RASNZ Electronic Newsletter October 2016

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. The latest issue is below.

Email Newsletter Number 190

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.


1. About Those Two Trillion New Galaxies.
2. Foxton Beach Astrophotography Weekend 25-27 November
3. Rosetta Mission Ends
4. The Solar System in November
5. Norman Dickie's Hundredth
6. PhD Scholarships in Astrophysics
7. Variable Star Notes
8. Mercury Still Tectonically Active
9. Trace Gas Orbiter Reaches Mars
10. Prototype Observation Planning Calendar
11. Astronomy Guide Sought
12. How to Join the RASNZ
13. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
14. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund

1. About Those Two Trillion New Galaxies

A week or so back a news item announced that a new counting of galaxies estimated that there were two trillion of them. (That's 2 x 12^12 galaxies.) This led to an erroneous multiplication to the number of stars existing. Alan McRobert of Sky & Telescope corrected the hype in the article below.

NASA, the European Space Agency, and others issued press releases on October 13 announcing a new analysis of multi-instrument censuses of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. A team led by Christopher Conselice (University of Nottingham, UK) sorted galaxies by their brightnesses and estimated redshifts to create a 3D model of which ones are at different distances and hence cosmic ages. Their study provides a better look at galaxy evolution over time, and estimates how many galaxies are too faint and far to see.

According to one press release, the team found that 10 times as many galaxies were packed into a given [co-moving] volume of space in the early universe [as are] found today. Most of these galaxies were relatively small and faint, with masses similar to those of the satellite galaxies surrounding the Milky Way. As they merged to form larger galaxies, the population density of galaxies in space dwindled. This means that galaxies are not evenly distributed throughout the universe's history.

Hardly a surprise. We already knew galaxies grow in part by merging, so there will be more, little galaxies in the past and fewer, bigger galaxies in the present day.

The press release explains that the team used new mathematical models which allowed them to infer the existence of galaxies that the current generation of telescopes cannot observe. This led to the surprising conclusion that in order for the numbers of galaxies we now see and their masses to add up, there must be a further 90 percent of galaxies in the observable universe that are too faint and too far away to be seen with present-day telescopes. These myriad small faint galaxies from the early universe merged over time into the larger galaxies we can now observe.

Again, this picture isn't news - it's just an observational confirmation of the old picture. Astronomers have known for years that, following the Big Bang, the first galaxies to form were very small and numerous compared to those today. Galaxy history since then has been all about mergers and acquisitions. The original tiny ones have been falling together to form big ones many thousands of times more massive. Some primitive dwarf galaxies are still drifting around as leftovers. Some of these are occasionally adding themselves to big galaxies, though at a much slower rate than in the past.

All these observations increasingly match the picture that's predicted by the current overarching model of cosmology, known in the trade as Lambda-CDM. This model assumes a remarkably simple Big Bang, spawned according to inflation theory, and then lets physics run from there. It has been an extremely successful match to the observed universe throughout cosmic history - all the way from evidence we can glean about the instants after the Big Bang, through cosmic evolution ever since, up to the present universe around us.

So what's new from this study? We get a better grasp on those early, unseen dwarf galaxies - the model's building blocks for today's galaxies. That's an achievement; dwarf galaxies are pretty darn elusive. The Lambda-CDM model predicts many more of them than easily meet the eye, and astronomers have been finding the missing ones only slowly. Few doubt that they're out there in one form or another. Now we have a more solid handle on them.

But How Much Galaxy is Two Trillion Galaxies? Up to now, astronomers usually said we know of about 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe (meaning out to our event horizon, a look-back time of 13.8 billion years). Now the number can be said to be about 2 trillion, with the caveat that this estimate doesn't go back a full 13.8 billion years, it's 600 million years short. (Not many galaxies could have formed before then.) The only reason the number is 10 times bigger now is that you can legitimately include more of those littlest early building blocks; they're no longer so theoretical. The total amount of stuff - stars and gas - hasn't changed.

So no, we do not "also have to update the number of stars in the observable universe, which now numbers around 700 sextillion," as some uninformed science writers are saying. That's what they get for taking press-release hype literally.

The Lambda-CDM model predicts that the earliest clumps that formed in the smooth material after the Big Bang should have averaged about a million solar masses each (dark matter and normal matter combined). That's about the mass of a typical globular cluster today, and a millionth the total mass of the Milky Way. That's the mass down to which Conselice's team ran their extrapolations to come up with their count.

Here's their research paper. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1607.03909v2.pdf

See Alan McRobert's article with pictures at http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/universe-2-trillion-galaxies/

2. Foxton Beach Astrophotography Weekend 25-27 November

The Horowhenua Astronomical Society is hosting the fourth New Zealand Astrophotography Weekend at the Foxton Beach Bible Camp. This is an annual event dedicated to astrophotography in a wonderful dark-sky location. It is open to everyone interested in astrophotography - from beginners to advanced. Come along and share your knowledge, tips and experiences. All sorts of astrophotography can be undertaken - solar- system/nightscapes/deep-sky.

The weekend will consist of: practical astrophotography, image processing, presentations, bring-and-buy. Everyone is encouraged to bring along their own telescopes, binoculars, mounts, cameras, etc, however basic they might be. There are plenty of safe areas for people to set up their equipment and leave it in situ for the whole weekend.

Due to high demand numbers will be restricted so please book early to avoid disappointment.

For registration, accommodation options, etc, see http://www.horoastronomy.org.nz/upcoming-events/astrophotography-weekend

-- From the above website.

3. Rosetta Mission Ends

The European Space Agency's (ESA's) Rosetta spacecraft was crashed onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 30 September 2016 (Europe time). Confirmation of the end of the mission arrived at ESA's European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany, with the loss of signal upon impact.

The final descent gave Rosetta the opportunity to study the comet's gas, dust and plasma environment very close to its surface, as well as take very high-resolution images. The final image was taken from an altitude of 20 meters above the comet's surface by the spacecraft's OSIRIS wide-angle camera. The image scale is about 5 mm per pixel. The image measures about 2.4 metres across. See it at the link below.

The decision to end the mission on the surface is a result of Rosetta and the comet heading out beyond the orbit of Jupiter again. Farther from the sun than Rosetta had ever journeyed before, there would be little power to operate the craft. Mission operators were also faced with an imminent month-long period when the sun is close to the line- of-sight between Earth and Rosetta, meaning communications with the craft would have become increasingly more difficult.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission was launched in 2004 and arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014. It is the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet and escort it as it orbits the sun. On 4 November 2014, a smaller lander name Philae, which had been deployed from the Rosetta mothership, touched down on the comet and bounced several times before finally alighting on the surface. Philae obtained the first images taken from a comet's surface and sent back valuable scientific data for several days.

Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the sun and its planets formed. Rosetta is the first spacecraft to witness at close proximity how a comet changes as it is subjected to the increasing intensity of the sun's radiation. Observations will help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of our solar system and the role comets may have played in the formation of planets.

See the full press release with pictures at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2016-251

-- Forwarded by Karen Pollard.

4. The Solar System in November

Dates and times shown are NZDT (UT + 13 hours).

Rise and set times are for Wellington. They will vary by a few minutes elsewhere in NZ.

Sunrise, sunset and twilight times in November

                          November  1  NZDT             November 30 NZDT
                  morning  evening              morning  evening
       SUN: rise: 6.05am,  set: 8.04pm     rise: 5.40am,  set: 8.39pm
Civil:    starts: 5.38am, ends: 8.32pm   starts: 5.10am, ends: 9.10pm
Nautical: starts: 5.02am, ends: 9.08pm   starts: 4.29am, ends: 9.51pm
Astro:    starts: 4.22am, ends: 9.48pm   starts: 3.41am, ends:10.39pm

October phases of the moon (times as shown by guide)

          First quarter: November  8 at  8.51 am (Nov  7, 19:51 UT)
  Full moon:     November 15 at  2.52 am (Nov 14, 13:52 UT)
  Last quarter   November 21 at  9.33 pm ( 8:33 UT)
  New moon:      November 30 at  1.18 am (Nov 29, 12:18 UT)

The planets in November 2016

Mercury will be visible, low, early evening near the end of November while brilliant Venus will be easily visible until late evening all month. Mars will be even better placed. Saturn starts the month close to Venus but slips lower in the sky during November to disappear into the evening twilight by the end of the month. Meanwhile Jupiter moves up into the morning sky.

MERCURY is an evening object during November. Having been at superior conjunction with the Sun on the 28th, the planet will set less than 15 minutes after the Sun at the beginning of the month, making it unobservable. By the month´s end the time difference will have increased to an hour and three-quarters. Thus towards the end of November the planet, at magnitude -0.5, should be visible once the sky is sufficiently dark. Look for it very low to the southwest in the direction of the set Sun.

VENUS, by contrast to Mercury, will be visible all evening, not setting until almost midnight by the end of the month. During November Venus moves across Ophiuchus, passing close to theta Oph, magnitude 3.2, on the 5th. The planet moves into Sagittarius on the 9th. On the 17th it will be within 20 arc-minutes of lambda Sgr, mag 2.8 and on the 23rd less than a degree from Nunki, sigma Sgr. At magnitude 2.1, Nunki is the brightest star in the handle of the "teapot".

At the beginning of November, Venus will be a few degrees above Saturn. The crescent moon joins the pair on the 3rd. The moon will be at about the same altitude as Saturn, with Venus some 5 degrees above them.

MARS will be higher than Venus in the evening sky setting just before 2 am on the 1st and just after 1 am on the 30th. The planet starts November in Sagittarius, close to the position Venus will occupy at the end of the month. During November, Mars will move into Capricornus on the 8th and be well across the constellation by the 30th.

Mars dims slightly during November, from magnitude 0.4 to 0.6 as the Earth moves further from the plant. On the 6th, the moon, as a thick crescent, will be 6 degrees below Mars.

SATURN will remain in Ophiuchus all month. At the beginning of November it will set nearly 3 hours after the Sun, so remaining easily visible with an altitude of 18 degrees at the end of nautical twilight. By the end of November, Saturn will set 37 minutes after the Sun, only 6 minutes after the end of civil twilight, so making it very difficult to see.

JUPITER is the only one of the naked eye planets in the November morning sky. It rises an hour before the Sun on the 1st, 2 hours and 20 minutes before it on the 30th. The planet is in Virgo all month, by the end of November it will be 8 degrees from Spica, at mag 1.1 the brightest star in the constellation.

On the morning of the 25th the crescent moon will be 5.5 deg to the left of Jupiter. The following morning the moon, showing a rather thinner crescent, will be 6.5 degrees from Spica.

Outer Planets

URANUS, at magnitude 5.7, remains in Pisces and is observable all evening. By the 30th Uranus will set 2 hours before sunrise. On the evening of the 12th the near full moon will be 2 degrees above the planet.

NEPTUNE is in Aquarius at magnitude 7.9 throughout November. It sets about 4 am on the 1st, and 2 am by the end of November. On the night of November 9/10 the planet will be occulted by the moon an event visible from most of Scandinavia and a large part of Russia. From NZ the moon will be 2 degrees below Neptune as seen in the early morning sky of the 10th.

PLUTO at magnitude 14.4 to 14.5 continues in Sagittarius as an early evening object, setting about 1 am on the 1st and 11.15 pm on the 30th. On November 5 the crescent moon will be 3.5 degrees from Pluto, with the planet itself half the moon´s diameter from the 3.7 magnitude star omega Sgr.

Minor Planets

(1) CERES is in Cetus during November with its magnitude fading from 7.6 to 8.1. Ceres is about 11 degrees from Uranus and, on the 12th, 10 degrees from the moon.

(18) MELPOMENE is also in Cetus between 7 and 8 degrees from Ceres. The asteroid, diameter 148 km, fades from magnitude 8.1 to 8.8 during November. Melpomene is on the opposite side of Ceres to Uranus.

Both Ceres and Melpomene are visible all evening not setting until well after midnight.

(4) VESTA is in Cancer throughout November rising about 2am on the 1st and shortly after midnight on the 30th. Its magnitude brightens from 7.9 to 7.4 during the month. Vesta´s path in Cancer will take it towards M44, the Beehive cluster. On the 30th it will be 2 degrees from M44 but it is then stationary. Subsequently it will move away again from the cluster during December.

-- Brian Loader

5. Norman Dickie's Hundredth

Bob Evans reported to nzastronomers: "Last Saturday I and a number of amateur astronomers from around the country; particularly Dunedin and Christchurch, gathered in Gore before driving the short distance to Norman Dickie's old farm to celebrate his 100th birthday. Together with his family and other friends there were over 100 present; many of them nonagenarians.

Here is a link to a short interview with Norman: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/84719956/100-year-old-man-remembers-an-event-97-years-ago

Incidentally, the Southland Times called him a Centurian, rather than a Centenarian! Big heading on the front page too."

Extracts from the Stuff article. {Norman] looks back fondly on a life well lived; he was married to the late Gladys Dickie [nee Mackay] for 48 years, had two sons who live with him at his Gore home and has enjoyed many decades involvement in astronomy. Astronomy has played a big part in his life.

A member of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand for more than 70 years, the single biggest highlight of his life was going to Northland to witness an eclipse of the sun in 1965. "There was a magnificent halo around the sun, it was a beautiful thing."

6. PhD Scholarships in Astrophysics

University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba or Springfield, Queensland, Australia. Applications for 2017 are open until Monday 31st October 2016

The University of Southern Queensland (USQ) welcomes PhD scholarship applications from Australian and international students to work with us in the Astrophysics Group, a dynamic and friendly team within USQ´s Computational Engineering and Science Research Centre.

PhD scholarships are available for domestic (Australian citizen or permanent resident, or New Zealand citizens) and international students. Domestic students are typically allocated a Research Training Scheme (RTS) place that covers the payment of tuition fees. In addition domestic scholarship students will receive a living allowance of AUD$30,000 per annum. International scholarship students will have their tuition fees paid for by USQ for a period of 3 years, and receive a living allowance ranging from AUD$20,000 to AUD$30,000 per annum. Research student professional development is strongly supported through USQ´s ReDTrain program, and an active role in the professional support and development offered by the Astronomical Society of Australia is encouraged and assisted.

For more information please visit our website http://astrophysics.usq.edu.au and contact us: Jonti Horner (Toowoomba campus) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Brad Carter (Springfield campus) This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

-- Abridged from the advertisement circulated by the Astronomical Society of Australia.

7. Variable Star Notes

Newsletter The October Variable Stars South Newsletter will be out shortly. Some of the articles of general interest are Stellar Detective Part II by Tom Richards, Super Outburst of VW Hydrii by Stan Walker and Long Period Variables, including CE Puppis, also by Stan. The newsletter will be posted on the website http://www.variablestarssouth.org/ soon, and available at least by the end of the month.

Asteroid Monitoring Through Phil Evans, the VSS Newsletter Editor, there has been a request from a professional astronomer at the Pulkova Institute in St Petersburg for assistance with monitoring asteroids now visible in the southern hemisphere. Although limited by wet weather and high winds, Carl Knight in Manawatu has been undertaking some observations of these objects. One is 2121 Sevastopol (abs mag 12.3) a main belt binary asteroid. The accompanying moon was discovered in 2010 and orbits the primary at a distance of 26 km. Carl is also following 4963 Kanroku (abs mag 12.4).

-- Alan Baldwin

8. Mercury Still Tectonically Active

Images acquired by NASA's MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft show geologic features that indicate Mercury is likely still contracting today, joining Earth as a tectonically active planet in our solar system.

Previously undetected small fault scarps were observed in images collected during the MESSENGER mission's final 18 months in orbit around Mercury, according to a new paper in Nature Geoscience [http://www.nature.com/ngeo/index.html]. During these last months of the mission, the spacecraft's altitude was lowered allowing the surface to be imaged at higher resolutions than ever before possible.

The small-scale thrust fault scarps are orders of magnitude smaller than larger scarps previously known to exist on the surface of Mercury. They are only a few km in length and tens of metres of relief. Steady meteoroid bombardment quickly degrades and destroys structures this small, indicating that they must have formed relatively recently. They are comparable in size to very young fault scarps identified on the lunar surface attributed to shrinking of the Moon.

Fault scarps appear as cliff-like landforms. Larger, older scarps were identified in both MESSENGER and Mariner 10 images and are evidence of the global contraction of Mercury as its interior cooled causing the crust to shrink. The young age of the small scarps means that Mercury joins Earth as a tectonically active planet with new faults likely forming today as Mercury's interior continues to cool.

Active faulting, paired with evidence for ancient faulting and also the recent discovery by that Mercury's global magnetic field was present billions of years ago, offer consistent support for long-lived slow cooling of Mercury's still hot outer core.

Slip along thrust faults associated with small lunar scarps is possibly connected with shallow moonquakes detected by seismometers deployed during the Apollo missions. Some of these moonquakes reached magnitudes of near 5 on the Richter scale. Seismometers deployed on Mercury in future missions would likely detect Mercury-quakes associated with ongoing slip events on small faults and reactivated older large faults.

