NSAS May Update: Glowing Red Balls, Light Pollution, ShadowCam and Crunchy Planets

By  NSAS President

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Hi David,

Great to finally see some decent observing nights coming through in the past few weeks. Now if we could just time them to happen when the moon isn’t up, please?! If anyone wants to play with some statistics, I’m sure there is a correlation between Full Moon and clear nights, although I suspect it is just my unconscious bias coming through!!

The Hunter Valley Star Party is proving popular again with 24 registrations already for 42 people coming along. I happened to be in the Hunter Valley this week and stopped past to “check out” the site. It is very green, and the whole area is looking stunning, so it should be a great few days. If you have registered, you will have noticed some additional activities listed which you might be interested in. Make sure you book directly with the relevant winery or café etc to reserve (and pay for) your event. The society will manage the bookings for the larger Harrigans Pub events. Further information will be sent to those registered in the coming weeks so keep a look-out. I’ve started working on my latest telescope upgrade for the HVSP. Just need a tap now ¿


Carbon Stars aka Glowing Red Balls

An object that you might want to put on your observing list for early in the night at the HVSP is SS Virginis. This is a “vividly red carbon star” which is visible with binoculars and small telescopes. It will be low in the West, 20o at 7pm, but something different to put on the observing list. (RA 12h 26m 25.49s, DEC +00o 38’ 29.4”). If you are keen, then tonight its altitude is 42o.

Picking out a landing spot for Artemis 3

Some other deep planning is going on for the Artemis 3 moon landing site with ShadowCam taking photos of craters around the South Pole. ShadowCam hitched a ride on the Korean Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter and is so sensitive it can take photos with just reflective light such as Earthshine or even light reflected off nearby crater walls. See Artemis 3 landing site at moon's south pole in new NASA photos | Space


Got the Munchies?

And just announced this week saw the first capture of a star eating planets. The data was unearthed by Kishalay De (MIT) who was researching for large blasts from stars as they go through their final stages of life and came across some unusual detections. Expecting the star bursts to be based on heated gas dispersion he determined though that the brightening was accompanied by comparatively cold gas. In the end, he and the team of researchers concluded it was crunching on a large gas giant. Read more about this Star Caught Swallowing a Planet - Sky & Telescope - Sky & Telescope ( and

Interested in Simple Astrophotography?

At this month’s general meeting we will be hosting a talk by Luke Clements from Maxxum. Luke will be demonstrating one of the new types of gadgets to hit the market, the entry level astrophotography mount. It packs plenty of features and may be a starting point for you if you are looking to try out astrophotography without the large outlay. Come along and enjoy the conversation along with other members of the club who will also be available to talk about their experiences.

Light Pollution and Citizen Science

On a more sobering note, some recent studies are now showing that light pollution is getting worse by about 10% per year. In the latest Australian Sky and Telescope magazine, an article by John Barentine talks about how you can help the science and understanding of this global problem. By joining the Globe at Night project at Home - Globe At Night and using your own mobile you can assist in the goal of 20,000 observations per month.

James Webb Update

Remember the Hubble Ultra Deep Field? Well, The JWST went back and had a look and what Hubble did in 11.3 days, JWST did in 0.83 days. More info here Webb Shows Areas of New Star Formation and Galactic Evolut… | Flickr




Observing Objects for May: (reproduced from our website)

A Quality


B Quality


Clear Skies

David Stevenson






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