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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

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Presidents Message: Light Pollution

Dear friends of Mount Burnett,
 
I would like to talk a little this week about dark skies. 2015 is the International Year of Light and some of the themed activities later in the year will centre on the importance of keeping our night skies dark. Not only do we get better views of the stars but there is evidence to suggest it is good for our health. Our very own Perry Vlahos is representing us on a dark skies association formed this year by members of astronomy associations across the state.  If you have questions on the topic please email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or find him after his “Sky for the Month” talk.
 
Some of my family require total dark before they can get to sleep and so having a street light shining in the bedroom window can be more than an annoyance. This promoted me a few years ago to take action. I thought I would jot it down in case some of you were wondering what is possible.
 
The street lights in my area are run by the local council. I rang them up and was informed that for a small fee ($100 per street light at the time) I could have them modified to reduce stray light. Sometimes these modifications take the form of baffles or hoods. In my case the light fittings were sprayed with black paint. This worked a treat. My family could sleep, and I could sit on the back deck with my telescope and enjoy the stars. That is until a few months ago when all the lights in my neighbourhood were replaced with very bright new LED lights… without baffles. So once more I phoned council who have agreed to fit new baffles. It has required gentle persistence as the contractor involved doesn’t appear to be as enlightened or should I say endarkened as the council paying their bills. But I am confident it will get sorted.
 
My message to you is this. If you have an issue with stray lights from public lighting, phone the council first. If you have no success or simply want to share your own story then drop me a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We can try and put you in touch with the right people and would also like to gather a few interested individuals so we can be more proactive in this area.
 
thats all for now
 
yours in the absence of stray light
 
James