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


September 2013

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La Caille and the Far Southern Sky
William Tobin

The Abbé Nicolas-Louis de La Caille (1713-1762) is one of the early European explorers of the far southern sky. This essay discusses La Caille's new southern constellations as represented by Anne-Louise Le Jeuneux in a magnificent oil painting dated 1755. Along the way it also reviews new books by Ian Glass and Nick Kanas.
Volume 52, number 3. September 2013. P3

Southern Close Binaries Programme of the VSS
R Idaczyk, M Blackford, E Budding, R Butland

We review the programme of studies of southern close eclipsing binary systems that has been underway in recent years, involving observations at the Mt John University Observatory and elsewhere in the region. We include brief descriptions of equipment used, before presenting summary results on four typical examples (U Oph, V831 Cen, R CMa and η Mus) drawn from the programme. We show that absolute stellar parameters thus obtained are of high enough quality to compare favourably with any other recent data in this field. Thus, for U Oph, we derived a new value for the third star's mass, and an age consistent with the system's origin in Gould's Belt. We announced the chemical peculiarity of the third star accompanying V831 Cen. Our new parameters for R CMa solve the longstanding 'overluminosity' issue, although the close pair must have lost considerable angular momentum. For η Mus, we discovered another member of the system that removes the problem of the (otherwise) anomalous radial velocity of η Mus B. Such new findings encourage interest in further pursuit of the programme.
Volume 52, number 3. September 2013. P16

Book Review - Imaging the Southern Sky by Stephen Chadwick and Ian Cooper
Bill Williams

Volume 52, number 3. September 2013. P22

A .pdf for this issue is not currently available.

The VSS Southern Eclipsing Binaries Programme
Tom Richards

Yes, astronomy is fascinating and exciting to read about. And yes, it's fascinating and exciting to see the denizens of the sky through a telescope or to capture them with an image. But how about doing some astronomy; contributing to the science instead of just absorbing it? Eclipsing binaries offer a way in that's simple, un-demanding of equipment, doesn't need you outside all hours of the night, produces exciting results out of every night's imaging, and can even be done on a computer instead of a telescope. The Southern Eclipsing Binaries Programme of Variable Stars South is designed to provide all of that to the beginner in astronomical research, as well as keeping the experts Very busy. A 2013 RASNZ Conference paper.
Volume 52, number 2. June 2013. P3

2013 Murray Geddes Prize - Grant Christie

Volume 52, number 2. June 2013. P7

Bus Tour
On the Friday afternoon before the opening of the 2103 conference in Invercargill, attendees were invited to join a bus tour to the Unwin Radar and ESA Tracking Station at Awarua, and to Richardson's Truck Museum in Invercargill. About 30 people participated despite a cold windy day. Here are three photos from the trip.

Volume 52, number 2. June 2013. P8

A Journey from the Antipodes to the Stars and Back
Margaret Austin

Hon Margaret Austin CNZM, CRSNZ, FNZIM, D.Sc (honoris causa), Chair, Lake Tekapo Aoraki/Mt Cook Starlight Reserve Working Party. Margaret has made an amazing contribution to New Zealand and especially to astronomy in recent times. Her experience with UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee has been applied towards establishing the Aoraki Mackenzie area as a Starlight World Heritage Area. This is an ongoing long term project marked with many meetings, contacts and journeys around the world. This is her after dinner speech at the 2013 RASNZ Conference in Invercargill.
Volume 52, number 2. June 2013. P9

Reflective and Refractory: Some Observatins of NZ Amateur Astronomy
R W EVans

OVer my five decades involvement in NZ amateur astronomy, I reflect on contributions made by Various people over this time and the observing programmes that they and I have participated in. This is strictly personal so I know that I'm going to miss out a lot of people. They are for others to speak of.
Volume 52, number 2. June 2013. P11

A Grazing Occultation of SAO 138754
Brian Loader

The observation of a grazing lunar occultation with some unusual features is described.
Volume 52, number 2. June 2013. P17

A .pdf for this issue is not currently available.

What's in a Name? -- VII
Pam Kilmartin

This is the seventh talk given to an RASNZ conference on the subject of minor planet names. It was presented in 2012, at the Carterton conference.
Volume 52, number 1. March 2013. P3

The Discovery of Planets and its Implications
Ed Budding

This is Part 2: Outside the Sphere, of the Fellows' Lecture given at the RASNZ 2012 Annual Conference in Carterton.
Volume 52, number 1. March 2013. P6

Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (Inc) Annual Report of Council for 2012

Volume 52, number 1. March 2013. P9