for attendance and performance through the year. Details are given below.

Points and Certificates    Galactic Shield     Cosmic Shield

Points and Certificates

Extra-Curricular Points and attendance certificates will be awarded to all student who attend at least 80% of the meetings and events during the year.

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Galactic Shield

The Galactic Shield is a perpetual trophy which is engraved at the end of each year with the names of the members who attended the largest number of meetings and events during the year. It is awarded at the Family Night.

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Cosmic Shield

The Cosmic Shield is a perpetual trophy which is engraved at the end of each year with the name of the winner of the Cosmic Shield Final at the Family Night. It is awarded at the Family Night.

The competition is designed to determine who has the greatest astronomical knowledge. Heats are conducted in Term 4 and the top three go into the finals. The finals are conducted like a TV quiz game with various different-style rounds.

The finalists of the Cosmic Shield will receive certificates of their achievement.

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Below is an astronomical tidbit. More can be found here.






Astronomy Internet Resources

Below is the beginnings of a list of good free astronomical resources available on the Internet.

If anyone knows of others worth including, please feel free to let me know on

Software     Web Pages    YouTube     Facebook Pages     Mailing Lists     Phone Aps


Stellarium     Shows the sky in great detail at any given time and place as well as a lot of detail about the celestial objects shown. Probably the best free astronomy software.

Celestia     Allows you to travel through the universe looking at celestial objects. Controls are keyboard keys and mouse actions, so it takes a while to learn to drive it.

Web Pages

The Planets     Lots of basic information about the planets and other aspects of the solar system.

Space Place     NASA astronomy site for kids.

Ology - Astronomy for Kids     By the American Museum of Natural History. Contains games, stories, hands-on activities and videos.

NASA Missions     Details of all NASA's space missions.

Astronomy     Various astronomical articles along with stuff for sale.

BBC Sky at Night Magazine     Astronomy articles, along with some ads (astronomy-related).

Astronomy and Astrophysics Forum     Ask questions and get answers from other members.

Astronomy Online     A site containing links to numerous other astronomy sites.

PhET Gravity and Orbit Simulator     Simple online simulation of the the orbits of Sun, Earth and Moon, allowing the user to change initial velocities etc.

Brisbane Planetarium     Information about the planetarium, shows etc.

Scenic Rim Astronomy Association     Website of the Scenic Rim Astronomy Association, based at Laravale.

Southern Astronomical Society     Website of the Southern Astronomical Society based at Upper Coomera.

Brisbane Astronomical Society     Website of the Brisbane Astronomical Society, based at Coorparoo.

SEQAS     Website of the South East Queensland Astronomical Society, based at Bracken Ridge.


PBS Space Time     (Channel) Clear and mostly reasonably simple accounts of astronomical ideas from Cosmology at the biggest scale right down to the subatomic. Presented by Matt O'Dowd, Australian astrophysicist.

Arvin Ash     (Channel) Fascinating aspects of physics and astronomy explained fairly simply.

Kurzgesagt     (Channel) Short snappy videos on a lot of topics. Click on the blue and green planet, then 'Playlists', then 'The Universe and Space Stuff' for the astronomical ones.

The Entire History of the Universe     (Channel) A series of 10 videos (around 30-45 minutes each) covering the most important issues of the history of the universe in a thorough and professional way.

ScienceClic English     (Channel) Videos which present difficult ideas like the curvature of space time and quantum field theory in ways that are accessible to people without a lot of maths/science background.

Domain of Science     (Channel) Videos which give summaries of various topics in physics, astronomy and other sciences.

Physics     (Channel) Videos which give quite mathematical explanations of advanced ideas like wave functions and Einstein's field equations. Many involve a senior high school to first year university maths, though they can be partly understood without.

NASA     (Channel) Videos focusing on NASA's work in space exploration.

Hubble Space Telescope     (Channel) Information about the telescope and some of its classic images.

Space and Astronomy     (Channel) Numerous videos (somewhat dramatic) on popular spects of astronomy - the planets, meteoroid impacts, aliens, the future of humanity etc.

John Michael Godier     (Channel) Numerous videos on popular spects of astronomy with emphasis on extra-terrestrial life.

Deep Sky Videos     (Channel) Numerous videos, each discussing one galaxy (deep sky object) and its particular interesting features.

CrashCourse     (Channel) Educational videos on many subjects. There is a set of 48 on astronomy covering a wide range of topics in an informative way.

Cosmoknowledge     (Channel) A collection of videos about unusual and extreme things in the cosmos. Not always totally accurate, but informative and fascinating.

Facebook Pages

Universe Today     News posts about astronomy and space exploration.

Astronomy Magazine     Interesting astronomical snippets.

Starts with a Bang     Interesting astronomical snippets.

Sky & Telescope     Interesting astronomical snippets, focusing on observational astronomy.

Secrets of the Universe     Interesting astronomical articles.

Mailing Lists

Universe Today (     A weekly newsletter from Fraser Cain containing latest news about astronomy and space exploration.

Phone Aps

Sky Map     Hold the phone up and the ap shows the stars, planets etc. that are in the sky behind it.

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The Dark Side is run by Mr David Ilsley, Mrs Anita Pendreigh and Mr Ian Fish with occasional help from Ms Donna-Marie Forsyth and Ms Marianne Zandona


      Mr David Ilsley         Mrs Anita Pendreigh             Mr Ian Fish               Ms DM Forsyth     Ms Marianne Zandona

Contact details are:

David Ilsley ( 048 156 0 156 )

Anita Pendreigh ( )

Ian Fish ( )

Donna-Marie Forsyth ( )

Marianne Zandona ( )

Feel free to contact any of these.

David Ilsley maintains this website.





This website, and the linked pages containing 'canterburydarkside' as part of the URL are produced and maintained by David Ilsley for Canterbury College, Queensland as part of paid and unpaid work running the school astronomy club.

The website and linked pages are copyrighted under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License CC BY-NC 4.0. This allows the materials to be printed, copied, adapted and stored locally. It also allows them to be re-published for non-commercial purposes as long as clear attribution is made to Canterbury Dark Side (

Images and music from other sources are used, but these are all copyright free and their sources are acknowledged.





M1 Maths

M1 Maths is a set of materials for learning maths from about Year 5 to Year 12. It was produced by David Ilsley, much of it while teaching at Canterbury. There is a module for each topic. The modules contain easy-to-follow explanations of the topic and practice exercises.

The materials can be used by students if they haven't quite grasped a topic or need to revise it, or if they miss lessons or wish to go ahead and get a feel for a new topic before meeting it in class. They can also be used by parents who wish to help their children with their maths.

The site is totally free with no login and no ads.

Go to M1 Maths



Solar system: (cropped) (Creative Commons licence)

Brisbane Planetarium: (Creative Commons licence)

Superman image:

Yoda image: