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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 2009 Conference
2. Colloquium on Studying Southern Variables
3. Third Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations
4. The Solar System in March
5. Preliminary Notice of 2009 Annual General Meeting
6. 'Killer Asteroids' in Oamaru
7. Waharau Events in March and September
8. Herbert Star-party September 18-20
9. RASNZ Groups in LinkedIn and Facebook
10. Levin Stargazers 'Telescope Amnesty'
11. Biographies, please
12. Thomas Bruce Tregaskis
13. Lake Tekapo's Dark Sky on Yahoo
14. Earth Satellites Collide
15. Space Robots Only
16. Centaurus A Viewed at Submillimetre Wavelengths
17. Astronomical Spectrographs and Their History
18. Book & Movie Celebrates the Telescope
19. 16-inch Mirrors for Sale
20. Union Optics
21. How to Join the RASNZ
22. Lightbulbs.Yahoo

1. RASNZ 2009 Conference

Registrations for the RASNZ 2009 Conference to be held in Wellington in May are now being accepted. This year's invited speaker will be Prof. Fulvio Melia giving us the latest updates on Supermassive Blackholes.

Also during the conference the launch of the new VSS section -- Variable Stars South -- will be an important event for Southern Hemisphere Astronomy. Don't miss this!

Dates: Friday 22 May 2009 to Sunday 24 May 2009 Venue: Quality Inn, Cuba Street, Wellington

The Studying Southern Variables Colloquium will be held immediately prior to the Conference on Friday 22 May. The Third Trans-Tasman Occultation Symposium will be held immediately following the conference on Monday 25 May and Tuesday 26 May.

Details about the speakers and programmes are regularly updated on the RASNZ website - use this link http://www.rasnz.org.nz/Conference/09Conference.htm to see the latest information.

By Cheque: Please use the registration form from the conference links on the RASNZ web page http://www.rasnz.org.nz/ and post with your cheque to my home address: 2009 RASNZ Conference, C/- Pauline Loader, 14 Craigieburn Street, Darfield 7510.

By Direct Credit or Internet Banking: Payment can be made to the RASNZ Conference bank account National Bank, Wellington, Account Number 060501 0065021- 01. Please use the registration form from the conference links on the RASNZ web page http://www.rasnz.org.nz/ to calculate your registration total and then email the form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. when you have paid.

On-Line Registration and Credit Card Payment: Either use the links from the above conference web page or go direct to the RASNZ payments page http://www.rasnz.org.nz/Sales/Conference2009.html.

If booking accommodation at the Quality Inn or the Budget Hotel immediately next door please mention that you are attending the RASNZ conference to obtain special rates. A number of rooms have been reserved until the end of April for conference attendees.

The Conference organisers look forward to seeing many of you there in May.

Call for Papers --------------- The organisers have a number papers already lined up for this year's RASNZ Conference in May, see the RASNZ conference webpages. If you wish to present a paper to the conference please send a Conference Submission form as soon as possible. Forms are available from http://www.rasnz.org.nz/Conference/09Conference.htm#papers and completed forms can be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Your abstract needs to be in the hands of the organisers by 1 April 2009 so that it can be included on the RASNZ website and in the printed programme. We also would like a written copy of your paper by 1 May for inclusion in Southern Stars.

A copy of Power Point presentations should be made available at the conference for inclusion in the CD distributed to all attendees following the conference.

-- Pauline Loader

2. Colloquium on Studying Southern Variables

A colloquium on "Studying Southern Variables" will be held prior to the 2009 RASNZ Annual Conference in Wellington on Friday the 22nd May 2009 commencing at 10:30am and concluding at 5:30pm. The colloquium will consider the science of observing variable stars visually, photoelectrically and with CCD cameras.

The colloquium will be organised by Dr Tom Richards, Woodridge Observatory, Melbourne; Bill Allen, Vintage Lane Observatory, Blenheim; and Stan Walker, Wharemaru Observatory, Awanui; who are experienced variable star observers.

