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. RASNZ Conference
2. Annual General Meeting
3. The Solar System in May
4. NACAA 2010
5. Elaine Sadler Honoured
6. Ben Gascoigne
7. Roy Willoughby and Russel Gordon
8. Galaxy Mergers Grow Central Black Holes
9. The Light and Dark face of a Star-Forming Nebula
10. Newly Discovered planet Could Hold Water
11. Two Telescopes for Sale
12. Fiordland Astronomy Cruise
13. RASNZ in Wikipedia
14. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
15. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
16. How to Join the RASNZ
17. Here and There

1. RASNZ Conference

The RASNZ Conference 2010 will be held in Dunedin from 28-30 May at the Otago Museum. The initial deadline for registrations is 30 April. Registrations made after that date will incur a late fee. The registration form is on the RASNZ webpage (www.rasnz.org.nz)

Dr Stuart Ryder of the Australian Gemini Office is our invited speaker with a feature paper on supernovae. Bill Allen will be giving this year's Fellows Lecture entitled "50 years as an amateur Astronomer".

The Conference committee sincerely invites and encourages anyone interested in New Zealand Astronomy to submit papers. This is the final call for oral presentations as there is space for only 1 or 2 more papers. Please send your submission as soon as possible as the programme will be finalised on 21st April. The paper submission form can be found on the RASNZ website. Please send your submissions to href="mailto:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A list of the papers is available on the webpage.

We will still welcome poster presentations until 21 May. The size for posters is restricted to a maximum of A0 sized paper (16 A4 sheets), or 841 x 1189mm.

There are still some discounted airfares to and from Dunedin, but please act quickly if you want to take advantage of these. There is plenty of accommodation, ranging from backpackers to top class hotels, within easy walking distance of the Conference venue. Again we recommend booking early to take advantage of any discounted offers available.

For those going on the Taieri Gorge Rail journey on the Friday, please ensure you arrive in Dunedin in time to be at the Railway station by 12 noon. Hopefully many of you will be able to stay in Dunedin for a bit longer than just the conference days, as there is much to see and explore in and around Dunedin, and on the stunning Otago Peninsula.

-- from notes by Dennis Goodman an Orlon Petterson of the RASNZ Standing Conference Committee.

2. Annual General Meeting

As usual the Annual General Meeting of the RASNZ will be held on the Saturday afternoon of conference following the end of the speaking session. The formal notice for the meeting is below.

If any member or society has any item of business they wish to raise under general business, please let the secretary know. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Notices of motion cannot be accepted at this date.

-- Brian Loader, Executive Secretary.

------------ Annual General Meeting

The 87th Annual General Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand will be held on Saturday 29 May, 2010 at the Hutton Theatre in the Otago Museum, Dunedin, at approximately 4:30 pm. This meeting will start following the close of the Saturday afternoon session of the Conference.

Agenda:

Apologies.
Respect for Deceased Members.
Greetings to Absent Members.
Minutes of the 86th AGM held in Wellington.
Matters arising from the Minutes.
Annual report of council for 2009.
Annual accounts for 2009.
Elections for Council 2010 to 2012.
Election of Auditor.
Election of Honorary Solicitor.
Introduction to the RASNZ lecture trust.
General Business as allowed for in the rules.

Minutes of the 86th AGM (2009) are available on the RASNZ web site at <http://www.rasnz.org.nz/Minutes/0905AGM.pdf>

The Annual Report of Council and the Annual Accounts for the year 2009 have been printed in the March 2010 issue of Southern Stars.

Brian Loader, Executive Secretary, 15 April 2010

3. The Solar System in May

The usual notes on the visibility of the Planets for May 2010 have been placed on the RASNZ web site: http://www.rasnz.org.nz/SolarSys/May_10.htm. Notes for June 2010 will be in place in a few days.

The planets in may

Mars and Saturn remain visible as evening objects during May. Mars will set late evening, Saturn in the early morning hours. Venus will be prominent but low to the northwest for a while following sunset early evening.

Jupiter will be an obvious morning object to the northeast, closing in on Uranus during the month. Mercury will be lower in the morning sky, but should be readily visible in the second part of the month.

