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Contents

1. Brian Loader's Occultation Work Recognised
2. Microlensing Finds Earth-Like Planet
3. The Solar System in August
4. Horowhenua StellarFest, July 25-27
5. Herbert Astronomy Weekend, August 22-25
6. Space Camp NZ, September 19-21
7. 2015 RASNZ Conference
8. Rosetta Nears Comet Nucleus
9. Possible Hybrid Star Found in SMC
10. Young Stars Around Ancient Galaxies
11. More Conference Notes
12. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
13. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
14. Quote

1. Brian Loader's Occultation Work Recognised

Brian Loader of Darfield, NZ, has been awarded the 2014 Homer F. DaBoll award by the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA). The award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to occultation science, or to the work of IOTA.

Brian joined the RASNZ Occultation Section in 1980 and immediately adopted a prominent role as a prolific observer of total and grazing occultations. From 1980 to the present he has timed over 6000 lunar occultations (averaging 183 per year) making him one of the top observers worldwide. Between 1980 and the end of 2013 he also observed 83 positive minor planet occultations. (His tenacity is illustrated by the fact that it took him until 1989 to see his first positive event).

Also in 1980 Brian instituted the Jovian Satellite Eclipse programme which he then co-ordinated for more than 20 years. This programme provided data to Dr Jay Lieske at JPL for use in updating the ephemerides of the Galilean satellites, a result which was of direct benefit to the Galileo mission. Starting about 1985, Brian also instituted and co-ordinated observations of the mutual events of the Galilean satellites across multiple seasons. In more recent times he has initiated and continues to co-ordinate the double star programme for the determination of true separations and position angles from occultation observations made at different locations. Observers from around the globe contribute to this programme, which has resulted in a string of publications, including a number in the Journal of Double Star Observations.

Brian has acted as a regional co-ordinator and reducer for total occultations for many years, a role which has required him to interact with and provide advice to almost every new observer in this part of the world. Together with his wife Pauline, Brian has for many years prepared and published annual summaries of upcoming bright total and grazing occultations for all of Australasia. These have materially assisted in attracting new observers to these events.

Brian's role in nurturing observers worldwide is also significant, especially in the field of double star occultations. He has acted as a mentor for many new observers, and has frequently presented on occultation matters at RASNZ, NACAA and TTSO meetings over more than three decades. Brian has also been Assistant Director of the RASNZ Occultation Section for almost 30 years.

The Homer F. DaBoll award to Brian reads: "For Total and Grazing lunar occultations, the Jovian Satellite eclipse program, lunar double star co-ordination, publications, and nurturing new occultation observers worldwide."

In accepting the award Brian stated that he felt very honoured, and he thanked all those who had supported his nomination as well as his wife Pauline for her continuing encouragement. He also remarked that it was great to receive an award for doing something he just enjoyed doing!

-- Graham Blow, Director, Occultation Section, RASNZ

2. Microlensing Finds Earth-Like Planet

New Zealand astronomers have played an important role in the discovery of an Earth-like planet in a binary star system located 3,000 light-years from Earth. This expands astronomers´ notions of where Earth-like - and even potentially habitable - planets can form and how to find them.

At just twice the mass of Earth, the planet (now named OGLE-2013-BLG-0341LBb) orbits one of the stars in the binary system at almost exactly the same distance from which Earth orbits the sun. However, because the planet´s host star is much dimmer than the Sun, the planet is much colder than Earth-a little colder, in fact, than Saturn's icy moon Titan.

Four international research teams, led by Professor Andrew Gould of The Ohio State University, published their discovery in the July 4 issue of the prestigious international journal Science. New Zealand astronomers, both professional and amateur, who were members of these research teams made significant contributions to the discovery using a powerful technique called "gravitational microlensing".

The study provides the first evidence that terrestrial planets can form in orbits similar to Earth´s, even in a binary star system where the stars are not very far apart. Although this planet itself is too cold to be habitable, the same planet orbiting a sun-like star in such a binary system would be in the so-called "habitable zone" - the region where conditions might be right for life.

"Small dim stars are the most common in our galaxy and the majority of these are found in binary systems. They have much longer lives than our Sun and could potentially provide a stable habitable environment over very large time spans", said Stardome astronomer, Dr Grant Christie. "Now we have shown that planets like Earth can form and survive in these systems, it opens up exciting new opportunities to explore. Planets such as this are likely to be volcanically active so potential habitats for life could exist beneath the surface."