While we expect many very interesting presentations from the CCD and PEP fields, one of our objectives is to encourage visual observations, a field which is very important over the long term.

The colloquium will consist of 20 minute papers and posters on any topic concerning variable stars and their observation including observing projects, equipment and techniques. Proposals for presentations should be submitted to any of the organisers.

The venue for the colloquium and the RASNZ conference is the Quality Inn, Cuba Street, Central Wellington - see http://www.rasnz.org.nz/ for more information and future announcements. We look forward to seeing you there.

Tom Richards This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Bill Allen This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Stan Walker This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

3. Third Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations

The Third Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations will be held in Wellington over May 25 and 26, 2009, immediately following the 2009 RASNZ Conference. The meeting will follow in the footsteps of the first two very successful Symposia held in July 2007 in Auckland, and Easter 2008 in Penrith, New South Wales.

The Symposium will bring together occultation observers and others from Australia and New Zealand to share results and experiences, and to build on the increasing interest being shown in these events (as evidenced by the 45 minor planet occultations successfully observed so far this year).

Speakers at the Symposium will include David Herald, author of the definitive occultation prediction and reduction software OCCULT and Hristo Pavlov whose OccultWatcher software is being widely used to alert observers to updated predictions for forthcoming events.

The Symposium is also seeking papers and presentations from others who would like to share their experiences in the field. To book a presentation please send your details, a short abstract, and the amount of time you are requesting to co-convenor Murray Forbes at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

A feature of the two previous Symposia was the emphasis given to the "hands-on" aspects of occultation work. The Third Symposium will build on that with expanded workshops in which participants can individually follow through the whole process of preparing for, observing, and then reducing data from occultation events. Participants will be encouraged to bring their own laptops, and all necessary software will be provided. The various equipment options for occultation work will also be extensively discussed.

The Third Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations will be an important meeting and all those with an interest in the field are urged to register without delay.

Graham Blow RASNZ Occultation Section

4. The Solar System in March

The usual notes on the visibility of the Planets for March 2009 have been placed on the RASNZ web site: http://www.rasnz.org.nz/SolarSys/Mar_09.htm. Notes for April 2009 will be in place in a few days.

COMET C/2007 N3 LULIN is expected to be a 6th magnitude object at the beginning of March. On the 1st it will be a few degrees from Regulus and rise shortly before sunset. On the 6th it will be in Cancer magnitude about 7 and less than 1 degree from the 3.9 magnitude star delta Cnc. A few days later Lulin will have moved into Gemini, being just over 7 degrees above Pollux on March 13. During the rest of March Lulin will become slow moving in Gemini and fade as it recedes from the Sun and Earth. It will be 9th magnitude by the end of the month.

Some charts showing the comet's path up to early April are on the RASNZ web site.

The planets in march

At the end of March both Mercury and Venus are at a conjunction with the Sun, so both will become lost in the morning and evening twilight respectively during the month. Saturn, at opposition in March, will be left the only evening planet.

The evening sky - venus and saturn

Venus will be very low at the beginning of March, only about 5 degrees up a few minutes after sunset. It will also be over 30 degrees to the north of the setting Sun, which may make locating it a little easier. On March 1 the planet will set about 40 minutes after the Sun, the interval getting steadily less during the next 2 weeks. By mid March it will be set at the same time as the Sun. However Venus is not at inferior conjunction until the morning of March 28. It will not rise before the Sun until the last day of March, so there will be a period of about 2 weeks when Venus sets before the Sun and rises after it.

Saturn reaches opposition on the morning of March 9, so will be observable from mid evening at the beginning of the month and throughout the evening by the end. Saturn is in Leo and will be just over half a degree from the 4th magnitude star sigma on March 1. They will be no more than a degree apart until March 13.

The dawn sky - mercury, mars and jupiter

Mercury will be visible in the morning sky at the beginning of March, when it rises almost 2 hours before the Sun. On March 1, it will be about 12 degrees above the horizon 45 minutes before sunrise. At magnitude -0.2 it will be a fairly easy object.

