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 in their own newsletters provided an acknowledgement of the source is also included.


1. RASNZ Conference 2010 May 28 to 30
2. The Solar System in November
3. Orionid Meteors Busy Now
4. The Phoenix Astronomical Society Almanac
5. Astro Weather Site for Oz and NZ
6. Astro Gathering at Gisborne November 13-15
7. David Malin at Stardate South Island
8. Gravitational Microlensing Workshop January 18-20
9. NACAA Easter 2010
10. Host Wanted for 2012 Conference
11. No Doomsday in 2012 - But Lots of Profits for Hollywood
12. And We're Safe in 2036, Probably
13. SKA Research and Development Consortium Created
14. SKA Conference in Auckland 16-18 February 2010
15. Cosmic Rays at 50 Year High
16. Ninth magnitude Star Gives Clues to Early Universe
17. RASNZ in Wikipedia
18. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
19. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
20. How to Join the RASNZ
21. You Know You're In The Southern Hemisphere When...

1. RASNZ Conference 2010 May 28 to 30

The 2010 conference is being hosted by the Dunedin Astronomical Society who will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their foundation. The venue is the" class="blue">Otago Museum in central Dunedin. We will be using the" class="blue">Hutton Theatre which offers excellent facilities for the meeting.

The invited speaker will be Dunedin-born Dr Stuart Ryder who is the Australian Gemini Scientist, managing the Australian Gemini Office hosted by the Anglo-Australian Observatory in Sydney.

The fellows speaker will be Bill Allen who has a long association with the Dunedin Astronomical Society. Bill's home site near Blenheim hosts the new 0.6m Yock-Allen Telescope at the BOOTES-3 Observatory.

During the day on Friday, before the opening of the conference, there is likely to be a local trip which conference attendees may wish to join.

Registration details for the conference are now being finalised. A registration form will be available on the RASNZ web site soon. Also a printed copy will be included in the December Southern Stars.

There is plenty of accommodation available within a very short walking distance of the conference venue.

Call for conference papers.

Submissions to present papers at the 2010 conference are now invited. The time allocation for papers is normally 20 minutes. Further details of requirements and closing dates, together with a submission form are on the RASNZ web site.

-- Brian Loader

See also Item 10, a request for expressions of interest in hosting the 2012 Conference.

2. The Solar System in November

The usual notes on the visibility of the Planets for November 2009 have been placed on the RASNZ web site: Notes for December 2009 will be in place in a few days.

The planets in november

Jupiter remains the only naked eye planet readily visible throughout the evening during November. By the end of the month it will still be setting after 1 a.m. NZDT. The planet will be moving to the east in Capricornus and closing in on Neptune for a third time this year.

The 36% lit Moon will be 6 degrees from Jupiter on the 23rd, the two getting closer during the evening. The following night the Moon will be only slightly further from Jupiter but on the opposite side, with the distance between the two increasing through the evening.

Mercury is at superior conjunction on November 5 after which it moves into the evening sky. By the end of November Mercury will set about 75 minutes after the Sun, so should be visible as twilight deepens about 40 minutes after sunset. It will then be about 5 degrees up and in a direction between west and southwest. Its magnitude will be -0.6, far brighter than any nearby star.

Mars remains a morning object throughout November. Even by the end of the month it will not rise until 1 am in the north, rather later in the south, of NZ. Three quarters of an hour before sunrise, the planet will be nearly 20 degrees up in a direction between east and northeast.

Mars starts November on the edge of M44, Praesepe, which it crosses during the course of the next 3 nights. It continues across Cancer during the rest of November to be on the constellation´s boundary with Leo on the morning of November 30. During November Mars brightens from magnitude 0.5 to -0.1.

Saturn will rise close to 3 a.m. in the north of NZ at the end of November, and about half an hour later in the south. So during the month it will become an easy pre-dawn object nearly 20 degrees up 45 minutes before sunrise. Saturn will be in Virgo all month.

Venus is also in Virgo at the beginning of November but moves into Libra mid month. Throughout November Venus will rise half an hour or less before the Sun, and be only 4 to 5 degrees up at sunrise.

Uranus is in Aquarius close to its boundary with Pisces. It sets well after midnight all month, so remains observable in binoculars throughout the evening.