The evening sky

Venus will move a little higher into the evening sky during May, setting 2 hours after the Sun by the end of the month. It starts the month in Taurus, below Aldebaran. During May Venus will move across Taurus below Orion and into Gemini on May 20. By the end of May, Venus will be about 11 degrees from Pollux.

Mars sets shortly before midnight for most of NZ at the beginning of May and 45 minutes earlier by the month's end. Transit will be about an hour after sunset, making early evening the best time for observation. During May Mars will continue to fade a little, from magnitude 0.7 to 1.1, as the Earth moves further away from it.

By the end of May, Mars will be 3.5 degrees from Regulus, the star just a little fainter than the planet. Also Vesta, at magnitude 7.7 visible in binoculars, will be 7.5 degrees from Mars.

Mars starts May in Cancer and moves into Leo on May 13. On the 20th the 42% lit moon will be 4 degrees from Mars, closest about 8 pm, with the moon to the upper left of the planet.

Saturn remains the best placed planet for evening viewing during May. It transits close to 10 pm on May 1 and 2 hours earlier at the end of the month. The planet will be only just north of the celestial equator so is at a moderate altitude as seen from NZ and considerably higher than Mars.

Saturn will be in Virgo, about 25 degrees from Spica, alpha Vir. Saturn will be to the lower left of the star when the planet is highest. Saturn will be far closer to beta Vir, magnitude 3.6, the two being about 2 degrees apart during May.

The closest approach of the moon to Saturn during May will be on the 10th, when the 75% lit moon will be about 8 degrees from the planet in the early evening.

Saturn's rings are still only open a slight amount and in fact close slightly during the month as the Earth moves ahead of Saturn. They will appear as a bright bar either side of the planet in a small telescope. Quite high magnification is needed to see them as rings.

The morning sky

Jupiter rises soon after 3am on the 1st, a time advancing to a little before 2am by the 31st. An hour before sunrise Jupiter will be easily visible quite high in the sky to the northeast.

The planet starts May in Aquarius but moves into Pisces on May 3. In Pisces Jupiter will close in on Uranus with the two 1 degree apart on the last morning of the month. At magnitude 5.9 Uranus will be an easy binocular target. An hour or so before dawn Uranus will be to the lower right of Jupiter. There will be no stars of comparable magnitude between the two planets, so identifying Uranus should be easy.

Earlier in May the 18% lit, waning moon will be some 7.5 degrees from Jupiter shortly before sunrise on the morning of the 10th. The two are a little closer earlier in the morning.

Mercury was at inferior conjunction on April 29 so will become a morning object in May. Early in May it will rise only just before the Sun and not be visible. During the first part of May, it will rapidly move away from the Sun, rising two hours before it by the middle of the month. As a result, Mercury will be easily visible 45 minutes before sunrise, low, in a direction between east and northeast. It will remain observable for the rest of the month.

Mercury will brighten from magnitude 1.5 to 0.3 during the second half of May. It will be the brightest object low to the northeast. It will move from Cetus to Aries on May 23. Mercury's easterly movement through the stars will take it between Hamal in Aries and Menkar (Alpha Ceti) in Cetus. Hamal, magnitude 2.0 will be about 14 degrees to the left of Mercury, Menkar, magnitude 2.5, about 10 degrees to its right. The two stars and the planet will be almost in line on May 28.

Outer planets

Uranus is in Pisces and visible in the morning sky. As noted above, Jupiter gets to be within a degree of the more distant planet by the end of May, making it easy to locate in binoculars.

Neptune, also in the morning sky, will be about 30 degrees to the left of, and a little higher than, Jupiter. Neptune is in Aquarius close to its border with Capricornus.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres is a late evening and morning object in Sagittarius. It brightens from magnitude 8.2 at the beginning of May to 7.6 at the end. By then it will be slightly brighter than Vesta.

Ceres remains fairly close to the 2.8 magnitude star lambda Sgr (Kaus Borealis). The two are just over 3 degrees apart on May 1, increasing to 5.5 degrees on May 30.

