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|Newsletter 83 | April 2018 | www.macastro.org.au ||
Macastro Newsletter - April 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 April Newsletter.
As I have been putting together this newsletter our Vice President and Merchandise Officer, Stewart Grainger has been lying in Port Macquarie Hospital after a serious fall on to rocks. He has numerous bone fractures, luckily he should make a full recovery but this will take several months. Stewart has therefore had to withdraw from our committee. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Your Committee decided there will be no Membership Fee increase this year, these were due 01 March. Thank you to the 100 members who have already rejoined!. Please also take time to let us know if you have changed phone numbers, address and/or email address. Would remind the remaining 17 or so members who have not renewed that they should pay by April 30 to avoid the $15.00 re-joining fee.
Last month we had an excellent Macarthur Astronomy Forum, with Dr Luke Barnes presenting "The Universe and Entropy".
Luke gave an enlightening talk, making a difficult subject much easier to understand by using everyday examples to detail the physics of entropy, from order to chaos or vice versa!. A lively discussion ensued.
Stargazing Live - Alongside this major TV event, the ABC in partnership with Australian National University will lead a Guinness World Record attempt for the Most people stargazing – multiple venues. For the greatest number of people stargazing simultaneously across different venues.
We are trying to break our own Record! Entry will be by booking on Eventbrite.
Full details will be published shortly. It will take place on Wednesday 23 May between 7.00-9.30pm .
See our new Calendar for 2018 http://www.macastro.org.au/mas/index.php/events/what-s-on/calendar/month.calendar/2018/03/16/- for all our events booked so far. Another busy year!!
Thursday 12 April - Carnes Library, set up 4.45pm - closes 7.30pm
Saturday 14 April - support MDSI at the 'Gardens of Light' cnr Milky Way and Univerdity Drive -opposite the Observatoryto the Observatory
Saturday 28 April - Our Winter, Public program starts at the Campbelltown Rotary Observatory, details on calendar
Working With Children Check
Thank you to the members who have already completed their check, the committee reminds all who wish to participate in this year's events to complete their check as quickly as possible.
The policy came in to effect on 01 January 2018.
Don't forget it is our AGM this month. Come and check out your new committee!! Comments, ideas and suggestions are always welcome
President, Macarthur Astronomical Society Inc.
Macarthur Astronomy Forum: MAS Annual general meeting
When: Monday 16 April 2018, at 7.30 pm sharp.
Where: Lecture Theatre 213, Building 30, Goldsmith Avenue, Western Sydney University - Campbelltown Campus
Speaker: The Members
Abstract: Have your say!!
MAY SPEAKER will be Dr Lee Spitler, Macquarie Uni/AAO - The Huntsman Array Update
MEMBERS OBSERVING SCHEDULE
Stargard - Saturday 21 April. Gates will open about 4.00pm.
The Forest - Friday 13 April and Saturday 14 April. Gates open by 3pm on Friday
Check website and Facebook pages for any last minute changes.
Photo by Peter Godwin
Please contact Tony - email@example.com or call on 0419 215 199 if you are coming down.
Thursday 12 April - Carnes Hill Library (Jessica Bruce) Requesting assistance for an event (more info to come).
Saturday 14 April - MAS Info table, donation box, photos etc. at Macarthur Heights event, solar scopes would be appreciated
Saturday 05 May - Picton, IlluminARTe 2018 + Aboriginal Astronomy + Khaled & Gates of Light and MAS for merchandise and viewing during the evening. Further details to come.
Wednesday 23 May - Stargazing Live - Guiness Book of Records attempt
Wednesday 20 June - Camden Library public night, also Photographers of the month. New photos for displays are needed due to deterioration, submit to Tony Law.
Monday 25 June - Cobbity Joey Scouts - a few scopes required for a couple of hours
Monday 16 July "Special Event" Forum - Amy Shira Teitel will be speaking- more information soon.