Neptune, in Capricornus, is also an evening object. During November the distance between Jupiter during November decreases from 6 to 3 degrees.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres is too close to the Sun for observation in November

(3) Juno is an evening object in Aquarius. during November it fades from magnitude 8.4 to 8.9.

(4) Vesta, is a morning object in Leo, passing within 2.4 degrees of Regulus on the morning of November 18. During the month it brightens a little from magnitude 8.1 to 7.8.

(18) Melpomene is slow moving in Cetus during November, reaching a stationary point on the 18th. At the beginning of November it is visible throughout the night at magnitude 8.3. It fades to 9.1 during the month. The asteroid will be about 2 degrees from the 3.4 magnitude star eta Cet.

-- Brian Loader

3. Orionid Meteors Busy Now

The Orionid meteor shower may be seen throughout most of October as the shower is active from October 2 to November 7. Peak activity is expected to occur on October 21 from a radiant of 06h20m (RA) +16 (Dec). But the shower has been known to exhibit submaxima which may occur anytime between October 18-24 (see below). With New Moon occurring near the time of their peak, this is an especially good year to observe the Orionids.

The Orionids are particles from Halley's comet travelling at a velocity of 66 km/s. As with other cometary showers of high velocity, observers should watch for substantial train production by the Orionids. The highest hourly rates are near 20 in most years under good conditions. But in 2006 and 2007 strong displays occurred (Zenith Hourly Rates over 50), and their is evidence that suggests this may continue this year.

Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute suggests that the strong Orionid meteor shower activity of 2006-2008 may repeat this year, based on orbit calculations by M. Sato and J.-I. Watanabe. They ascribed the 2006-2008 activity to dust trails of comet 1P/Halley that were formed by meteoroids ejected in the years 1400 BC and 11 BC. The orbital evolution of the dust is affected resonances with Jupiter. This so-called "filament" component is expected to be in the earth's path again around Oct. 18-24 in 2009, giving rise to a higher- than-normal Orionid-shower activity that is relatively rich in bright meteors.

From New Zealand the radiant rises around 1 a.m. NZDT and is on the meridian about dawn. Because of its lowness in our sky the best observed hourly rate is around half the hourly rate seen in northern places.

During the period October 14-27, observers should be aware that the minor shower Epsilon Geminids will be active, and not confuse the two since meteors from both showers will have similar velocities.

For more information see:

-- collated from information from Mark Davis of the North American Meteor Network, passed on by John Drummond, and from IAU Central Bureau Electronic Telegram No. 1976 (2009 October 17).

4. The Phoenix Astronomical Society Almanac

Kay Leather writes: "More than just a calendar, each monthly grid includes the phases of the moon, the rise and set times of the Sun and Moon, planetary phenomena, meteor activity, solstices and equinoxes, public and school holidays, religious festivals, historical astronomical events, a Maori calendar and ancient star lore pertaining to each month.

The almanac contains 24 spectacular full colour images of celestial objects or events with explanations.

In addition there are 6 full colour charts and 4 feature pages. These include star and constellation charts for each season, a map of the Moon, and a chart showing the rise and set times of the Sun and planets. An information page explains how to use the Almanac and charts"

The price of the Almanac at $20 retail & p.p To order contact Kay Leather at Hellfa(at)xtra(dot)co(dot)nz or write to Almanac, P.O. Box 156, Carterton 5743.

5. Astro Weather Site for Oz and NZ

Larry Field points out an Australian weather site intended for astronomers. It has a New Zealand map that isn't being much used. The site is

Andrew Cool, who runs the website, provided the following additional notes: "The colour contours are in lots of 10% of cloud cover. So the Darkest Blue on the cloud cover maps DOES NOT mean 0% cloud cover, But rather somewhere in the range 0..10% cloud cover, and so on for the other colours.

Each map has a colour legend at the bottom of the screen - depending on the resolution of your computer screen, you may have to scroll Down to see the legend."

Andrew also asked that users always start from the site's home page, so the user's location is registered. Only regions that are used will be retained.

Another good site for cloud forecasts over this part of the world is select the Mittl. Volken display.