Over the next week or two Mercury will brighten a little but steadily get lower so becoming a more difficult object in the morning twilight. It is at superior conjunction with the Sun on the last day of the month.

Mars will rise at about the same time throughout March, a little less than 2 hours earlier than the Sun at the beginning of the month and a little over 2 hours earlier at the end. It starts March close to Mercury; the two are less than a degree apart on the mornings of March 2 and 3. Mars, nearly 1.5 magnitudes fainter than Mercury, will be to the lower left of the brighter planet on the 2nd and slightly higher on the 3rd.

Jupiter starts March some 6 degrees above and a little to the left of Mercury and Mars. Unlike Mars it will steadily rise earlier as the month progresses and so get higher in the dawn sky. By the end of March, Jupiter will rise a little after 3 am NZDT.

Jupiter is in Capricornus and is 4.5 arc minutes from the 4th magnitude star theta Cap on the morning of March 7. The brightness of the planet is likely to make the star difficult with the unaided eye.

Outer planets

Neptune moves up into the morning sky during March. On the morning of March 6 it will be level with Mercury and a degree and two-thirds to its left. 3 morning later Neptune will have moved up to be level with Mars and only 45 minutes to its left.

Uranus is at conjunction with the Sun on March 13, so is virtually unobservable all month.

Brighter asteroids:

(1) Ceres is at its brightest at the beginning of March at magnitude 6.9, fading to 7.5 by the end of the month. It is due north at local midnight on March 2, so is observable all evening throughout the month. It starts March in Leo on it border with Leo Minor. It crosses a narrow southerly part of Leo Minor to cross back into Leo on March 29.

(2) Pallas starts March in Lepus crossing into Orion, 4 degrees from Rigel, on March 16. Its magnitude changes from 8.5 to 8.7 during the month. It is principally an evening object, setting soon after midnight by March 31.

(4) Vesta is in Aries for the first 3 weeks of March after which it moves into Taurus. It sets about 11pm NZDT on March 1 and about 9.30pm on March 31. Vesta's magnitude changes only slightly during March, from 8.4 to 8.5.

-- Brian Loader

5. Preliminary Notice of 2009 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand will be held on Saturday 23 May 2009 at the Quality Inn, Cuba Street, Wellington. The meeting will start at about 4.30 pm, following the end of the afternoon session of the conference.

The business of the meeting will include the items as laid down by rule 65 and any other business placed on the agenda by council.

2009 being an odd numbered year, there will be no elections to council. The

term of the present council runs until 2010.

A formal notice of the AGM will be issued nearer the date of the meeting.

Notices of Motion

Any notices of motion for the Annual General Meeting need to be in writing and must be in the hand of the executive secretary at least six weeks before the date of the meeting, that is by or before Saturday 11 April 2009.

-- Brian Loader, Executive Secretary, 15 February 2009

6. 'Killer Asteroids' in Oamaru

Kahren Thompson advises that Dr Robert Jedicke, Astronomer at the University of Hawaii, is giving a talk entitled "Killer Asteroids" at Waiatki Boys' High School Auditorium, Oamaru, on March 12 at 6.30pm. Admission free.

(Sadly this is a one-off. Dr Jedicke is visiting friends. -- Ed.)

7. Waharau Events in March and September

David Moorhouse advises the dates for this year's Waharau events; dark sky gatherings south of Auckland: Friday March 27th to Sunday 29th Friday September 18th to Sunday 20th. For details contact Dave at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

8. Herbert Star-party September 18-20

The Herbert Star-party 2009 will be held at Camp Iona, Herbert, North Otago, 20 minutes drive south of Oamaru, on 18-20 September. Ross Dickie and Phil Barker are the prime organisers of the event. More details later.

