Dandyism Incarnate

Archive for the 'Astronomy' Category

Always Collimate

Tonight I attended the public astronomy night at UWS Penrith.

Several of my fellow astronomy club members also attended and we setup out telescopes for the public to look through. The RFS was conducting a hazard reduction burn in the mountains (near Faulconbridge) which cause a big plume of smoke to slowly engulf us. However we did get some good viewing in before the smoke closed in.

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Big Scope Refurbishment

I went to the monthy WSAAG meeting in the evening. The observatory director informed us that the 24 inch telescope had taken its ‘second first light’ today.

First light is when a telescope is first tested by pointing it at the sky. In this case the scope is old, but it has had a major refurbishment. So today they tested it on the sky for the first time since the upgrades. Technically not ‘first light’ for this telescope, but ‘second first light’.

I don’t know all the details of the upgrades done to the scope, but the mirrors have been re-coated and parts of the tube have been replaced. The work is not complete yet and this was evident by the fact that the auditorium was in some disarray with workbenches and tools.

I think today might be the second anniversary of when we bought our house (settlement date), although it might have been yesterday.

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Parkes Trip – Day 4 – The Dish

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Parkes Trip – Day 3 – Jelly

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Parkes Trip – Day 1

Today we began out multi-day, multi-destination trip to Parkes in the central west of NSW. On this trip I’m taking my telescope, which can be seen below packed in the car…

Our destination today was Katoomba. Here’s the video…

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School Stargazing

Tonight I attended my first ‘outreach’ event – a stargazing night at a primary school which I had organised. We had four telescopes and there were about thirty kids (grade 5) and a few parents. The kids having a ‘space’ themed sleepover and they are studying space and astronomy this term.

Unfortunately the Moon was gibbous and very bright (the teacher had chosen the date before consulting us), so we could only see some bright objects. Despite this, the kids were impressed by views of Saturn and the Moon.

Two of our members with their scopes

At the end of the evening the kids presented us with gifts and some huge thank-you cards which they had made themselves…

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Conjunction of Planets

A rare conjunction of planets is occurring right now!

I got up before sunrise this morning to have a look…

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Dog Crashes The NAG

It was the night of the NAG. We sat in a room and learned about coordinates…

A visitor dude set up his telescope and we milled around it gawking…

One of our members also brought her telescope…

A dog tried to crash the proceedings, but was turned away by our bouncer for having no optical equipment…

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The Monster Telescope

Tonight I decided to set up the telescope which belongs to the NSAS. It’s a monster…

I eventually got to look through it…

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Fools’ Observing

We finally got a clear night for NSAS observing (this is not an April Fools joke)!

I arrived at the Golf Club a bit late because of bad traffic, but I was still the first one there.

Setting up my scope

A bit later, a film crew arrived and interviewed me for a documentary about amateur astronomers…

Being interviewed

Eventually we had a total of thirteen people turn up (including the film crew) which was the best attendance in a long time. There were still only three telescopes, but this was enough for a good evening. One problem was that the sky was a bit ‘soupy’ and we had difficulty seeing some of the fainter objects.

A bigger scope than mine

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