And occultation of a bright star by the moon is a rare sight indeed. Australasians were treated to a tussle with Regulus on the 4th of May and I was lucky to have perfect conditions in Woomera, South Australia where I found my self three months into a 12 month adventure around Oz.
Armed with my trusty portable occultation timing kit and a modified 60mm binocular objective I was able to record the event. Of course, the view was much nicer ‘live’ through an unmodified set of Bino’s!
There is no greater honour, than to be judged by your friends and fellow Qld astronomers. My Nightscape “Reach for the Stars” won the Erwin van der Velden Memorial Trophy for Non-Telescope Astrophotography 2016 at Queensland Astrofest. Here’s how it was done:
In a lovely lazy Sunday, so it seems only right to photograph the easiest celestial target in the sky! Taken with a Lunt 50mm Double stacked solar telescope which sits on top of my main observatory telescope for days such as today 🙂
Out intrepid team of Astronomers recently travelled to the Queensland Outback to look for evidence that the circular feature that I identified in 2013 using Google Earth is a meteorite impact site and not just a hole in the ground!
That’s Pranvera Hyseni, Rob Black and myself weeding out meteor-rights from Meteor-wrongs over lunch.
So is it or isn’t it? Well we think it is, but it’s not as easy as that – to be formally recognised there needs to be a published peer reviewed scientific paper confirming it and that isn’t going to happen in a hurry! So in the mean time here is my write up in progress: http://shadowchaser.com.au/crater-bradshaw/
For my astro-geek friends, how about something a little closer to home! Here are some of the many objects that the human race has littered our orbit with. They put on a spectacular show for me tonight whilst I was out observing 🙂
Up close and personal this time. It’s actually three photos blended together to see Venus, Jupiter and it’s moons together at the correct exposure. A lovely naked eye treat, I hope you managed to spot them hanging out in the West together!
It’s not often I can stake my claim to a first, but here is double one. First amateur to capture a Centaur (that’s an asteroid between Saturn and Neptune) occulting a star and also the first amateur to record the rings around an asteroid!
Charliko is the only known asteroid to have rings. They were discovered last year by a team of professional astronomers lead by Prof Bruno Sicardy who is a great friend to the amateur and whom provides us with great predictions so that we can help provide him data. This event was well attended by the Australian Occultation faithful and I recorded in somewhat difficult circumstances the event. Unfortunately I was the only person to capture it – the more ‘chords’ the better the scientific payload but Bruno assures me that the data will be added to the original observations and will significantly improve the positional data that we know about the rock.
And that is great news, because with better predictions, we can make even better observations in the future. Sweet.
Here’s a neat event from tonight. This asteroid cast a 16.354 second shadow across Samford, and I caught it on video! The event was a little longer than expected and it is a poorly defined object. We learned that it is probably lozenge shaped rather than round and it disappeared gradually suggesting maybe an irregular protrusion (sticky-out bit!) at the leading edge.