The RASNZ Email newsletter is distributed by email on or near the 20th of each month. If you would like to be on the circulation list This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for a copy.

Affiliated Societies are welcome to reproduce any item in this email newsletter or on the RASNZ website http://www.rasnz.org.nz/ in their own newsletters provided an acknowledgement of the source is also included.

Contents

1. Planet Found Orbiting Alpha Centauri B
2. Solar Eclipse on November 14
3. Solar Viewers Available
4. AAS Burbidge Dinner - October 27
5. The Planets in November
6. RASNZ Conference 2013
7. Better Road Lighting, Not More
8. Conferences in 2014 and 2015
9. Bright Comet This Time Next Year?
10. HST Extreme Deep Field
11. How to Join the RASNZ
12. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
13. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
14. Quotes

1. Planet Found Orbiting Alpha Centauri B

European astronomers have discovered a planet with about the mass of the Earth orbiting Alpha Centauri B, the fainter member of the well-known pair. The planet is the lightest exoplanet so far discovered around a star like the Sun.

The planet was detected by the tiny wobbles it causes the star to make as the planet and star circle their centre of mass. The effect is minute -- it causes the star to move back and forth by no more than 51 centimetres per second (1.8 km/hour), about the speed of a baby crawling. This is the highest precision ever achieved using this method. The wobbles were detected by the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-meter telescope at European Southern Observatory's La Silla Observatory in Chile. The observations extended over more than four years and revealed a tiny, but real, signal from a planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B every 3.2 days.

The Alpha Centauri pair make the third brightest star in the sky. They are the nearest stars to our solar system, only 4.3 light-years away. (A light year is 'only' 10 trillion km, 10^13 km.)

Alpha Centauri B is similar to the Sun but slightly smaller, slightly cooler and less bright. The newly discovered planet has a mass of a little more than that of the Earth. It orbits about six million km from the star, one-tenth of Mercury's distance from our sun. Alpha Centauri A, the other bright component of the double star, orbits hundreds of times further away (11-35 A.U.), but would still be a brilliant object in the planet's sky.

This research was presented in a paper "An Earth mass planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B" in the on-line journal Nature on 17 October 2012. For text, images, and video: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1241/

-- From a European Southern Observatory press release of October 16 forwarded by Karen Pollard.

2. Solar Eclipse on November 14

There is an eclipse of the sun on November 14. From northern New Zealand 90% of the sun's diameter will be covered; in the deep south about 58%. The eclipse begins after 9 a.m. NZDT and ends before noon. Start, maximum and finish times for NZ places can be found at the end of this note. More at listed at http://www.rasnz.org.nz/ .

The central part of the shadow, where the total eclipse is seen, is mainly over the south Pacific. The path of totality starts over extreme northern Australia about 200 km east of Darwin. The path crosses the Gulf of Carpentaria and then the base of the Cape York Peninsula with Cairns and Port Douglas seeing a total eclipse.

At Cairns the eclipse will occur in the early morning, totality lasting for 2 minutes. The Sun will be 14° above the horizon, so low to the east.

From Cairns the total path moves, at first, to the east-southeast across the Pacific, passing a little to the north of New Zealand. After reaching the latitude of the South Island of New Zealand, far out in the Pacific the path starts to swing back to the north, with the eclipse ending at sunset some way to the west of Coquimbo in Chile.

A partial eclipse will be visible from all parts of Australia (anywhere it is not total), although the Sun rises after the start of the partial eclipse for the western half of the country. A partial eclipse is also visible from New Zealand, many of the south Pacific islands and, at sun set in most of Chile and the southern parts of Argentina.