Monday 23 July - Saturday 28 July - Macquarie Uiversity Space Technology and STEM Conference and Exhibition, in conjunction with JPL and One Giant Leap Australia
Saturday 28 July - WSU/MAS with JPL and OGLA . Setup scopes for joint viewing night at Werrington Observatory
National Science week 2018 (11-19 August) – Monday 20 August with Ed Kruzins - NASA/CSIRO
PUBLIC OBSERVING NIGHTS
At the Campbelltown Rotary Observatory on the flollowing dates: 28 April 2018, 26 May 2018, 21 July 2018 and 15 September 2018
1) Parkes 18-20 May 2018, Dave Manning is the goto person for this and we have 17 people going. Self drive or carpool. Accomodation at the Graceland Hotel, 10% discount if you mention MAS when booking. There will be a dinner on the Friday evening and viewing with CWASat their Cookamidgera dark sky site on Saturday night. Contact Dave (firstname.lastname@example.org) for any further information.
2) China May 2019. Detailed discussions with Roberto Soria and Dr Zheng at the National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences have begun. We are awaiting confirmation of dates.A tentative itinerary has been emailed to you all.
Cost reduction! Based on the current numbers wishing to join this trip, 15, the cost has dropped to approximately $2,500.00 based on twin share, plus airfaire (+/- $500.00). Please contact Tony for any further information.
HEAVENS ABOVE! - Bob Bee
Seeing Double – Alpha Centauri
Nothing can be more guaranteed to get an “ooh” or an “aah” from the public at an astronomy Open Night than when we show them a certain star through a low powered telescope. To their naked eye we point out the first of the two Pointer Stars (that’s the one furthest from the Southern Cross). Then we invite them to look through the telescope. “Ooh,” usually followed by “…but there’s two of them,” or “they look like car headlights.” It never fails.
Alpha Centauri (also known as Rigil Kentaurus – ‘Foot of the Centaur’) is unique in our sky. Just as Sirius is the brightest star in the sky, Alpha Centauri is the closest. If you had a spaceship that could travel at the speed of light (300,000 km per second), it would take you over 4 years to reach Alpha Centauri. 4.362 years to be exact. We describe that distance as 4.362 light years (or 1.34 parsec), which is about 280,000 times the distance from Earth to our Sun (an AU – Astronomical Unit.)
It’s also the third brightest star in the sky, after Sirius and Canopus. Its apparent brightness is -0.27 mag.
But its fascination in the small telescope is that it is actually two stars, both very similar in size and colour to our Sun. They call that a ‘binary star.’ They rotate around each other like dancing partners, only one rotation takes 80 years so it’s a slow dance. The distance between them varies from nearly that between Pluto and the Sun (35.6 AU) to that between Saturn and the Sun (11.2 AU).
But wait…there’s more. Alpha Centauri is actually a triple star system, with the third star orbiting around the other two. This star, named Proxima Centauri was discovered in 1915 by the Scottish astronomer Robert Innes. You need a very powerful telescope to see it as it’s a red dwarf, one of the smallest, dullest stars in the sky. It takes about 1 million years to orbit the other two, and at present it is about one tenth of a light year closer to Earth, at 4.23 light years. That makes it the closest star to our Sun (remember that for your next trivia night.) The separation of Proxima from its binary sisters is 13,000 astronomical units (0.21 ly) equivalent to about 430 times the size of Neptune's orbit. An Earth-sized exoplanet in the habitable zone of Proxima Centauri, Proxima Centauri B was discovered in 2016.
So really, when we talk about Alpha Centauri, we mean the binary pair. And it’s up there now, in the south along with the Southern Cross.
Beanies, Caps, Mugs, Polo Shirts, Pens and Jackets are in stock or can be ordered for you through email@example.com
NEW- Red Light LED Torches are in stock $10.00 exc. batteries.
Image by Noel Sharpe Image by Dave Manning
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 asistance.
We still have McDob, our 6" Dobsonian, and. If you would like to borrow it please let a committee member know. We also have a a Celestron AstroMaster 130 Newtonian reflector on a manual drive equatorial mount.
Latest addition is a Meade ETX125, with GOTO. Will be available once we have completed repairs. Thanks to Greg Bradford for checking it out and compiling a manual.
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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