September 2015

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Events leading up to the Pluto Occultation
Gordon Hudson, Larry Wasserman, Kara Hartig
 
The Pluto Occultation of a 12th magnitude star was a rare event and a lot of effort was being put into observing it. The programme for the early hours of June 30th that I was involved in was run by the South West Research Institute (SWRI) in Boulder Colorado.
Volume 54, number 3. September 2015. p3

 

SOFIA The Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy
Haritina Mogosanu
 
In July 2015 the author secured a trip aboard SOFIA. Leading up to her experiences that she will describe later here is a background to this flying telescope.
Volume 54, number 3. September 2015. p7

 

StellaFest 2015
Steve Chadwick
 
Another Great Success! On the weekend of August 14th-16th the Horowhenua Astronomical Society held its 4th annual StellarFest at the Foxton Beach Bible Camp. As always the weekend was designed with viewing, talks and general chit-chat in mind.
Volume 54, number 3. September 2015. p10

 

A New Eclipsing Binary Star in Sagittarius
Simon Lowther
 
I present a new variable star in Sagittarius discovered during routine observations of V1223 Sgr for the Centre for Backyard Astrophysics, at CBA Pukekohe on 14th June 2014 NZST (JD2456822). The shape of the light curve suggests this star is an eclipsing binary of EW type with a period 0.2585 days and amplitude of 0.85 mag unfiltered. This star has been submitted to and accepted into the VSX catalogue of variable stars.
Volume 54, number 3. September 2015. p12

 

Essay Review - Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo
William Tobin
 
 
Volume 54, number 3. September 2015. p14

 

Bright Cepheids - A Variable Stars South Project
Stan Walker
 
Practical observing projects for beginners in astronomy with scientific value are hard to find and are often disappointing to the participants. What do we need to inspire us?
Volume 54, number 3. September 2015. p17

June 2015

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My Father Dr Frank Bateson, and Mt John
Audrey Walsh
 
In this paper I give you some ‘non astronomical’ insights to the work and life of my father, Dr Frank Bateson, leading to the establishment of our now internationally recognised Mt John Observatory
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p3

 

Recent Successful Asteroidal Occultations in our Region in the Past Year
John Talbot
 
A selection of interesting minor planet occultation results observed from Australia and New Zealand during 2014 is presented. A TTOS9 and 2015 RASNZ conference paper.
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p7

 

Brian Loader - FRASNZ
 
At the Annual General Meeting of the RASNZ held on 9th May 2015, during the annual conference at Tekapo, Brian Loader was elected a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. Brian has held several offices of the society and is a long term, active member of the Occultation Section. The citation accompanying his appointment as Fellow is below.
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p10

 

Book Review - Features of the Near Side Moon
Maurice Collins
 
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p12

 

Thomas Richards - Honorary Member
 
At the RASNZ AGM held on 9th May 2015, during the annual conference at Tekapo, Tom Richards was elected as an Honorary Member of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand. The citation accompanying his appointment as Honorary Member is below.
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p13

 

Book Review - Mt John: the First 50 Years
R W Evans
 
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p14

 

Students With a Passion for Astronomy
John Hearnshaw
 
For some time it has been clear, to me at least, that not only does our Society need to increase its overall membership, but also more young astronomers need to be recruited to our ranks. Younger members bring enthusiasm and vitality to the Society’s activities. I also believe that the enjoyment and benefit any participant at a RASNZ conference gains from attending goes something like the square of the number of people.
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p15

 

Murray Geddes Prize - Graeme Kershaw
 
At the RASNZ conference banquet held on 9th May 2015, during the annual conference at Tekapo, Graeme Kershaw was awarded the 2015 Murray Geddes Prize.
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p18

 

Prepointing for Occultations
John Talbot
 
Prepoint: verb. - to point a telescope at a point in the sky where an event is predicted to occur at some time in the future. A technique that is particularly suited to observing with mounts that are not perfectly aligned or do not have accurate pointing or tracking ability (eg Dobsonian, mobile observation). It helps to have a driven RA axis.
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p20

 

Aurora Australis Public Events
Steve Butler
 
Take one global idea; the International Year of Light 2015, and mix it with local passion, a Facebook group of aurora watchers, and you have an idea that grew beyond expectation.
Volume 54, number 2. June 2015. p22

March 2015

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Possible Radio-emmision Signatures of Exoplanets
E Budding, O B Slee, M Johnston-Hollitt
 
A brief review of possibly detectable radio-effects from exoplanets is presented. Previous observations may show relevant effects, when appropriate theory is taken into account.  Pointers to contemporary and future lines of investigation are also presented.
Volume 54, number 1. March 2015. p3.
 
