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. Local Amateur Discovers Two Supernovae
2. The Solar System in August
3. Beatrice Tinsley Radio Series
4. Winter Astrocamps
5. Galileo Lectures in August
6. AAS Burbidge Dinner
7. AAS Astrophotography Competition
8. Creative Writing Competition
9. South Canterbury Astronomy Group Formed
10. Apollo Lunar Landing Sites Imaged
11. Women in Astronomy
12. Sunspots Modelled in Supercomputer
13. Perth Scholarships
14. 5th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation
15. RASNZ in Wikipedia
16. Biographies, please
17. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
18. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
19. How to Join the RASNZ
20. Heaviest Element Yet Discovered
21. Different Editors for August Newsletter

1. Local Amateur Discovers Two Supernovae

Stuart Parker of Oxford, Canterbury, has discovered two supernovae in the past month. He found supernova 2009gj in NGC 134 on June 20 and supernova 2009hm in NGC 7083 on July 17. The second supernova was also independently found by South African amateur Berto Monard. The first supernova was red magnitude 15.9; the second at R magnitude 14.7.

Stuart uses a ST8 CCD camera mounted on a 35-cm Celestron C14 f/6.3 reflector telescope. On a good night he searches up to 200 galaxies and checks them with reference images. He has been working on his supernova search programme with an informal network of Australian astronomers for a few years.

A spectrum obtained on June 24 with the 6.5-m Magellan Clay telescope (+ MagE), showed that 2009gj is a type-IIb supernova about three weeks after explosion. Type IIb supernovae are likely massive stars which have lost most, but not all, of their hydrogen envelopes through tidal stripping by a companion star. As the ejecta of a Type IIb expands, the hydrogen layer quickly becomes optically thin and reveals the deeper layers.

At press time there was no word on what type of supernova 2009hm was. It was noted that supernova 1983Y was also appeared in NGC 7083 (cf. IAUC 3792).

-- from notes to nzastronomers by Stuart Parker, a press release by RASNZ Publicity Officer Marilyn Head, and IAU Central Bureau Electronic Telegrams 1856, 1858 and 1880.

2. The Solar System in August

The usual notes on the visibility of the Planets for August 2009 have been placed on the RASNZ web site: http://www.rasnz.org.nz/SolarSys/Aug_09.htm. Notes for September 2009 will be in place in a few days.

The planets in august

The evening sky - mercury, jupiter and saturn

Mercury will become well placed for evening viewing from the southern hemisphere during August, giving the best chance for viewing the planet during the year. At the beginning of August it will set about 90 minutes after the Sun, being some 7 degrees above the horizon 45 minutes after sunset. The planet will also be close to Regulus, 3 degrees below the star on August 1. Star and planet are closest on August 3, when Mercury will be three-quarters of a degree to the right of, and slightly higher, than Regulus. Mercury will be the brighter by nearly 2 magnitudes.

During the first half of August, Mercury will rise further into the evening sky and set later, two and a half hours after the Sun by mid month, so that the planet is readily visible to the west as the sky begins to darken following sunset. It will have an altitude of about 16 degrees, 45 minutes after sunset. Mercury remains similarly well placed for viewing for the rest of August.

As Mercury moves up a little into the evening sky, SATURN will be getting lower. The planets pass mid August, Saturn being just over 3 degrees to the right of Mercury on August 16, and just under 3 degrees the following evening.

Saturn's rings are edge on to the Sun on August 10; after that date the southern face of the rings will be in view from the Earth, albeit very obliquely, while the northern face is illuminated by the Sun. The Earth passes through the ring plane early in September. Saturn will set nearly 3.5 hours after the Sun on August 1, but only 90 minutes after on the 31st.

By mid August JUPITER will dominate the evening sky to the east. It is at opposition on August 14, so will then rise close to the time of sunset. It will remain quite close to Neptune, although Jupiter's more rapid retrograde motion will take it a little further from the fainter planet during the month, with the two being nearly 5 degrees apart by August 31. Both planets stay in Capricornus all month.

The morning sky - venus and mars

Mars is the first of the two planets to rise, with the time at which it does do so changing little during the month, about 4 am in most parts of New Zealand early in August and some 15 minutes earlier by the end of the month.

