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The ASNSW holds two meetings in most months, on Friday evenings nearest Full Moon. At least one of the meetings will have a guest speaker who is a professional astronomer or other qualified specialist, discussing leading-edge developments in astronomy. The other meeting sometimes has members making presentations of their own observations, research or 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

List of Past Speakers

Forthcoming Meetings
  | February 2018 | March 2018 | April 2018 | May 2018 | June 2018 | July 2018 | August 2018 | September 2018 | October 2018 | November 2018 |

Friday 23rd February 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic:  Sun, Moon and Earth Align
Speaker: Mel Hulbert, Sydney Observatory
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Melissa has successfully led three total solar eclipse tours all over the world and has been to eight totalities, witnessing them all, and loves sharing the wonder and awe of this amazing natural phenomenon. She is a keen astrophotographer and has imaged all eight eclipses with great success. Travelling to watch eclipses is also a chance to immerse yourself in the culture of the country you’re visiting. Melissa will talk about the recent ‘Great American Eclipse’, some of the other interesting places she has observed eclipses from, and some of the fascinating cultural highlights she has experienced.
Biography: Melissa Hulbert works at Sydney Observatory and is also a casual instructor with Swinburne University’s Online Astronomy Course. She has also worked in print media and in 2000 she was part of the ‘Science in the Pub’ team that won an Australian Eureka Award for Science Promotion.

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Friday 2nd March 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: Exploring the properties of star forming galaxies with observations and models
Speaker: Professor Elizabeth Stanway, University of Warwick
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Observations of star-forming galaxies in the distant Universe (z > 2) are starting to confirm the importance of massive stars in shaping galaxy emission and evolution. The intense starbursts are common at high redshift, and rare but identifable in local analogue populations. Understanding these populations, and their evolution with age and heavy element content is likely to be key to interpreting processes such as supernova and gamma-ray burst rates, cosmic reionization and the chemical enrichment of the Universe through galaxy-scale winds. It can even be important for the history of habitability on galaxy scales. One avenue of exploring these populations is through the study of local galaxies which share the star formation properties of the distant Universe. A second, overlapping, approach is through modelling. Distant stellar populations are unresolved, and the limited data available must be interpreted in the context of stellar population models. With the imminent launch of JWST and the promise of observations of galaxies within a billion years of the Big Bang, the uncertainties in modelling massive stars are becoming increasingly important to our interpretation of the high-redshift Universe. In turn, these observations of distant stellar populations will provide ever stronger tests against which to gauge the success of, and flaws in, current massive star models.
Biography: Professor Stanway is an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Physics at the University of Warwick. Her research interests include Lyman Break Galaxies at High Redshift, Local Analogues to z=5 LBGs, Molecular Gas and Dust at High Redshift, GRBs and GRB Host Galaxies and Spectral Synthesis Including Massive Binaries.

Friday 23rd March 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: Three Talks for the Price of One: II - 1) Constellations: Boundaries and Areas, 2) New Data Mining Techniques and Resources in 2018, 3) The Jewel Box: Discovery of Its Motion and Stellar Evolution
Speaker: Andrew James, ASNSW
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: 1)  Constellations: Boundaries and Areas
During 1928, now nearly ninety years to the month, the decision was made by the International Astronomical Union to divide the eighty-eight modern constellations into fixed boundaries onto the celestial sphere. Here the ultimate decision in adopting the unique selection of constellation lines originally befell on Belgian astronomer, turned celestial draughtsman, Eugéne Joseph Delporte. By April 1930, was then formally presented as a submitted IAU report (in French),  “Délimitation Scientifiques des Constellations (Tables et Charts)” or “Scientific Demarcation of the Constellations (Tables and Charts).” Delporte had used most adopted lines originally created by either Benjamin Gould or Friedrich W. A. Argelander, whose selected divisions were set at the standard epoch of 1875.0. Delporte usefully considered and followed, he adopted these initial alignments in both right ascension and declination on that precise date.
Once assigned, some other astronomers became interested in the complex set of areas placed upon this celestial area on this imaginary fixed spherical sphere, requiring calculations of four grid points of this sphere known as a zonal sector or just sector.
This interesting talk discusses how the constellations boundaries were historically decided, and highlights some of the recent work that the presenter will soon be publishing regarding the historical derivation of areas of the constellations.

2)  New Data Mining Techniques and Resources in 2018
One of the recent and greatest applications in astronomy and astrophysics is the growing amount of accessible data available to interpret astronomical phenomena. The sheer quantity of electronically preserved material is so almost overwhelming insofar as the discoveries and knowledge are almost impossible to keep pace with. In response, there has been a dramatic rise in new software or image viewers, some of which are useable by amateurs. With the use of Gaia DR1 TGAS and the upcoming April 2018 release of the revolutionary Gaia DR2 data, I thought members might be interested to know or discuss what implications this has (or will have) for amateur astronomy, and show some examples of recent good resources to aid identification of stellar or other celestial objects.

3)  The Jewel Box : Discovery of Its Motion and Stellar Evolution
The final talk will be on the Jewel Box / NGC 4755 and the history of the discovery of proper motions of star clusters. Discussed will be how important the speculations of the 19th and early 20th Centuries proved useful determining  the nature of open star clusters and the transformation in understanding theories on stellar evolution. Highlighted are new information of this wonderful southern open and the new data that satisfies old telescopic observations of the past. 
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This talk is a follow-up to one under the same title as presented on 3rd July 2015, and the first topic a continuance of the “History of the Far Southern Constellations” made on 22nd March 2013.
Biography: Andrew James has been a member and Past-President of the ASNSWI, and in April 2018 celebrates forty years with us. He is currently our Deep-sky Section and Planetary Nebula Section leader and has a wide and diverse range of interests, including astronomical history, that includes the works of James Dunlop and Australian Astronomy, and double stars.

