Hi everyone

I hope you are all well and are enjoying the little more freedom that we have. This, on top of some great observing nights we had last week, have been great for my astrophotography sessions as I’ve managed to finally break the cobwebs and get out there. The two objects above are both Messier 8 with the one on left being a straight LRBG M8 shot and Greg McCall’s on the right is all NarrowBand. Both interesting interpretations – makes it seem more like Art doesn’t it?

For those who managed to join us for our inaugural NSAS Online session with Fred Watson it is clearly not just art but hard science too. Fred took us on an interesting journey through Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs) covering the last decades and also revealed some of the latest information which is literally only weeks old. A team, led by an Aussie, Jean-Pierre Macquart, had managed to work out that FRBs passing through space were having to push through matter and the distortion on different wavelengths enabled the team to work out how much matter the FRB had had to pass through, and consequently managed to work out that the universe’s 2.5% missing matter that everyone has been hunting for has been hiding in plain sight. Fred also took us through suspected FRB origins and from the measurements a possible explanation is that FRBs are from a 30km explosive event on a neutron star. This is amazing when you consider that that 30km explosion is many many light years away, and we can detect it here on earth. FRBs are clearly an area of continued research.

At the NSAS Online session we also discussed some work that the Committee had instigated regarding more observing capabilities. The outcome of the sub-committee’s work is that the society now has access to the Terry Hills Observing site for 11-12 nights a month as opposed to just 2 previously. We have also begun negotiations with another organisation for access to a suitable site, located in a darker area but still reasonably centralised. The site will be available 365 days of the year and will be branded our NSAS site with a 5 year minimum lease. The site is currently undergoing earthworks and is planned to be available late in the year. Whilst we have not finalised our contractual arrangements our discussions are promising. To help us secure this opportunity we are looking for some help from a lawyer who can help advise us (pro-bono) in finalising the agreement. If you are able please respond back letting us know you can help.

We have also been making some tweaks to the Monthly Showcase and now all photos will be shown up on our Facebook site and on our website. We will no longer be voting on photos etc but encouraging any photo on anything astronomy related and we will post these, and if you like a photo simply “like” it. If you like them all then feel free to “like” them all.

We previously had mentioned the intended production of a photobook of NSAS photos and society events and if you would like to assist us pulling this together in a small project we’d love to hear from you.

A reminder that all events are members only at this time due to the health risks associated with sharing of eyepieces. The society has two telescopes available to members for nightly bookings which can be used at these events as the eyepieces can be properly cleaned afterwards. If you are interested please reply here and let us know.

I hope you all stay well.

Clear Skies
David S
Club President