NSAS General Meeting for March; special speaker

9 03 2019

The NSAS General Meeting for March will be on Tuesday the 19th March at 7:30 PM at Regis Hall, Regis Campus, St Ignatius College, Lane Cove.

Our speaker this month is our own Kym Haines, who will be speaking on astrophotography. Details below.
Title: An introduction to astrophotography with a DSLR
Description: While it is easy to spend a lot of money on astrophotography, good results can be achieved with just a DSLR (digital SLR camera) on a tripod; and more can be done by combining a DSLR with an existing telescope.

We will keep the new meeting format. Just a short meeting starting at 7:30 to discuss NSAS matters, then straight into our guest speaker’s presentation. This will be followed by tea and coffee where you can socialise (and talk astronomy) with our guest speaker and other members.

As usual, visitors are most welcome!

Cheers
David Wallace





NSAS General Meeting for February; special speaker

9 02 2019

The NSAS General Meeting for February will be on Tuesday the 19th February at 7:30 PM at Regis Hall, Regis Campus, St Ignatius College, Lane Cove.

Our speaker this month is Dr David Farrant. He is a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO, leading the Optical Systems team. His work encompasses the development of optical measurement systems for industry and science. His team was awarded the SPIE Technology Achievement award in recognition of advancements in the field of optics.

We will keep the new meeting format. Just a short meeting starting at 7:30 to discuss NSAS matters, then straight into our guest speaker’s presentation. This will be followed by tea and coffee where you can socialise (and talk astronomy) with our guest speaker and other members.

As usual, visitors are most welcome!

Cheers
David Wallace

Abstract
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The year 2015 marked a major milestone in physics, with the discovery of gravitational waves, 100 years after the prediction by Einstein’s general relativity. This achievement was recognised shortly thereafter with the 2017 Nobel Prize. CSIRO has played a major part in the development of the LIGO gravitational wave detectors for over 20 years. This talk presents CSIRO’s contributions to LIGO as well as other recent work in the field of space and optical astronomy.





NSAS General Meeting for August; special speaker

11 08 2018

The NSAS General Meeting for August will be on Tuesday the 21st August at 7:30 PM at Regis Hall, Regis Campus, St Ignatius College, Lane Cove.

Our speaker this month is Prof. Paul Francis, ANU Distinguished Educator, Astrophysicist. He will speak on “Greatest Unsolved Mysteries of the Universe”. See the abstract below.

We will keep the new meeting format. Just a short meeting starting at 7:30 to discuss NSAS matters, then straight into our guest speaker’s presentation. This will be followed by tea and coffee where you can socialise (and talk astronomy) with our guest speaker and other members.

As usual, visitors are most welcome!

Cheers
David Wallace

P.S. Just a reminder that this Saturday (11th August, i.e. tomorrow night) is a member only viewing night.

Abstract
========
When you hear astronomers talking on the TV, we like to boast about all the things we’ve discovered. But in reality, we know very little about our universe. In this talk I’ll highlight some of the greatest things we don’t know. I will include some of the huge famous mysteries, such as why the Big Bang happened, what the universe is made of, and whether there is life in space. But I’ll also talk about some of the less well known mysteries, such as comet tails far from the Sun, how Quasars shine, and mysterious space blobs.





NSAS General Meeting for July; special speaker

7 07 2018

The NSAS General Meeting for July will be on Tuesday the 17th July at 7:30 PM at Regis Hall, Regis Campus, St Ignatius College, Lane Cove.

Our speaker this month is Tibor Molnar. He is an Honorary Associate of the Department of Philosophy, University of Sydney. Tibor teaches Philosophy and Science at the university’s Centre for Continuing Education and the WEA. Tibor’s enthusiasm for Science in all its forms is well reflected in his presentation style. See the abstract below.

We will keep the new meeting format. Just a short meeting starting at 7:30 to discuss NSAS matters, then straight into our guest speaker’s presentation. This will be followed by tea and coffee where you can socialise (and talk astronomy/philosophy) with our guest speaker and other members.

As usual, visitors are most welcome!

Cheers
David Wallace

P.S. Just a reminder that this Saturday (7th June, i.e. tonight) is a member and visitor viewing night. There will be a member only viewing night next Saturday (14th July). The next solar observing will be on Sunday 19th August.

Abstract
========
With ever-more-powerful instruments, we peer further and further into the unknown. And much of what we find is “unknown”: novel, unexpected, surprising. Indeed, this is what makes Science interesting and exciting – especially astronomy and cosmology. It is also what makes Science difficult. While technologically challenging, observation is the easy part. Description is even easier: a blue dot here; a red flash there; a vibration here; a difference there; etc. The hard part is the interpretation of what we see – the ‘making sense’ of patterns, correlations and invariances in our empirical data.