Satellite image loops are also informative. The NZ one is at satellite.html The Strines have a similar one, with NZ in a corner, at And the US's National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration has a wealth of data and imagery. Start at -- Ed.

6. Astro Gathering at Gisborne November 13-15

We're planning on having a Gissy Gathering here in Gisborne in November. It's not an official camp - but more of an impromptu get-together with socialising and star gazing/imaging. It will run from 4pm on Friday 13th until the morning of Monday 16th November. There's two acres of land here to put u p tents, etc. The sky is black.

More details can be seen at - or

If you want to come please email me at Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone (06) 8627 557 (home + A/M) or 0275 609 287 (mobile).

-- abridged from a note by John Drummond

7. David Malin at Stardate South Island

Stardate South Island will be held on 15-18 January 2010, at the usual venue - the Presbyterian Church camp at Staveley, inland mid-Canterbury. The dates coincide with the new moon for January 2010 so there will be ample dark skies for everyone to get in some great deep sky observing.

David Malin, world famous astronomer and astro-imaging pioneer will be a special guest at Stardate SI. David will provide a range of talks, provisionally including one about Galileo, one about the Southern Cross, and one about his personal journey from microscopes to telescopes.

If anyone wishes to give a talk then contact the organisers as soon as possible. The focus on the off-site activities will be the Saturday afternoon walk on the Old Coal Mine Trek, near Mt Somers.

The charges are $10 per person per night. There is bunk accommodation for around 72 persons. There are also a few free power sites for caravans and campervans. There is also plenty of room to erect tents. The total number of people we can have on-site is 96, so book soon. No refunds can be made after 5 January 2010.

The weekend is a self-catering event; bring your own food. Contributions to the pot-luck dinner on Saturday will be by alphabetical order of surname: see last month's Newsletter Item 8. The kitchen is well equipped, and there is plenty of chiller space. Tea and coffee will be supplied.

On-line registrations, and all other information, are available at the Stardate South Island website:

-- from notes by Euan Mason and Dennis Goodman.

8. Gravitational Microlensing Workshop January 18-20

The 14th workshop on gravitational microlensing will be held in Auckland, New Zealand on January 18, 19, & 20 in 2010.

Gravitational microlensing has emerged as an effective tool in modern astrophysics and is rapidly advancing. Microlensing is continuing to produce new results on extrasolar planets, stellar structure, and cosmology (to name just a few). The field is poised to enter a new era with advances in data sharing technologies, robotic telescopes, and new generation microlensing projects. This workshop will bring together researchers in microlensing as well as those involved in related theoretical and observational fields. The workshop will be a forum to review the latest observational results on microlensing and to address their theoretical implications. The aim of this workshop is to then assess future directions of microlensing for new approved and proposed microlensing projects.

For registration and other details see

9. NACAA Easter 2010

The next National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers will be held over the Easter weekend, April 2-5 2010, in Canberra. Details are seen at the web site

The programme committee is currently inviting offers of presentations.

For those who haven't attended a NACAA before, you can get a good idea of the kind of activities to expect from

-- from notes by Albert Brakel and Stephen Russell

10. Host Wanted for 2012 Conference

The 2012 conference is scheduled be held mid June following on the transit of Venus which is on 2012 June 6. The SCC invites expressions of interest in hosting the conference from RASNZ affiliated societies. We would like to receive these by 2009 October 31. Please email to href="mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it." class="blue">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The conference host society is responsible for arranging a suitable conference venue in their region. The host society also looks after conference registrations and social arrangements. The RASNZ Standing Conference Committee is responsible for selecting the papers and the speaking programme and will work with the LOC to ensure all is running smoothly. A comprehensive set of guidelines for Conference Organisers is available from the RASNZ Secretary .

Any Affiliated Society that wishes to be considered as hosts for this event should email their proposal to the RASNZ Secretary by 31 October 2009. This should include an indication of the likely venue. The RASNZ Standing Conference Committee will then consider the proposals received with a view to making a decision as to location by 31 December 2009.

