With the bushfires and storms about we were a little sceptical that our Bring Your Own Scope night would go ahead but we were pleasantly surprised that the heavens cleared up and we had a very informative session with a number of people achieving their goals for the night. These included challenging photos of M42 through a Celestron 9.25” SCT onto a small chip camera (ASI290), first goto alignments for several people on Meade, Celestron and Skywatcher scopes, and with one person exploring focusing routines and techniques. The demonstration setups went well although polar alignment proved challenging for the astrophotography setup due to the light pollution. All-in-all it was a successful night with over 30 people attending with many experienced people supporting the night – Thank you to everyone who attended.

On the night we also test drove a Celestron ED80 Refractor that has been donated to the club. The Bintel guys were on hand to give us some thoughts on how this can be used. It is currently on a push-to scope which took all of 5 minutes to setup and have it focussed on M42 and Venus. It’s a very easy rig to get going and provides a good quality image. The scope will be available in the Club’s Telescope library and can be borrowed by financial members with placement of a deposit. Bookings are made through emails to nsas@nsas.org.au.

Following on the positive feedback we received for the HVSP we are again going to the Hunter Valley for this years Star Party. We are looking at several other sites to obtain a darker aspect and have some promising leads. Our VP, Jacinta Nicholson, is progressing these and hopes to tie down some details in the coming month. The timing is again aligned to the new moon with the dates Thursday 17th Sept – Sunday 20th Sept. Pencil in these dates and watch this space !!

NSAS has again been invited to support the Royal Botanic Gardens with their “Astronomy at the Calyx” events which testament to Phil Angilley and the team that supports this educational event. Last year the funds raised enabled the club to purchase a new Celestron 6SE which is proving popular having been borrowed by a few financial members. The Calyx event for the 4th Feb is SOLD OUT with over 100 people attending and hence we are looking for 2 additional supporters for the night. If you are new to this, it is relatively straight forward and we will provide some basic training so you can become part of the team. If you are able to help please let me know by reply email.

I hope you have all had a good January and are settling into the new year. I found an interesting podcast from the BBC – “13 minutes to the Moon” and am enjoying this. It is an easy listen and covers off many interesting aspects in the lead up to the moon landings. The cast include many people directly related to the Apollo program and if you are interested in the moon program I can recommend it.

Clear Skies and see you in Feb.

David S