Mars starts the month some 6 degrees below the star Aldebaran, the brightest star in Taurus. They will be similar in magnitude and of course have a similar colour. During the rest of August Mars will move across Taurus, to enter Gemini on August 27. It will end the month some 17 degrees below Betelgeuse.

Venus rises about an hour after Mars on August 1, increasing to nearly 2 hours later by the 31st. It will then rise less than 90 minutes before the Sun. Fifteen minutes before sunrise, the planet will be to the northeast about 10 degrees up. Even so it should be an easy object to spot. The angle between Venus and Mars will almost double, from 16 degrees to over 30 degrees, during August.

Uranus is following Jupiter in the sky, about 30 degrees behind the larger planet. It will rise about 9.30 at the beginning of August and two hours earlier by the end of the month. It remains in Pisces throughout August.

Neptune remains fairly close to Jupiter during August. It is at opposition on August 17, 3 days after Jupiter.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres is an early evening object about 11 degrees from Saturn and setting 40 minutes later on August 1. By the end of the month Ceres will be 19 degrees behind Saturn and set some 90 minutes later. Its magnitude is 8.8 or 8.9, the asteroid being in Virgo.

(2) Pallas, a very early evening object, leads Saturn by some 20 degrees at the beginning of August, their separation halving during the month. The asteroid starts the month at magnitude 9.0 but brightens slightly to 8.8 as it gets closer to the Sun during August. By the end of the month it will be less than 7 degrees from the SUN and set 35 minutes later.

(4) Vesta will gradually move a little higher into the morning sky, passing Venus on the morning of August 26 when the two will be half a degree apart. Vesta will be to the lower left of Venus at magnitude 8.4. A 7th magnitude star will be almost midway between them.

(3) Juno spends the month in Pisces about 8 degrees from Uranus. During August it will brighten from magnitude 9 to 8.2 as it approaches opposition.

(18) Melpomene is not far from Juno. The two are 14.5 degrees apart on August 1, increasing to 21.5 degrees on the 31st. Melpomene brightens from magnitude 9.4 to 8.7 during the month.

-- Brian Loader

3. Beatrice Tinsley Radio Series

Radio New Zealand's Concert Programme is running a 20-part series of readings 'The Letters of Beatrice Hill Tinsley' at 7pm from Wednesday 5 August.

Beatrice Hill Tinsley (1941-1981) was a world leader in modern cosmology especially noted for her study of the Evolution of Galaxies. Her research on how galaxies evolve over time changed the standard method for determining distances to far galaxies, which, in turn, is significant in determining the size of the universe and its rate of expansion.

Beatrice Tinsley was raised in New Plymouth, studied at Canterbury University, and then The University of Texas and California Institute of Technology. At the time of her death she was Professor of Astronomy at Yale University. But Beatrice's talents extended beyond the field of science.

For more information about, and access to these programmes visit http://www.radionz.co.nz/concert/home

-- from a Royal Society Alert, forwarded by Bob Evans.

4. Winter Astrocamps

The following extracted from RASNZ's 'Keeping in Touch' 2009 July 19.

The Phoenix Astronomical Society - Winter Astrocamp: Fri 21 - Sun 23 August 2009 at the Carterton RSA.

Held from Friday until Sunday evening, the focus of Winter Astrocamp is observational astronomy and astrophotography. During the day there will be the opportunity to observe the Sun. In the evenings we have the wonders of the winter Milky Way and beyond. In addition to observing we have, during the day, a programme of lectures and workshops with opportunities to exchange ideas and socialise. A dinner will held at the RSA on the Saturday evening. Please mark these dates down in your diaries so you are free to come along.

The timing of Winter Astrocamp to take advantage of the wonderful winter night skies when the most brilliant region of the Milky Way is overhead in the early morning.

This year we are again at the Carterton R.S.A. Talks and workshops will be held at the R.S.A. between 10:00am and 4:00pm (exact times to be confirmed) Saturday and Sunday. The RSA is a large and comfortable venue and the bar will be open. Observing will take place at the Observatory site at Ahiaruhe.

Coffee and tea are part of the registration. Lunch will be soup and a roll or something very similar. The evening meals will be smorgasbord style, and a range of dishes will be provided.

