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Ordinary Meetings and AGM

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The ASNSW holds meetings in most months, on Friday evenings nearest Full Moon. The meetings will have a guest speaker who is a professional astronomer or other qualified specialist, discussing leading-edge developments in astronomy or members may offer presentations of a varied nature (general interest or recent activities). Each year, the Annual General Meeting is held in August. The Astroimaging Section meets separately, with meeting information on the Astroimaging & Committee Meetings page. Meetings are held at the Epping Creative Centre - details here

Notes to guest speakers: Our meeting hall is equipped with a data projector (VGA and HDMI connections available) and projection screen. Loud-speakers can also be set up if sound is required, though sound should come to the projector through an HDMI connection. In line with our Anti-Discrimination and Harassment Policy, we have to stipulate that your presentation should not include any content that may cause offence to anyone in the audience. Details of the policy are available on our website here: http://www.asnsw.com/node/963#policies

List of Past Speakers

Forthcoming Meetings
  | March 2019 | April 2019 | May 2019 | June 2019 | July 2019 | August 2019 | September 2019 | October 2019 | November 2019 |

Friday 15th February 2019 - 8:00pm

Topic: Astrobiology - Life on Earth and Beyond
Speaker: Lesa Moore (ASNSW)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Life is all-pervasive on Earth, existing in many extreme environments, but what is life? This talk will review our definitions of life, explore its history and versatility on Earth, and discuss possible criteria for identifying "other" forms of life. The potential for discovering evidence of life elsewhere in the Solar System will be examined. Finally, a discussion of the likelihood and means of finding life in systems beyond the Solar System will be included.
Biography: Lesa's name would be familiar to members, as she is the treasurer and editor for the ASNSW. She has long history of working in astronomical public outreach, including working at three public-access observatories at various times, and spending five years as an enrichment lecturer on cruise ships. Her qualification is a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Astronomy, attained at Macquarie University in 2008.

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Friday 15th March 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: The Great Star Catalogue: Australia's contribution 1887 - 1964
Speaker: Dr Toner Stevenson (University of Sydney)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Australia’s decision in 1887 to participate in a major international astronomical project to produce an Astrographic (Star) Catalogue and Carte du Ciel (Chart of the Sky) ultimately involved Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth observatories. Participation in this project promised to bring development of Australia’s capability in astrometry and recognition of the capability of the astronomers but there were many major hurdles. In this presentation we will travel back in time to discover the development of photographic technologies and astrometry, we will uncover evidence of the interference of the Colonial Secretaries and Astronomers Royal and the sometimes catastrophic impact of two world wars and economic depressions. Through a contemporary lens we will focus on the significance of this star catalogue and the momentous and unacknowledged contribution made by women in its production to observe why the Great Star Catalogue is relevant today.
Biography: Currently Manager of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry for the University of Sydney, Toner Stevenson has extensive museum and heritage experience as Manager of Sydney Observatory, Head of House Museums for Sydney Living Museums, project manager for the Darwin Centre at the Natural History Museum, London and at the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. She has a passion for astronomy, and her doctoral thesis focussed on Australia's participation in the Astrographic Catalogue. Toner is an avid eclipse chaser, vice president of Sydney City Skywatchers and observes the Moon, stars and planets whenever possible.

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Friday 12th April 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: Future History of the Universe
Speaker: Geraint Lewis (University of Sydney)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Will there forever be stars in the sky? Will humanity roam the cosmos for eternity? Just what does the future hold for our universe?  Onward we will go, tracing out the future history of our universe, into the ultimate darkness and mystery that lies ahead. We will confront the universe’s ultimate fate in a featureless “heat death” where no life can thrive, but will also explore the potential for a glorious future in which our universe is born anew.
Biography: Professor Geraint Lewis was born in Old South Wales, and studied Physics at the Universities of London and Cambridge. Since completing his PhD he has worked at the State University of New York, Victoria University in Canada, and the University of Washington in Seattle. He then became a Research Astronomer at the Anglo-Australian Observatory before joining The University of Sydney in 2002 to continue his studies of cosmology and the evolution of the Universe. His first book “A Fortunate Universe: Life in a finely tuned cosmos”, written with Luke Barnes, was published in 2016, whilst his new book, “The Cosmic Revolutionary’s Handbook” will appear in early 2020.

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Friday 17th May 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: The ghost light that illuminates clusters of galaxies
Speaker: Mireia Montes Quiles (UNSW)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Clusters of galaxies contain hundreds to thousands of galaxies and are some of the largest bound structures in the Universe. They appear as the perfect tool to study a number of astrophysical problems such as how galaxies evolve in dense environments and the nature of dark matter. In the current picture of how clusters formed, the idea is that they grow by adding galaxies and other small clusters. One of the most fascinating signs of this growth is a very diffuse light produced by stars that drift freely between galaxies in the cluster. This is what we call intracluster light. Although it is faint and therefore challenging to observe, the properties of this ghostly glow give us important information about the processes that shaped the cluster. In this talk, I will present our current understanding of how this light forms and what kind of information it gives us about how galaxy clusters are built.
Biography: Mireia Montes is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at UNSW Sydney, working with A/Prof. Sarah Brough on deep images of clusters of galaxies. Previously, she was a Postdoctoral Associate at Yale University. She did her PhD at the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias (IAC, Spain). Originally, she is from Barcelona (Spain). Her research interest is understanding how galaxies form and evolve. She has been studying clusters of galaxies using very deep imaging to reveal faint structure that is currently hidden.

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Friday 14th June 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: TBD from: Asteroid Astrometrics, Remote Internet Controlled Observatories, The Blue Mountains Observatory
Speaker: Dr Hasen Williams (Blue Mountains Observatory)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: tba
Biography: tba

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Friday 19th July 2019 - 8:00pm (note that this meeting was originally scheduled for 12th July)
Topic: A presentation commemorating 50 Years since the Apollo 11 lunar landing mission
Speaker: Chris Ross (ASNSW)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: tba
Biography: tba

This meeting will be followed by observing from the field behind the ECC and a special supper (possibly with Moon rocks, rockets and UFOs). 

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Friday 9th August 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Presentation of Annual Reports, election of office bearers and committee members, lucky door prize

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Friday 6th September 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: Planetary Atmospheres
Speaker: Lucyna Chudczer (UNSW)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: tba
Biography: tba

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Friday 11th October 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: tba
Speaker: Professor Céline Boehm (Head of School, Physics, University of Sydney)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: tba
Biography: tba

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Friday 8th November 2019 - 8:00pm
Topic: tba
Speaker: Professor Fred Watson AM (Dept Industry, Innovation & Science, Fred Watson Tours)
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: tba
Biography: Professor Fred Watson is the former Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Before that, he worked at both the UK’s Royal Observatories. Today, he is Australia’s first Astronomer-at-Large, and holds adjunct positions at several Australian universities. Fred is best known for his radio and TV broadcasts, talks, and other outreach programs, which earned him the 2006 Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science. He has also written a number of award-winning books, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. Fred has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault.

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