Total Eclipse of 2012 Nov 14 - Times (NZDT) of start, max eclipse and end for some NZ places:

                 Begins     Maximum     End
Site                       a.m. NZDT              Max
                 h  m  s    h  m  s    h  m  s    Mag
North Cape       9 12 45   10 21 35   11 38 08   0.911 
Whangarei        9 15 52   10 25 12   11 41 58   0.894 
Auckland         9 18 18   10 27 36   11 44 04   0.871 
Hamilton         9 20 15   10 29 33   11 45 47   0.854 
Gisborne         9 23 52   10 34 34   11 51 56   0.863 
New Plymouth     9 21 55   10 29 57   11 44 35   0.809 
Napier           9 24 36   10 34 16   11 50 24   0.831 
Wanganui         9 24 12   10 32 29   11 47 07   0.799 
Wellington       9 26 47   10 34 13   11 47 39   0.764 
Greymouth        9 27 16   10 31 46   11 41 52   0.698 
Christchurch     9 30 13   10 34 59   11 45 07   0.689 
Timaru           9 31 25   10 34 44   11 43 09   0.655 
Queenstown       9 31 45   10 33 00   11 39 07   0.616 
Dunedin          9 34 21   10 36 10   11 42 42   0.615 
Invercargill     9 34 46   10 34 52   11 39 28   0.584

-- Mostly copied from http://www.rasnz.org.nz/

Safe methods must be used to view the Sun. Viewing the Sun directly can result in instant blindness. The safest way is to project the image of the Sun onto a suitable screen. Alternatively a specially designed solar filter may be placed in front of the telescope. It is NOT safe to use a filter at the eyepiece as the focused heat from the Sun could shatter it. If unsure of safe methods consult your local astronomical society about suitable ways of observing the sun. See next item.

3. Solar Viewers Available

Solar viewers suitable for observing the eclipse of the Sun now available. The RASNZ has sourced a supply of viewers that will be ideal for viewing the eclipse of the Sun that will be visible from New Zealand, weather permitting, on 14 November.

These viewers have been safety tested by one of the world's leading authorities on solar viewing devices and provide full eye protection when observing the Sun directly. Note that the viewer should not be used in conjunction with any optical device such as telescope, binoculars, camera etc.

Each order is supplied with an information sheet covering times and information about this historic event.

Order your Solar Viewers by going to: http://royalast.myob.net/

-- Simon Lowther, Treasurer, RASNZ. -----------

Solar viewers are also sold by the Auckland Astronomical Society and Wellington's Carter Observatory. For Auckland phone 09 473 5877 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., www.astronomy.org.nz. For the Carter Observatory phone 04 910 3140 or see www.carterobservatory.org. Both offer bulk discounts to astronomical societies and educational groups.

4. AAS Burbidge Dinner - October 27

The Auckland Astronomical Society invites all to the 2012 Burbidge Dinner.

Our guest speaker this year is Professor Richard Easther with the topic of Cosmology: Predicting the Future. See last month's Newsletter for details.

The evening will include presentation of the Beaumont prize for writing in the Journal and the Harry William Astrophotography Competition.

The Burbidge Dinner is always a fun night and a major event in the Society's calendar. All are welcome to join us for an enjoyable evening. Date: Saturday 27th October. Venue: Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts, 13 Reeves Rd, Pakuranga. Start Time: 6:30pm Tickets: $55.00 per person, includes a buffet dinner

Tickets are available from Andrew Buckingham. Please book on 09 473 5877 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5. The Planets in November

Mercury disappears from the evening sky quite early in November. Mars, a little higher than Mercury, sets late evening. Jupiter rises about 11 pm at the beginning of November; close to the time of sunset at the end of the month, so replacing Mars as it sets.

Venus is rather low in the dawn sky. It is in close conjunction with Saturn near to the end of November.

The evening sky: mercury, mars and jupiter

Mercury sets a good two hours after the Sun at the beginning of November. On the 1st it will be at magnitude 0.0. 45 minutes after sunset it will be about 14° above the horizon almost half way round from the west towards the southwest.

While visible in the evening sky, Mercury will be in Scorpius a little way below Antares. On November 1 it will be 1° to the left of the 2.3 magnitude star delta Sco. During the next few nights it will loop round the star. Mercury is stationary on November 7 when about 1.5° above delta and 6° below Antares.