By the end of May Ceres rises soon after 6 pm so will be observable by mid evening.

(2) Pallas is in Serpens at the beginning of May but moves into Corona Borealis on May 10. It will then be some 2 degrees from the brightest star alpha CrB magnitude 2.2. Pallas will only cross a corner of the constellation before it moves on into Boötes on May 27. These are northerly constellations, as a result Pallas will only be above the horizon for a few hours as seen from NZ and keep low, especially as seen from the south.

The asteroid will rise shortly after Ceres, but set in the morning well before sunrise. Its magnitude will drop from 8.7 to 9.0 during May.

(4) Vesta is in Leo and will fade from magnitude 7.4 to 7.7 during the month. It is an evening object, fairly close to Mars. By the end of May the two will be 7.5 degrees apart with Mars to the left of Vesta mid evening. Vesta will of course set at a similar time to Mars.

More details and charts for these minor planets can be found on the RASNZ web site. Follow the link to asteroids 2010

COMET C/2009 R1 (McNaught) is expected to be the brightest comet in the late May sky when it is expected to be at magnitude 8.4. However it will be very low in NZ skies. It then rises about 5 am at Wellington, and will be low, between to the north of northeast an hour or so before sunrise.

COMET 10P/Tempel is predicted to brighten from 10th to 9th magnitude during May. For most of the month it will be in Aquarius, although it crosses a corner of Capricornus in the second part of the month. Late in May the comet will be 4 degrees below Neptune and some 30 degrees to the left of Jupiter as seen an hour or so before sunrise.

More details and charts are on the RASNZ web site. Follow the link to Comets 2010.

-- Brian Loader

4. NACAA 2010

The National Australian Committee of Amateur Astronomers (NACAA) biennial conference for 2010 was held over Easter weekend in Canberra hosted by the local astronomical society. The meeting was attended by over 100 delegates, including four from New Zealand, not to mention a number of ex-pats.

After an informal gathering on the Friday evening, the conference was opened on Saturday morning with a welcome to delegates by Albert Brakel, convener of the local organizing committee.

The first item in the speaking programme was the inaugural John Perdrix Address. In introducing the address, Stephen Russell, the general secretary of the NACAA Secretariat explained John Perdrix was responsible for getting NACAA off the ground, with the first conference being held in 1967 also at Canberra.

The John Perdrix address was given by Dr Tom Richards, an ex-Kiwi, and current director of Variable Stars South, the successor of the RASNZ variable star section. He started his address with some remarks about John Perdrix who had also started the Australian Journal of Astronomy in 1985. The journal was published until 1997. Tom suggested the journal should be revived to record what amateur astronomers were doing, with a need for refereed papers.

The topic of Tom Richards address was "Opportunities and Plans: the Directions of Southern Hemisphere Variable Star Research". He spoke of the importance of seeing things that changed in the sky and questioned why more people are not observing when equipment was so easy to obtain. He emphasized the continued need for visual observations of variable stars, particularly the brighter stars with long periods which are not suitable for CCD photometry. This is in addition to a need for variable star photometry, professionals cannot get the time for continuous observations. After morning tea the delegates broke into two streams. One group heard papers on observing stellar evolution through variable star observation; on robotic research for the amateur astronomer and on high resolution planetary imaging. The second group heard talks on nucleosynthesis in supergiant stars and on designing and building a geodesic-domed observatory.

Following lunch the invited speaker Dr Simon O'Toole, deputy Gemini scientist at the Anglo-Australian Observatory, spoke on "The Ubiquity of Exoplanets". In his presentation Dr O'Toole summarized the methods by which exoplanets have been discovered and of the opportunities which existed for amateur contribution to their discovery.

The meeting then again broke into two streams for the rest of the afternoon with a wide variety of papers. The afternoon finished with the AGM of NACAA. Interestingly in even numbered years all the conference delegates are deemed as members of NACAA.

The NACAA dinner was held on Saturday evening. At it the Berenice Page medal was awarded to Dave Gault for his work in the field of occultations and in particular for his observation of an occultation by Pluto which helped reveal the structure of Pluto's atmosphere.