-- Brian Loader, RASNZ secretary, for the RASNZ Standing Conference Committee

11. No Doomsday in 2012 - But Lots of Profits for Hollywood

The widespread Internet belief that 21 December 2012, will be doomsday for planet Earth because some astronomical event will destroy or decimate our planet is a complete hoax, according to NASA scientist David Morrison. His concise summary of the claims and the scientific response is being published by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific as a public service at:

For several months, NASA and many astronomers have received increasingly worried letters and e-mails from members of the public about the possibility, widely touted on the Internet, that the world will end in 2012. Many mechanisms for doomsday are being proposed, including a collision with a fictional planet called Nibiru, deadly activity on the surface of the Sun that lashes out at Earth, alignments with the centre of our galaxy, etc. David Morrison has coined the term ³cosmophobia² -- fear of the cosmos -- for these concerns, and has seen a huge increase in the phenomenon this year.

Dr. Morrison, a world-renowned expert on the solar system (and asteroid impacts), also serves as the public scientist for NASA¹s ³Ask an Astrobiologist² service, where he answers questions for the public. He has received so many questions about 2012 and the end of the world, that he felt he had to investigate and set the record straight.

One of his most interesting findings is that the distributors of the science fiction motion picture ³2012², to be released this November, are purposely feeding the flames of the Internet panic (in what is called a viral marketing campaign) by creating fake science websites and encouraging people to search for ³2012² on the Web. Most of the sites such searches encounter are full of nonsense and misunderstanding, often by people who have written books on coming disaster that they are trying to sell.

Morrison¹s article is in the form of questions and answers, and is followed by a resource guide that allows readers to find even more scientific information about why no 2012 disaster is in the cards. There are many reasons to worry about the future of planet Earth, of course, but absolutely no reason to single out the winter solstice of2012 as a special time to be concerned.

# # #

For an annotated guide of resources for responding to claims of astronomical pseudo-science, from astrology to crop circles, and ancient astronauts to Moon- landing denial, see:

-- forwarded by Karen Pollard. ------

See also Sky & Telescope, November 2009, for more, lots more. -- Ed.

12. And We're Safe in 2036, Probably

Using updated information, NASA scientists have recalculated the path of the 300- metre diameter asteroid (99942)Apophis. The refined path reduces the chance that Apophis will hit earth on 13 April 2036. The probability has decreased from one-in-45 000 to about one-in-250 000.

The new orbit was calculated by near-Earth object scientists Steve Chesley and Paul Chodas at NASA¹s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. They presented their updated findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society¹s Division for Planetary Sciences on Oct. 8.

A majority of the data that enabled the updated orbit of Apophis came from observations made by Dave Tholen and collaborators at the University of Hawaii¹s Institute for Astronomy. Tholen made improved measurements of the asteroid¹s position in earlier images. Measurements from telescopes in Arizona and from the Arecibo radar observatory on Puerto Rico were also used in Chesley¹s calculations.

The information provided a more accurate glimpse of Apophis¹ orbit well into the latter part of this century. Among the findings is another close encounter by the asteroid with Earth in 2068 with the chance of impact currently around three-in-a-million.

Apophis is expected to make a record-setting -- but harmless -- close approach to Earth on Friday, 13 April 2029, when it comes no closer than 29,600 km (18,300 miles) above Earth¹s surface. "The refined orbital determination further reinforces that Apophis is an asteroid we can look to as an opportunity for exciting science and not something that should be feared," said Don Yeomans, manager of the Near-Earth Object Program Office at JPL. "The public can follow along as we continue to study Apophis and other near-Earth objects by visiting us on our AsteroidWatch Web site and by following us on the @AsteroidWatch Twitter feed."

NASA detects and tracks asteroids and comets passing close to Earth using both ground and space-based telescopes. The Near Earth-Object Observations Program, commonly called "Spaceguard" discovers these Objects and identifies those that could be potentially hazardous to our planet.

For more information about asteroids and near-Earth objects, visit:

-- from a NASA press release forwarded by Karen Pollard

13. SKA Research and Development Consortium Created

In June 2009, a new organisation bringing together professional researchers involved in SKA-related research in New Zealand was created. The New Zealand SKA Research and Development Consortium, or SKARD, aims to foster collaboration both within New Zealand and internationally, and to liaise with industry, government and other groups to advance New Zealand´s contribution to the SKA.