-- from a note by Dennis Goodman

9. RASNZ Groups in LinkedIn and Facebook

Duncan Hall emails that he has set up RASNZ groups in LinkedIn [ http://www.linkedin.com/ ] and Facebook [ http://www.facebook.com/ ] making RASNZ an Organisation -- Club and Society.

The group are set up with overseas and other lone members particularly in mind. So far Duncan is the only member of these online community groups.

-- message passed on by Pauline Loader.

10. Levin Stargazers 'Telescope Amnesty'

The Levin Stargazers hosted a 'telescope amnesty' event in Levin on February 6th. This gave the public a chance to bring out their telescopes and have astronomers give tips on how to get the best out of them. Members of the Wellington Astronomical Society were in attendance alongside astronomers from far and wide. It was a fantastic turn-out from both public and astronomers. There must have been over 100 people, which isn't bad for a cloudy night. A big thank you to all of those who helped out.

Gordon Hudson gave a great beginners talk on types of telescopes. Then we ran an astro quiz for the kids. To top it off Gordon gifted a C8 to the Stargazers on loan! Clouds covered the sky from sunset until Toa Waaka said a karakia. Then at least Te Marama - the Moon -- became visible. Some people even managed to sneak views of M42 and the Jewel Box.

It was great matching up astronomers with telescopes. One young guy asked me to look at his 'wobbly' telescope and straight away Michael White came over and said it was almost the same as his. Michael proceeded to help out with tightening nuts and bolts. Then someone asked me about putting a motor on his telescope and I quickly matched him up with John Talbot and Steven Chadwick. Then a mum and her 7 year old, who is a young Einstein, came over and said they were leaving and would continue to struggle with his grandfather's old refractor. I saw straight away that it was perfect for Roland Id aczyk to look at. Roland still uses his first refractor, one that he has kept since he was young.

I can honestly say that it was the most telescopes that I've seen in one place. I can't say they were as big and expensive as the ones at Stardate but there were definitely as many.

-- adapted from notes by Ron Fisher

11. 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

12. Thomas Bruce Tregaskis

This obituary is from the February/March 2009 issue of 'Crux', the Newsletter of the Astronomical Society of Victoria.

Our honorary life member Bruce Tregaskis passed away on 16 November 2008. Bruce joined the Astronomical Society of Victoria in January 1948, thus starting an association with the ASV that saw him become section director of the Variable Star Section and the Auroral Section and an honorary life member of our Society. Bruce was president of the ASV in 1971-72 and again in 1976.

Bruce worked for the State Electricity Commission (SEC) in the LaTrobe Valley during the 1960s and he was one of the founding members of the Yallourn Astronomical Society (now the LaTrobe Valley Astronomical Society). He was also one of the founding members of the Astronomical Society of Frankston (now the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society).

Bruce was also a telescope maker. I first met Bruce in the LaTrobe Valley in 1963 when I had a vacation job with the SEC and my brother John also worked in that location. There was a total eclipse of the Moon in January 1964 and we went to Bruce's house to view the event. At the time Bruce had made a special 6 inch f/20 Newtonian reflector with an uncoated primary mirror for the special purpose of observing the planet Venus. The telescope had an open wooden tube and a simple alt-azimuth mounting. To observe Venus the telescope does not have to assume an altitude greater than about 45 degrees. That was typical of the man's ingenuity.

His other telescopes were a very portable 4 inch Newtonian reflector that he transported in a suitcase on eclipse expeditions, a 6 inch and a 12 inch Newtonian reflector. The latter was permanently assembled on an equatorial mounting using a truck rear differential and axle for a polar axis.

Bruce was a prolific observer. His contribution to the scientific study of variable stars was invaluable. He made 15,648 observations of 393 different variable stars. The observations were acknowledged and published by the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) and the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) as well as our own Society. Bruce received the W. G. H. Tregear Award for his variable star work.

Bruce was also an alert observer, always on the lookout for anything unusual. He observed many auroral events and was the confirmation observer together with the late Jim Trainor for many comets and novae. Bruce made some detailed observations of deep sky objects and the records were recognised with a medal and referred to in a French publication.