See the full Planetary Science Institute (PSI) press releases at http://www.psi.edu/news/mercurytectonics2 http://www.psi.edu/news/mercuryscarps

-- From a PSI press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

9. Trace Gas Orbiter Reaches Mars

The Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) of the European Space Agency's (ESA´s) ExoMars 2016 entered an elliptical orbit around Mars this morning NZ time. Contact has not yet been confirmed with the mission´s test lander from the surface.

The Entry, Descent & Landing Demonstrator Module (EDM), Schiaparelli, entered the Martian atmosphere some 107 minutes after TGO started its own orbit insertion manoeuvre.

The 577-kg Schiaparelli lander was programmed to autonomously perform an automated landing sequence, with parachute deployment and front heat shield release between 11 and 7 km, followed by a retrorocket braking starting at 1100 metres from the ground, and a final fall from a height of 2 metres protected by a crushable structure.

Prior to atmospheric entry at 14:42 UT (3:42 a.m. NZDT), contact via the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT), the world´s largest interferometric array, located near Pune, India, was established just after it began transmitting a beacon signal 75 minutes before reaching the upper layers of the Martian atmosphere. However, the signal was lost some time prior to landing.

If Schiaparelli reached the surface safely, its batteries should be able to support operations for three to ten days, offering multiple opportunities to re-establish a communication link.

The TGO is equipped with a suite of science instruments to study the Martian environment from orbit. Although mostly a technology demonstrator, Schiaparelli is also carrying a small science payload to perform some observations from ground.

High overhead, NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will collect Schiaparelli telemetry data 1½ hours after landing, while the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter remains out of range on its initial 4 sol-long

ExoMars 2016 is the first part of a two-fold international endeavour conducted by ESA in cooperation with Roskosmos in Russia that will also encompass the ExoMars 2020 mission. Due in 2020, the second ExoMars mission will include a Russian lander and a European rover, which will drill down to 2 m underground to look for pristine organic material.

-- Extracted from http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/ExoMars/ExoMars_TGO_reaches_Mars_orbit_while_EDM_situation_under_assessment and from http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-blogs/astronomy-space-david-dickinson/schiaparelli-lander-mars/

10. Prototype Observation Planning Calendar

An ordinary calendar usually shows only the dates for four points in the phases of the moon. Could an alternative calendar design be useful for an astronomer contemplating what to observe during the month?

This question gave rise to the prototype `Observation Planning Calendar´ that can be downloaded from http://taylfin.com/cal.png . The intention was to graphically demonstrate several useful pieces of information: sunset and sunrise times; the hours of astronomical darkness; the phase of the moon and its rise and set times; and what parts of the sky are visible.

The traditional calendar is organised into a tabular form with a row per week. As weeks have little practical meaning for astronomers, and to convey the required information graphically, a more linear design was called for. Each day is represented by a row, although the row is centred on the midnight of each evening so each row has a different date identified at each end. The rows have hours within the evening marked off horizontally, and the daylight hours are largely dispensed with for spacial reasons.

To represent sunset, sunrise and astronomical darkness each day, a band of graduated greys shows the twilight period as it changes through the month, before a deep black wedge shows the times when the sun is more than 18° below the horizon.

A white line is drawn across the chart when the moon is up. The thickness of the line is directly proportional to the phase of the moon (also indicated to the left of each row). The line curves down to meet the bottom of the row to indicate the rise and/or set time for the moon. It becomes easy to see how dominant the moon will be on any particular evening, which may drive decisions for the sort of astronomy that could be performed.

Constellations and asterisms have dotted lines drawn on the chart, angling across as the month progresses. This shows the point when the constellation crosses the meridian. Looking at the constellations that cross the meridian earlier and later gives the astronomer a good mental picture of what is in the sky and when during a particular evening. Some of the constellations that cross the meridian during daylight hours are still shown, as they may still be up but at lower altitudes during the evening, and depicting these helps provide a more complete picture to the astronomer.

