Padric McGee

Dr Padric McGee

Demonstrator - Computer Specialist

School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

Faculty of Sciences, Engineering and Technology

I am involved in small-telescope, collaborative research programmes in optical astronomy.

Previously, this has involved CCD photometry of cataclysmic variable stars, active galactic nuclei and exoplanet host stars. 

My current emphasis is on moderate-resolution spectroscopy of bright targets such as eta Carinae, and selected southern Be stars, using the university Observatory. This work, done in collaboration with overseas researchers and major facilities such as the Hubble Space Telescope, also feeds into development of research projects for students undertaking the Bachelor of Space Science and Astrophysics degree.

I also work as part of the SABRE South (Sodium iodide with Active Background Rejection Experiment) dark-matter detection experiment, providing IT support (development of website content), and assisting in its Engineering group.

I also provide broad IT and audio-visual support for the Adelaide nodes of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Dark Matter Particle Physics, the long-established Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter, and the Higher-Energy Physics group.

I also provide support to the local members of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) in web-related activities, as well as contributing to the development of site studies for an Australian location for a CTA-Ring installation. Other CTA-Australia-related work includes examining narrowband optical imaging as an aid to distinguishing shock-excited nebular emission from ionised nebular emission.


2022 : Essential repairs to the university observatory dome (~$30,000)

2022 : New equipment for undergraduate astronomy teaching (~$17,000)

2021 : New imaging camera and filters for the university observatory (~$6,500)

2018 : Spectrograph and cameras for the university observatory (~$10,000)

I have been demonstrating Astronomy 1 since the late 1980's, and have seen the nature of activities change from predominantly hard-copy-based activities to software-based activities. Recently, effort has been put into using such computer-based resources as a means for demonstrating astronomical fundamentals to students, as well as some of the experimental techniques that astronomers use.

That said, there has always been an observational component to Astronomy pracs, and this continues- there is nothing quite like getting a direct, real-time view of the Moon and other objects with one's eye...

The University's Observatory is used by first-year and second-year Space Science and Astrophysics students for observing-based pracs, and in spite of occasional poor weather, these sessions represent a unique insight into methods of observational astronomy for these students, something that no other SA university provides.

  • Position: Demonstrator - Computer Specialist
  • Phone: 83133433
  • Email:
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Oliphant, floor 1
  • Org Unit: School of Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences

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