Bruce was a loyal supporter of the VASTROC and NACAA conferences. He contributed many papers to these conferences and he presented lectures to ASV meetings on numerous occasions. Bruce was a supporter of the Great Melbourne Telescope restoration project. Only two weeks before his passing Bruce nominated himself to the list of volunteers to work on the reconstruction of the instrument.

Bruce Tregaskis will be remembered with deep respect and will be sadly missed by amateur astronomers throughout Australia.

-- Barry Adcock

13. Lake Tekapo's Dark Sky on Yahoo

See http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/as_new_zealand_embracing_the_dark -- Thanks to John Hearnshaw who passed along a note from Barry Welsh.

14. Earth Satellites Collide

In an unprecedented space collision, an operational commercial Iridium communications satellite and a defunct Russian satellite ran into each other on February 10, creating a cloud of wreckage. The satellites were at an altitude of 790 km over northern Siberia at the time. Initial radar tracking de tected some 600 pieces of debris. It was expected that the larger the debris would stay near the original orbits. The Russian spacecraft was Cosmos 2251, a communications relay station launched in June 1993 that stopped working 10 years ago.

Iridium Satellite LLC operates a constellation of some 66 satellites, along with orbital spares, to support satellite telephone operations around the world. Their satellites, which weigh about 675 kg when fully fuelled, circle in orbits tilted 86.4 degrees to the equator at an altitude of about 785 km. Ninety-five Iridium satellites were launched between 1997 and 2002. Several have failed over the years.

The U.S. STRATCOM routinely tracks about 18,000 objects in space, including satellites and debris, that are 10 cm across or larger. Three other accidental collisions have been seen, all between small objects. The International Space Station is not at any immediate danger from the collision debris. It is at an altitude of about 350 km in an orbit tilted 51.6 degrees to the equator. However, other satellites might be at risk as the debris clouds spread in area and altitude.

-- adapted from an on-line note by 'Spaceflight Now' who got it from CBS News 'Space Place'. See also http://www.cnn.com/2009/TECH/02/12/us.russia.satellite.crash/index.html

For more on the problem of space debris see http://www.economist.com/opinion/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13144943&source=hptext feature [Note line wrapping]

15. Space Robots Only

As long as people have looked up at the night sky, they have wondered whether humanity is alone in the universe. Of places close enough for people to visit, Mars is the only one that anybody seriously thinks might support life. The recent confirmation of a five-year-old finding that there is methane in the Martian atmosphere has therefore excited the hopes of exobiologists - particularly as the sources of three large plumes of the gas now seem to have been located. These sources are probably geological but they might, just, prove to be biological.

The possibility of life on Mars is too thrilling for mankind to ignore. But how should we explore such questions - with men, or machines? Since America is the biggest spender in space, its approach will heavily influence the world´s. George Bush´s administration strongly supported manned exploratio n, but the new administration is likely to have different priorities - and so it should.

Michael Griffin, the boss of American´s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), a physicist and aerospace engineer who supported Mr Bush´s plan to return to the moon and then push on to Mars, has gone. Mr Obama´s transition team had already been asking difficult questions of NASA, in particular about the cost of scrapping parts of the successor to the ageing and obsolete space shuttles that now form America´s manned space programme. That successor system is also designed to return humans to the moon by 2020, as a stepping stone to visiting Mars. Meanwhile, Mr Obama´s administration is wondering about spending more money on lots of new satellites designed to look down at the Earth, rather than outward into space.

These are sensible priorities. In space travel, as in politics, domestic policy should usually trump grandiose foreign adventures. Moreover, cash is short and space travel costly. Yet it would be a shame if man were to give up exploring celestial bodies, especially if there is a possibility of meeting life forms -- even ones as lowly as microbes -- as a result.