Members are drawn from all of New Zealand´s major research universities and have interests in antenna design, signal processing, imaging and inference, high performance computing and radio astronomy. SKARD, which is chaired by Dr Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, has formed very productive links with the N New Zealand SKA Industry Consortium (NZSIC) and has produced collaborative research projects between different groups within New Zealand.

Full membership is open to New Zealand-based researchers undertaking SKA-related research and associate membership is open to parties with an interest in SKA- related activities in New Zealand. Further information is available at

-- Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Victoria University of Wellington

14. SKA Conference in Auckland 16-18 February 2010

A timely conference building on the recent agreement between Australia and New Zealand, and first light on New Zealand´s Warkworth 12-metre antenna, is planned for February 2010. Pathways to SKA Science in Australasia aims to highlight recent SKA developments in Australia and New Zealand, and to re view the main areas of SKA science.

The meeting will include sessions on: o ASKAP and SKA overviews o Engineering developments in Australia and New Zealand o Key SKA science o Related projects in Australasia

The conference program includes slots for contributed papers as well as a poster session. A visit to the Warkworth telescope, followed by wine tasting at a local vineyard, is also included. The conference dinner will be held at Auckland´s famous Sky Tower restaurant.

Where: Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand When: 16-18 February 2010 Registration: Now open

Visit for details of the conference program and to register.

-- Dick Manchester, CSIRO (Chair, Science Organising Committee); Sergei Gulyaev, Auckland University of Technology (Chair, Local Organising Committee)

15. Cosmic Rays at 50 Year High

"In 2009, cosmic ray intensities have increased 19% beyond anything we've seen in the past 50 years," says Richard Mewaldt of Caltech. "The increase is significant, and it could mean we need to re-think how much radiation shielding astronauts take with them on deep-space missions."

The cause of the surge is solar minimum, a deep lull in solar activity that began around 2007 and continues today. Researchers have long known that cosmic rays go up when solar activity goes down. Right now solar activity is as weak as it has been in modern times, setting the stage for what Mewaldt calls "a perfect storm of cosmic rays."

"We're experiencing the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century," says Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center, "so it is no surprise that cosmic rays are at record levels for the Space Age."

Galactic cosmic rays come from outside the solar system. They are subatomic particles -- mainly protons but also some heavy nuclei --accelerated to almost light speed by distant supernova explosions. Cosmic rays cause "air showers" of secondary particles when they hit Earth's atmosphere. They pose a health hazard to astronauts. A single cosmic ray can disable a satellite if it hits an unlucky integrated circuit.

The sun's magnetic field is our first line of defence against these highly- charged, energetic particles. The entire solar system from Mercury to Pluto and beyond is surrounded by a bubble of solar magnetism called the heliosphere. It springs from the sun's inner magnetic dynamo and is inflated to gargantuan proportions by the solar wind. When a cosmic ray tries to enter the solar system, it must fight through the heliosphere's outer layers; and if it makes it inside, there is a thicket of magnetic fields waiting to scatter and deflect the intruder.

At times of low solar activity, this natural shielding is weakened, and more cosmic rays are able to reach the inner solar system. Three aspects of the current solar minimum are combining to create the perfect storm:

The sun's magnetic field is weak. The interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) down to only 4 nanoTesla (nT) from typical values of 6 to 8 nT. This record-low IMF undoubtedly contributes to the record-high cosmic ray fluxes.

The solar wind is flagging. Measurements by the Ulysses spacecraft show that solar wind pressure is at a 50-year low, so the magnetic bubble that protects the solar system is not being inflated as much as usual. A smaller bubble gives cosmic rays a shorter-shot into the solar system. Once a cosmic ray enters the solar system, it must 'swim upstream' against the solar wind. Solar wind speeds have dropped to very low levels in 2008 and 2009, making it easier than usual for a cosmic ray to proceed.

The current sheet is flattening. Imagine the sun wearing a ballerina's skirt as wide as the entire solar system with an electrical current flowing along the wavy folds. That is the 'heliospheric current sheet', a vast transition zone where the polarity of the sun's magnetic field changes from plus (north) to minus (south). The current sheet is important because cosmic rays tend to be guided by its folds. Lately, the current sheet has been flattening itself out, allowing cosmic rays more direct access to the inner solar system. If the flattening continues as it has in previous solar minima th en cosmic ray fluxes could jump all the way to 30% above previous Space Age highs.

