Ed2 Macastro Newsletter-December_2018
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|Newsletter 94 | December 2018 | www.macastro.org.au ||
Macastro Newsletter - December 2018
Welcome to our monthly general newsletter which will reach you, our members and subscribed members of the public, during the week prior to our Macarthur Astronomy Forum each month by simple email.
FROM THE PRESIDENT
Welcome to your December Newsletter,
During the month we were very pleased to hear that one of our very popular guest speakers, Professor Lisa Harvey Smith, has been appointed as Australia's first 'Women in STEM Ambassador' - congratulations Lisa! The Minister for Industry Science and Technology, Hon. Karen Andrews MP announced "Professor Harvey-Smith will spearhead the Coalition Government’s effort to encourage girls and women to study and work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields on a national scale."
We will be able to find out more about this position during her visit to us in February.
Lisa has also finished a very successful tour of Australia, launching her book 'When Galaxies Collide". We have a few books in stock if you have missed out on this, $25.00 each. At her Sydney event the raffle for a Celestron EQ127 Newtonian Telescope was unable to be held and so she announced it's donation to MAS for public outreach! Many thanks Lisa, it will be put to good use.
MAS viewing sessions have had more luck with the weather recently. The Forest weekend of 9 & 10 November was excellent and by moving Stargard to last Sunday rather than Saturday we managed to get at least 3 hours of viewing in - we welcomed three new members to the field, Neville Arnott, Rita Currie and Michael Mirecki (see images below) .
Our December Forest weekend is this week, 7 & 8 December, we are looking forward to a couple of great nights.
The committee has been working on some really interesting events for next year, in particular for celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the first Manned Moon Landing and Moonwalk on July 21 and Science week during the third week of August. More details in the New Year.
In conjunction with the Casula Powerhouse, MAS will participate in an event displaying members photographs and a public viewing night during July too, date to be finalised.
Our members observing nights, public nights and Macarthur Astronomy Forum dates have been scheduled, you can find them here http://www.macastro.org.au/mas/index.php/events/what-s-on/calendar/month.calendar/2018/12/06/-. I will attach to this email a listing for you to put on the fridge door too!!
NOVEMBER'S MACARTHUR ASTRONOMY FORUM - "Astronomy at Large"
Prof. Fred Watson returned to the Macarthur Astronomy Forum last month to explain his appointment as Australia's first "Astronomer at Large" and
what an "Astronomer-at-Large" does!
The answer ranged from exploring the antennas of the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder, to the exploitation of European Southern Observatory facilities in Chile – with a dash of the Australian Space Agency in between - and that's just the start. A very entertaining and fully illustrated account of his work in astronomy from the North of England to Australia!
We have no scheduled public outreach events scheduled for this month.
MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE NOMINATIONS
Many members are aware that I am stepping down from the Management Committee this year and there maybe another one or two who will also not nominate. Our AGM is on 15 April 2019, nominations close on April 2. At the AGM all positions are declared vacant, nomination forms will be available at all of our meetings prior to April or by email from any committee member.
President, Macarthur Astronomical Society Inc.
NEXT Macarthur Astronomy Forum: STUDENT PROJECTS
When: Monday 10 DEC 2018, at 7.30 pm sharp.
Where: Lecture Theatre 213, Building 30, Goldsmith Avenue, Western Sydney University - Campbelltown Campus
Abstract: Presentations of their school projects for 2018, some have won awards for their efforts!
Thanks to Mike Nicholas for all his work with schools this year and for tonight's program. Several of the students have won awards in local Science Competitions.
Following our customary opening, Giorgio di Scala, Head of Science, Prairiewood High School, will present students Kristie on binary stars (you may remember her from last year) and Andrew to discuss exoplanets.
An intermission with refreshments will follow.
Upon resuming the Forum, Dr Rahmi Jackson will present Broughton Anglican College students Lucy, Jacob, Luke, Siobhan, Abbey, Jason, Adam, Angelina and Aidan, who shall outline their astronomy projects.
It will be inspiring to see and hear the young scientific talent within our community.
MEMBERS OBSERVING SCHEDULE
Photo by Tony Law
Belanglo Forest - Fri/Sat 7/8 December - Gates open about 3:00pm on Friday. Contact Ned for Confirmation
Stargard -29 December at The Oaks, 6.30pm gates open
No Scheduled events this month
China - May 2019. 19 members, partners and friends have their flights booked for our China Tour May 15 - May 29 2019.