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Friday 20th April 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: Blue straggler stars: stars that really shouldn't be there?
Speaker: Chengyuan Li, Macquarie University 
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Star clusters are nurseries of star formation. Almost all stars in galaxies are born in clustered environments. Stars within a single star cluster are born at roughly the same time, because their parental molecular clouds will quickly exhaust the gas supply available for star formation. However, almost all old "globular" clusters contain stars that are much younger than most regular cluster member stars. Such stars are called blue straggler stars. Where do they come from? How did they form after all the gas was already exhausted in the cluster? In this talk, I will review our understanding of blue straggler stars, including their formation scenarios and the observational evidence. I will also introduce our recent discovery of blue straggler stars in a cluster in a nearby galaxy, which has thrown up a confounding new mystery that severely challenges general explanations proposed for thier origins.
Biography: Chengyuan Li is currently working at Macquarie University as a Research Fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. Prior to coming to Australia, Chengyuan worked at Purple Mountain Observatory in China as a Project Research Fellow and was awarded his PhD in the Department of Astronomy in Peking University with a thesis  on "Not-so-simple stellar populations in massive star clusters". Chengyuan has undertaken observation time with the Hubble Space Telescope in a project "Searching For Multiple Populations in Massive Young and Intermediate Age Clusters". 

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Friday 18th May 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: Astrophotograpy: The real and the fake
Speaker: Geoff Smith
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Almost every photograph of the night sky is adjusted in some way using computer software. This is done with several purposes in mind:
1. To remove purely instrumental defects
2. To improve the "look" of the image such as colour, contrast and brightness
3. To provide an artistic rendition which may not reflect reality, and which may combine different images taken at different times and places.
In this talk, Geoff will present his personal view of astrophotography as opposed to astroartistry and astrofakery.
Biography: Geoff is a keen astroimager and has been a long-term contributor to Universe in the role of Observations Officer. He has also been a leader in organising the talks for Beginning Astroimagers that are currently being conducted at the Astroimaging Meetings on Wednesday nights near full Moon. Notes from the last two sessions (presented by Kym Haines) are now available on the website.
Session 1: http://www.asnsw.com/node/1396
Session 2: http://www.asnsw.com/node/1397

 

Only one meeting in May due to room availability.

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Friday 22nd June 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: Warrumbungles Dark Sky Park
Speaker: Marnie Ogg
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: For the past 11 years, Marnie has been masterminding Fred Watson Tours, a travel company dedicated to bring science and tourism together. With her partner, astronomer Fred Watson, Marnie has taken more than 600 people to see observatories, the Aurora Borealis and other wondrous corners of the globe. During her travels she has come to realise something so special and unique to Australia, she helped create a designated park to it - Darkness. During this fully illustrated talk, Marnie reflects on Australia's First Dark Sky Park in the Warrumbungles and other successful night sky ventures around the world and discusses ways you too can help preserve the night sky. 
Biography: Marnie Ogg brings over 25 years tourism industry experience to the role of Sydney Observatory Manager. Prior to her appointment at MAAS she was the Director of Fred Watson Tours & Events, a tourism company specialising in science and astronomy. Marnie was integral in the formation of Australia’s first Dark Sky Park in the Warrumbungle National Park, and since 2015 has been fulfilling her desire to bring science to the public in innovative and exciting ways.

 

Friday 29th June 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: Time and Date - Don't be Late!
Speaker: Lesa Moore, ASNSW
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: This talk will describe the various ways that we measure time, based on celestial cycles of the Earth's spin, our orbit around the Sun and the Moon's orbit around the Earth. I'll take a look at some of the historical reformations of the calendar and more recent inventions that contributed to our modern measurement of time. 
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. Lesa is currently active in the extracurricular astronomy program at Tara Anglican School for Girls. 

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Friday 20th July 2018 - 8:00pm
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Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
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Friday 27th July 2018 - 8:00pm
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Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
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Friday 17th August 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: tba
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Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
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Friday 24th August 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: Annual General Meeting
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: Presentation of annual reports and election of office bearers and committee. Full notice and nomination form available here: NOTICE, NOMINATION, EMAIL INSTRUCTIONS (Word Document).

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Friday 14th September 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: The Huntsman telescope: a Canon lens array designed for ultra-faint imaging
Speaker: Lee Spitler, MQ, AAO
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
Abstract: I will provide an update about the Huntsman telescope, which will use off-the-shelf Canon lenses to see some of the faintest galactic structures ever seen before. I'll motivate the design of the telescope and describe some of the commissioning efforts underway. I'll also share some information about a new space telescope mission, named SkyHopper.
Biography: tba

Friday 21st September 2018 - 8:00pm
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Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
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Friday 12th October 2018 - 8:00pm
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Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
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Friday 19th October 2018 - 8:00pm
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Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
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Friday 16th November 2018 - 8:00pm
Topic: tba
Speaker: Dr Fred Watson
Venue: Epping Creative Centre - 26 Stanley Road, Epping
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Biography: tba

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