NSAS Monthly – Jupiter and Saturn at opposition, Hunting for Planet 9, Coonabarabran Star Party cancelled and new site sub committee established.

Hi everyone

Well here we are again! I hope you are all keeping safe and well. It was looking quite promising there for a bit but we find ourselves back in lockdown.

As a result of the current lockdown we have unfortunately had to cancel the trip to Coonabarabran which is a great shame as I know many of us were looking forward to the dark skies. We have alerted the hotel but if you have made your arrangements with them then you might want to give them a call and confirm what your intentions are as I know we have some members who are outside of the lock down areas.

On a more positive note the skies are quite clear at the moment and the rain seems to have gone away for a while and we are now into our best time of the year for observing. There are quite a few things around at the moment, notably Jupiter and Saturn are both in opposition this month (ie: they are at the closest to earth at the moment) so make sure you get out and have a look at them. Look due east and Jupiter is 30 degrees above the horizon at 8pm – Saturn is about 15 degrees almost directly above that – a little bit to the left.

We also have the Perseid shower next week (12th and 13th August) so look out for these. The best time to see them will be early in the morning around 3:00am till 5:30am and you need to look due north and very low on the horizon. If you are in Sydney make sure you are positioned so you can see the horizon and not looking over trees or shrubs else you won’t see the horizon.

Our talk this month is on Pulsars and Planet 9 by Rami Mandow. Rami is a keen radio astronomer and currently doing his Masters of Astronomy and Astrophysics with Swinburne University of Technology and it should be a very interesting talk as he explains about looking for Planet 9 with Pulsars and gravitational waves. The talk is at 7:30pm on Tuesday 17th August on the zoom link at our home page https://www.nsas.org.au.

As we recently discussed our new site, Forest Trail Park, is now up and running in Terry Hills although temporarily locked down due to covid but we hope to have it open soon. Our new site subcommittee has been established to help manage its development going forward. If you wish to contribute please let us know by reply email.

Looking forward to seeing you all at 7:30pm Tuesday 17th on zoom at the Hunting for Planet 9 talk.

Stay safe and clear skies.

David Stevenson

Live streaming & Astrophotography Zoom meeting during the latest July COVID-19 lockdown

Next Tuesday the 27th of July is the Tuesday after the general meeting which is the normal night I try to do an astrophotography related ZOOM meeting.
We are all currently in lockdown so perhaps astrophotography is one of those things you may want to research.

While I don’t really have a topic for Tuesday night as I’m still researching a few things, I was wondering if any had issues they were grappling with in this lockdown that they might have wanted to ask for help.

I was thinking if we can get enough people, it would provide a bit of a brains trust to help those who are stuck on something but due to COVID lockdown, can’t get to a meeting to discuss an issue face to face.

So my question is, should we have a Zoom meeting this Tuesday with just questions from the floor (so to speak)?

let me know…

A topic that came up the other night at the Australian clubs level was that Victoria was trying to organise a live YouTube session involving other states. As it turned out, basically only Victoria and South Australia took up the challenge.
BREAKING NEWS! – Lockdown Livestream Extended https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCKR1M_RCRc

I was wondering if anybody in our group was interested in this type of event. Perhaps to try locally and maybe even join a national hook-up one day.

also, let me know if anyone is interested or set up to do it.


My email is emailgregnow@gmail.com

NSAS – Welcome to Forest Trail Park – our new observing site has a name!, Coonabarabran Star Party, Juno talk and we are back to Zoom!!

Hi everyone

I’m delighted to let you know that our new observing site now has a name – Forest Trail Park. The significance of the name is that there is a walking track that goes right past the site called Forest Trail for which Greg McCall recently made a short video of which is in our website news section https://www.nsas.org.au/news. Our second night at Forest Trail Park was a good affair with the security light only turning on once. We have developed “Tri-Spectral High Imaging Reducing Technology” (aka T-Shirt) which when placed correctly will stop the 3 detectors working. Further development of the site will begin planning shortly and if you are interested in being involved, and or have some skills in this space please reply back to this email as we want to instigate this new sub-committee in the next few months.

