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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


Photo round up of MBO Open Day 2015

On Saturday 24th January 2015 it was a pleasure to welcome new members and old to Mount Burnett for our third birthday party and annual open day. There was a huge turnout of over 170 visitors with over 40 joined on the spot. Even the weather was kind and the viewing that night was fantastic.

We would like to thank all those members who worked so hard on the day. It was hard work but everybody enjoyed themselves. Sue, Heike, Ken, Barry, Angela, Chris S, Glen, Bob, Perry, Dianne, Braeden, Lachlan and dad, Jeff, Rhys, Stephanie and David, and everybody who shared their telescopes and time in the evening. Thank you!

Here is a roundup of photographs from the day and there are more on our Facebook photo page!

 MWA radio telescope tile demonstration Peter starry shirt Evening observing

Kids inside cabin Binocular winner

BBQ Perrys talk

Wooden telescope Early viewing with dobs



CAASTRO Poster About National Science Week 2014 with MBO

CAASTRO, the ARC Centre of Excellence for All-sky Astrophysics, has produced the below poster documenting their involvement with the Mount Burnett Observatory for the National Science Week 2014 "Stars in the Yarra Ranges" events.  We had a wonderful time working with them and look forward to more engagement in the future!

MBO CAASTRO Poster small


Mount Burnett Observatory on ABC 7:30 Victoria and in The Age

The Mount Burnett Observatory was featured in a six minute segment on the ABC 7:30 Victoria programme on Friday 15th August called "Amateur astronomers resurrect disused observatory in the Dandenongs". Then the next morning we were featured in The Age in an article about our National Science Week activities called "Scienceweek challenge: In search of a name with universal appeal"!

Lovely to see the great progress our wonderful volunteers have made over the past few years get some recognition!