For those of you who wish to stay in the Wairarapa for the weekend, the Carterton Holiday Park, 198 Belevedere Road, (Ph 06 379 8267) is only one block away from the RSA and both are only one block away from the main street, its shops and cafes. Further accommodation details can be obtained from Antony Gomez email below. More details and a registration form is available at www.AstronomyNZ.org.nz. Any queries please contact Antony Gomez This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 021 253 4979 ---------------------

Canterbury Astronomical Society - Stargazers Get Away: Fri 18 September at Camp Iona, Herbert.

For southern astronomy buffs, the Herbert Weekend will be held at Camp Iona, Herbert which is some 20km south of Oamaru. The cost for this weekend is $11 for Friday night only, $22 for Friday and Saturday, or $25 for the full weekend. Payment can be made when you arrive.

The weekend is arranged in a similar way to the South Island Stardate at Staveley, perhaps being a little less formal, giving a great chance to catch up and see what everyone has been up to. The site offers very good bunk rooms, a spacious meeting room and excellent cooking facilities. Bring warm sleeping If it is cloudy be prepared to watch DVD's on a big screen and sit in front of a lovely open fire.

Please contact Phil Barker for further information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

5. Galileo Lectures in August

The Galileo Lecture Series is produced by Radio New Zealand National in partnership with the Royal Society of New Zealand.

It celebrates 2009 International Year of Astronomy, marking 400 years since Galileo used a telescope to view the solar system and transform our understanding of Earth´s place in the Universe.

------------- Lecture TBC

Tuesday 11 August, 6pm Space Room, Stardome Observatory, One Tree Hill Domain, 670 Manukau Road, Royal Oak, Auckland


The political and philosophical uses of Galileo´s telescope Associate Professor Ruth Barton, The University of Auckland

When Galileo turned his telescope to the stars he saw spots on the sun, mountains on the moon, and moons about Jupiter. The moons of Jupiter, he wrote, proved the glory of the Medici name (and this gained him the position of Mathematician and philosopher at the Medici court), but did they prove the Copernican theory that the Earth moved in circles around the Sun as Galileo claimed?

Telecom Playhouse, WEL Tech Energy Trust Performing Arts Centre University of Waikato, Knighton Road, Hamilton Wednesday 12 August, 7.30pm

Ruth Barton is an associate professor of history at The University of Auckland. She teaches the history of science from the 15th to the 20th centuries, from Copernicus in Poland to James Hector in New Zealand. She has published widely on science and culture in nineteenth century Britain.

------------- Comets and Asteroids: clues to our origin and threats to our survival Professor Jack Baggaley FRAS, FRSNZ, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury

Comets and asteroids provide us with vital clues as how the solar system was born. Small sized asteroids may reach the ground as meteorites, sometimes producing impact craters or exploding dramatically. Impacts by large comets and asteroids are a very real threat to the survival of mankind. There are international programmes with networks of dedicated telescopes to map the positions of these objects and forecast their future trajectories and approaches to the Earth.

Wednesday 19 August, 7.30pm Lecture theatre E1, College of Engineering, University of Canterbury, Creyke Road, Christchurch

Professor Jack Baggaley, Physics and Astronomy Department, University of Canterbury, uses radar to track meteoroids and map their solar system orbits. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the Royal Astronomical Society (FRAS). He serves on international scientific bodies like The International Astronomical Union - commissions 22 - Meteors Meteorites & Interplanetary dust, and also commission 21 - The Light of the night sky and The International Radio Science Union.

------------- The search for other planets, other life Alan Gilmore, Mt John Observatory, University of Canterbury

The realisation that stars are just distant suns, like our own, led to speculation about the existence of other planets, and other life forms. The first extra-solar planet orbiting a `normal´ star was detected in 1996. More than 300 planets have now been identified, and many have been discovered by New Zealand astronomers. But the chances of finding one which has the pre-requisites for life are slim, and even if we do find another in "The Goldilocks Zone", the possibility of travelling to it is as yet out of the question. Earth is a very special place indeed.

Lake Tekapo Community Hall, Aorangi Crescent, Lake Tekapo. Thursday 20 August, 7.30pm, Supper provided

Alan Gilmore has been resident superintendent of the Mt John Observatory at Lake Tekapo since 1996. An amateur astronomer since his school days, he began professional astronomy at the Carter Observatory, Wellington, in 1970. He is involved in many observing programmes at Mt John, including, with wife Pam Kilmartin, a long running programme to track near Earth asteroids.

