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Friday 9th March 2018 - Dr Duane Hamacher - Variable stars: their history and observation

8pm Friday 9th March we have our own Dr Duane Hamacher talking to us about "Variable stars: their history and observation":

Variable stars are one of the most popular targets of amateur astronomical research. But what are variable stars? What is the history of variable star observations? From ancient Egypt and Aboriginal Australia to modern scientific observations, variable stars continue to fascinate observers - both amateur and professional. What are the various types of variable stars? But what can we actually see with the naked eye? Do you think you could identify the different types of variable stars from their light curves alone? This talk will explore these topics, teach you how to identify basic variable star types, and how to distinguish them from transiting exoplanets.

Dr Duane Hamacher is an MBO member, Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, and a lifelong astronomy advocate. After earning a degree in physics in the US, he completed a Masters degree by research in astrophysics at UNSW studying variable stars and transiting exoplanets. He then earned a PhD studying Australian Indigenous astronomical knowledge. Much of his work has been on the subject of variable stars - from observational searches for exoplanets at Siding Spring Observatory, to descriptions of pulsating variables and supernovae in Indigenous traditions.

Members' Night is on every Friday night commencing at 8PM sharp (doors open at 7:45PM this Friday as there is a closed committee meeting beforehand). Guests of members are always welcome. Contributions of food to share for supper are always gratefully received and demolished! :-)


Please consider the neighbours and drive in and out quietly using low beam only, or better still, parking lights.


Please note: MBO will always be closed on days of Severe, Extreme and Code Red fire ratings, please see the CFA website for up-to-date information.

For weather information please see our useful links.

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Friday 2nd March 2018 - Sky For The Month with Perry Vlahos

At 8pm this coming Friday 2nd March we have Perry Vlahos for our members night talking to us about the coming months night sky.

March is one of the best months of the year to be observing the heavens – nights are still balmy, the big bright constellations of summer like Orion, Canis Major and Gemini are still around and the southern sky is also just coming to life with parts of the huge old constellation Argo getting close to culmination, with support from Crux and Centaurus.  It’s a great time to be observing galactic clusters like M35, the Beehive, M46 and M47, M41 in the northern sky, whilst in the southern sky there’s NGC2516, the Pyramid Cluster (NGC3293), the Pin Cushion (NGC3532), the Five of Diamonds (IC2602) and the rising of the Jewel Box. Perry will show you where they are in the sky and what to look out for when you’re observing them through a telescope. All this plus a delicious supper that follows the talk, and observing through MBO telescopes. See you there.

Members' Night is on every Friday night commencing at 8PM sharp (doors open 7:30PM). Guests of members are always welcome. Contributions of food to share for supper are always gratefully received and demolished! :-)


Please consider the neighbours and drive in and out quietly using low beam only, or better still, parking lights.


Please note: MBO will always be closed on days of Severe, Extreme and Code Red fire ratings, please see the CFA website for up-to-date information.

For weather information please see our useful links.

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Friday 23rd February 2018 - Jacquie Milner - Space Weather: Part 1- the Solar Cycle

8pm Friday 23rd February we have our own Jacquie Milner giving a beginners talk introduction called "Space Weather: Part 1- the Solar Cycle".

Our second attempt to get Beginner’s Nights kicked off for 2018 will be to take a look at the Sun and its cyclical activity. Besides sunshine it spits other types of electromagnetic energy at us at times, some benign and some more troublesome. Down here on the surface of the Earth, protected by the atmosphere and the Earth’s magnetic field, we don’t notice it so much, but if we are to become a spacefaring race this kind of knowledge becomes much more vital. Come along and learn about the solar cycle, sun spots, coronal holes, solar flares and coronal mass ejections.

Members' Night is on every Friday night commencing at 8PM sharp (doors open 7:30PM). Guests of members are always welcome.


Please consider the neighbours and drive in and out quietly using low beam only, or better still, parking lights.


Please note: MBO will always be closed on days of Severe, Extreme and Code Red fire ratings, please see the CFA website for up-to-date information.

For weather information please see our useful links.

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Friday 16th February 2018 - Dr Terry Moon - Backyard astronomy, variable stars and MBO

There has been a late change to our program for this coming Friday. It was to have been Jacquie Milner talking about Space Weather, but that talk will now take place Friday 23rd Feb.

8pm Friday 16th February we have Terry Moon, one of the original students to have completed his PhD at Monash and MBO, and now a member of our association, is here this week with Steve Fleming of Latrobe Uni doing science (yes, that's right, science) on our 18" telescope in the dome.  He will be giving an impromptu talk (allowing many questions) at MBO before going back into the dome to continue gathering research data for a project I'm sure he will describe during the talk.

Terry Moon (Tex) was awarded his BSc (Hons) from Monash University in 1975, MSc from the University of Melbourne in 1979 and PhD from Monash University in 1984. In 1975 and 1976 he worked in the Infrared Astronomy group at Melbourne University. From 1978 to 1980 Tex worked in Solar Energy technology at University of Sydney. During 1984 and 1985 he undertook postdoctoral work in Astronomy at University College London. In 1986 Tex joined the Defence Science & Technology Organisation and enjoyed a 30-year Defence Science career spanning electro-optical, infrared and radar technologies, operations research, systems engineering, complexity and network science and food science retiring in January 2016.

Since late-2002 Tex has been undertaking ‘backyard astronomy’ with a focus on photoelectric measurements of variable stars. His earlier research included measurement of southern semi-regular variables (red giants) from his home observatory, first in Adelaide, then Georgetown, South Australia and now Scottsdale, Tasmania. A secondary interest was the measurement and analysis of bright eclipsing binary systems. Recently, Tex’s interests have switched to citizen astronomy with a particular focus on development of low-cost photometry using CMOS sensors. His current research interest is symbiotic stars, a rare type of variable thought to be the progenitor of Type Ia supernovae.

Members' Night is on every Friday night commencing at 8PM sharp (doors open 7:30PM). Guests of members are always welcome.


Please consider the neighbours and drive in and out quietly using low beam only, or better still, parking lights.


Please note: MBO will always be closed on days of Severe, Extreme and Code Red fire ratings, please see the CFA website for up-to-date information.

For weather information please see our useful links.