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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 Meetings page. MEETINGS ARE CURRENTLY BEING HELD ONLINE USING ZOOM.

Notes to guest speakers: Our meeting hall is equipped with a data projector (VGA and HDMI connections available), loudspeakers and projection screen. 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
  | 2020 | 2021 |

Friday 25th September 2020 - 7:30pm
Topic: What do galaxies and shadow puppets have in common?
Speaker: Dr Jesse van de Sande | ARC DECRA Fellow 
Venue: Online meeting using ZOOM
Abstract: Galaxies come in all shapes and sizes. It is hard not to be impressed by the majestic variety in galaxy morphology that the Universe has to offer. Besides creating just pretty images, galaxy shape and morphology also provide important clues on how galaxies formed and evolved. Large computer simulations suggest that collisions between galaxies alter their appearance. The more interactions a galaxy experiences, the rounder it becomes. However, galaxies are so far away that we can only observe them as two-dimensional projections on the celestial sphere. Figuring out the true shape of galaxies is a bit like shadow puppetry without instructions; ever tried twisting your arms and fingers to create the image of an African Unladen Swallow? So, how do astronomers derive the true three-dimensional shape of galaxies? In this talk I will explain how Australian Astronomers have invented an instrument that can do exactly that. These tools now allow us to figure out how galaxies like our Milky Way have formed and evolve.

Biography: Jesse van de Sande is a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney studying how galaxies form and evolve. He tries to solve the big questions such as ‘How was the Milky Way Galaxy formed?’ and ‘What will happen to our Milky Way after it collides with the Andromeda Galaxy?’ Jesse uses the Anglo Australian Telescope with an instrument called SAMI to study the motions of stars within galaxies. For his PhD thesis, he used the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescopes in Chilli to investigate the formation and evolution of massive galaxies in the early Universe.

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Friday 23rd October 2020 - 7:30pm
Topic: Searching for ripples in the cosmic Niagara Falls: Cataclysmic Variable Stars
Speaker: Ian Kemp (ICRAR, ASNSW)
Venue: Online meeting using ZOOM
Abstract: This talk is about “UGSU cataclysmic variables” - one of the most interesting species in the variable star zoo (in my opinion). They’re actually not variable stars at all, because they are binary systems, in which a red star spills material onto a white dwarf, giving rise to periodic massive eruptions which can brighten the star from mag 15 to mag 9, easily within the range of a backyard telescope. They are very important systems in astronomy, because they are the precursors of the type 1a supernovae, which are used to measure the Hubble-Lemaître constant, and the accelerating expansion of the universe. The light curves of these systems are very interesting - they show ‘wobbles’ which reveal a lot of what’s going on in the binary system and the accretion disk. Last year, I observed a southern sky system called VW Hyi, which was first characterised by astronomers from New Zealand and Australia. In addition to the ‘usual’ variations - known as ’superhumps’, I found hints of a different type of variation, but the data were not conclusive enough to confirm it. So this year, with some partners in crime, I’m collecting and analysing data on a number of similar systems to look for extra detail in the light curves of these interesting systems. If you are inspired by this talk you can join the hunt!
Biography: Ian Kemp started his professional life in academic research - with a degree, PhD and postdoc in Materials Science. He then went off to work in Industry and government for a while (25 years) before getting back to research and obtaining a Masters degree in Astronomy. He currently works as a research scientist at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) in Perth - working partly on ‘big data’ (i.e., extremely big, massive data) and partly on astrophysics research. https://www.icrar.org/people/ikemp/

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Friday 20th November 2020 - 7:30pm
Topic: Recent Developments in Planetary Nebula Astronomy
Speaker: Andrew James (ASNSW)
Venue: Online meeting using ZOOM
Abstract: Planetary nebulae (PNe) continue to be extraordinarily wonderful and interesting deep-sky objects, but still remain mysterious in how they form or evolve into their diverse shapes and structures. Once, they were considered as merely unresolved stars, and then were generally placed among the novae, or as gaseous or spiral nebulae. In the 1950s, our knowledge related the observed phenomena to the finishing relic stages of stellar evolution. This gradually expanded into examining the relationship with their progenitors as binary systems, and mass loss and chemical abundances in the stars. But, perhaps, the greatest interest was after beholding the colourful images of their complex natures from the Hubble Space Telescope, allowing astronomers to investigate their internal structure. Alongside this were many additional discoveries using narrowband surveys in the near or mid-infrared wavelengths, including the southern galactic plane MASH (Macquarie/AAO/Strasbourg Hα) planetary nebula catalogue in 2005. Currently, galactic PNe total > 4,000 with many more detected in the SMC, LMC and nearby galaxies.

Recent studies of PNe have been extremely fruitful, and this talk focusses on some recent developments over the last few years. Specific topics of interest are accurate determinations of distances from GAIA DR2 data and understanding expanding envelopes and haloes, and origins of their morphological diversity and central stars.

Yet, the most productive resources are the imaging releases of southern surveys like DECaPS DR1. Others Surveys have even led to amateur discoveries, like four new PNe found by French observer Lionel Mulato. Another 35 previously unknown PNe candidates, six now confirmed as true PNe, were found in 2016 by a compatriot team called the Planetary Nebula Spectra Trackers (PNSE) led by Pascal Le Dû. All were found on-line on desktop computers.

Please join me at this interesting ZOOM meeting, which should appeal to imagers and visual observers alike.

Biography: Andrew James is a long-term ASNSW member with a passion for planetary nebulae. 

Andrew James talk

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Friday 26 March 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 23 April 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 28 May 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 25 June 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 23 July 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 13 August 2021 - 7:30pm
Topic: Annual General Meeting
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Presentation of annual reports and awards and election of new committee.

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Friday 20 August 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 17 September 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 22 October 2021 - 7:30pm
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Friday 19 November 2021 - 7:30pm
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