Detailed analysis showed that the planet is twice the mass of Earth, and orbits its star from an Earth-like distance, around 135 million kilometres. But its star is 400 times dimmer than our Sun, so the planet is very cold -- around -210° Celsius. The second star in the star system is only as far from the first star as Saturn is from our Sun. But this binary companion, is also very dim and contributes almost no heat to the planet.

While four other terrestrial planets have been discovered in binary systems that have similar separations using different techniques, this is the first discovery within a binary system of a planet that is both Earth-like in size and follows an Earth-like orbit.

Four amateur observatories in New Zealand contributed observations covering four nights (23-27 April, 2012) while working as part of the international MicroFUN collaboration (Microlensing Follow-up Network). In particular, Ian Porritt of Palmerston North worked through gaps in clouds to obtain the first few critical measurements that revealed the planet was in a binary star system.

The New Zealand members of MicroFUN who contributed to the discovery of this planetary system: Dr Grant Christie, Stardome Observatory (Auckland), Jennie McCormick, Farm Cove Observatory (Auckland), John Drummond, Possum Observatory (Gisborne), Ian Porritt, Turitea Observatory (Palmerston North). The 1.8m MOA telescope at Mt John Observatory near Tekapo was also able to cover the event. This telescope is one of only two large telescopes dedicated to exploring the galaxy using gravitational microlensing.

-- From a Stardome press release.

3. The Solar System in August

All dates and times are NZST (UT +12 hours) unless otherwise specified. Rise and set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ.

The Sun rises at 7.26 am and sets at 5.28 pm on August 1. On August 31 the times are 6.46 am and 5.57 pm respectively.

Phases of the moon (times as shown by guide)

First quarter: August  4 at 12.50 pm (        00:50 UT)
Full moon:     August 11 at  6.10 am (Aug 10, 18:10 UT)
Last quarter   August 18 at 12.26 am (Aug 17, 12:26 UT)
New moon:      August 26 at  2.13 am (Aug 25, 14:13 UT)

THE PLANETS IN August A conjunction of Mars and Saturn on August 25 and 26 is the best planetary conjunction of the year. Mercury becomes visible in the evening sky by the end of August. Jupiter emerges from the Sun in the morning while Venus gets lower in the dawn sky.

The two asteroids, Ceres and Vesta have been a close pair this year. They begin to separate during August.

Mercury starts August as a morning object, but rises only 17 minutes before the Sun on the 1st, so is not observable. The planet is at superior conjunction at the far side of the Sun on the morning of August 9 when it will pass less than 2° north of the Sun.

Superior conjunction sees Mercury return to the evening sky. It will continue to be too close to the Sun to see at first, but by the end of August the planet will set more than 90 minutes after the Sun and so be visible in the evening sky. On the 31st, half an hour after sunset, Mercury will be 11° above the horizon in a direction just north of west. At magnitude -0.3 it will be easily the brightest star like object to the west and so the first to appear as the Sun's glow diminishes.

Venus is in the dawn sky all month. It rises some 75 minutes before the Sun on the 1st, but only half an hour earlier on the 31st. So by then it will be a very low object to the ENE just before the Sun comes up. Jupiter will be rather higher and to its upper left.

Venus and Jupiter are at a close conjunction on the mornings of the 18th and 19th of August, when they will about half a degree apart, slightly further on the 19th. Their low altitude, only 6° a few minutes before sunrise, will make the conjunction difficult to see, but the planets are likely to be visible in binoculars. Look for the two planets very low about 30° round to the north of east a little before sunrise.

Mars and SATURN get close in August. Mars moves further east, away from Spica, during August to join Saturn in Libra. The two planets are closest on the 25th and 26th, when they will be 3.4° apart. They will both be at magnitude 0.6. Alpha Lib will be close forming the third corner of a small triangle with the planets. Alpha is fainter than the planets by 2 magnitudes. From the point of view of visibility this is the best planetary conjunction for 2014, but not the closest.

Beta Lib slightly brighter than alpha, will be the opposite side of Saturn to Mars, and about twice as far away. Antares will be some 22° above the two planets.