The after dinner invited speaker was Dr Charles Lineweaver of the Australian National University Mount Stromlo Observatory. He asked the questions "Are we alone? Is who alone? Are they alone?" and gave an amusing and sceptical address on the topic of extra-terrestrial intelligence.

On Sunday morning before morning tea one section of the meeting heard Vince Ford give a history of Mt Stromlo and Siding Spring observatories, Steve Russell talk of his experiences at the two recent Chinese eclipses and Terry Cuttle speak on observing possibilities at North Queensland Solar eclipse in 2012.

While these were taking place, Tom Richards held a round-table variable stars planning session.

After morning tea on Sunday, invited speaker Dr Daniel Shaddock of the Australian National University and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory spoke on "Listening to the Universe with Gravitational Waves". His talk gave an overview of gravitational wave astronomy and provided a guide on the technology of a gravitational wave detector.

A variety talks, again in two streams, filled Sunday afternoon. As is usual on the Sunday evening of NACAA meetings, a barbeque was arranged for attendees. This year's barbeque was at the Mt Stromlo Observatory site a few kilometres south of Canberra. A guided tour of the site enabled us to see some of the devastation caused by the bush fires and the restoration which has been carried out on some of the buildings. The gutted observatories still contain some of the ruined equipment. The NACAA meeting itself was closed at the end of the BBQ.

TTSO4 On Monday the fourth trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations, TTSO4, took place and was attended by 31 delegates. A wide range of papers was presented by attendees from both sides of the Tasman and at all levels of occultation observing.

In the morning these included a review by John Talbot of some recent successful asteroidal occultations, Brian Loader described the processing of observation of double star occultations, Chris Wyatt spoke on visual observing of occultations, Dave Herald introduced the use of the Japanese Kaguya satellite altimetric measures of the lunar surface to generate accurate lunar profiles, Dave Gault reviewed the work done on the restoration and archiving of grazing occultation data and Hristo Pavlov introduced his new Tangra light measuring software for light curve reduction.

After lunch David Herald described a tool added to his Occult program for comparing star positions from different catalogues, John Talbot described building a cheap 10-inch telescope for occultation observing; Jonathan Bradshaw described a low cost route into digital occultation timing and Hristo Pavlov and Dave Gault delved into analogue-to-digital video conversion. The afternoon ended with a round table discussion.

This was a very successful meeting organized by Hristo Pavlov: there was a call for a TTSO5 meeting at the 2011 RASNZ conference on Napier.

-- Brian Loader

5. Elaine Sadler Honoured

Professor Elaine Sadler has been made a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in recognition for her research in high energy astrophysics and galaxy evolution.

Elaine was guest speaker at an RASNZ Conference some years back. There she told us about the curious correlation between the mass of the black hole at the centre of a galaxy and the mass of the central bulge surrounding the black hole. The correlation is found in galaxies ranging from our own up to giant elliptical galaxies. The correlation is now explained by radiation and outflows from the central black hole ultimately stopping the formation of stars in the space around it. [At least that's the Editor's recollection of it.]

Elaine is ARC Professorial Fellow, School of Physics, University of Sydney, an ex-President of the Astronomical Society of Australia and current chair of the Australian National Committee for Astronomy.

-- from an Australian Academy of Sciences release forwarded by the Astronomical Society of Australia.

6. Ben Gascoigne

New Zealand-born astronomer Ben Gascoigne died on March 25, aged 95. He was born in Napier in 1915. In 1937 he completed an MSc at Auckland University College (now Auckland University) after which he worked on optical munitions with the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research in New Zealand. In 1941 he was awarded PhD from the University of Bristol.

Ben was a long time staff member at Mt Stromlo, having gone to Australia in 1941 to join a team working in optical munitions at the Commonwealth Solar Observatory. After the war he explored his research interests in stellar evolution, distance measurement and faint star photometry, but he is perhaps best known for his work in establishing the Anglo Australian Telescope. He was honoured with an Order of Australia in 1996 for his service to Australian astronomy.

-- from an Astronomical Society of Australia release and the Encyclopaedia of Australian Science.