FAST, Guizhou Lijiang, Yunnan
Beanies, Caps, Mugs, Polo Shirts, Pens and Jackets are in stock or can be ordered for you through firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW- Red Light LED Torches are in stock $10.00 inc. batteries.
NEW- "When Galaxies Collide" Prof. Lisa Harvey Smith. $25.00, can be signed in February!
Pleiades Rosette Tony Law Comet Wirtanen 46P
Noel Sharpe (first digital images) - Eta Carina 47 Tucane Michael Mirecki (first ever image!) Pleiades
HEAVENS ABOVE by Bob Bee
Dorado – Treasures in a Goldfish Bowl
Sometimes the most boring of constellations, in terms of shape of the star asterism and subject, can contain a treasure beyond measure. Imagine a goldfish in its bowl, forgetting everything every seven seconds – boring, and not just for the goldfish. But what’s that, buried in the plastic seaweed? Bingo!
Poetry aside, it’s fair to say that the easiest way to find the constellation Dorado is to find its treasure – The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). On a dark night, looking south, you cannot miss it. This week, around 8pm, it is that large fuzzy patch, approx. 6 degrees in diameter, about 40 degrees above the SSE horizon. It’s also about 20 degrees south-west of Canopus, the brightest star in that region of the sky. See the chart below
Dorado Tarantula Large Magellenic Cloud
Frankly, the LMC is about the only thing Dorado has to boast about, unless you include the star Beta Doradus. Beta is an interesting variable star located 1040 ly from Earth. It is a yellow-white supergiant and one of the brightest known cepheid variables, ranging from magnitudes 3.5 to 4.1 every 9 days, 20 hours. Why not try to track its changes in magnitude as a variable star observer Christmas treat?
The main show in town is, as mentioned earlier, the LMC. It is the largest of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies and is approx. 163,000 light years away. It contains around 10 billion solar masses and is approx. 14,000 light years across.
This makes the LMC the fourth-largest galaxy in the Local Group, after the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), the Milky Way, and the Triangulum Galaxy (M33).
If you have a decent pair of binoculars, it is worth scanning. For a small telescope, it is a treasure trove, containing numerous globular clusters, planetary nebulae and open clusters.
However, its main attraction is the Tarantula Nebula, or NGC 2070. This is another one of those objects that began its identification as a fuzzy naked eye star, 30 Doradus, but took on a famous identity once a telescope was pointed at it.
The nebula’s luminosity is so great that if it was the same distance as the Orion Nebula, it would cast visible shadows. It is considered the most active starburst region known in the Local Group of galaxies, with an estimated mass of about 450,000 solar masses.
Oh, and the LMC’s last claim to fame is to be the location of the closest observed supernova since Kepler's Supernova, visible from Earth in 1604 AD. Supernova 1987A's light reached Earth on February 23, 1987, and at its peak brightness reached an apparent magnitude of 3, easily visible to the naked eye. Of course, we can’t see its remnant with our telescopes but it is still the subject of close study by professional telescopes as its expanding ring reveals the mysteries of supernova explosions.
So, with all that information, why not go fishing in the goldfish bowl.
And a very Merry Christmas to you all.
LOAN A TELESCOPE - CAMDEN COUNCIL
During November 2015, Camden Council Library Services launched their Telescope loan service to library members. Instigated by the library and supported by MAS, they now have four 8" Dobsonians and four ED80 refractors on loan. An ideal first step for families and individuals to 'try before you buy'. The project is a great success.
Contact MAS if you need assistance.
MAS LOAN TELESCOPES
The Society owns three telescopes which, subject to availability, may be loaned under the MAS Education Programme to current members. (A fourth will be added very shortly, the Celestron EQ127 Newtonian)
There is a three month qualifying period for new members. See website for full details on the Telescopes and terms and conditions of loan. http://www.macastro.org.au/mas/index.php/macdob
MAS 22 YEARS SERVING MACARTHUR
MAS acknowledges Western Sydney University's generosity in permitting us the use of its facilities to hold MAS events such as the Macarthur Astronomy Forum and the Campbelltown Rotary Observatory for public viewing nights.
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