Dandyism Incarnate

Archive for the 'NSAS' Category

Cameraygal Festival Meeting

Lane Cove council holds a festival each year – The Cameraygal Festival – named after the aboriginal people who lived here before we white people killed most of them and stole their land. The NSAS is hoping to hold a stargazing night as part of the festival and so tonight I went to a meeting at the council – an information night for event organisers. Free sushi was provided…

Much of the meeting was devoted to discussing everything that might go wrong and result in litigation. This included things like members of the public falling over and killing themselves etc. Of course our event will be held in the dark making it all the more dangerous.

Below is a teardrop banner which we can errect at our event to show that we are part of the festival…

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Water Supply

Tonight we held the astronomy club theory group meeting.

Those theorists are thirsty bastards so we had a few bottles of water on hand…

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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 Scope

The New Astronomers’ Group (NAG) was scheduled for tonight. But due to unforeseen circumstances we had to postpone it. As I live very close to the venue, I went over there at 7.30 pm to check if anyone turned up despite the email notification. There was one dude there who had not checked his email.

I put a sign on the door in case anyone else turned up later…

Then I drove over to a dude’s house to pick up the club’s refractor telescope. He had borrowed it some time earlier and has now decided to leave the club.

I had not seen the scope before, and when the dude showed it to me I was amazed. It’s a 4 inch f/15, making it rather long…

With the addition of the tripod legs and the equatorial head, the whole thing filled up the back of my car…

Here’s a video from the following day…

Later, I did an unrelated search on YouTube and no, I didn’t mean that…

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The Age of the Universe (and other trivial matters)

The NSAS president is away overseas and so I had to fill in for him tonight. This involved chairing a committee meeting followed by the monthly general meeting.

It was a packed house – presumably because we had a prestigious guest speaker – Professor Jeremy Mould. He helped determine the Hubble Constant – and hence the age of the universe! We were slightly awed to be in his presence.

Prof. Mould after his talk

The meeting report is on the NSAS site here: Meeting Report

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NSAS : Pulsars and Reflections

Tonight we held the first NSAS General Meeting for the year.

After the business part of the meeting, a dude from Swinburne University gave a talk on Pulsars…

After the meeting, I had a conversation with him in Polish. I wished him a merry Christmas and a Happy new year. Well… that’s all I know in Polish.

Meanwhile, the Society newsletter ‘Reflections’ has been published…

It includes a two page article which I wrote for the newsletter back in December. And on the back page are some of the photos from the Christmas party – including two pictures credited to Yuko… She always seems to be getting her photos published!

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NSAS: Debacle Streak Ends

The long run of cloudy nights and other debacles which have thwarted the NSAS observing sessions since August, ended tonight with a successful observing night at North Turramurra. I am now the main ‘Observing Officer’ so I was responsible for sending out the notifications by email and SMS. I also had to unlock the gates an hour before sunset…

Despite the long period since our last observing night, we didn’t have a high turnout – only three members with scopes. There was also a visitor, and two other members showed up and stayed for short periods during the evening.

Preparing before sunset

The ‘oficial’ observing report for the night is here.

My scope is the black one

The President's 8 inch

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Astro Debacle

The astronomy club has had a bad run of cancelled observing nights because of the weather. For this reason, and at my suggestion, we are now trialling ‘weeknight observing’. This means that we organise observing on any night of the week when the weather forecast looks good. previously we had a strict schedule of Fridays and Saturdays.

Today, I organised the first of these weeknight sessions – and it was a debacle!

The forecasts looked good at 4pm, so I sent out the notifications that observing was ON. But by the time three of us were setting up our scopes, the clouds were moving in. We were able to view a few objects through gaps in the clouds, but for most of the night we just sat around chatting.

We stayed until about 11pm. Of course the clouds began to clear just as we were leaving!

These pics were taken before it got dark…

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Christmas Party with Eclipse

Tonight we attended the NSAS Christmas Party. I wore a pointy hat for the occasion so that I would look like an idiot…

We had a sausage sizzle BBQ. It was very nice indeed. Coincidentally, there was an eclipse of the moon too, so a couple of us brought our telescopes and set them up on the grassy area near the BBQ….

We looked at Jupiter while waiting for the moon to rise. Unfortunately the eclipse was mostly over by the time the moon rose, so we were only able to see the last part of the partial phase…

Yuko took the picture above with her Nikon SLR, while I took the picture below by holding my toy camera to the eyepiece of my telescope…

Here’s a video of the event…

After the eclipse, we had a tour of Riverview Observatory. At last I got to see the inside of the dome which I’ve seen from the outside since I was a child. The dome contains a 7 inch refractor which is about 100 years old (below left). We also saw the seismic observatory (below right) which is still one of the official recording stations for seismic activity in the Sydney area.

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The NAG

It was the day of the NAG.

The dude who usually runs it was unavailable and, as the president is currently away, I had to look after the logistics. It looked like the NAG would have to be cancelled, but then, a dude volunteered to do a presentation. I therefore decided to take my telescope as well, and the NAG went ahead…

I set it up just outside the building where we meet…

Then we had the presentation (below) and later we looked at Jupiter through patchy clouds.

The NAG

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