A very big thank you to Peter Kinne, head of sales for Gilmnour Space Technologies, for speaking at our October 2019 monthly meeting. It’s not often you get the chance to handle a chunk of rocket fuel – thank you Peter for bringing it along for show & tell. Now we all have a much better understanding of hybrid rocket technology and why this is likely to be Australia’s next pathway to space. BAS looks forward with huge anticipation to the next GST rocket launch.
At our July monthly meeting we held the annual BAS Astro Quiz for 2019. While surreptitious use of Google and Wikpedia were not endorsed at the meeting you are now free to give the quiz a try at home with every astro-resource available to you. No answers provided here, you will just have to do your own research. A PDF version of the quiz slides is available for download:Click Here
Brisbane Astronomical Society has a duty of care for public safety at its astronomical events. One potential area of risk to BAS Members, and the public, is the use of laser pointers either attached to a telescope or operated by hand. This Laser Pointer Safety Training Lecture material, and 23-point Laser Safety Policy, is designed to alert BAS members to potential dangers and risks associated with laser pointer use, and to guide BAS members in laser operational procedures that should help minimize the potential for adverse incident or personal injury. BAS members seeking to use a laser pointer at a BAS astronomical event are required to be certified that they have undertaken basic training in the safe operation of a laser pointer and understand some of the common risks associated with laser pointer use. The BAS Laser Pointer Safety Training materials, and 23-point Laser Safety Policy, and Certification application form, are available for PDF document download:Click Here
The Certification application form, alone, is available as a PDF document download:Click Here
Astronomy in Antarctica. It seems a strange place to locate a telescope. Most of us find a SE Queensland winter a sufficient challenge to operate a telescope. However, BAS member, Mike Zupanc, who has actually lived and worked in Antarctica, explained to us just why the frozen continent is one of the best places on Earth for a few specific forms of astronomy. For one, the atmospheric turbulence we experience in temperate and tropical zones from jet streams and moving high and low-pressure systems and pestering clouds, are not an issue on the high dome regions of central Antarctica. Moisture is also never a problem as it instantly freezes to ice on the ice pack. So, telescopes are free of dust and condensation and can even track circumpolar objects continuously at certain times of the year. We even learned that the University of NSW has an entirely autonomous telescope operating in Antarctica. That is an impressive feat. Most of us have enough trouble keeping our telescopes operating for a few hours within arm’s reach.
After a 2018-19 summer that delivered little rain, but clouds just about every New Moon period, we finally had a win. BAS held its second 2019 Dark Sky Weekend at the Warwick Gliding Club (WGC) on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th of May. It looked doubtful leaving Brisbane in a drenching storm on Saturday afternoon, but the forecasts proved correct and the skies cleared for two fantastic nights under the stars and rising Milky Way. The WGC facilities were excellent and club members extremely welcoming. The only disappointment was the dismal show by the Eta Aquarid meteors. Let’s hope we now get a good run of cloud-free New Moons for the remainder of the year.
Is Orange Light a Better Colour than Red for Dark Adaptation?
Maintenance of dark adaptation is critical for visual astronomers. Where artificial lighting has been necessary, astronomers have traditionally used red lighting. However there are sound reasons to suggest that this may not be the optimal colour. This study revealed that orange is the most appropriate colour for lighting for most astronomers, but there was considerable variation.
Learn much more about this issue in, BAS member, Dr Ken Wishaw’s research paper – available here