After being stationary, Mercury will drop back again to be just over one- third of a degree to the right of delta on the 11th. By then Mercury will have faded to magnitude 1.7 and is likely to be a difficult binocular object. 45 minutes after sunset, it will be less than 5° about the horizon with the Sun 8° below the horizon and almost directly below Mercury. As a result there will be bright twilight in the direction of the planet making it difficult to see.

In the following week, Mercury will move steadily closer to the Sun until it is at inferior conjunction on the 17th. After conjunction Mercury becomes a morning object, but will be rising only 45 minutes before the Sun by the 30th, so making it virtually unobservable.

Mars will still set after 11 pm NZDT in November, the time getting only about 18 minutes earlier during the month. Even so, with the Sun setting steadily later, Mars will get lower in NZ skies by the time it can be seen. At magnitude 1.2 the planet is somewhat brighter than all the nearby stars except Antares. The best time to look for Mars will be about an hour after sunset when the sky to the west will be almost dark. Mars will be at a modest altitude a few degrees to the south of west.

Mars starts November in Ophiuchus some 9° degrees to the upper right of Antares, It ends the month to the right of the inverted tea-pot in Sagittarius having crossed the border from Ophiuchus into Sagittarius on November 12 at about the time it sets in NZ.

On the 16th the crescent moon, less than 10% lit, will be 5° below and a little to the right of Mars.

Jupiter rises a little before Mars sets at the beginning of November, but a full two hours earlier by the end of the month. So it is visible both in the late evening sky and in the morning pre-dawn sky. Jupiter is currently well north of the equator so will be low in southern skies.

The planet remains in Taurus a few degrees from Aldebaran. As seen in the evening Jupiter will be below the star. Jupiter will be moving in a retrograde, westerly, sense with its distance from Aldebaran decreasing a little during the month.

The near full moon will be a few degrees to the left of Jupiter on the 1st and a few degrees the other side of Jupiter the following night. There will be a repeat on the 28th and 29th of the month with the moon in quite similar positions.

The two largest asteroids, Ceres and Vesta remain in the same part of the sky as Jupiter. Like Jupiter, they are also moving to the west, so their positions relative to Jupiter change little throughout the month, Vesta about 10° to the right of the planet and Ceres some 20° to its lower right. Vesta is the brighter of the two: it brightens from magnitude 7.3 to 6.6 during November making it an easy binocular object. Ceres is just over half a magnitude fainter, so also readily visible in binoculars. Their change in position relative to nearby stars will be readily visible from night to night.

Ceres in Gemini, starts November close to the third magnitude star eta Gem. The two are closest on the 4th and 5th when their separation will be about one-tenth of the diameter of the full moon. Vesta is in Taurus about half way between ElNath, beta Tau, and Betelgeuse early in the month. It apparent movement during November takes it a little way towards Aldebaran

Morning sky, venus and saturn

Venus moves through Virgo during November, crossing into Libra on the morning of the 29th. It rises about 70 to 75 minutes before the Sun, so will be rather low to the east as seen a few minutes before sunrise

On its way across Virgo, Venus passes Spica, the two are closest on the 18th, with Venus 4° below Spica. With magnitudes -4 and +1 respectively, Venus will be 100 times as bright as the star.

Saturn, in Virgo, emerges from its late October conjunction with the Sun during November. On the 1st it rises close to the same time as the Sun, by the end of the month some 80 minutes earlier when it will be just over 30° from the Sun. Even so it will remain a difficult object low in the morning twilight.

Saturn will start November to the right of Venus, both moving to the east through the stars. Venus, moving more quickly than Saturn, passes close to the ringed planet in late November. The two are just over half a degree apart (the diameter of the full moon) on the 27th, although they are within 5° of one another for a few mornings either side of that date. The following morning the two planets will be almost level but slightly further apart with Venus now to the right of Saturn. Despite a magnitude 0.6, Saturn is likely to be difficult to see by eye, but should be readily visible close to Venus using binoculars.


Uranus and NEPTUNE remain well placed for evening viewing during November. Uranus is in Pisces and Neptune in Aquarius

Uranus will have a magnitude 5.7. It is about 7.5° to the upper right of the 4.0 magnitude star omega Psc as seen in the evening sky. There is only one star comparable in magnitude to the planet near Uranus, a 5.8 star 1.5° to the right of the planet.