On the right of the chart are two columns containing objects that may be of observational interest. The intention of these is to suggest a number of objects in different parts of the sky that can act as prompts for observations. They could be very familiar, which serves to add to the astronomer´s mental picture of what else will be visible nearby, or they may be less frequently considered and prompt consideration for making observations. Besides these justifications for inclusion, different cut-offs may be used for different columns. The Visual observation column is intended for demonstration and outreach purposes, and so objects that are visible for a couple of hours after astronomical darkness starts and interesting to a general audience are required. The Astrophotography column can include faint fuzzies that aren´t suitable for visual observation and need to be high in the sky for a reasonable period of time; the objects depicted in this case are above 30° for at least three hours. For each identified object, the vertical line indicates which days they are visible.

This sort of chart is specific to a location, as the sunrise and sunset times change with latitude, and the objects visible during the evening will change with longitude. This implies that the calendar design is not well suited to large-scale production and marketing internationally. Given the size of the market of serious astronomers in any one location, there isn´t likely to ever be a commercial reason to generate a calendar like this. It could supplement the information already on the In The Sky page of the RASNZ website. This calendar could be a report generated by planetarium software such as Stellarium, The Sky X, Sky Safari, etc. In generating the report, astronomers could pick from groups of observational objects to include in the report, so instead of showing Visual and Astrophotography columns, they could pick from options such as Doubles, Variables, Messier objects, Transients (comets, eclipses, meteor showers etc.), Nebulae, Globular Clusters, Galaxies and so on. They could modify the constraints that will include or exclude objects from the selection, such as magnitude, acceptable horizon altitude and time above the horizon threshold. The astronomer could build their own list of targets they want to collect, and then be informed when these are visible.

Comments and feedback on this calendar concept are invited, and the designer invites you to contact him by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

-- Jeremy Taylor.

11. Astronomy Guide Sought

Tekapo Stargazing is a new star gazing venture operating out of Tekapo Springs. We are offering a unique audio visual star gazing experience for our customers whilst utilizing the hot pools and telescopes at our existing facilities situated on the shores of Lake Tekapo.

We are looking for experienced and knowledgeable English speaking star guides who enjoy working with the public and have a passion for astronomy. You would have a degree in a closely related field or have a high level of astronomy knowledge.

Essential skills and attributes: Great customer service and people skills, the ability to lead; entertain and educate customers; have used an astronomical telescope; can take responsibility, make decisions and follow through with action; a sense of passion for astronomy and entertaining people; reliable, punctual and well presented.

This role entails managing and guiding groups of up to 20 persons at one time, educating and entertaining these groups and ensuring they have an unforgettable night sky experience.

Guides will utilise green laser pointers to point out night sky features and utilise high end telescopes to get our customers closer to what the night sky holds. Star Gazing Tours are run at night so guides must be happy to work evenings through night shift.

If you have a passion for astronomy, enjoy the feel of a small alpine tourist village and love the outdoors, then this role presents a great opportunity.

All Tekapo Star Gazing staff receive access to all Tekapo Springs facilities and a ski seasons pass too Round Hill Ski Area over the winter season if they are employed during the winter months.

Applicants must be fluent English speaking and have NZ residency or citizenship.

Please email a CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. With current contactable referees. Applications close 20th November 2016.

12. How to Join the RASNZ

RASNZ membership is open to all individuals with an interest in astronomy in New Zealand. Information about the society and its objects can be found at http://rasnz.org.nz/rasnz/membership-benefits A membership form can be either obtained from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by completing the online application form found at http://rasnz.org.nz/rasnz/membership-application Basic membership for the 2016 year starts at $40 for an ordinary member, which includes an electronic subscription to our journal 'Southern Stars'.

13. 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., Nichola van der Aa, 32A Louvain Street, Whakatane 3120.

14. 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. Applications are now invited for grants from the Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund. The application should reach the Secretary by 1 November 2016. 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. Nichola van der Aa, 32A Louvain Street, Whakatane 3120.


"If, then, a man knows accurately the movements of all the stars, the Sun, and the Moon, so that neither the place nor the time of any of their configurations escapes his notice, ...Why can he not, too, with respect to an individual man, perceived the general quality of his temperament from the ambient at the time of his birth?" -- Claudius Ptolemy quoted in a good article on the history of astrology in National Geographic 'History' Sept.-Oct.

"I don't believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius and we're very sceptical." - Warren Tantum.

"After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say 'I want to see the manager'" -- William S. Burroughs.

Newsletter editor:

Alan Gilmore Phone: 03 680 6817
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