------------- Neutrinos - ghosts of the Universe Dr Jenni Adams, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury

More than 50 trillion solar neutrinos pass through your body every second! Abundant but elusive, these particles have truly amazing properties and provide a new way to look out at objects in our galaxy and beyond.

Friday 21 August, 7.30pm Land Service Building Cnr George Street and Station Streets, Timaru.

Dr Jenni Adams is a senior lecturer in the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Canterbury. Her PhD was at Oxford, supported by a Rhodes Scholarship. She leads the University of Canterbury neutrino astrophysics group which has been supported by two Marsden Fund grants. Dr Adams has just finished a two year term as president of the New Zealand Institute of Physics, where she has she has worked to propagate the message that physics is at the heart of social and economic advance and is fundamental to well informed decision making in many key policy areas.

------------- The Square Kilometre Array Brian Boyle, CSIRO, Director, Australian National Telescope Facility

Stretching over a continent and comprised of over 5000 antennas, the Square Kilometre Array is proposed to be the world's largest radio telescope and one of the most ambitious pieces of scientific infrastructure ever built. It will address some of the key questions of 21st century astronomy and physics and act as a scientific icon for generations to come. New Zealand has the opportunity to join in Australia's Bid to host this multi-billion dollar telescope.

Brian Boyle completed his PhD at the University of Durham in the UK. He held positions at the University of Edinburgh; the Anglo-Australian Observatory; the University of Cambridge; was Director of the Anglo- Australian Observatory (1996 to 2003) and Director of CSIRO Australia Telescope (2003 to 2009) before his appointment to CSIRO SKA Director in February 2009. His primary research interests are in the fields of quasars, active galaxies and cosmology.

This talk will not be delivered as a public lecture.

------------- These lectures are being recorded by Radio New Zealand and will be broadcast as a series celebrating the International Year of Astronomy.

-- from a summary provided by Danae Staples-Moon of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

6. AAS Burbidge Dinner

The Auckland Astronomical Society would like to invite you, your members, family and friends to attend their annual Dinner to be held on Saturday, 7 November this year, the International Year of Astronomy.

The AAS Burbidge Dinner will be held at Novotel Ellersile on the 7th November 2009. This year, the after dinner speaker will be Professor John Storey from the University of New South Wales. His talk will focus on Antarctic Astronomy which promises to be a very informative and interesting presentation.

As always, the AAS will award the winner of the Harry Williams Astrophotography Trophy including the winners of the three competition sections. For details see next item.

The AAS will also award the annual Beaumont Writing prize.

Ticket Prices: $60.00 for a single ticket;

$55.00 per ticket for a table of ten tickets

Tickets for this event are now on sale and can be purchased by contacting Andrew Buckingham This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Postal: AAS Burbidge Dinner 2009

P.O.Box 24-187
Royal Oak
Auckland 1345

-- from a note by Jennie McCormick

7. AAS Astrophotography Competition

The Auckland Astronomical Society is pleased to announce the 2009 Harry Williams Astrophotography Competition is now open for entry to all New Zealand residents. Please pass this message onto your members, family and friends.

As part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009, The Auckland Astronomical Society, invites entries for the 2009 Harry Williams Astrophotography Competition.

Competition categories are as follows: 1. Solar System - Sun, Moon, planets, comets, asteroids, dwarf planets, auroras, meteors, etc. 2. Deep Sky - Nebulae, galaxies, globular and open clusters, deep space objects, etc. 3. Miscellaneous - Artistic and interesting subjects with an astronomical theme, including wide field images, artificial satellites, star trails, star parties etc.

An Entry form and Conditions of Entry in MS Word and PDF can be downloaded from: Auckland Astronomical Society website: www.astronomy.org.nz Royal Astronomical Society of NZ Affiliated Societies website: http://www.rasnz.org.nz/AffSocs/index.htm

Competition Closing Date: Friday 16th October 2009

-- from a note by Jennie McCormick

8. Creative Writing Competition

"I live at the edge of the universe, like everybody else." --Bill Manhire

This year we are celebrating the International Year of Astronomy. Ever since Galileo first aimed his telescope at Jupiter's moons, technology has been enlarging our knowledge of the universe.

We now know our own insignificance and isolation and yet we have immense power to communicate as never before. The race of humans is isolated in space and time and yet where, as individuals, do we go to be alone?

A cash prize of $2500 will be awarded to the winner of each category. The closing date for entries is Tuesday 22 September 2009.