Earlier in August the moon passes first Mars and then Saturn. In both cases the moon will be closest to the planets late evening. On the 3rd the 43% lit moon will be 2.7° from Mars at 11 pm. On the 4th the moon will get much closer to Saturn, the 54% lit moon being 35' from Saturn as seen from Wellington. Further north the two will appear even closer, until from Kaitaia northwards there will be an occultation. This will occur close to midnight. A grazing occultation is visible in a band from just south of Kaitaia north to Motutangi. In this band only part of Saturn will be hidden by the moon. Further north the planet will disappear completely for up to a few minutes.

The occultation is earlier visible from all parts of mainland Australia except the extreme south point of Victoria where a graze occurs. The Occultation misses Tasmania.

The two asteroids Ceres and Vesta continue to be near Mars all month. During the second half of August they will be about 7° from the planet.

Jupiter will be in the dawn sky. It starts August even closer to the Sun than Mercury and is not likely to then be visible. The two planets are in conjunction on the morning of the 3rd when they will be just under a degree apart, but only 6.5° from the Sun.

After this, Jupiter will steadily move further away from the Sun. On the morning of the 18th it will pass Venus at a distance of just under half a degree. The following morning the two will be just over half a degree apart. The two planets will then be some 18° from the Sun, so the conjunction may be visible in binoculars shortly before sunrise.

For the rest of the month Jupiter continues to move away from the Sun. By the 31st it will rise over an hour before the Sun. Half an hour before sunrise it will be some 6° above the horizon, in a direction 30° round to the north from east.

Outer planets

Uranus rises just before 11 pm on August 1st and two hours earlier on the 31st. The planet is in Pisces with a magnitude 5.7.

Neptune rises at 7.37 pm on the 1st and 5.35 pm on the 31st. It is in Aquarius and at opposition on the 29th at magnitude 7.8. At opposition it will be 29 AU, 4333 million km, from the Earth.

Pluto is in Sagittarius at magnitude 14.3, 2.5° from the magnitude 3.5 star xi2 Sgr.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres and (4) Vesta are in Virgo at the beginning of August at magnitudes 8.8 and 7.5 respectively. By the end of August they will both have moved into Libra, and have magnitudes 9.0 and 7.7.

During the month Ceres and Vesta will separate a little, so that by the end of August they will be nearly 5° apart.

On the 31st the 29% lit moon will be 1.5° left of Vesta and 4° above Ceres late evening. All 3 will be a few degrees below Mars and Saturn

-- Brian Loader

4. Horowhenua StellarFest, July 25-27

The Horowhenua Astronomical Society is holding the third annual StellarFest on 25-27 July 2014 at Foxton Beach Bible Camp, Foxton Beach, Horowhenua, Lower North Island.

The overall theme of the weekend will be the Winter Milky Way and the Clouds of Magellan. The venue is situated in a very dark site so these wondrous areas of the night sky will be easily visible and riding high in the sky. There will also be a programme of interesting talks on a variety of topics throughout the day and, in the event of bad weather, during the evening. See last month's Newsletter, Item 5, for details.

More info can be found at http://www.horoastronomy.org.nz/upcoming-events/stellarfest Bookings can be made online at http://groupspaces.com/HoroAstronomy/item/633390

5. Herbert Astronomy Weekend, August 22-25

The Herbert Astronomy Weekend will be on the weekend of August 22nd to 25th at Camp Iona, 2km to the west of Herbert in North Otago.

The overnight fees are now $34 per adult for two nights and $17 for one night. For secondary school teenagers, they are $15 and $30 for one and two night per teenager, and for primary schoolchildren they are $12 and $24 for one and two nights. For those staying the full three nights at Camp Iona, the charge is only $35 for three nights. (Only $1 more than the $34 adult charge for two nights, due to very few people staying the Sunday night.) There is also a daytime or evening visitor charge of $5 per person for those who wish to come to our Herbert Astronomy Weekend without the need to stay overnights at Camp Iona. Those fees are payable in cash or cheque at Camp Iona.

Speakers are welcome at our Herbert Astronomy Weekend, and a data projector is available for those who wish to speak.

The Herbert Astronomy Weekend´s website is http://www.treesandstars.com/herbert/ where online registrations are encouraged for those attending the Weekend.

-- Ross Dickie

6. Space Camp NZ, September 19-21

Space Camp NZ 2014 at Raincliff Youth Camp, South Canterbury, 19th to 21st September 2014

Speakers, workshops, solar & night sky observing. Activities for beginners to the more experienced astronomer.

