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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Earth Hour: March 28, 8:30 PM


Earth Hour is a global environmental movement of WWF that mobilises hundreds of millions of people to make a difference for the planet. Its core vision is to create environmental impact by utilising the power of the crowd. Every March, Earth Hour celebrates the symbolic “lights off ” hour which has grown from a one city initiative to a mass global event involving more than 162 countries and 7000 cities and towns. The movement is collectively supported by millions of individuals, organisations and governments. In 2014, Earth Hour embarked on the most exciting stage of its evolution to be at the forefront of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing for the planet, called Earth Hour Blue. Together we can turn the inspiration of one hour into the actions of every hour.

Earth Hour began seven years ago in Sydney, Australia, out of a hope that people could make a stand against climate change. The hour of inspiration would be a moment where people can gather together to protect the planet regardless of age, gender, culture or religion. Little did they know that it would kick start a global revolution for people to take action on climate change, or that the act of turning off our lights for an hour would become an iconic symbol of people’s concern to protect the planet. As of 2014, it has grown to become the world’s largest mass participation event in history. However, Earth Hour was not created to just switch off the lights. It is part of a three part process:

Stage 1: Bring people together through a symbolic hour long event.

Stage 2: Galvanize people into taking action beyond the hour

Stage 3: Create an interconnected global community sharing the mutual goal of creating a sustainable future for the planet.

Check out the official Earth Hour website at:

Observatory Update: 26 February

Charles installed the battens on the siding on the south roof gable on Thursday, 26 Feb.

26 Feb: Charles installs the battens on the south gable

26 Feb: Charles installs the battens on the south gable

March Astro Cafe: 20 March 2015

Astro Cafe

Astro Cafe

Our Astro Cafe for March will be at Davis Bay on March 20 at 7:30. This is an hour earlier than in the past because the store changed their closing time to 9 PM. Meet our members at Pier 17 followed by a viewing of the skies with our telescopes (weather permitting).

Binocular Sub Group Report: 21 February

James MacWilliam

James MacWilliam

Hi Starchasers

Saturday’s Airport observing saw near perfect conditions – I could have rated them ‘perfect’ but my fingers were frozen to my Bino’s (binoculars).

When we setup, The Pleiades was rising in the East and when we departed some five hours later it was setting in the West.

I found the 10×50 Bino’s ideal for sweeping up objects like The Andromeda Galaxy and The Comet
I finally understand why The Galactic Clusters in Auriga (M36, M37, M38) are called ‘Galactic Clusters’ – in wide bino’s FOV (field of view) that’s exactly what they look like.
In fact M81 and M82 which are near the edge of visibility in my 10×50’s look just like the Auriga Clusters at 10x power.

Scott took a closer look at these objects with the 15×70’s on a tripod and Neil gave us some close up views of The Whale Galaxy and M13 Globular Cluster in Hercules in the Big Dob.

The highlight for me was looking for and finding Kemble’s Cascade – which has now been renamed (after some doughnut munching communication issues in the dark) to ‘Campbell’s Cascade’ – that familiar Scottish Cluster!  In the wide bino FOV this is a striking sight, like water splashing down an invisible heavenly staircase.

Just behind that in spectacle was ‘The Engagement Ring’.  I have seen this on Astrophotos but normally telescopic views are too narrow field to show it. It is a string of stars joined together by The North Star Polaris which forms the Diamond in ‘The Diamond Ring’. A striking sight in wide field bino’s.

Another object of note is ‘The Big S’ in Orion. Its a lazy string of stars that join Mintaka (the rightmost star in Orion’s Belt) with Alnilam (the middle star in the belt). You need a wide FOV to see this.

Gary Seronik’s ‘Binocular Highlights’ proved superb for finding objects – he plots them all on an easy finder chart at the front of the book.

Friday’s Astro-Cafe proved a nice warm up for the main feast of Stars on Saturday night.

Next outing – come early to make sure we have room at the observing site.

Clear skies!

James MacWilliam
RASC Sunshine Coast Centre

Lovejoy Update

Lovejoy 22 February

Lovejoy 22 February

Comet Lovejoy c2014/Q2 continues to impress. On Sunday night I tracked it for 2 hours taking a series of 7 second exposures on my Mallincam. Each image was separated by 2 minutes. I then stacked the 60 images using the comet as the reference. The result showing the star trails around a nice comet core is attached.

Mike Bradley

Observatory Update: 23 February

On 23 February Adrian went up to the observatory to do work on the flashing and cladding on the south side of the observatory.

start on the cladding and flashing on the south side of the observatory

start on the cladding and flashing on the south side of the observatory

Observatory Update: 15 February, 2015

Today Adrian and Charles installed the siding on the North gable end of the roof structure and installed “dams” on the roof rails to keep water from running into the observatory building.

N gable end siding completed, 15 February

N gable end siding completed, 15 February