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Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd July - Venus and Jupiter Conjunction

In the early evenings of Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd July Melbourne will be treated (weather permitting) to a lovely conjunction of Venus and Jupiter in the north-western sky, less than a degree apart (closest on Wednesday night). Here is how the excellent free software program Stellarium shows it (click for full size images).


Screenshot of Stellarium renderng of Jupiter-Venus conjunction Thursday 2nd July 2015


Presidents Message: World Record Stargazing, Telescopes and Lanterns

Dear Mount Burnettisi,

What a busy week that was for Mount Burnett!  We had the good news that our friends at CAASTRO will be donating 100 replicas of Galileo’s telescope (small refractors worth ~$5 each)  for us to use in the World Record Stargazing attempt on August 21st. Young Observers if you want to take part then let me know so I can reserve one of the telescopes!

On Friday Jacinta from Telescopes in Schools visited Emerald Secondary College to set up a large Celestron GoTo telescope for the the school to use over the next few years. MBO will be providing expert guidance as the school begins its astronomical journey.

Finally on Saturday MBO outreach (including some new members) set up at the Belgrave lantern parade. We had ~250 visitors put their eyes to eyepieces which is our biggest single event yet (there are some photos on our Facebook page). As I chatted with visitors it was obvious how much higher our profile is now than last year. Many people had visited already with heir school or scout troop. I heard less of the “I had no idea there was an observatory here” and more of the “we had a wonderful time when we visited”. And to cap it all off we had the Moon, Jupiter and Venus doing their little dance in the western sky. To those of you who took part in our activities this week thank you and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.



MBO Submits Names For IAU ExoWorlds Naming Competition

Last August as part of our National Science Week 2014 events we had flyers out to solicit names from the public to submit as part of the International Astronomical Union's "Name ExoWorlds" competition for the chance to be able to name a star and its orbiting exoplanets - we even made The Age!


 We got a number of submissions from then and over the last year and so last Thursday night I sat down and screened out any that wouldn't pass the IAU's rules (in our case the only ones were names that had already been used for main belt asteroids) before taking them to a public vote at MBO on Friday night.  The voting was done blind, which meant the members could only see the proposed names and the justification, and we ended up with two names as outright winners - which was handy as the system we had selected to name (xi Aquilae, magnitude 4.7) only has a star and one exoplanet. :-)

So I'm pleased to announce that our submissions that we have put in for xi Aquilae are:

Object Proposed Name Justification Submitter
Star xi Aquilae Ezu This star is named 'Ezu' (pronounced like 'a zoo') after Eduard Zuev (1934-2005) - an outstanding populariser of astronomy and amateur telescope making in the Irkutsk Region of Russia and the the founder of the Irkutsk Astronomical Club "Astroclub". Pavel Mironov
Exoplanet xi Aquilae b Heroicos "Heroicos" which means epic in Latin, is an apt name for an exoplanet almost 3 times the mass of our own largest planet, Jupiter, and orbits much closer to its star than our own planet Earth does taking less than half an Earth year to complete a single orbit! Elliot Perez

Now all that is left is for the voting to open - please watch the NameExoWorlds website for more information and if you like our suggestions please register there to vote for us!