We will shortly be starting the registration process for our Star Party to Coonabarabran which is on 2nd – 5th September. If you haven’t already done so make your accommodation reservations. The observing field we will be using will be at the Warrumbungles Mountain Motel. We have arranged for a talk by David Malin (https://www.davidmalin.com/) and he will also take us on the tour of the AAT (Anglo-Australian Telescope https://aat.anu.edu.au/about-us/AAT). Hopefully covid will not be a factor and we can still enjoy this weekend coming up.

Our speaker this month is Dr Lucyna Kedziora-Chudczer (Msc, PHD) from Astronomy Australia Ltd who will take us through a presentation on the Juno mission and Jupiter, our biggest planet. This session is via zoom https://zoom.us/j/5823913701?pwd=cUJlNkNGdVUyNFhpc2lucWYzQ0F0UT09 and will start at 7:30pm 20th July. Don’t forget to put this interesting event into your calendar!!

Anyway – I hope you are all travelling well. All our meetings for the next month will be on zoom.

Clear Skies!

David Stevenson

A hike around the PFA site, June 2021

The PFA is surrounded by bushland, much of it in National Park.

Before the latest COVID-19 lockdown for Sydney, we videoed a bushwalk which took about an hour and circled around the PFA.

The video was taken using a DJI Pocket2. I suspect I might have reduced that constant bounce you will notice as I walk if I had used a different stabilisation mode of the Pocket2.

The video speed has been increased to 300% which has reduced its length from about an hour to under 17 minutes.

If you want to avoid the bush walk shortcut that I do on the western end of the loop, keep walking as I understand a trail exists further west that will take you back up to the Forest Trail.

You might notice that when I first follow the Showground Trail along the electricity line service road, I pause at the power poles and look through the bush. It’s not easy to see on the video but you can see the PFA through the trees in the distance. (looking at the pink like on my map, it’s the point that looks like a fishing line dangling below a hook above the Pistol Club).

Unfortunately, with this hike, you will not make the 10,000 steps but it is a way to exercise before a night’s observation. Just watch out for the trail bikes and the occasional water and mud on the trail after some rain. There is plenty of parking on Mona Vale Road, just outside the entrance to the PFA.



A hike around the PFA YouTube Video

Forest Trail Park update (PFA)


I created a video to explain aspects of our new observation site as well as show those who haven’t yet visited the site.

We have named the site Forest Trail Park and it’s situated within the PFA (Peninsular Firearm Academy) property roughly between St Ives and Belrose.

We currently use the upper car park of the PFA, but hopefully in the coming months, will be using what the PFA call the overflow car park.
Our main observation site will probably be a year away before it’s ready for our use.

So far, we have had two successful observation nights. The weather and COVID-19 restrictions have unfortunately kept us away from some observation nights in recent months.

I have put together some photos and a video that I hope will provide some views of the area together with some commentary.

Check out my YouTube video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY4V0xWc9WA

PS: appologies for an earlier draft news email that was accidently posted earlier under David Wallace’s name.


PFA update video

A preview of a news item post update to PFA site
It’s a bit under 7 minutes.

It’s a bit of an experiment with drone images, video and some recorded audio as well as putting it all together in a video editor.
It kind of just come together without much of a plan but it was my first video and a test of some of the stuff needed to make a video.


June 2021 Monthly Showcase

Hi everyone,

There are still a few days left to submit your entries to the June 2021 Monthly Showcase. Remember, the entries can be photos, videos, drawings, articles, anything astronomy related.

Please send your entries to me at bpetschel@gmail.com. Please ensure that all images have a maximum size of 1200 pixels on the longest side and are in JPG format. Also let me know whether or not you are ok with it being published on Facebook under your name.

Past entries can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/NorthernSydneyAstro and at https://nsas.org.au/astrophotography/monthly-showcase/.


Qantas Southern Lights by Flight – slide pack

Hi, tonight we had a great presentation by Stephen Thurston titled “Qantas Southern Lights by Flight

I have converted the slides to a PDF file. Please click on the link below to get the file.

Southern Lights By Qantas Flight

Also, if someone else would like to do a Zoom presentation, please feel free to contact me to see if we can organise something for a Tuesday following one of our general meetings.

My email is emailgregnow@gmail.com