All meals are BYO, except for Saturday evening which is a pot luck meal, details of what to bring based on numbers will be made available closer to the time. See last month's Newsletter, Item 9, for the speaker list. For details see http://spacecampnz.scastro.org.nz/

-- From the above webpage.

7. 2015 RASNZ Conference

The 2015 RASNZ Conference will be held in Lake Tekapo village From Friday May 8 to Sunday 10th. It will be followed by the 9th Trans-Tasman Occultation Meeting on the Monday and Tuesday, May 11-12.

Preceding the RASNZ Conference will be a two-day meeting celebrating Mt John Observatory's 50th Anniversary. The meeting will be held in Lake Tekapo village on the Thursday and Friday, May 7-8. The theme is `Celebrating 50 years of Mt John´. Past Pennsylvania and Canterbury students will contribute papers but anyone is welcome. About 80 participants are expected. Details are available at www.mjuo50.org.nz.

8. Rosetta Nears Comet Nucleus

The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe is expected to rendezvous with the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on August 6. It will be the first spacecraft to park near a comet. Previous comet encounters have been fly-bys.

Rosetta was launched by the European Space Agency in 2004. Since then multiple passes of Earth and Mar have gradually manoeuvred the craft into the 6.45-year orbit of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (C-G). This orbit took the spacecraft out beyond the orbit of Jupiter, more than five times Earth's distance from the sun. Sunlight there was too weak to power the craft even with its 64 square metres of solar cells. So Rosetta was put into hibernation for two and half years until January this year when it and the comet were headed toward the sun.

Rosetta will stay by C-G's nucleus as the comet passes perihelion in August 2015. At that time the comet will be 180 million km from the Sun, 1.2 times Earth's distance. The mission ends in December 2015, probably with Rosetta being landed on the comet's nucleus. Measurements by the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes indicate that CG's nucleus is about 4km across and rotates every 12 hours.

In November a lander called Philae will be deployed from Rosetta. If all goes to plan it will attach itself to the nucleus's surface. The gravity of the nucleus is far too small to hold the lander on its own. On the nucleus the 100 kg lander will have the weight of a sheet of paper.

Rosetta and Philae carry a range of instruments to sample, analyse and probe the nucleus. Rosetta has 11 experiments. The lander carries 10. The first job will be to map the nucleus with Rosetta's cameras. This has to be done carefully as the nucleus may be firing off jets of gas and dust. The cameras are protected by a set of doors. To keep dust off the optics as far as possible the doors will be opened 10-20 times a day for quick looks. They are designed for 10,000 door cycles.

After the nucleus is mapped, two landing sites will be chosen: a primary site and a backup. Early pictures will have a resolution of 20 metres. The selected landing sites will be imaged to about 50 cm resolution. The error in Philae's landing is likely to be 100 metres.

Philae has a gas analyser to identify complex organic molecules. Comets are thought to contain the same organic chemicals that form in cold dark interstellar clouds. Such chemicals may have assisted the start of life on early Earth.

Another gas analyser will look at light elements, notably hydrogen. The origin of Earth's water is much debated. The Giant Impact hypothesis for the origin of the Moon makes the early Earth very hot. All its original water should have been lost into space. One idea is that water we now have was brought here by comets. A test of this is to measure the ratio of hydrogen to deuterium in the water. Earth's water has 1.56 parts deuterium (heavy hydrogen) to 10,000 parts water. Measurements of six comets found their deuterium is twice as abundant. However, last year ground-based measures of Comet 103P/Hartley found its deuterium/hydrogen ratio exactly matched Earth's. P/Hartley 2, like C-G is a comet from the Kuiper belt just beyond Neptune. The earlier measurements were of long-period comets from the Oort cloud around 1 light-year away. It is much more likely that Earth was bombarded with Kuiper-belt comets in its early days. So the measures of isotope ratios from C-G are eagerly awaited.

Philae has several cameras to image the site in different wavelengths and multiple sensors to probe the surface. One experiment will drill into the surface so samples can be tested in an on-board oven. Philae has a radio transmitter that will be switched on when Rosetta is on the other side of the comet. The transmission of radio waves through the nucleus will probe its interior structure.

Initially Rosetta will orbit less than 50 km from C-G's nucleus. However the streams of gas coming off the comet as it nears perihelion, combined with the sail area of the wing-like solar panels, will probably push Rosetta off into space. At the perihelion part of the mission Rosetta is likely to be escorting the nucleus from a distance of more than 70 km.