Editor's note: Ben was the brother-in-law of Audrey Duthie of Whakatane. Audrey was the wife of Jim Duthie who was a leading light in the Whakatane Astronomical Society and the RASNZ in the 1960s to 1980s.

7. Roy Willoughby and Russel Gordon

We were recently informed of the deaths of two RASNZ members of long standing.

Roy Willoughby died in March. Roy lived at Levin but had connections with Wellington astronomy as early as 1936. For the March 2005 issue of Southern Stars commemorating Frank Bateson, Roy provided the photo of Frank and a group of young observers, including Roy, at the Thomas King Observatory viewing the solar eclipse of that year. They had been given the day off work by the abdication of King Edward VIII. The new King George VI's birthday was celebrated on the eclipse day, December 14. Roy noted that three Saroses -- 54 years 1 month and 2 days -- later saw a repeat performance on 16 January 1991 with the (annular) central line almost going through the Carter Observatory. But Roy's telescope "...spent the day in my shed in Levin, I prefer to keep it dry at all times." Roy was an RASNZ member from 1973 to 2008.

Russel Gordon joined the RASNZ in 1964 while at Wellington College where he was involved with the school's observatory. He completed a mathematics degree at Victoria University and worked at the Statistics Department's Wellington office till he took early retirement. Russel was active in RASNZ administration in the 1970s and was Editor of the Newsletter.

8. Galaxy Mergers Grow Central Black Holes

Giant black holes in the centers of galaxies grow mainly as a result of intergalactic collisions, according to results presented by a group of astronomers led by Dr. Ezequiel Treister from the University of Hawaii, published in the March 25th issue of the international journal Science.

As gas clouds in galaxies are sucked into the central black hole, they emit vast amounts of radiation, giving rise to objects called quasars. At first the growing black holes are hidden by large amounts of dust. After 10-100 million years the dust is blown out by the strong radiation pressure, leaving a naked quasar. It is visible in optical wavelengths and keeps shining for another 100 million years.

Because most of the emission from these early quasars is hidden by dust the astronomers looked at infrared wavelengths, for signs of very hot dust, and in X-rays, which are less affected by obscuration. For this they combined data obtained with the Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer space observatories. They identified a large number of obscured, dust enshrouded quasars at very large distances, up to 11 billion light-years away when the Universe was still in its infancy. This showed that the number of obscured quasars relative to the unobscured ones was significantly larger in the early Universe than it is now.

Researchers further analyzed images of these distant galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, using the new Wide Field Camera 3 installed 10 months ago during the last servicing mission. These images revealed obvious signatures of interactions and mergers, thus confirming the hypothesis of this group. Finally, using a simple theoretical prescription, the authors estimated that it takes about 100 million years for radiation from the growing black hole to wipe out the surrounding dust and gas and reveal the naked quasar.

Major galaxy mergers are important to trigger star formation episodes and modify galaxy morphologies. This work confirmed that mergers are also critical for the growth of the nuclear giant black hole.

For more see http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/info/press-releases/mergers_quasars/

-- from a University of Hawaii press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

9. The Light and Dark face of a Star-Forming Nebula

The European Southern Observatory has released an image of the little- known nebula Gum 19. In the infrared it appears dark on one half and bright on the other. On one side hot hydrogen gas is illuminated by a supergiant blue star called V391 Velorum. Star formation is taking place within the ribbon of luminous and dark material that brackets V391 Velorum¹s left in the picture. After many millennia, these fledgling stars, coupled with the explosive demise of V391 Velorum as a supernova, will likely alter Gum 19's present Janus-like appearance.

Gum 19 is located in the direction of the constellation Vela (the Sail) at a distance of approximately 22 000 light years. It was catalogued in 1955 by the Australian astrophysicist Colin S. Gum in the first significant survey of HII ("H-two") regions in the southern sky. HII refers to hydrogen gas that is ionized, or energized to the extent that the hydrogen atoms lose their electrons. Such regions emit light at well-defined wavelengths (or colours), giving these cosmic clouds their characteristic glow. And indeed, much like terrestrial clouds, the shapes and textures of these HII regions change as time passes, though over the course of eons rather than before our eyes.