Neptune, magnitude 7.9 is between the stars iota Aqr (4.3) and theta Aqr (4.2). The planet is about 2° from iota and 4.5° from theta. The planet is stationary on November 11.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres and (4) Vesta are both in the vicinity of Jupiter and Aldebaran so are visible in the late evening and morning skies. More notes are given with Jupiter

(2) Pallas is in Cetus and fades further in November from magnitude 9.0 to 9.4. Although mostly in Cetus it is very close to the constellation´s border with Aquarius. It moves along the border for a week in mid month and looks to just slide into Aquarius for a few nights.

More details and charts for these minor planets can be found on the RASNZ web site. Follow the link to asteroids 2012.

-- Brian Loader

6. RASNZ Conference 2013

Planning for the 2013 conference is now well under way. So make a note of the dates in your diary Friday 24 to Sunday 26 May. The Ascot Park Hotel conference venue has plenty of on-site accommodation, both hotel and motel. In addition there are other motels close by. For more details of the venue, nearby accommodation and local attractions - including the Bluff Oyster Festival - visit the RASNZ web site at <http://www.rasnz.org.nz>.

The conference will be followed by TTSO7 (the 7th Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations). These symposia are held annually, alternating between NZ and Australia and have always been well attended.

The Fellows speaker for 2013 will be Bob Evans, who is the secretary/treasurer of the host society, the Southland Astronomical Society as well as the editor of Southern Stars and the chairman of the Local Organising Committee for the conference. His title: "Reflective and Refractory: Some Observations of New Zealand Amateur Astronomy".

Other guest speakers are in the process of being arranged. Margaret Austin has agreed to be the after-dinner speaker. This promises to be an extremely interesting talk with her involvement in the establishment of the Aoraki Mount Cook International Dark Sky Reserve in the Mackenzie Basin.

Registration forms for the conference will be on line in the next few weeks. Meanwhile consider presenting a paper on your astronomical work. We would like to see more such papers, including ones illustrating the work of sections, presented by members of the society.

-- Brian Loader, Chair, RASNZ Standing Conference Committee.

7. Better Road Lighting, Not More

An article in Wellington's Dom Post on 5 October claimed that more light at night could reduce after-dark road deaths and injuries by 35 per cent. Eric Blown pointed it out and Steve Butler of the RASNZ's Dark Skies Group was invited to comment.

Steve's initial take was that it was very much a work only looking at the topic from the point of view of lighting engineers. There seemed to be little acknowledgement of any risk of introducing more light into the night. Steve noted that, from other comments he had seen, it wasn't universally well received as a way of reducing injuries or worse on our roads.

Steve's response in a letter to the Dom Post was:

"In your article of the 5th October reporting on a paper presented to the Australasian Road Safety Research, Policing and Education Conference the claim is made that more light at night could reduce after-dark road deaths and injuries by 35 per cent.

More accurately the claim should be that better visibility at night may reduce the toll. It is unlikely that more lighting in itself will be the answer. Quality lighting should be the aim.

If more lighting is applied in the manner that present lighting is applied, then more light pollution, glare and light spill will occur along with wasted energy. If lighting is designed and installed correctly it is possible to improve visibility without increasing the amount of light applied.

The report also claims that a move to "white" light will improve visibility. There is a sound basis to claim this, however there are implications to be aware of. "White" light contains a higher proportion of "Blue" light which interacts more with the atmosphere to cause sky glow, is more likely to impact on night ecosystems and is implicated with human health issues such as cancers, depression, obesity and even diabetes.

If white light improves vision, then less lighting may be needed once glare and light spill are minimised.

Care must be taken to manage all the implications of introducing light into the night."

--------- The original report "Lighting the Way to Road Safety - A Policy Blindspot?" can be downloaded from: http://www.bridgerbeavis.com/pdfs

8. Conferences in 2014 and 2015

 

RASNZ Conference 2014 Plans are now well under way for the 2014 conference which will be held in early June at Whakatane and hosted by the local Whakatane Astronomical Society, celebrating their 50th anniversary. It is expected that this conference will be followed by VSSS3 - the third Variable Star South Symposium.

