Cosmology Gallery





Penrose Floor

Penrose Floor

Attempting to tile a plane with regular pentagons must necessarily leave gaps. Roger Penrose found a particular tiling in which the gaps may be filled with three other shapes: a star, a boat, and a diamond. In addition to the tiles, Penrose stated rules, usually called matching rules, that specify how tiles must be attached to one another; these rules are needed to ensure that the tilings are nonperiodic. There are three distinct sets of matching rules for pentagonal tiles, shown in different colors in the illustration. This leads to a set of six tiles: a thin rhombus or “diamond”, a five pointed star, a “boat” and three pentagons.

Niobium Bar

Niobium Bar

The first Southern Hemisphere Gravitational Wave Detector

The search for gravitational waves began in the 1990s and this detector, Niobe, was one of 5 set up around the world as part of that search. It came into operation in 1993 after 16 years, 12 PhD projects and several million dollars to build. This worldwide experiment set limits to the strength of gravitational waves and paved the way for the next generation of detectors.

Gravitational waves are ripples in the curvature of spacetime that mark the beginning of time in the Big Bang and the end of time at the birth of black holes.



The amazing Timeline of the Universe in the Cosmology Gallery tells the story of the creation of our Universe – from the Big Bang right through to the present. It shows all the different stages of development and evolution of our planet Earth. There are some amazing stories on the Timeline, as well as real fossils to look at. The Timeline asks us to consider some very big questions regarding us and the Universe we live in, such as “Are we really made of Stardust?”.





“Unity through diversity in a vast and awe inspiring universe”

The Cosmology Gallery is dedicated to exploring the origin of the Universe and our place in it, through the rich diversity of perspectives provided by science, art, culture and community.

Exhibits include the Multicultural Cosmology artworks, the Celestial Visions photographic exhibition and the  Timeline of the Universe.

The Multicultural Cosmology artworks feature new interpretations of cosmology & creation stories by cultural, religious and scientific perspectives including  Indigenous, Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu and scientific / technological perspectives.

One of the permanent exhbitions in the Cosmology Gallery is Celestial Visions by well-known Perth astrophotographer John Goldsmith.  Please find further information regarding John Goldsmith and his work below.

Celestial Visions

The Celestial Visions photographic exhibition presents beautiful images of the cosmos together with famous places, world heritage sites and landscapes of great scenic beauty.  The exhibition explores the profound connection between the celestial realm and our own biological, cultural and earthly experience and comprises four main collections, “Sun and Moon”, “Celestial Wilderness”, “Ancient Skies” and “Celestial Cities”.  Diverse astronomical events are featured including comets, meteor showers, eclipses of the moon and sun, views of our own Galaxy, the Milky Way, and many other astronomical events.

“Sun and Moon” features images of sunrise, solar eclipses and a total eclipse of the moon. The Sun is a profound symbol of unity for all civilisations throughout the millennia, while the moon is symbolic of cyclic renewal in nature.

“Celestial Wilderness” reveals brilliant stars glowing in magnificently dark skies, above wild and remote landscapes. This series of images features the stars as they appear above famous and beautiful Western Australian landscapes including the world heritage Bungle Bungles, the Pinnacles (Nambung National Park) and Wolfe Creek Meteorite Crater (all located in Western Australia).

“Ancient Skies” explores the fascinating links between ancient cultures and the stars. The collection includes rare images of Comet Hale-Bopp appearing above the Pyramids and Stonehenge.  Comet Hale-Bopp was discovered in 1995 and then developed into a very prominent comet in 1997.   The orbit of the comet indicates that it last appeared over 4000 years ago and is not expected to return for another couple of thousand years.  The coincidence of the comet’s appearance during ancient times inspired the photographic project to document the comet appearing above two of the most famous ancient monuments, the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge.

“Celestial Cities” includes contemporary images of the urban and city environment related to astronomical events, including the spectacular appearance of Comet McNaught in January 2007.  The series also includes special astronomical events which contrast with the city and urban views of the night sky.

John Goldsmith, the creator of “Celestial Visions”

John Goldsmith is a prominent Western Australian astronomical photographer, member of The World At Night ( and creator of the “Celestial Visions” exhibition.  He was an Australian delegate to the “Role of Astronomy in Society and Culture (IAU Symposium 260) in Paris, UNESCO in 2009.   John uses astronomical photography as a means to explore the universe we live in, to relate landscapes and the cosmos, and to explore how astronomical knowledge influences human culture.   John chaired the Cosmology Gallery Development Group, which collaborated with artists, scientists, religious and cultural leaders (including Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu and Indigenous) to create the gallery artworks, timeline of the universe and Celestial Visions exhibition.

John’s astronomical photography is widely featured on The World at Night , on NASA’s Astronomical Photo of the Day and in numerous publications including the Australian Geographic Magazine, the Bulletin, Sky and Space Magazine, WA’s Landscope Magazine, as well as broadcast media including Channel 9, Channel 2, the BBC and Dr Patrick Moore’s “The Sky at Night”.  Exhibitions include Central Park, Western Australia, Cosmology Gallery, Gravity Discovery Centre, Murdoch University, The University of Western Australia, Second Life, Astrofest and the national touring exhibition of the Eureka science prize for scientific photography.

The World at Night

The World At Night (TWAN) is an international collaboration of astronomical photographers, dedicated to producing a collection of stunning photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s most beautiful and historic sites against the night-time backdrop of stars, planets and celestial events.  The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above all the symbols of different nations and regions, attesting to the truly unified nature of Earth as a planet rather than an amalgam of human-designated territories. Those involved in global programs learn to see humanity as a family living together on a single planet amidst the vast ocean of our Universe. This global perspective motivates to work for a better, more peaceful planet for all the world’s inhabitants. TWAN is an innovative new approach to expanding this global perspective.

During the International Year of Astronomy 2009, TWAN exhibited in many locations around the world including North and South America, Africa, Europe, India, China, Indonesia, Australia and the Middle East.