Talks for the 29th Annual South Pacific Star Party 18-21 May 2023

The 29th Annual South Pacific Star Party is being held on 18-21 May 2023. We have a great line-up of guest speakers and workshops. Click on the name below to see titles, abstracts and biographies.

Geraint F. Lewis

Ross Mitchell

Kym Haines

Greg Priestley

Brad le Brocque

Mark Anderson

Geraint F. Lewis from the University of Sydney will present a talk titled "The Cosmic Revolutionary’s Handbook".

Abstract: Astronomers tell us that we live in a weird universe, a universe born in a Big Bang and dominated by dark matter and dark energy that we cannot see. Why accept such a weird cosmos? In this talk, I’ll pull back the curtain on modern cosmology, and discuss the observations and interpretations that have guided astronomers over the last century. Along the way, we’ll take a look at the “also-rans”, the ideas that still lurk in dark corners of the internet, but were slayed by science many years ago.

Biography: Professor Geraint F. Lewis FRSN FLSW FAIP, Professor of Astrophysics in the Sydney Institute for Astrophysics in the School of Physics of the University of Sydney. Born in OId South Wales, Geraint is an outstanding researcher who focuses on cosmological mysteries. Through exquisite and extensive observations with the world’s largest telescopes, coupled with synthetic universes generated on immense supercomputers, he hunts for the dark side — the dark matter and dark energy that shape the cosmos. He has published extensively in international journals with significant discoveries that confront our ideas on the formation and evolution of galaxies. His passion for cosmology and physics is reflected in his teaching and student supervision and an extensive outreach program that brings the mysteries of the universe to diverse international audiences. In 2021, Geraint was awarded the Astronomical Society of Australia's “David Allen Prize” for exceptional achievement in astronomy communication. 

Ross Mitchell from the ASNSW will describe "Enhanced ‘In-Camera’ software for Canon DSLRs: features beyond the standard menus using Magic Lantern software".

Abstract: The presentation will include direct connection from Ross's camera to the HDMI to demonstrate the enhanced camera software on the big screen. Ross will follow up with a workshop where owners of Canon cameras can try out these features.

Biography: Ross attained his qualification as an electrical engineer from UNSW. His career has seen him overlap his knowledge and experience in electronics and computer science. Ross has been keenly interested in astronomy forever. 

Kym Haines from the ASNSW will give us "A Galactic Tour".

Abstract: How far is it to our nearest neighbours in the galaxy? What will we see on our way to the centre of our galaxy? What do our neighouring galaxies look like? How far away are they? What can we see farther out?

Biography: After a long career in software development, Kym is now teaching computing and mathematics part-time at Macquarie University. Kym got seriously involved in astronomy seven years ago and quickly moved into astroimaging after being a keen photographer for many years. 

Greg Priestley from the ASNSW will present " - What has it Captured?".

Abstract: is a project to take remote dark sky astronomical timelapses every night, precipitation permitting. Since first light in March 2019, it has taken over 1.5m images (> 70 TB). This presentation will quickly outline the project and highlight some of the images and timelapses produced to date.

Biography: Greg Priestley is a Sydney-based amateur astronomer and a member of the Astronomical Society of New South Wales found at Wiruna most new moon weekends. He has absolutely no professional qualifications in astronomy, science, photography, engineering, electronics or anything else he will discuss here. His involvement in astronomy has been increasing over the past 20+ years, with his work and social life now revolving around the lunar calendar and other celestial events. Amongst many other things, he has witnessed two transits of Venus, two total solar eclipses (Cairns 2012 and Casper Wyoming 2017) and travelled to the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida twice to see the STS-125 shuttle mission launch once. Prior to his project, he successfully engineered and launched the NuPrism 8^0 x 40 mm binoculars at the 2017 SPSP.

Brad le Brocque

Workshop: Meet at the track between main field and top of Imaging Alley for a basic "how to" set up and begin nightscape and star-trail photography with a DSLR. This is a basic overview, discussion-style presentation. The many brands and models of camera are all slightly different so, armed with an understanding of the concepts at play, your first attempts should be a little easier.

Mark Anderson

Workshop For Advanced Astro Photographers: Mark has developed a piece of equipment to accurately align the sensor angle on later-model dedicated Astro cameras like the Zwo and Qhy.
Getting an accurate alignment is an essential part of advanced imaging and is problematic for many photographers, Mark has simplified the whole process and will offer a full demonstration of his system.  
This will be available for anybody to use over the weekend.