Expressions of interest to host the 2015 Conference A reminder that the call is out for offers to host the 2015 conference. Any society or university department interested in hosting the conference should contact the SCC by email to <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> as soon as possible.

Interested societies will be sent a guide to the facilities needed at the conference venue and an outline of the responsibilities of the Local Organising Committee which they will need to form.

The SCC hopes to be able to make a recommendation for the host of the 2015 conference to the RASNZ Council by the end of November 2012 so a formal invitation can be issued. So offers to host the conference should be received by the SCC by mid November.

-- Brian Loader, Chair, RASNZ Standing Conference Committee.

9. Bright Comet This Time Next Year?

Recently-found Comet ISON C/2012 S1 has the potential to become a bright object in late November 2013. The discovery was made by Vitali Nevski (in Belarus) and Artyom Novichonok (in Russia) on September 21. They were using a 40 cm reflector; part of the worldwide International Scientific Optical Network (ISON). At the time the comet was 19th magnitude - roughly 100,000 times fainter than the limit of unaided vision.

It is usually weeks before the orbit of a distant newly-discovered comet is accurately known. In this case an accurate orbit was derived in a few days thanks to two sets of pre-discovery images being identified. The comet had been recorded as an asteroidal object on Near-Earth Object search telescopes in Arizona and Hawaii, one night each, last December and January. With position measurements spanning 10 months an accurate orbit was quickly computed and published on Sept. 24 in Minor Planet Electronic Circular 2012-S63.

The orbit calculations show that the comet will pass just 1.9 million km from the sun's centre (q = 0.01245 AU) on 2013 Nov. 28.87 UT. That's about 1.1 million km from the sun's surface. Not as close as Comet Lovejoy last Christmas (190,000 km) but still very close. If the comet's nucleus survives this close approach then the comet is likely to grow a long bright tail. (1 AU = 150 million km.)

Southern hemisphere sky watchers will get their best views of the comet in the dawn sky when it is on its way to perihelion. If the comet follows the 'standard' brightness formula -- and many don't -- then it should be visible in binoculars in early November 2013. Around November 15 it should be visible to the naked-eye. After about the 20th the comet will be getting too low in the dawn twilight to be seen, unless it becomes particularly bright, though the tail may extend up the sky. After perihelion, November 29 NZ date, the comet moves quickly into the northern hemisphere dawn sky. It's possible that Comet ISON could become a 'daylight comet'. Around 2013 November 30 - December 2 it is roughly between the Earth and the Sun. Comet McNaught C/2006 P1 was so seen around 2007 January 14-15. However, Comet ISON might not be sufficiently on the Sun-Earth line for enough sunshine to scatter in our direction through the comet's dust. It all depends on the phase angle: the angle between Earth and Sun, as seen from the comet. A comet passing across the sun's disk has a phase angle of 180 degrees. Halley's Comet did this in 1910. It was seen in daylight before and after its transit. Comet McNaught became visible in daylight when its phase angle was around 146 degrees. Comet ISON gets to phase angle 128 degrees. Around that time the comet will be just 5-10 degrees from the sun, so great care will be needed in searching for it.

The 'original' orbit of Comet ISON, before it was affected by the planets, had a maximum distance from the sun of 21,000 AU (1/a(orig) = +0.000096 AU**- 1). From there it took around 500,000 years to travel to the sun. This makes it questionable as to whether the comet is 'new'. Is this its first trip into the inner solar system from the Oort Cloud of comets? If it is then the comet will be fizzing off very volatile stuff like carbon monoxide and methane, making it misleadingly bright. This happened with Comet Kohoutek C/1973 E1. The comet was bright when far from the sun, leading to predictions of a brilliant comet. These proved wrong as the comet neared the sun.

