Macastro Newsletter - October 2017
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|Newsletter 77 | October 2017 | www.macastro.org.au ||
Macastro Newsletter - October 2017
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
The change to DST has hardly brought any rain but cloud a plenty! Looks as if our Stargard on Saturday 14 October will cancelled/postponed!
"Comets around other stars: the first and last fragments of planet formation."
A great talk from Dr Jonty Marshall who explained the history of observing comets around other stars both young and old, revealing the origins and dynamics of these bodies in environments far removed from our own Solar System.
Comets are visually spectacular heralds from the icy depths of the outer Solar System, left over building blocks of planet formation alongside the Asteroids and Edgeworth-Kuiper belt objects.
Thanks to 'One Giant Leap Australia' for producing another batch of MAS badges
Our final Public Open Night on September 30, was successful with over 200 members of the public attending.
Working With Children Check
Public Event Volunteers Policy
All members volunteering at public events on behalf of MAS must have a Working with Children Check clearance (WWCC).Once issued with your letter of registration, stating your WWC number and date of birth, it must be copied to the Membership Officer, and will be kept in our membership records. The registration is valid for 5 years from date of registration.To obtain your online clearance go to www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/working-with-children-check/apply. You then go to a NSW Service Centre with your driver’s licence to confirm identity. The policy is to come in to effect on 01 January 2018.
Committee Succession 2018-20019 -URGENT
We are looking for new people to join the committee. Richard Curley and I will be relinquishing our positions at the next AGM and we need to find Members to stand in our positions. Without volunteers your Society cannot run successfully, we are asking now so that you can attend committee meetings to see how we operate before we get to the New Year. We need just a few hours a month of your time!
Please contact me directly for a chat if you can help us in anyway - at the AGM all positions are declared vacant so you may put your hand up for any role.
Heavens Above by Bob Bee - pleased to announce that Bob's offerings will become a regular article in the Newsletter, see below!
Clear skies :)
President, Macarthur Astronomical Society
Macarthur Astronomy Forum: Capturing the light of the Universe
When: Monday 16 OCTOBER 2017, at 7.30 pm sharp.
Where: Lecture Theatre 213, Building 30, Goldsmith Avenue, Western Sydney University - Campbelltown Campus
Speaker: DR. Ángel Rafael López-Sánchez
Light is the key piece of the Astrophysics we make today.
Thanks to the analysis of the light, astronomers know where stars and galaxies are, what are they made of, how they move and more. I will give some examples of how light is captured and analysed in big telescopes such as the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT) at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), from imaging to spectroscopy, summarising some of its most important scientific results.
I will also talk about how amateur astronomers and citizen scientists are now capturing the light of the Universe, as they are getting astonishing views of the night sky. Deep sky images of both professional and amateur astronomers are inspiring artists and young people in science and technology around the world. Indeed, our current technology allows amateur astronomers to actually help in our understanding of the Cosmos, and there are many projects underway under the "Pro-Am" (Professional and Amateur) collaboration, including amateur spectroscopy.
Next Stargard - Saturday 14 October. Gates will open about 5.30pm.
The Forest - the weekend of 20/21 October. Gates open from 3.00pm on Friday. (see images below from last month!)
Please contact Tony - firstname.lastname@example.org or call on 0419 215 199 if you are coming down on that weekend.
FUTURE EVENTS, 2017-2018
The 2018 Observing schedule has been sent to all members via our Personal Messaging, through the website
October 21, this month at the Forest, we will host at least 24 scouts from Balmoral for a short session on our telescopes, all welcome to attend!
Carnes Hill Library (Jessica Bruce) Requesting assistance for an event 12 April 2018.
Camden Library public night for 20 June 2018, also Photographers of the month New photos for displays are needed due to deterioration, submit to Tony Law.
National Science week 2018 (11-19 August) – proposing Monday 20 August as possible time for a “Public Event”.
Three high schools, Broughton, Picton & Tahmoor Schools have shown interest in our group for ongoing outreach events.
PUBLIC OBSERVING NIGHTS
None until April 2018 - see new schedule
Your committee has come up with the following ideas for MAS trips. Members, please drop me a note indicating which trip(s) they would consider travelling on:
1) Parkes visit. John Sarkissian from Parkes Observatory has suggested an MAS trip in 2018.
2) China 2019 costs and details to be determined.
3) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena 2019, visit to coincide with 50 years since moon landing as possible trip.
4) 2020 Space X rocket launch in California or Florida is to be considered.
5) Jul 2019 total solar eclipse in South America (and Chile)
Cropped from Mark Sellars image of the Tarantula Nebula and cropped from Dave Manning's image of the Orion Nebula
HEAVENS ABOVE! - Bob Bee
THE NAME OF A STAR
To paraphrase Shakespeare, a star by any other name would still shine. And just as well, because a lot of the stars you see in the sky have many an alias.
About 220 of the brightest stars have personal names they have been known by over the centuries. Names that roll off the tongue (well, not all of them -Zubeneschamali, or Gamma Librae for example) and conjure up images of exotic cultures.
These names, difficult to grasp at first, but satisfyingly familiar after regular use, were given to the stars by the ancient astronomers – Arabs, Greeks, Babylonians and Romans.
For the more scientifically minded, the same stars (and the thousands of others that don’t have personal names) have also been given scientific names that describe the star in order of brightness in a particular constellation, and is unique to that star. Like a house’s address.
For example, the brightest star in the sky which we affectionately call Sirius is also the brightest in the constellation of Canis Major (The Greater Dog) and it is called alpha (?) Canis Majoris. (Alpha is the Greek letter for ‘A’.) But we also call it ‘The Dog Star,’ which leads us to another method of naming stars. This is more like a description than a name, and some of them can be quite amusing.
For example, one of my favourites is Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice by many.) Its scientific name is ? Orionis (in the magnificent constellation of Orion). But its name means ‘The Armpit of the Giant.’ That’s why it’s red, supposedly. Delightful!
We will probably meet a number of these stars in this column in future months, and where possible, I like to use the star’s personal name. To give you a foretaste, some examples of other stars names are:
Canopus (the 2nd brightest star in the sky) is ? Carinae; Arcturus is ? Bootis, ‘The Guardian of the Bear’; Vega (the star featured in the movie ‘Contact’) is ??Lyrae, ‘The Falling Eagle’; Rigel is Beta (?) Orionis, ‘The Ankle of the Giant’; Aldabaran is ? Tauri, ‘The Eye of the Bull’; and Antares is ? Scorpii, ‘The Rival of Mars’ and ‘The Heart of the Scorpion.’
After years of star spotting and familiarity with the sky, it is a great feeling to step out at night and see a bright star, and like greeting a close friend say, “hullo there Betelgeuse.”
My choice of ‘star of the month’ this time is Fomalhaut, aka a Piscis Austrini, aka ‘The Fish’s Mouth’. It will be directly overhead (zenith) at 9pm on 16th October. Fomalhaut is a 1.2 mag., blue-white, main sequence star a mere 25 light years away.
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 three 8" Dobsonians and an ED80 refractor on loan. An ideal first step for families and individuals to 'try before you buy'. The Library has just (May) ordered a further three ED80's! The project is a great success.
We still have McDob, our 6" Dobsonian, and one of our new members is currently using that. If you would like to borrow it next please let a committee member know. We also have a new loan telescope, donated to us by Helen Crase - a Celestron AstroMaster 130 Newtonian reflector on a manual drive equatorial mount. Please email the President (email@example.com) if you would like to borrow it.
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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