The new image of Gum 19 was captured by an infrared detector called SOFI, mounted on ESO's New Technology Telescope (NTT) at the La Silla Observatory in Chile, SOFI stands for Son of ISAAC, after the 'father' instrument, ISAAC, located at ESO's Very Large Telescope observatory at Paranal north of La Silla. Observing this nebula in the infrared allows astronomers to see through at least parts of the dust.

Gum 19's glow is powered by ultraviolet light from a nearby superhot star called V391 Velorum. V391 Velorum has a surface temperature around 30,000 degrees C. V391 Velorum¹s brightness fluctuates as it ejects shells of matter which contribute to Gum 19¹s composition and light emissions. A big star like V391 Velorum has a relatively short lifetimes of about ten million years before blowing up as supernovae.

Within the neighbourhood of V391 Vel new stars continue to grow. In several million years -- a blink of an eye in cosmic time -- these shrinking knots of matter will eventually reach the high density at their centres necessary to ignite nuclear fusion. The fresh outpouring of energy and stellar winds from these newborn stars will also modify the gaseous landscape of Gum 19.

Full text of this press release, images and a video: http://www.eso.org/public/news/eso1014/

-- from an ESO press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

10. Newly Discovered planet Could Hold Water

A planet discovered by the Corot satellite appears to be a gas giant that may have an interior that closely resembles those of Jupiter and Saturn

Very few planets are temperate enough to allow the presence of liquid water, but the newly discovered Corot-9b is one of them. It was found on 16 May 2008 and orbits its star every 95.274 days, a little longer than Mercury takes to go round the Sun.

More than 400 exoplanets have been discovered so far and 70 of them have been found by the 'transit' method. A transit is when a planet passes in front of its host star and blocks some of the star's light. This temporarily dims the star and enables the planet's mass, diameter, density and temperature to be deduced. The time between similar transits gives the orbital period of the planet. [Ed's note: The paragraph repeats the press release's claim. One can see how a transit gives the planet's size and orbital period. Without additional spectroscopic measures of radial velocity, it is hard to see how mass and hence density are derived.]

Corot-9b is the first transiting planet to have both a longish period and a near-circular orbit. Its orbit is slightly elliptical but at closest approach it is 54 million km from its star. Although that is only about the distance of Mercury from the sun, it is by far the largest orbit of any transiting planet found so far. Because it orbits a star cooler than our Sun, calculations estimate that Corot-9b¹s temperature could lie somewhere between -23 degrees C and 157 degrees C.

Corot-9b has a radius around 1.05 times that of Jupiter but only 84% of the mass. This leads to a density of 0.90 g/cc, or 68% that of Jupiter. This makes it the first exoplanet that is definitely similar to a planet in our Solar System, the discoverers claim.

The similarity is caused by the fact that Corot-9b is sufficiently far from its star to prevent tidal forces from heating its interior, changing its physical condition. Tidal force can also 'lock' the planet's spin so only one side faces the star. Based on calculations, neither of these is possible in this case. Thus Corot-9b's interior is likely to be similar to the gas giants in our Solar System.

There is also one other tantalizing possibility about this world. Although the planet itself is a gas giant and hence has no solid surface to stand on, what if it possessed a moon like Saturn's Titan? If the temperature were towards the lower end of the estimated range, then any moon would be an ice ball. If it were towards the upper end, it would be rather too hot for liquid water. But what if it were somewhere in the middle?

For more see http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/COROT/SEMJOMCKP6G_0.html "A transiting giant planet with a temperature between 250 K and 430 K" by H. J. Deeg, et al. was published in Nature (doi: 10.1038/nature08856)

-- from a European Space Agency press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

11. Two Telescopes for Sale

Phil Barker, Christchurch, has two telescopes for sale.

1. Skywatcher 5-inch goto Maksutov including a solar filter, dew shield,

10 and 25mm eyepieces plus 2 x Barlow. Phil remarks that "the goto works well but is not in the same class as an lx200 or my C11 Nexstar. It generally gets objects in the field of the 25mm eyepiece every time. Phil can e-mail pictures. Asking price is $1000. Will ship anywhere in NZ.