The possibility that Comet ISON did visit the sun a million years ago is raised by the resemblance of its orbit to the Great Comet of 1680. It seems plausible that both comets are fragments of some earlier visitor, just as Comet Lovejoy was one of many fragments of a comet that broke up to spawn the great comets of 1843, 1882, 1965 and many others including hundreds of SOHO comets. If Comet ISON is not a 'new' comet then its current brightness indicates an active nucleus, promising a bright comet a year from now.

-- Mostly by Ed with some bits copied from Kelly Beatty's 'Observing Blog' of September 27. See http://www.skyandtelescope.com/community/skyblog/observingblog/A-Dream-Comet-Heading-Our-Way-171521041.html


Ephemeris for Comet ISON C/2012 S1, 2013 October-December, from the Minor Planet Center's Ephemeris Service.

Date R.A. (J2000) Decl. Delta r El. Ph. m1

  1. h m s o ' "
  2. 01 09 34 30.2 +17 38 09 2.152 1.653 47.7 26.6 9.8
  3. 11 09 57 48.4 +15 16 17 1.854 1.458 51.4 32.4 9.0
  4. 21 10 27 06.3 +11 59 20 1.553 1.250 53.5 39.8 7.9
  5. 31 11 07 11.2 +07 02 25 1.259 1.023 52.4 50.3 6.6
  6. 05 11 34 04.2 +03 31 18 1.123 0.900 49.9 57.4 5.8
  7. 10 12 08 03.6 -01 00 54 1.003 0.768 45.3 66.5 4.9
  8. 15 12 51 54.9 -06 45 20 0.908 0.623 38.0 78.0 3.7
  9. 20 13 48 36.8 -13 28 34 0.858 0.459 27.7 92.1 2.3
  10. 25 15 00 20.9 -20 00 26 0.880 0.260 14.6 106.9 -0.1
  11. 30 16 22 02.5 -16 36 50 0.917 0.108 5.0 127.2 -3.9
  12. 05 16 14 14.5 -06 30 32 0.743 0.356 17.5 123.6 0.9
  13. 10 16 11 20.4 +03 04 39 0.625 0.536 29.3 115.8 2.3
  14. 15 16 11 18.5 +14 26 09 0.533 0.690 42.3 106.5 3.0
  15. 20 16 13 50.2 +28 34 12 0.467 0.829 57.1 94.7 3.5

Delta and r are the distances in AU from the Earth and the Sun respectively. El is elongation, the angle of the comet from the Sun. Comets are generally difficult to see at elongations less than 30 degrees. m1 is the total brightness, the brightness of a star defocused to the size of the comet's head. m1 has to be brighter than 3 for a comet to be easily seen by eye. The assumed formula is m1 = 6.0 + 5 log (Delta) + 10 log r .

10. HST Extreme Deep Field

Hubble Space Telescope astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of mankind's deepest-ever view of the universe. Called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the centre of the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The XDF is 2.3' (arcminutes) by 2', small fraction of the angular diameter of the full Moon.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field is an image of a small area of space in the constellation Fornax, created using Hubble Space Telescope data from 2003 and 2004. By collecting faint light over many hours of observation, it revealed thousands of galaxies, both nearby and very distant, making it the deepest image of the universe ever taken at that time.

The new full-colour XDF image reaches much fainter galaxies, and includes very deep exposures in red light from Hubble's new infrared camera, enabling new studies of the earliest galaxies in the universe. The XDF contains about 5,500 galaxies even within its smaller field of view. The faintest galaxies are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see.

Magnificent spiral galaxies similar in shape to our Milky Way and the neighbouring Andromeda galaxy appear in this image, as do the large, fuzzy red galaxies where the formation of new stars has ceased. These red galaxies are the remnants of dramatic collisions between galaxies and are in their declining years. Peppered across the field are tiny, faint, more distant galaxies that were like the seedlings from which today's striking galaxies grew. The history of galaxies -- from soon after the first galaxies were born to the great galaxies of today, like our Milky Way -- is laid out in this one remarkable image.

Hubble pointed at a tiny patch of southern sky in repeat visits (made over the past decade) for a total of 50 days, with a total exposure time of 2 million seconds. More than 2,000 images of the same field were taken with Hubble's two premier cameras -- the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3, which extends Hubble's vision into near-infrared light -- and combined to make the XDF.

