Macastro Newsletter - December 2017

  If you can't see this e-mail properly, view it online  

Macastro Newsletter - December 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.


 Dear Members


As mentioned at this month's meeting we are having issues with our personal messaging system within the website. Would ask all members to refrain from using the internal system until advised otherwise. If you need to contact a member and do not have their direct email address please ask any of the committee to assist, we have full membership listings. This newsletter will be sent directly to your email address on file.


Pleased to advise our numbers have increased to 127, welcome to Robert Cox and Theresa Ee, also Caitlin Manganaro from Macarthur Heights Community Initiative,the Committee decided to grant her Associate Member status and to Jackie Slaveiro of One Giant Leap Australia.


This month we had an excellent Macarthur Astronomy Forum, young Kristie Caplikas, from Prairiewood High School, gave a very confident talk on her Supernovae Project




'Supernovae Study" from Kristie Caplikas, Prairiewood High School. 

Kristie presented the results of studying two supernovae, SN 2005CF, type 1-a (using archival data) and SN 2017 HUP discovered on the 3/11/2017 and observed using the itelescope network. The goal of observing SN 2017HUP was to see if smaller telescopes could be used to study its light curve and determine its likely type.

Kristie highlighted details of the lessons learnt from carrying out her research project as well some interesting information about each supernova. 


Photos by Frank Lauterbach




See our new Calendar for 2018 for all our events booked so far. Another busy year!! 



Saturday 24 Feb 2018 Bunnings BBQ 7am-4pm -Volunteers needed - contact Tony

Thursday 01 Mar 2018 Special viewing for Scout Troops at The Oaks 6-10pm 


Public Night


Working With Children Check


Thank you to the members who have already completed their check, the committee would encourage all who wish to participate in next year's events to complete their check as soon as possible


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 You then go to a NSW Service Centre with your drivers 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 (Treasurer) 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 (0419 215 199) if you can help us in anyway - at the AGM all positions are declared vacant.


Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas, a Great New Year  and of course clear skies!


Tony Law

President, Macarthur Astronomical Society




Macarthur Astronomy Forum:  “Planetary Illuminations”

When: Monday 15 JANUARY 2017, at 7.30 pm sharp.

Where: Lecture Theatre 213, Building 30, Goldsmith Avenue, Western Sydney University - Campbelltown Campus  

Speaker: Marnie Ogg (Fred Watson Tours)

For the past 11 years, Marnie has been masterminding Fred Watson Tours, a travel company dedicated to bring science and tourism together. 
With her partner, astronomer, Fred Watson Marnie has taken over 600 people to see observatories, the Aurora Borealis and other wonderous 
corners of the globe. During her travels she has come to realise something so special and unique to Australia, she helped create a designated park to it: Darkness.
During this fully illustrated talk, Marnie reflects on Australia's First Dark Sky Park in the Warrumbungles and other successful night sky
ventures around the world and discusses ways you too can help preserve the night sky. 
Next Stargard - Saturday 20 January. Gates will open about 5.30pm.
The Forest - weekend 12/13/14 January 3.00pm on the Friday. 
 Photo by Peter Godwin
Please contact Tony - or call on 0419 215 199 if you are coming down. 
Saturday 24 Feb 2018 Bunnings BBQ 7am-4pm -Volunteers needed - contact Tony

Thursday 01 Mar 2018 Special viewing for Scout Troops at The Oaks 6-10pm 


The 2018 Observing schedule has been sent with this newsletter.
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” but subject to change!
Four high schools, Broughton, Picton, Tahmoor and Prairiewood have shown interest in our group for ongoing outreach events.



None until 28 April 2018 - see new calender schedule

You have spoken! The most votes were for:
1) Parkes visit. John Sarkissian from Parkes Observatory has suggested an MAS trip in 2018, Dave manning is the goto person for this and he will be briefing you later.
2) China 2019. Discussions with Roberto Soria will begin after the festivities and I hope to have a basic itinerary and cot by the end of January.
Dave Manning M42                                                                                           Roger Powell M33
Bruce Reardon at Bombo Quarry                                                                 Tony Law M31
The Seven Sisters
One of the most beautiful and famous star clusters is viewable from December to February in our Northern Sky. This star cluster is so prominent and eye catching that it pops up in the legends and folklore of nearly every culture in the world, back to remote antiquity.
I’m talking about the Pleiades – the Seven Sisters. To quote Tennyson from ‘Locksley Hall’:
“Many a night I saw the Pleiades,
Rising thro’ the mellow shade,
Glitter like a swarm of fireflies,
Tangled in a silver braid.”
If you go out around 9pm and look north-east, about 30 degrees above the horizon, you’ll see a beautiful collection of stars resembling a small saucepan with handle (up-side-down) or even a baseball cap. They cover an area of sky about 2 to 3 Moon diameters.
The naked eye can see from six to nine stars in the group, depending on your eyes and the darkness of the sky. The ancients used it as an eye chart. If you could see seven stars, you had 20-20 vision and you could get your chariot driving license. The Greeks named the seven main stars after the nymph daughters of Atlas and Pleione. The two stars at the tip of the handle are the proud parents themselves.
References to these stars abound. In the Old Testament, Amos Chapter 5, verse 8, we read: “… Him that made the stars, the Pleiades and Orion…”  The Australian Aborigines have a number of stories about Pleiades. In one the stars are Ngamma Gama, the seven sisters who are chased by the hunter through the bush to try and catch a wife. It is amazing how similar this story is to that of Greek mythology.
To be totally different, the Japanese describe them as Subaru, meaning ‘a string of jewels’ and they appear in stylised form on the badge of that car. In fact jewels are as common a description as sisters, a 13th century Persian poet Sadi describing “… necklaces of Pleiades seemed to hang upon the branches of the tree…”
It seems a pity to interrupt the poetry with the scientific facts that the Pleiades is actually a cluster of about 200 stars (revealed in binoculars and telescopes) and are all about 380 light years away. They also have the Messier Catalogue number M45. They are mostly ‘new born’ giant blue-white stars, less than 50 million years old. That is, they are very young, very large and very, very hot.
But, after all, they are nymphs.
No wonder they are a beauty to behold.


Robert Bee

Astronomy 2018 is now available please collect your order from Stewart.


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 ( if you would like to borrow it.


Latest addition is a Meade ETX125, with GOTO. Will be available once we have completed setup and cleaning. 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.

  Follow us | facebook twitterpinterestrss  
  If you don't want to receive our news anymore, unsubscribe  


Powered by AcyMailing