Graham Lindsay Blow 1954 to 2014
John Talbot and Brian Loader
 
It is with great sadness that we mark the death of Graham Blow on 31st December 2014 at the age of 60. He was born 5th August 1954 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Volume 54, number 1. March 2015. p7
 
Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (Inc) Annual Report for 2014
 
Volume 54, number 1. March 2015. p9

December 2014

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Mt John Observatory at 50 years
John Hearnshaw

In 2015, Mt John University Observatory will be 50 years old.
Volume 53, number 4. December 2014. P3

Living Together: Planets, Host Stars and Binaries. A Trip to Litomyšl (CZ)
Christoph Bergman

In this article I report on a conference I recently attended in Litomyšl (Czech Republic) and give a brief outline of the research I presented there, which aims to detect terrestrial planets in our neighbouring star sytem alpha Centauri.
Volume 53, number 4. December 2014. P6

Space Camp, South Canterbury
Freidl Hale

This past September, South Canterbury Astronomers Group hosted Space Camp at Raincliffe, outside of Timaru. It was our first go at hosting a large group of people and is deemed to have been a huge success.
Volume 53, number 4. December 2014. P8

Second Annual Astrophotography Weekend
Horowhenua Astronomical Society

On the weekend of 21st-23rd November 2014 the Horowhenua Astronomical Society hosted its second annual astrophotography get-together at Foxton beach, which is situated an hour and a half north of Wellington. The weekend promised to be a great event enabling likeminded people from all over New Zealand a chance to meet and discuss their favourite pastime.
Volume 53, number 4. December 2014. P9

In the Spirit of Eratosthenes, Measuring the Size of the Earth
Warwick Kissling

A written version of a talk given at the 2014 RASNZ Conference in Whakatane.
Volume 53, number 4. December 2014. P11

Big Sunspot
R W Evans

The second half of 2014 October was witness to the largest sunspot on the Sun's disc in 24 years. It was given the NOAA number 12192.
Volume 53, number 4. December 2014. P17


September 2014

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Brian Mason - from the New Zealand Mainland, to Meteorites, and Moon Mountains
Vicki Irons

After giving my talk at Stellarfest about meteorites in which I discovered the illustrious career of Brian Mason and his role in identifying lunar meteorites, a member suggested a piece in Southern Stars might be appropriate. Dr Mason died in 2009 at the age of 92 and there is a Wikipedia page about him, but I found a wealth of information in the little booklet ''œFrom Mountains to Meteorites'' which was put out by the NZ Geological Society. I am continuously amazed at the accomplishments of New Zealanders who go offshore to further their field of study.
Volume 53, number 3. September 2014. P3

More on Astronomy in Wellington in the 1840s
Pendreigh Brown

Wellington pioneers with astronomy connections were J. Hurley, J. H. Marriott, R. Sheppard and also W. M. Smith and C. Grace. Local newspapers recorded two comets seen in Wellington in the 1840s, while of these five pioneers, one was a sawyer and timber merchant, one made and repaired telescopes, two were surveyors and one taught astronomy.
Volume 53, number 3. September 2014. P6

2014 Murray Geddes Prize - Chris Monigatti
This year's Murray Geddes Prize was awarded to Chris Monigatti during the annual conference in Whakatane. He is the first recipient of the MGP medal that was struck this year.

Volume 53, number 3. September 2014. P9

StellarFest 2014
Carl Knight

This weekend of astronomy was held at the Foxton Beach Bible Camp, beginning Friday July 25th.
Volume 53, number 3. September 2014. P10

2014 Homer F. DaBoll Award - Brian Loader
Graham Blow

Brian Loader of Darfield, NZ, has been awarded the 2014 Homer F. DaBoll Award by the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA). The award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to occultation science, or to the work of IOTA.
Volume 53, number 3. September 2014. P11

What's in a Name? - VIII
Pam Kilmartin

This is another of her popular talks given to RASNZ conferences on the subject of minor planet names. It was presented in 2014, at the Whakatane conference.
Volume 53, number 3. September 2014. P12

Book Review - Craters of the Near Side Moon by John Moore
Maurice Collins

Volume 53, number 3. September 2014. P14


June 2014

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Investiture of Graham Blow - ONZM
Gordon Hudson

Graham Blow, a well known and respected New Zealand astronomer, was this year invested as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM). This is an eye-witness view of the day.
Volume 53, number 2. June 2014. P3