The most recently released images, taken by Rosetta on July 11, appear to show a 'contact binary' nucleus: two quite distinct objects joined together. See http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-27110882 and http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta

-- by Ed with cribs from articles by Jonathan Amos of the BBC, by Joel Parker in 'Sky & Telescope' August 2014, and by Robin McKie in 'Cosmos' No.56. April/May 2014, cosmosmagazine.com.

9. Possible Hybrid Star Found in SMC

A possible hybrid star called a Thorne-Zytkow Object has been identified in the Small Cloud of Magellan. Until now such objects have been theoretical entities, the result of a neutron star merging with a massive companion star.

The theory stars with a pair of massive, tightly orbiting stars. The more massive star explodes in a supernova first, leaving behind a neutron star remnant. According to one model, the remaining massive star exhausts its fuel supply and begins to swell, ultimately engulfing the neutron star. An alternative model suggests that the force of the initial supernova actually launches the neutron star into the middle of its supergiant companion.

Either way, a TZO will look similar to the red supergiant star that has engulfed its neutron star partner. But unlike normal red supergiants, the boiling atmospheres of TZOs dredge up thermonuclear products that form on the surface of the hot, embedded neutron star. The recently discovered TZO candidate, dubbed HV 2112, initially appeared to be a lone M-type red supergiant, but with a mass much greater than the upper limit for giant stars. The real clincher came in the form of HV 2112´s spectrum, which showed lines from the heavy metals lithium, molybdenum, and rubidium in its atmosphere in a combination unique to the thermonuclear processes at work in TZOs.

But a few features in HV 2112´s spectrum weren´t expected. For example, the amount of lithium and heavy metals in HV 2112´s atmosphere are not as extreme as predicted by TZO models, which could mean that HV 2112 is a just-formed TZO. Also, some elements show up in the spectrum that aren´t associated with TZO models; however, there is hope that more advanced models for stellar convective envelopes will eventually clear up the origin of these unexpected enhancements.

Currently, HV 2112 seems to meet the basic criteria of a TZO, and if it´s the real deal, it promises exciting developments for stellar astronomy. Not only is there an entirely new model for some stellar interiors, but there´s also a new way to produce the heavy metals that ultimately form exoplanets.

Kip Thorne, who first proposed the TZO model with Anna Zytkow in 1975, states that HV 2112 looks like a strong TZO candidate. But co-discoverer Emily Levesque of the University of Colorado, Boulder, urges caution in the buzz of discovery: "We´re calling [HV 2112] a `candidate´ for a reason. Claiming that we´ve found a totally new model of star is an extraordinary claim, it requires extraordinary proof." Bolstering the claim will involve both theoretical and observational work, as astronomers create more detailed models of stellar interiors, as well as find other TZO candidates in the red supergiant population.

See more at: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/hybrid-star-spotted-small-magellanic-cloud/#sthash.Qu76jeAH.dpuf

-- abridged from the above article by Maria Temming posted on Sky & Telescope's webpage on 18 June 2014. Young Stars Around Ancient Galaxies

10. Young Stars Around Ancient Galaxies

NASA´s Hubble Space Telescope has photographed an unusual structure 100,000 light-years long, which resembles a corkscrew-shaped string of pearls and winds around the cores of two colliding galaxies. The unique structure of the star spiral may yield new insights into the formation of stellar superclusters that result from merging galaxies and gas dynamics in this rarely seen process.

Young, blue super star clusters are evenly spaced along the chain through the galaxies at separations of 3,000 light-years. The pair of elliptical galaxies is embedded deep inside the dense galaxy cluster known as SDSS J1531+3414. The cluster´s powerful gravity warps the images of background galaxies into blue streaks and arcs that give the illusion of being inside the cluster, an effect known as gravitational lensing.

It was first thought that the "string of pearls" was actually a lensed image from one of these background galaxies. Recent follow-up observations have ruled out this hypothesis.

The underlying physical processes that give rise to the "string of pearls" structure are related to the Jeans instability, a physics phenomenon that occurs when the internal pressure of an interstellar gas cloud is not strong enough to prevent gravitational collapse of a region filled with matter, resulting in star formation. This process is analogous to that which causes a column of water falling from a rain cloud to disrupt, and rain to fall in drops rather than in continuous streams.

