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Astrophotography basics
We usually have a guest speaker to two sharing their night sky photography journey.
Please bring along your photos, equipment tips, whatever you want to share.

Telescopes - Essentials to get you started with how they work

  • Binoculars big n small - using a tripod - what is a monopod?
  • Why a starter eyepiece set has Low, Medium & High powers
  • When is a Barlow lens useful, and for that matter what is a Barlow?
  • What are filters about? What are Moon, DeepSky & Solar (do it safely or not at all)!
  • Finders - optical (straight thru or right angle) -vs- red dot -vs- telrad -vs- push guide
  • Can you rescue your old telescope from the cupboard?
  • Visual -vs- photographic telescopes. Alt/Az -vs- Eq telescope mounts
  • You're welcome to bring your scope along for help, or for a demo to others

The Moon is a great target for the early phases of your observing

We will cover the basics of Lunar Observing, the Dichotomy, main features, using filters, how to follow the phases & terminator, Lunar 100 challenge, etc...
In 2018 NASA made a big discovery about the Aitken basin on the far side of the Moon using data from the LRO and GRAIL spacecraft missions. This has big implications on theories about how the Moon has evolved, why the near side (that we see) is so different to the far side (we don't see).

The Planets - Our Solar System
Our Solar System is readily visible from our humble backyards, which coincidentally, is our local back yard, astronomically speaking

Discussion night - Show n Share night for all
Instead of listening to me talk about a topic its time to have a discussion. So please step up and bring a subject to the table.

Maybe you have a favourite web-site, a recent book, what you've been observing lately, a pet astronomy project, a recent purchase, have you built something?

Life Cycle of Stars and how we came know such things
Stars are the essential building blocks of the Universe. So it is important to understand the environments in which Stars are born as this effects planetary systems that form around them. As they live their lives each Star evolves before transforming when they start running out of Hydrogen fuel to continue nuclear fusion.
The largest Stars will enter the instability strip of the Hertzsprung/Russel diagram as they becomes unstable before a sometimes violent end to their relative short lives. Medium stars puff off layers after a few Billion years, leaving a brief Planetary Nebulae. The smallest stars burn through their stellar fuel so meagerly they may last 100+ Billion years. Does that mean none have reached their end yet?

Galaxies are the largest building blocks in our Universe.
Our agenda includes, but is not limited to:

  • Size of the Universe - The Herber D. Curtis vs Harlow Shapley debate: 1920
  • Finding our place in the Galaxy
  • Galaxies are Gregarious
  • Galaxies provide the four astronomical ingredients of life
  • Messier bags a Galactic list without knowing what a Galaxy really is?
  • Dark Matter weighs in on Galaxy Rotation: Vera Rubin
  • The aptly name Hubble telescope: Mission objective

    Life in the Universe
    The Fermi Paradox seeks to answer the question of where the aliens are. Given that our Star & Earth are part of a young planetary system compared to the rest of the Universe. That interstellar travel might be fairly easy to achieve. Theory says that Earth should have been visited by aliens already. The implications, however, have had extraterrestrial researchers scratching their heads in the decades since. There are many aspects to discuss like the Drake Equation, Exo-Planet discoveries, the Goldilocks Zone, life found in unexpected places, how might we detect other civilizations, Dyson Spheres, the Robots arriving first and more.

    Observing Challenges and why we need one?

    It happens to all of us at some stage. Our first introduction to a telescope is usually a battle in learning how to use a foreign contraption. At the same time we need to start building the basic observing skills that will help us start navigating unfamiliar paths across the night sky. Eventually we manage to observe our first night sky objects and W-O-W what rush!

    Before long you have acquired a short but spectacular list of 10 to 20 favourite objects.  Sentimentally these first objects stick with you forever, etched as grand memories. Warning a trap has been set. The more often you look them up the easier and quicker you will be able to hunt them down, within minutes, sometime seconds. They become so easy that whenever you show people through your scope these same 10-20 favourites become your standard tour. The same ones over & over & over! What you need is an observing challenge to break you out of the rut your stuck in.

    Star Atlas
    The humble Star Atlas was the original solution to navigating our night sky with a telescope. They evolved over hundreds into sophisticated and detailed charts. What features should you look for? The more of these features a Star Atlas has the better it should be! Has technology moved us on to better ways to navigate our way? Find out as we talk about making an observing plan, using a planisphere, different chart types, setting circles, digital solutions, computer and phone apps & more.

    How to use your Telescope

    No meeting due to the close proximity with Christmas

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