2. 6-inch f/9 Newtonian 'scope "entirely of my own construction" with a

nice EQ3 equatorial mount and RA drive; helical 2 inch focuser with 1.25 inch adaptor. Works well with 2-inch eyepieces; sharp flat field, very little coma; 28mm secondary mirror; curved spider for no diffraction spikes; all-metal tube. Optics are full thickness Pyrex and very sharp: "I spent plenty of time figuring this mirror." Superb on Jupiter in good seeing at 312x. 30mm finder and comes with a 25mm eyepiece only. $500 for this scope; e-mail for pictures.

Phil's contacts are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; phone 03 383 3683.

12. Fiordland Astronomy Cruise

Affinity Cruises advise that they are arranging an Astronomers Cruise around Fiordland for 6 nights and 7 days, 7-13 July 2010

Guest astronomer and lecturer on the cruise is Professor Ian Morison, Gresham Professor of Astronomy, UK. Ian Morison lectures widely on astronomy, has co-authored books for amateur astronomers and writes regularly for the UK astronomy magazines Astronomy Now and Sky at Night. He also writes a monthly sky guide for the Observatory's web site and produces an audio version as part of the Jodrell Bank Podcast. He has contributed to many television programmes and is a regular astronomy commentator on local and national radio in the UK. Another activity he greatly enjoys is to take amateur astronomers on observing trips and he is doing one in Fiordland in July 2010. The departure date has been selected around a small moon to offer the clearest skies and the most settled weather patterns.

"Cruise across Lake Manapouri then coach over Wilmot Pass with its breath taking views of the fiords, and onto meet Affinity in Deep Cove, Doubtful Sound." The tour will include many historical sites, nature walks, and marine life studies along with modern wonders like the Manapouri power station. $3195.00 per person twin share + transfers $200.00 p.p

For more information contact Affinity Cruises, P O Box 54, Renwick, 7243, Marlborough; phone: 03 5727223; email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; website www.affinitycruises.co.nz

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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..

17. Here and There

More typos and bloopers noted in The Observatory, 2010 February.

HARDLY A HURTLE For astronauts hurtling around the moon at 20 feet per second ... The Telegraph, 2009 July 20, p.19.

O NO IT ISN'T

All right CH4 is methanol. -- The Observatory, v.119, 231, 2009.

NOT VERY FRIENDLY ...telescope time at the Cerro Tololo Anti-American Observatory -- Astronomical Journal, v.136, 1310, 2008.

NOT BY US The astronomical name for the sun is Sol ... Sol is an average to small star, known as a white dwarf. -- Telegraph Weekend, 2009, August 1.

FROM OUR ANDROMEDA CORRESPONDENT Look at an image of the Milky Way galaxy, and you can't help but notice its exquisite spiral arms. -- Science, 2009 August 28, p. 1059.

BUT NOT JUST YET Many leading scientists agree that carbon emissions must be cut to keep a global rise in temperature to below 35.6F -- The Telegraph (overseas Daily Telegraph), 2009 September 9-45, p. 11.

VLA GRAVITATIONAL LENSING PERHAPS? Through the naked eye, the galaxy NGC 1313 can be seen only as a faint smudge beyond our southern horizon. -- Daily Telegraph, September Night Sky.

STAR OVER GASCONY Zeta Aurignac, a double star system... -- Dollheimers Grosses Buch des Wissens in zwei Banden (G. Dollheimer, Leipzig), 1938, vol, 2, p. 1633.

PEARLS BEFORE SWINE The Local Volume is a treasure trough. -- Preface to Galaxies in the Local Volume (Springer), 2008.

LONG AGO AND NOT SO FAR AWAY The most distant water found in the universe has been detected in a galaxy more than 11 light years away. -- Astronomy & geophysics, v.50, 1.6, 2009.

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT NASA saw Kepler safely into solar orbit, trailing 950 km behind Earth. - - Astronomy & Geophysics, v. 50, 2.7, 2009.

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