Luckily, technology means that man can explore both the moon and Mars more fully without going there himself. Robots are better and cheaper than they have ever been. They can work tirelessly for years, beaming back data and images, and returning samples to Earth. They can also be made sterile, which germ-infested humans, who risk spreading disease around the solar system, cannot.

Humanity, some will argue, is driven by a yearning to boldly go to places far beyond its crowded corner of the universe. If so, private efforts will surely carry people into space (though whether they should be allowed to, given the risk of contaminating distant ecosystems, is worth considering). I n the meantime, Mr Obama´s promise in his inauguration speech to "restore science to its rightful place" sounds like good news for the sort of curiosity- driven research that will allow us to find out whether those plumes of gas are signs of life.

-- From The Economist 22 January 2009, p.12.

16. Centaurus A Viewed at Submillimetre Wavelengths

Astronomers have a new insight into the active galaxy Centaurus A (NGC 5128), as the jets and lobes emanating from the central black hole have been imaged at submillimetre wavelengths for the first time. The new data, from the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile, has been combined with visible and X-ray images to produce a striking new image.

Centaurus A (NGC 5128) is the nearest giant elliptical galaxy, about 13 million light-years away. It is currently merging with a companion spiral galaxy, resulting in areas of intense star formation. This makes it one of the most spectacular objects in the sky. Cen A has a very active and highly luminous central region, caused by the presence of a super-massive black hole, and is the source of strong radio and X-ray emission.

In the image, the dust ring encircles the giant galaxy. Also seen are the fast- moving jets of electrons ejected from the galaxy centre by the super-massive black hole. In submillimetre 'light', we see not only the heat glow from the central dust disc, but also the emission from the central radio so urce. For the first time in the submillimetre range the inner radio lobes north and south of the disc are seen. Measurements of this emission from fast-moving electrons spiralling in a magnetic field, show that the jets are travelling at approximately half the speed of light. In the X-ray emission, we see the jets emerging from the centre of Cen A and, to the lower right of the galaxy, the glow where the expanding lobe collides with the surrounding gas, creating a shockwave.

APEX is a 12-metre diameter submillimetre-wavelength telescope located on the 5000 m high plateau of Chajnantor in the Chilean Atacama region. It is a collaboration between the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy, the Onsala Space Observatory and the European Southern Observatory. The telescope is based on a prototype antenna constructed for the next generation Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) project.

Text and high-resolution images: http://www.eso.org/public/outreach/press-rel/pr-2009/pr-03-09.html

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

17. Astronomical Spectrographs and Their History

Cambridge University Press this month published "Astronomical Spectrographs and Their History" by John Hearnshaw.

This book is the third in an excellent series tracing the historical development of photometry and spectroscopy, closely referenced to original material. The first two books The Analysis of Starlight, (1986) and The Measurement of Starlight (1996) are comprehensive, authoritative and elegantly written. They are a wonderful resource for both amateur and professional and, like all good reference books, are packed with such fascinating detail, that a minor check leads to the loss of several hours! The first book is out of print and now sold on Amazon for vast sums when a second hand copy becomes available. Don't miss out on this one!!

http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521882576 ISBN-13: 9780521882576

-- Marilyn Head

18. Book & Movie Celebrates the Telescope

One of the International Astronomical Union's contributions to the International Year of Astronomy 2009 is the new book and movie "Eyes on the Skies - 400 Years of Telescopic Discovery", telling the fascinating story of the telescope from its invention to the modern day.

Undoubtedly the telescope has done the most to change the way we think about our Universe. Yet it is now so familiar that we take it for granted. However, four hundred years ago when Galileo first turned his homemade arrangement of magnifying glasses to the skies, and realised that Earth was not unique as had been thought, his discovery rocked the scientific world and changed our understanding of the Universe forever.

With the aim of bringing astronomy to the homes of people around the globe, the International Astronomical Union (IAU), in collaboration with Wiley VCH, The European Southern Observatory and the European Space Agency/Hubble, has produced the Eyes on the Skies - 400 Years of Telescopic Discovery book and 60-minute DVD documentary. The movie is presented by Dr. J (aka Dr. Joe Liske) from the European Southern Observatory, host of the popular Hubblecast and ESOcast video podcasts. The book and movie is written by Dutch science journalist Govert Schilling and astronomer Lars Lindberg Christensen.

