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Presidents Message: MBO and the community

Dear friends of Mount Burnett,

This week I would like to take you back to the inaugural meeting of our association. On the 11th of July 2011 Perry, Barry, Ray, Ken and myself met at Elevations in Emerald to form Mount Burnett Observatory. That was the easy part. More difficult was to decide on a statement of purpose for the association. After several coffees, and the odd hot chocolate here is what we came up with:

  1. To preserve the Mount Burnett Observatory for the benefit of the Society's members and the community.
  2. To educate the public in the science of Astronomy, disseminate astronomical knowledge, and encourage the observation of the Universe.
  3. To provide facilities to support members of the Society in the practice and study of Astronomy, including astronomical research.
  4. To collaborate actively with other institutions and groups, to the benefit of the Society's activities.
  5. To bring into closer association persons and institutions engaged inastronomy in order to cooperatively advance our knowledge.
  6. To pursue any other arrangements and activities conducive to the above purposes.

I think we have done pretty well on all those fronts! As we have discovered, particularly this year after being advertised in Cardinia Connect, there is an enormous demand for our services. Our Outreach group will be flat out this month with Public Viewings and sessions for schools, scout troops and guiding groups. Young Observers is going from strength to strength and Friday nights have never been more popular.

Mount Burnett Observatory now fills a very important role in the community as a focus for learning science. Prior to our formation nobody suspected there was a need for a body such as ours. Now nobody would dream of us not being here. On Friday I will be speaking to 150 children from Berwick Fields Primary School. I will be sure to tell them of the amazing things we have achieved together at MBO.

Yours in lithobraking,
James

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A visit to Bright Astronomy Club

Recently one of our outreach team, Sue McArthur, visited the Bright Astronomy Club in northeastern Victoria. Here is her report:

Last week I visited Bright Astronomy Club. They are a small club of around 15 members, but are very active in the community. They hold a monthly observing night at Porepunkah Airport, and the public are welcome. A sandwich board is placed in the main street of Bright giving the public information about the viewing. They also run sessions for one of the caravan parks in school holidays and sessions for Parks Victoria over January. With an outreach team of three, they are kept very busy. The club has 2 telescopes, an 8” Dobs and a 4” refractor. The guys at the club are very welcoming. Below is a photo of the “outreach” team. From left to right: Zachary (President}, Rob (Secretary), and Sean (Treasurer).

 Bright Outreach

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Presidents Message: Large Dobsonian and "PV's Must Sees"

Dear friends of Mount Burnett,

I have two very exciting announcements. Firstly we are going ahead with the purchase of an 18 inch telescope. This will be available for use on Friday nights and during our outreach and public viewing sessions.  It will be a portable Dobsonian telescope so easy to set up and put away. It will be a natural complement for our existing 18 inch telescope.

But wait there is more! This week we are officially launching to the entire Observatory membership, the MBO viewing challenge of 100 objects. Compiled by our inaugural president Perry Vlahos this list will be known as  “PV’s must sees”. You will find later in the week an email containing the list and our welcome pack for 2015. Take some time to read it and think seriously about joining in the MBO viewing challenge. Many of us joined MBO as a first foray into astronomy. By taking part in the challenge you will take a huge step towards becoming a good observational astronomer. The list includes phenomena such as the recent lunar eclipse, a mentor shower and a moon rise, some of the brightest stars in the sky, lunar craters and maria, and clusters and even galaxies. You will need to master astronomy with naked eye, binoculars and telescope. You will also need to learn how to record an observation.

As the year progresses we will incorporate the viewing challenge into our meeting program. So join in and bring along your log book to Friday nights so we can catch up on how everybody is doing. Our young observers have already taken on the challenge with great enthusiasm. I am sure it will be a young observer who finishes the list first. But whether you do it quickly or slowly, take the time to enjoy the beauty of each and every one of the 100 objects.

James

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Lunar Eclipse April 2015 round up

Last night we had an open night for the last total lunar eclipse until 2018! Some people turned up early and were rather excited. :-)

Some great photos taken by our member Roslyn:

Lunar eclipse image by Roslyn, taken at Mount Burnett Observatory April 2015

Lunar eclipse image by Roslyn, taken at Mount Burnett Observatory April 2015

...and also by Stacey with her new iPhone!

Lunar eclipse image by Stacey, taken at Mount Burnett Observatory April 2015