The universe is 13.7 billion years old, and the XDF reveals galaxies that span back 13.2 billion years in time. Most of the galaxies in the XDF are seen when they were young, small, and growing, often violently as they collided and merged together. The early universe was a time of dramatic birth for galaxies containing brilliant blue stars extraordinarily brighter than our Sun. The light from those past events is just arriving at Earth now, and so the XDF is a 'time tunnel into the distant past.' The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the universe's birth in the big bang.

Before Hubble was launched in 1990, astronomers could barely see normal galaxies to 7 billion light-years away, about halfway across the universe. Observations with telescopes on the ground were not able to establish how galaxies formed and evolved in the early universe.

Hubble gave astronomers their first view of the actual forms and shapes of galaxies when they were young. This provided compelling, direct visual evidence that the universe is truly changing as it ages. Like watching individual frames of a motion picture, the Hubble deep surveys reveal the emergence of structure in the infant universe and the subsequent dynamic stages of galaxy evolution.

The infrared vision of NASA's planned James Webb Space Telescope (Webb telescope) will be aimed at the XDF. The Webb telescope will find even fainter galaxies that existed when the universe was just a few hundred million years old. Because of the expansion of the universe, light from the distant past is stretched into longer, infrared wavelengths. The Webb telescope's infrared vision is ideally suited to push the XDF even deeper, into a time when the first stars and galaxies formed and filled the early 'dark ages' of the universe with light.

For images and more information about the XDF: http://www.nasa.gov/hubble http://hubblesite.org/news/2012/37 ------ Don't take the colours too literally. The technical notes say that the colours result from assigning different hues to each monochromatic (grayscale) image from the eight different filters used by the two instruments grouped as follows: ACS/WFC F435W(B)+F606W(V) [that is blue and yellow] = blue ACS/WFC F775W(I)+F814W(I)+F850LP(z)[ red and near IR] = green WFC3/IR F105W(Y)+F125W(J)+F160W(H) [infra-red] = red ------ -- from a Space telescope Science Institute press release of 25 September forwarded by Karen Pollard.

11. How to Join the RASNZ

A membership application form and details can be found on the RASNZ website http://www.rasnz.org.nz/InfoForm/membform.htm. Please note that the weblink to membership forms is case sensitive. Alternatively please send an email to the membership secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.

The annual subscription rate is $75, not including the Yearbook. For overseas rates please check with the membership secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

12. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund

The RASNZ administers the Gifford-Eiby Memorial Lectureship Fund to assist Affiliated Societies with travel costs of getting a lecturer or instructor to their meetings. Details are in RASNZ By-Laws Section H.

For an application form contact the Executive Secretary This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., R O'Keeffe, 662 Onewhero-Tuakau Bridge Rd, RD 2, TUAKAU 2697

13. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund

The RASNZ is responsible for recommending to the trustees of the Kingdon Tomlinson Fund that grants be made for astronomical projects. The grants may be to any person or persons, or organisations, requiring funding for any projects or ventures that promote the progress of astronomy in New Zealand. Full details are set down in the RASNZ By-Laws, Section J.

For an application form contact the RASNZ Executive Secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. R O'Keeffe, 662 Onewhero-Tuakau Bridge Rd, RD 2, TUAKAU 2697

14.Quotes

--------- "Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge" -- Charles Darwin.

"Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance." -- Will Durant.

"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley.

"Science knows it doesn't know everything; otherwise, it'd stop. But just because science doesn't know everything doesn't mean you can fill in the gaps with whatever fairy tale most appeals to you." -- Dara O'Briain.

------------------ Observatory for sale: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/home/World-Class-Observatory- For-Sale-173116981.html

Alan Gilmore Phone: 03 680 6000 P.O. Box 57 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Lake Tekapo 7945 New Zealand


Newsletter editor:

Alan Gilmore   Phone: 03 680 6000
P.O. Box 57   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Lake Tekapo 7945
New Zealand