Earth is in no great peril from the extra cosmic rays. The planet's atmosphere and magnetic field combine to form a formidable shield against space radiation, protecting humans on the surface. Indeed, we've weathered storms much worse than this. Hundreds of years ago, cosmic ray fluxes were at leas t 200% higher than they are now. Researchers know this because when cosmic rays hit the atmosphere, they produce an isotope of beryllium, called beryllium 10, which is preserved in polar ice. By examining ice cores, it is possible to estimate cosmic ray fluxes more than a thousand years into the pa st. Even with the recent surge, cosmic rays today are much weaker than they have been at times in the past millennium.

"The space era has so far experienced a time of relatively low cosmic ray activity," says Mewaldt. "We may now be returning to levels typical of past centuries."

For more information:

-- abridged from an article on Astromart News, 2009 Oct 4

16. Ninth magnitude Star Gives Clues to Early Universe

Old stars are keys to understanding the nature of the first stars and the earliest stages of the formation of the universe. Japan's Subaru Telescope in Hawaii has stumbled across a ninth magnitude star -- BD+44 493 -- that sheds light on how the early stars may have developed during the infancy of the universe.

According to the Big Bang theory, the early universe was composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium. The creation of elements other than hydrogen and helium ("metals" in the jargon of astrophysics) occurred later, through a process of nucleosynthesis, when new atomic nuclei are developed inside the stars. So the proportion of "metals" in an astronomical object(its "metallicity") may provide an indication of its age. Older stars have lower metallicities than younger stars such as our Sun. Because their atmospheres usually preserve the chemical composition of the gas from which they forme d, old, low-metallicity stars hold evidence of their own creation -- information that provides clues to processes occurring in the early universe.

The combination of BD+44 493¹s exceptional brightness and the high resolution of Subaru's spectroscopic instrument allowed detailed analysis of the of the star's chemical composition. This revealed a relatively high abundance of carbon, a characteristic similar to that of the most metal-deficient star discovered four years ago, as well as detailed abundance ratio s for other elements.

The best explanation for the star's composition is that it was formed from a gas cloud polluted by the supernova explosion of a first generation massive star, which yielded carbon-rich but metal-poor material.

The results were published in Astrophysical Journal Letters in June 2009: The Astrophysical Journal, 698:L37-L41, 2009 June 10. For more see(Refer to

-- condensed from a Subaru Telescope Facility press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

17. RASNZ in Wikipedia

Peter Jaquiery writes that he has started an RASNZ entry on Wikipedia:

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

18. 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.

19. 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.

20. How to Join the RASNZ

A membership application form and details can be found on the RASNZ website 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..

21. You Know You're In The Southern Hemisphere When...

* You try to align on Polaris but there's a big obstruction in the way and your wife says "That's the planet Earth, dopey!"

* The SCT you bought in America will only work properly when you

glue the tripod legs to the ceiling.

* You try to find the Magellanic galaxies but there are two little

clouds getting in the way.

* You see Sagittarius high overhead when everybody 'knows' it's

supposed to be low in the south west.

* You set your telescope to the celestial pole only to find that

there's nothing there.

* You try to find the Owl Nebula when its on the meridian but all

you see is your shoelaces.

* You like the idea of being 'Down Under' and wonder what it's like

being 'Up Over'.

* Your telescope shows the planets the right way up when all the

books say they are supposed to be inverted.

* You think nothing of using Norton's Star Atlas standing on your head.

* You normally find the South Celestial Pole by drawing a line

through Achernar and Alpha Centauri and dividing by 0.4293!

* You return your new Star Atlas because the printer put in all the

star and constellation names upside down.

* You really can't understand why 47 Tucanae and Omega Centauri

aren't on the Messier List.

* You try to find the Great Bear (Ursa Major) but all you see is a

koala in a tree three kilometres away.

* All your friends say "G'day mate. Owyergoin', Orright?" AND you answer in the same way! (Replace Australian marsupial and slang with local versions!)

* You find Orion doing hand stands.

* You can't believe how clear and dark the skies are.

Found at The Munich Astro Archive: (Collected from the Network News; Original from Tony Hugo and Martin Brown). Passed on by Roland Idaczyk

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