The KPO Weather Station
Gordon Hudson

The idea behind my building of a weather station goes back to 1993 when the Carter Observatory C14 with a Compustar built into it was installed in my observatory. First we had to try to automate the telescope which was not easy. Once we achieved automation we needed to automate the dome. Once this was achieved we needed a way of closing the dome in the middle of the night while we slept. If the wind rose to say 20 knots or more the dome would rotate to its park position and then close the shutter which opened like a clam shell and then parked the telescope and shut the dome and close down the power so the only equipment left running was the computer.
Volume 53, number 2. June 2014. P4

Karen Pollard
John Hearnshaw, Alan Gilmore, Pam Kilmartin

Associate Professor Karen Pollard was elected to Fellowship of the RASNZ at the society's 2014 Annual General Meeting in Whakatane.
Volume 53, number 2. June 2014. P7

Apia Aurorae
A L Cullington, R W Evans

This is the text of a talk given by A.L. Cullington of the Magnetic Observatory in Christchurch to the Canterbury Astronomical Society on 16th September 1958. Photos of two 1962 Pacific aurorae by J.G. Keys, Observer in Charge at the Apia Magnetic Observatory are included. Compiled by Bob Evans.
Volume 53, number 2. June 2014. P8


March 2014

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Astrophotography Weekend - Foxton Beach
Stephen Chadwick

On the weekend of November 29th - December 1st 2013 the Horowhenua Astronomical Society Inc. hosted its first astrophotography weekend. With attendees from as far away as Northland and the South Island it turned out to be a truly national event.
Volume 53, number 1. March 2014. P3

Some Developments at the Awarua Satellite Ground Station
Robin McNeill

Looking for all the world like a second-hand car yard in the middle of a cow paddock, Awarua Satellite Ground Station looks perhaps a little unprepossessing. The station was built in 2005 by Venture Southland - the Southland tourism, business and community development agency - with assistance from the French Space Agency CNES, for the European Space Agency's Ariane 5 ATV campaigns.
Volume 53, number 1. March 2014. P5

RASNZ Annual Report of Council for 2013

Volume 53, number 1. March 2014. P7

Bringing Astronomy to the Public
John Drummond

One VERY popular strategy with the general public that the Gisborne Astronomical Society has adopted has been an Introduction to Astronomy Course.
Volume 53, number 1. March 2014. P25

Jupiter Nights - An Astronomy Outreach Event
John Burt

On the weekend of 7 to 9 March 2014 the Gisborne Astronomical Society ran a very successful astronomy outreach event.
Volume 53, number 1. March 2014. P26


December 2013

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New Zealand at the 7th International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics
Navodhi Delpachitra, Connor Hale, Darina Khun, Daniel Yska, Gordon Hudson

In 2013, for the first time, a team of secondary school students from New Zealand competed in the International Olympiad on Astronomy and Astrophysics. This year the 7th was held in Volos, Greece, from July 29 to August 8.
Volume 52, number 4. December 2013. P3

The First Great September Filament
R. W. EVans

During September 2013, astronomers observing the Sun in Hydrogen-alpha light witnessed the exciting activity of two long-lived filaments/prominences:- increasingly called 'filaproms' when they are observed both on the Sun's disc as dark filaments and then on its limb as bright prominences.
Volume 52, number 4. December 2013. P8

Monitoring Our Skies - How do we know if we are successful?
Steve Butler

Why should we monitor the sky? We don't know whether light pollution is getting better or worse over time. We need to establish a baseline of where we are at the moment and repeat the process in a five year cycle. Adapted from a presentation to the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand conference in Invercargill in May 2013.
Volume 52, number 4. December 2013. P9

Southern Constellation Names
J.F. Harper

La Caille's first catalogue gave constellation names in French (de la Caille, 1756) and his second in Latin (de la Caille, 1763), which had been for centuries the standard international language for European scholarly work. EVen now the International Astronomical Union (IAU) uses it for constellation names. This paper is about what happened after La Caille's time.
Volume 52, number 4. December 2013. P12

DVD Review - Venus: A Quest
William Tobin

Volume 52, number 4. December 2013. P14

The Second Great September Filament
Harry Roberts

Described are hydrogen-alpha observations of the Sun's second long-lived filament during September 2013.
Volume 52, number 4. December 2013. P15

Dual Maxima Mira Variable Stars
W.S.G. Walker

Amongst Mira Variable stars with periods in excess of 400 days is found a small group which show two maxima in each cycle. Two of these have shown dramatic period changes. Other Miras with period changes may once have been members of this group. Light curves, colours and other behaviour are described as well as a curious distribution in the sky.
Volume 52, number 4. December 2013. P18