And not only is ‘making sense’ hard; it is, strictly speaking, not even scientific – observations/experiments don’t come with instructions for how to make sense of them. Rather, to the chagrin of many scientists, ‘making sense’ is a metaphysical issue… and metaphysics is something that scientists eschew with a passion!

In the absence of metaphysics, their preferred tool-of-choice is mathematics – the so-called “language of Science”. Produce the correct mathematical formulation, scientists say, and all is explained! Well, not so. Mathematics is powerful, but it is inadequate/unsuitable for the task of ‘making sense’. Mathematics can describe patterns and correlations, but it cannot make sense of them. Mathematics can describe relations between observations, but it cannot determine what those observations are of.

We all expect – nay, even demand – that Science ‘make sense’. In this presentation, Tibor Molnar explores this problem of ‘making sense’, and offers a little “Analytic Philosophy” to help achieve it.





NSAS General Meeting for June; special speaker

14 06 2018

The NSAS General Meeting for June will be on Tuesday the 19th June at 7:30 PM at Regis Hall, Regis Campus, St Ignatius College, Lane Cove.

Our speaker this month is Kirsten Banks, an undergraduate Astrophysics student at UNSW, and a proud Wiradjuri woman. Join Kirsten on a journey through the night sky from the perspective of an Indigenous Astronomer. Hear star stories and delve into the astronomical knowledge of Aboriginal Australians in a fun and engaging talk led by the wonderful Kirsten Banks.

We will keep the new meeting format. Just a short meeting starting at 7:30 to discuss NSAS matters, then straight into our guest speaker’s presentation. This will be followed by tea and coffee where you can socialise (and talk astronomy) with other members.

As usual, guests are most welcome!

Cheers
David Wallace

P.S. Just a reminder that this Saturday (16th June) is a members only viewing night. The next visitor night will be Saturday 7th July. Solar observing will be on Sunday 1st July.





NSAS General Meeting for May; special speaker

13 05 2018

The NSAS General Meeting for May will be on Tuesday the 15th May at 7:30 PM at Regis Hall, Regis Campus, St Ignatius College, Lane Cove.

Our guest speaker is Mark Wardle (Macquarie University) talking about “Star formation within one parsec of the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Centre”. Abstract follows.

As usual, guests are most welcome!

P.S. For those of you who do not know, we are conducting the New Astronomers Group (NAG) course this coming Saturday 19th May. This course is open to members and non-members (fees apply). Tell your friends and relatives about it. Enrolments can be made at https://nsas.org.au/nag/.

Also, there is a members-only viewers night on Saturday 19th May. You can show off your telescope and tell the NAG participants (i.e. potential NSAS members) what a wonderful organisation NSAS is.

Macquarie University is also holding their Astronomy Open Night on Saturday 19th May. NSAS members will be there supporting Macquarie University as well as promoting NSAS.

Cheers
David Wallace

Star formation within one parsec of the supermassive black hole at the Galactic Centre.

Black holes tend to tear anything in their vicinity apart.  This has long been thought to suppress star formation in the immediate surrounds of the supermassive black holes lurking at the centres of galaxies.  But just last year it was discovered that stars are forming in interstellar clouds within 1 pc of Sgr A*, the 4 million solar mass black hole at the centre of the Galaxy.   In this talk I will present our results and discuss their significance for understanding the environment of Sgr A*.





Guest Speaker – 17th April

10 04 2018

Folks,

I am Very pleased to inform you of Mr John Mills as VIP Speaker for the 17 April Monthly Meeting.

Title: Telescopes for the Modern Astronomer

Abstract : “The current rise of quality optics at an affordable price has brought Telescopes within the reach of everyone, but how do you decide what is best for you and your lifestyle, the answer is easier than you think ….”

John’s Background

John’s career is over 10 years of customer and Logistics service in various blue chip companies – Siemens/Fujitsu and Apple both here Australia and the UK.

His current career is Business development manager at Bintel in Sydney supporting the Astronomers across the communities of Australia to ‘View’ or ‘Photograph’ the Night Sky.

John’s Astronomy hobby started properly in a small town in the North of England when he was 17 and joined my first Astronomy club.

John believes that currently what would be best described as an ‘Astro-imager’ and a little bit geeky when it comes to applying technology towards imaging.

Finally John will talk briefly on a new proposed Group on Astrophotography and Imaging for NSAS.

Sincerely, Krishan Anand

P.S. Visitors are most welcome.