The Manhire Prize for Creative Science Writing is organised by the Royal Society of New Zealand in association with the New Zealand Listener magazine and the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington.

For more information, terms and conditions and entry forms visit www.royalsociety.org.nz or contact: Danae Staples-Moon, Tel. 04 470 5770 or Email. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-- Thanks to George Jones of Wellington and Jennie McCormick for passing this along.

9. South Canterbury Astronomy Group Formed

Robert McTague, Secretary, South Canterbury Astronomers Group writes:

It's finally happened! South Canterbury once again has an Astronomy group where those interested in the vast subject of astronomy can meet and share ideas together.

It has been well over a decade since there was an astronomy group in the South Canterbury area. After several attempts to get a group established, myself and a few dedicated enthusiasts decided to get behind the "100 Hours of Astronomy" event. This proved to be the catalyst for the formation of the South Canterbury Astronomers Group. Between sessions in Geraldine and Timaru, we had over 400 people attend. They enjoyed solar and night-time viewing. Our thanks to www.nztelescopes.co.nz for their sponsorship.

We now have a core membership of twenty, covering all age groups. Many of our members are beginners so the programme has been very much orientated towards teaching the basics to members. We are fortunate to have several experienced astronomers on board who give their time and experience freely.

The programme so far has included visits to amateur observatories, including Peter Aldous's wonderful observatory in Geraldine; workshops on telescopes; learning about space; and several observing sessions.We are a very friendly bunch and actively encouraging others of all ages. We meet on the last Friday of each month, 7-30 p.m. at Aoraki Polytechnic in Timaru, we also have a very informative website set up to encourage membership and help our members: is www.scastro.co.cc .

If you're in the Timaru area towards the end of any month you are most welcome to visit.

10. Apollo Lunar Landing Sites Imaged

NASA has released low-resolution images from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter of the Apollo landing sites (except Apollo 12) showing the lunar module descent stages sitting on the surface. See them at http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LRO/multimedia/lroimages/apollosites.htm l

-- from a note by Maurice Collins to nzastronomers.

11. Women in Astronomy

The Astronomical Society of Australia had a recent discussion about women in astronomy. Mailing lists and links that were mentioned during this session were:

* American Astronomical Society "Women in Astronomy" mailing list: - subscription info and back issues at http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html

(one digest email per week; extremely informative)

* AAS Women in Astronomy blog: - http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com - following on from the questions raised at the ASA, an excellent discussion on whether astronomers should change their name when they get married is at

http://womeninastronomy.blogspot.com/2009/06/name-game.html and
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=130053915504

* AAS Committee on Status of Women in Astronomy - http://www.aas.org/cswa/ - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Committee-on-the-Status-of-Women-in- Astronomy/43977374494

- twice-yearly newsletter at http://www.aas.org/cswa/STATUS.html

* Australian Institute of Physics "Women in Physics" WWW page (slowly being revamped):

- http://www.physics.usyd.edu.au/wip

* Examples of "family-friendly" fellowships available in Australia: - http://www.science.usyd.edu.au/wisci/family.shtml - http://www.uq.edu.au/equity/index.html?page=11462 - https://intranet.csiro.au/intranet/executive/scienceteam/PayneScottAward/P ayneScottOverview.htm

(accessible from CSIRO only)

-- forwarded to ASA members by Professor Bryan Gaensler

12. Sunspots Modelled in Supercomputer

An international team of scientists led by the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colorado, and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany has created the first-ever comprehensive computer model of sunspots. The resulting visuals capture both scientific detail and remarkable beauty.

The high-resolution simulations of sunspot pairs open the way for researchers to learn more about the vast mysterious dark patches on the Sun's surface. Sunspots are the most striking manifestations of solar magnetism on the solar surface, and they are associated with massive ejections of charged plasma that can cause geomagnetic storms and disrupt communications and navigational systems. They also contribute to variations in overall solar output, which can affect weather on Earth and exert a subtle influence on climate patterns.

Ever since outward flows from the center of sunspots were discovered 100 years ago, scientists have worked toward explaining the complex structure of sunspots, whose number peaks and wanes during the 11-year solar cycle. Sunspots encompass intense magnetic activity that is associated with solar flares and massive ejections of plasma that can buffet Earth's atmosphere. The resulting damage to power grids, satellites, and other sensitive technological systems takes an economic toll on a rising number of industries.

