Historic ‘Satellite Selfie’ captures distinct moment in time

From marriage proposals, to giant wildlife, blazing red poppies and rallying calls for the power of science, Australia’s largest ever selfie has captured some incredible images from the ACT and the Northern Territory.

Now Australians everywhere can view photos captured by the nation’s first selfie from space through a searchable, online map.

Taking place in August, the ‘Satellite Selfie’ flyover was part of the Where You Are Festival presented by RISE Canberra and supported by the ACT Government, and organised by the National Science Week committee and The Australian National University (ANU) as part of National Science Week.

ANU astrophysicist Dr Brad Tucker said he was thrilled to see hundreds of people “get their space face on and strike a pose” for the flyover.

“This is historic and a satellite flyover on this large of a scale has never been attempted in the world before, let alone Australia,” Dr Tucker said.

“So it’s marvellous to see so many people get behind this innovative initiative that has not only captured a unique moment in time, but shown just how colourful, creative, hopeful and expressive Australians are.

“To see the ideas school kids came up with, and the people in the streets outside their homes, it has been a wonderful celebration of science and all of us.

“We have a unique snapshot of what Canberra was up to between 10:08 and 10:09am on Tuesday 25 August 2020.”

The satellite captured a range of stunning images of distinct designs put together by families, schools, businesses, workplaces and cultural institutions across the ACT and Northern Territory.

In total, the flyover covered 845 square kilometres in the ACT and surrounds and 1,326 square kilometres of the Northern Territory, capturing 107 images and 86GB worth of data.

Highlights include a love heart next to Earth in Kambah; “Go Perseverance”, a message to Mars’ new rover in the street of Hughes, a massive sign for ‘Henry’s’ 17th birthday in a paddock in Gungahlin; ‘G’Day’ on a school oval in Katherine, a giant turtle made by school students in Darwin, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags on Fellows Oval at ANU.

Brittany Carter, co-chair of the ACT National Science Week Committee said she was “overwhelmed by the level of involvement from the public in this event.

“It has been great to see everyone engaging with science and their community,” she said.

“National Science Week is a chance for people to celebrate science and technology in their own backyard and this year they could literally do that.”

The ACT flyover covered Canberra, Tharwa, Royalla, Sutton, Bungendore, Queanbeyan, Googong, Yass and Murrumbateman.

The Northern Territory flyover covered Darwin and Palmerston, Pine Creek, Katherine, Nhulunbuy, Yirrkala, Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, Jilkmingan, Mataranka, Barunga, Beswick, Manyallaluk, Jabiru, Gunbalanya, Batchelor, Adelaide River, Ramingining and Ngukurr.

Each flyover was completed by US-based space technology company Maxar Technologies.

People can search and download images from the ‘Satellite Selfie’ at https://www.mso.anu.edu.au/SatelliteSelfie/

The organisers are encouraging everyone to share their selfie on social media using #SatelliteSelfie.


‘Satellite Selfie’ was presented by the Where You Are Festival with the support of the ACT Government and is co-hosted by The Australian National University.

The Satellite Selfie also formed part of National Science Week in the ACT which took place from 15 to 23 August, with support from the Australian Government.


Print and web: Satellite image ©2020 Maxar Technologies. Do not remove or crop the watermark.

Social media: Images posted on social media must be credited on Twitter “[camera emoji]: @Maxar” or “image: @Maxar” in each post. Or via Instagram “[camera emoji]: @MaxarTechnologies” or “image @MaxarTechnologies” in each post.

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