Scientists currently are working on a better understanding of the star chain´s origin. One possibility is that the cold molecular gas fuelling the burst of star formation may have been native to the two merging galaxies. Another possibility is a so-called "cooling flow" scenario, where gas cools from the ultra-hot (10 million degree) atmosphere of plasma that surrounds the galaxies, forming pools of cold molecular gas that starts to form stars. The third possibility is that the cold gas fuelling the chain of star formation originates from a high-temperature shock wave created when the two giant elliptical galaxies crash together. This collision compresses the gas and creates a sheet of dense cooling plasma.

For Text & Images see: http://www.nasa.gov/press/2014/july/hubble-spots-spiral-bridge-of-young-stars-linking-two-ancient-galaxies/

-- From a press release by the Space Telescope Science Institute and NASA, forwarded by Karen Pollard.

11. More Conference Notes

Tom Richards led off the Saturday morning session with an outline of the evolution of close binary stars. Single stars stay about their original size while their cores are `burning´ hydrogen. When the hydrogen is exhausted the star´s core contracts and heats up. The star begins `burning´ helium. The outer layers of the star expand away from the hot core so the star grows into a red giant. Depending on the star´s mass this phase ends in one of two ways. For stars like the sun, the core exhausts the available energy supply then blows the outer layers into space, briefly making a planetary nebula. Big stars can make heavier nuclei before their cores collapse and they explode as supernovae.

For close binary stars life is more complicated. As the more massive star expands first into a red giant, its outer envelope is drawn off by the gravity pull of its lighter less-evolved companion. After a time the original `big brother´ is the lighter of the two stars. The originally smaller star then evolves into a red giant and gas is drawn off it by the original `big brother´. Various complications can happen. One is gas spiralling off into space from the binary pair. Another is the two stars sharing a common envelope, like a pair of rugby balls with their pointy ends squashed together. The cores of the two stars may merge to form a fast-spinning single star that appears younger than it should.

Denis Sullivan described the latest development of his fast-photometry equipment. A fast CCD camera `Pouka nui´ allows exposures as short as 5 milliseconds if one uses a small part of the chip. This is quick enough to resolve the 33.689 ms flashes of the Crab pulsar. Denis´s usual targets are pulsating white dwarfs that vibrate over minutes. Analysis of the vibration frequencies gives information about the star´s interior that is used to check against astrophysical models. Denis and his PhD student Paul Chote use Mt John´s 1-metre telescope for this work. Colleagues of Denis´s at MacDonald Observatory in Texas use a second Pouka Nui to increase the coverage time. Paul has contributed much to the software that runs `Pouka nui´.

Warwick Kissling described the method used by Eratosthenes (275-192 BC) to estimate the size of the Earth. The Greek traveller Pytheas of Massalia (modern Marseille) had earlier reported that the sun shone straight down a well at Syene, now Aswan, at summer solstice. At Alexandria Eratosthenes measured the sun´s angle from the zenith at the solstice. Combining this with an estimate of the north-south distance between the two places he arrived at a figure for the Earth´s circumference that is close to the modern value. It turns out that he underestimated one of the numbers and overestimated the other, cancelling the errors. Warwick generalized the mathematics for any two latitudes and any solar declination. He measured shadow lengths at Wellington and Hamilton last summer. Unfortunately his errors were both on the positive side so the Earth circumference derived was much bigger than the modern distance. Trying to measure shadow lengths isn´t easy.

Steve Butler called attention to 2015 as the International Year of Light. He sees it as an opportunity to up our game and engage with senior levels of government. There is a growing recognition that light at night is not only bad for migrating birds, turtles and astronomers, it is also bad for sleeping humans. In particular blue light, produced by many LED lights, has an effect on receptors in the retina that control circadian rhythms. More work needs to be done monitoring night sky brightness. Results should be reported to the Ministry for the Environment. Observations are needed at national, regional and local levels and must be of high quality. Unihedron Sky Quality Meters (SQMs) have been used for this in recent years. The more advanced models come with a USB link so results can be continually posted on the web. Recently another company has appeared with STEM Lab sky meters; see skyglownet.org for details.

-- From the Editor's notes. Not to be taken as a true and correct record.

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. Quote

"I don't watch soccer. If I wanted to watch someone struggle to score for 90 minutes I'd take my friends out to a bar."

-- Rock 103's tee-shirt. Photo passed along by Chris Gilmore.


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