Through words and a wealth of stunning photographs, computer animations and illustrations, they tell the fascinating story of the telescope from its invention in the early 1600s to the high-tech telescopes of the near future with "eyes as large as swimming pools". We discover how humanity's curiosity and knowledge has led to the production of larger and better telescopes allowing astronomers to uncover a host of planets and galaxies while reminding us that our view of the Universe and our place in it is still, to some extent, a mystery.

-- condensed from IAU release http://www.iau.org/public_press/news/release/iau0903/ forwarded by Karen Pollard.

19. 16-inch Mirrors for Sale

Matthew Lovell of Telescopes and Astronomy writes: We are gathering numbers for those who wish to purchase a completed 16-inch BK7 F4.5 Mirror. Great for those who want to build a 16-inch Binocular Telescope! At the current exchange rate the price will be $1900AUD plus any postage. These mirrors test up quite accurately, and are used in many pop ular telescopes of their size. Please email for more information. Matthew Lovell, Telescopes and Astronomy, PO Box 292, O'Halloran Hill, SA 5158, Australia. Phone: +61 8 8381 3188; Fax: +61 8 8381 3588; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website: http://www.telescopes-astronomy.com.au

20. Union Optics

This is adapted from a spam email: Union Optics is a large optical company in China. We mainly produce all kinds of high quality optical components such as prisms, achromatic lenses, spherical lenses, cylindrical lenses, windows, filters, aspherical mirrors, etc. And of crystals such as MgF2, CaF2, BaF2, ZnSe, Sapphire, YAG, etc.

We usually make them according to the requests from customers. If you want high quality, low price and on-time delivery then contact Angus at the Sales Department of Union Optics Co., Ltd. Tel: +86 371 6111 0195 Fax: +86 371 6606 9128; Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Website: www.unionoptics.com or www.unionoptics.net

21. 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..

22. Lightbulbs.Yahoo

David Brock passed this along to the nzastronomers group.

This has nothing to do with the subject at hand, but it's the way most yahoo groups work. I first saw this on the Allen Organ group, just cross out lightbulb and replace it with Meade, tripod, lens, your favourite and start posting.

How many list members does it take to change a lightbulb? One to change the light bulb and to post that the lightbulb has been changed. Fourteen to share similar experiences of changing lightbulbs and how the light bulb could have been changed differently. Seven to caution about the dangers of changing light bulbs. Seven more to point out spelling/grammar errors in posts about changing light bulbs. Five to flame the spell checkers. Three to correct spelling/grammar of flames. Six to argue over whether it's "lightbulb" or "light bulb" ... Another six to condemn those six as stupid. Fifteen to claim experience in the lighting industry and give the correct spelling. Nineteen to post that this group is not about light bulbs and to please take this discussion to a lightbulb (or light bulb) forum. Eleven to defend the posting to the group saying that we all use light bulbs and therefore the posts are relevant to this group. Thirty six to debate which method of changing light bulbs is superior, where to buy the best light bulbs, what brand of light bulbs work best for this technique and what brands are faulty. Seven to post URLs where one can see examples of different light bulbs. Four to post that the URLs were posted incorrectly and then post the corrected URL. Three to post about links they found from the URLs that are relevant to this group which makes light bulbs relevant to this group. Thirteen to link all posts to date, quote them in their entirety including all headers & signatures, and add "Me too." Five to post to the group that they will no longer post because they cannot handle the light bulb controversy. Four to say "didn't we go through this already a short time ago?" Thirteen to say "do a Google search on light bulbs before posting questions about light bulbs." Three to tell a funny story about their cat and a light bulb. AND One group lurker to respond to the original post 6 months from now with something unrelated they found at snopes.com and start it all over again!

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