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Ordinary Meeting: 3rd July 2015

Friday 3rd July 2015 - 8:00pm
Topic:   Three Astronomical Talks for the price of one:
1. Explaining Late-18th Century Visual Observations of the Phases and  the Mountains of Venus.
2. Observation and Frequency of the Aurora Australis in New South Wales
3. The New Sydney Observatory East Dome Speaker:  Andrew James, ASNSW
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
1. The first talk is an extension of my formal published “Overview” paper in the RASNZ “Southern Stars” in March 2003, which I have greatly extended. In the last few months, I have obtained some of Schroter’s original publication and drawings (which is in German, and now translated.) 
A final paper should be published this year in the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage (JAHH), being twice the length of the earlier paper. Those attending might like to read my summary article; “Johann Schroter, William Herschel and the Mountains of Venus: Overview”, which is available on-line at my ‘Southern Astronomical Delights’ website, at Although this discusses some issues with this topic, the presentation is about 80% new material.

2. The second talk is a slow twenty-five year work of mine in collecting information of past aurora observations, which is aiming to look for the rough expected frequency of the Aurora Australis and the relationship to the 11.3 year long sunspot cycle. I have now uncovered thirty-six separate events between 1820 and 2015, having various observations and visual information. Highlighted are the extraordinary series of aurorae in 1859-60, including the effects of the famous Carrington event of the 1st-2nd September 1859. Others include the bright aurorae (some in series) seen in November 1870, 1872, 1880, 1894, 1909, 1921, 1947, 1982, 1990 and 2002-3. Especially noted is the last bright auroral events that occurred on 17th-20th March 2015 and the latest of 10th-11th April 2015. (Being today when I write this!) I conclude on how to observe and photograph aurora, how to get relevant activity and space weather information, to learn of the likelihood of seeing active aurorae.

3. The third talk is about on the creation of the East Dome at Sydney Observatory, and my general role as a consultant on it design and disability access. There were some interesting issues with the design, which are relevant for amateur astronomy and construction of modern observatories. This building now also has an attached historical display of the old Melbourne Astrographic Telescope, which has its importance in history. Highlighted is my project on the open star cluster Jewel Box / NGC 4755 in Crux, with its long interesting association with Sydney Observatory. All three presentations have a couple of short two to three minute videos that I have recently created, plus plenty of pictures in PowerPoint presentations.

Andrew James is a long-time member of ASNSW and is currently the Deep Sky and Planetary Nebulae Section Leader and ASNSW Public Officer.
Event Date: 
Friday, 3 July, 2015 - 20:00
Epping Creative Centre, 26 Stanley Road, Epping NSW

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