Well, the Hunter Valley Star Party is on, and registrations are now open so make sure you get in early. The event starts on Friday 18th August and runs over Friday and Saturday night in the centre of Hunter Valley on Broke Road at the Grapevines Boutique Accommodation. You should all have received email notification but if you missed it, login to the website, and then the HVSP event in >> Events. You can login here >> Login. Don't forget to start booking your accomodation and any wine related events in th valley you might be interested in. The Agenda for the Star Party is available on the registration page. These are always fun events.
We have a busy month this month for everyone so make sure you put aside some time for yourself to enjoy these. First is Welcome to New Members this coming Monday followed by Beginners Open Question Night on Wednesday. These two interactive sessions are really a great way to start out to understand the club and also talk to people about astronomy or getting proficient, even just getting going, with your telescope.
Anyone can come along to the Open Question night and raise any topic or question that you wish so take the opportunity as it’s a free service as part of your membership. We have a small list of topic starters and then will literally let the conversation go to where you want it to go. It is over Zoom Meeting and hence also convenient. Register now in Events.
Saturday 15th is Beginners Night in the Field which is a guided hands-on use and setup of your own telescope. This is again free to members and part of the membership fee so make sure you take advantage of it. There is limited availability for this (only 4 tickets left) so make sure you book early in Events.
Saturday 15th also happens to be an observing night so come along to the amazing new Forest Trail field in Belrose (Forest Trail Park) if you haven’t made it there yet. The weather is looking reasonably dry for the next week or so so hopefully we will get some outside time. It would be great to see you all there. Check the news on the day to make sure it is on and see what time Phil will be opening the gate.
Our General Meeting this month (Tuesday 18th April) is a Bring Your Own Scope and SWAP Night so get your gear loaded into your car and come along. The hall will be opened up with tables so if you have any equipment you would like to swap or sell then this is a great opportunity to do so. There is also ample space to set up your scope and share the night sky with others. This is also an open night for the public to come along and join in which is also very rewarding as people are genuinely interested in what we do and will get value from spending time with us. Pizza and non-alcoholic beverages included. Please register in Events so we can cater appropriately.
This month we also have a solar eclipse in Western Australia on the 20th April from 1pm AEDT. Refer Solar Eclipse for more information including live viewing links.
James Webb Update
It's been a year or so since the James Webb Telescope started to produce images that were simply stunning and many of us, I included, found the new images simply too much to start understanding the science behind them. Now, with a series of recent images the JWST is starting to really show its capability to unlock new understanding.
This is one of the latest photos from JWST and with just a 12-minute exposure and shows 11 of the 13 rings from Uranus. This photo was released just 3 days ago and scientists are just starting to explore the image further.
In another recent photograph JWST captures a rarely seen prelude to a Supernova. I don’t think people have launched a betting ring on when it will explode, but clearly something is going on.
“The star, WR 124, is 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius. It is 30 times the mass of the Sun and has shed 10 Suns worth of material – so far. As the ejected gas moves away from the star and cools, cosmic dust forms and glows in the infrared light detectable by Webb.
The origin of cosmic dust that can survive a supernova blast is of great interest to astronomers for multiple reasons. Dust shelters forming stars, gathers together to help form planets, and serves as a platform for molecules to form and clump together, including the building blocks of life on Earth.”
With the La Nina finally finished I know we are all looking forward to getting some scope time so looking forward to seeing you all out there.