Creating such detailed simulations would not have been possible even as recently as a few years ago, before the latest generation of supercomputers and a growing array of instruments to observe the Sun. Partly because of such new technology, scientists have made advances in solving the equations that describe the physics of solar processes.

New computer models capture pairs of sunspots with opposite polarity. In striking detail, they reveal the dark central region, or umbra, with brighter umbral dots, as well as webs of elongated narrow filaments with flows of mass streaming away from the spots in the outer penumbral regions. They also capture the convective flow and movement of energy that underlie the sunspots, and that are not directly detectable by instruments.

The models suggest that the magnetic fields within sunspots need to be inclined in certain directions in order to create such complex structures. The authors conclude that there is a unified physical explanation for the structure of sunspots in umbra and penumbra that is the consequence of convection in a magnetic field with varying properties.

To create the model, the research team designed a virtual, three- dimensional domain that simulates an area on the Sun measuring about 31,000 miles by 62,000 miles and about 3,700 miles in depth - an expanse as long as eight times Earth's diameter and as deep as Earth's radius. The scientists then used a series of equations involving fundamental physical laws of energy transfer, fluid dynamics, magnetic induction and feedback, and other phenomena to simulate sunspot dynamics at 1.8 billion points within the virtual expanse, each spaced about 10 to 20 miles apart. For weeks, they solved the equations on NCAR's new bluefire supercomputer, an IBM machine that can perform 76 trillion calculations per second.

The work drew on increasingly detailed observations from a network of ground- and space-based instruments to verify that the model captured sunspots realistically.

The new models are far more detailed and realistic than previous simulations that failed to capture the complexities of the outer penumbral region. The researchers noted, however, that even their new model does not accurately capture the lengths of the filaments in parts of the penumbra. They can refine the model by placing the grid points even closer together, but that would require more computing power than is currently available.

For more see: http://www.ucar.edu/news/journalists.jsp

-- from a University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

13. Perth Scholarships

The Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Western Australia advises that applications for the 2010 round of Curtin Research Fellowships will open soon. In 2010 Fellowships will be available in two categories:Senior Fellowships and Early Career Fellowships. The Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy is seeking highly qualified applicants for this Fellowship scheme and will support a number of applicants (not restricted to radio astronomy researchers). A summary of relevant information with pointers to the Fellowship scheme application materials can be found at:

http://cira.ivec.org/dokuwiki/doku.php/crs/start

Further information on this opportunity can be sought from CIRA co-Director, Prof. Steven Tingay (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

14. 5th Australasian Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation

ACGRG5, a regional Australia/NZ conference for professional researchers in gravity held every 2-3 years, will be take place at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, on 16-18 December, 2009.

To mark the International Year of Astronomy, this event is being run jointly with ICRANet (Italy) as part of their IYA series "The Sun, the Stars, the Universe and General Relativity". It is anticipated that there will be a couple of public lectures in conjunction with the conference.

Although registration is only due to open later in the year, a preliminary webpage is up at http://www2.phys.canterbury.ac.nz/ACGRG5/

-- note from David Wiltshire

15. RASNZ in Wikipedia

Peter Jaquiery writes that he has started an RASNZ entry on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Astronomical_Society_of_New_Zealand

Peter invites anyone who can fill in some of the details (especially the history) to do so.

16. Biographies, please

Marilyn Head writes: This is another call for listings for NZ astronomers on our IYA site http://www.astronomy2009.org.nz . There are so many prominent people missing and many who are named but have nothing written about them. We envisage it being a 'who's who' of NZ astronomy and an historical record of people who have been (and are) active and held positions in local astronomical societies and, for those who want, contacts.

Send your biography to Christopher Henderson, Webmaster, IYA 2009 NZ. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . See www.astronomy2009.org.nz

17. 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., 14 Craigieburn Street, Darfield 7510.

18. 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., 14 Craigieburn Street, Darfield 7510.

19. 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. For overseas rates please check with the membership secretary, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

20. Heaviest Element Yet Discovered

Ursula McFarlane saw this news after visiting CERN.

Lawrence Livermore Laboratories has discovered the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-4 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

21. Different Editors for August Newsletter

As the Editor will be away much of August, attending the IAU's General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brian and Pauline Loader have kindly offered to compile the August 20 Newsletter. Please forward contributions to them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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