Sunday, October 21, 2007

RASNZ E-Newsletter

=================================================. Royal Astronomical Society of
New Zealand
Email Newsletter Number 86, 21 October 2007
=================================================Affiliated Societies are welcome to
reproduce any item in this email
newsletter or on the RASNZ website
http://www.rasnz.org.nz/
in their own newsletters provided an acknowledgement of the source is
also included.

Contents
--------
1. From Galileo Galilei to Sustainable Lighting
2. RASNZ 2008 Conference at Lake Tekapo
3. The Solar System in November
4. Comet C/2007 F1 (LONEOS)
5. Stardate North Island 2008
6. Stardate South Island 2008
7. We're Black Hole Dust?
8. Massive Black Hole Upsets Big-Star Evolution Theory
9. Orion Nebula Comes Closer
10. Comet Encke Docked
11. Iapetus's Winking Explained
12. Dawn Spacecraft Successfully Launched
13. Mars Rovers Work Overtime
14. Monster Telescopes in the Works
15. Council Nominations Sought
16. 2007 AGM Minutes Available
17. NZ IYA Website - Biographies Still Needed
18. NAACA 2008
19. Optics for Sale
20. Losmandy GM8 Mount for Sale
21. AstroPhoto Insight October 2007
22. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
23. Gifford-Eiby Lecture Fund
24. How to Join the RASNZ
25. Your Stars in November

==============================================================1. From Galileo Galilei
to Sustainable Lighting
-----------------------------------------------
2009 has been declared the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) by UNESCO
and will be a global celebration of astronomy and its contributions to
society and culture, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use
of an astronomical telescope by Galileo Galilei. (Reference 1, below.)

The New Yorker website (Ref. 2) recently published an informative article
in the New Yorker about the loss of the starry sky and the measures now
being taken to curb light pollution.

"In 1610, Galileo Galilei published a small book describing astronomical
observations that he had made of the skies above Padua. His homemade
telescopes had less magnifying and resolving power than most beginners'
telescopes sold today, yet with them he made astonishing discoveries: that
the moon has mountains and other topographical features; that Jupiter is
orbited by satellites, which he called planets; and that the Milky Way is
made up of individual stars. It may seem strange that this last
observation could have surprised anyone, but in Galileo's time people
assumed that the Milky Way must be some kind of continuous substance. It
truly resembled a streak of spilled liquid-our word "galaxy" comes from
the Greek for milk-and it was so bright that it cast shadows on the ground
(as did Jupiter and Venus). Today, by contrast, most Americans are unable
to see the Milky Way in the sky above the place where they live, and those
who can see it are sometimes baffled by its name.

The stars have not become dimmer; rather, the Earth has become vastly
brighter, so that celestial objects are harder to see. Air pollution has
made the atmosphere less transparent and more reflective, and high levels
of terrestrial illumination have washed out the stars overhead-a
phenomenon called "sky glow." Anyone who has flown across the country on a
clear night has seen the landscape ablaze with artificial lights,
especially in urban areas. Today, a person standing on the observation
deck of the Empire State Building on a cloudless night would be unable to
discern much more than the moon, the brighter planets, and a handful of
very bright stars-less than one per cent of what Galileo would have been
able to see without a telescope."

What has this to do with 'Clean Green New Zealand'?

87% of New Zealanders live in urban areas, unable to see the true majesty
of the night sky from their homes. Light pollution dims the universe from
view.

Prime Minister Helen Clark noted in June this year that public lighting is
the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from Local Councils,
accounting for between 30-50% of all Council greenhouse gas emissions.
She stated that poorly designed and implemented street-lighting was
wasteful and contributed not only to excessive energy consumption but also
to emissions, glare and light pollution.

The Prime Minister indicated that continued Government leadership in
sustainability would be forthcoming and that updated streetlighting
efficiency measures lay ahead, for introduction by 2009 (IYA).

The technology to reduce light pollution exists now; full cutoff fixtures
with energy efficient lamps directed downwards will significantly reduce
energy consumption, spill light and glare. What is required to reclaim the
night environment, is the determination to reduce light pollution, the
same determination that will reduce greenhouse gasses, climate
change, vision, human health and ecological impacts of over bright and
poorly directed lighting. (Ref. 3)

Twenty-eight New Zealand Local Government Authorities have signed up to
the Communities for Climate Protection (CCP) programme (Ref. 4). This
international programme includes the Local Government Association of South
Australia who in their South Australian Strategic Action Planning Guide
for Sustainable Public Lighting (Ref. 5) claim they can save from 60 to
65% of their energy bill for public lighting by changing to sustainable
lighting.

Sustainable lighting provides economic, social and environmental benefits.

-- Steve Butler, Convenor, RASNZ Dark Sky Group.

===========
References (note line-wrapping of some addresses)
1.
http://www.astronomy2009.org.nz
2. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/08/20/070820fa_fact_owen?
printable=true
3.
http://www.urbanwildlands.org/ecanlbook.html
4. http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=3920
5. http://www.iclei.org/fileadmin/user_upload/documents/ANZ/CCP/CCP-
AU/Projects/SPLAP/SASustainablePublicLightingGuide.pdf

==============================================================2. RASNZ 2008
Conference at Lake Tekapo
---------------------------------------
The hosts for next year's RASNZ Conference will be the Canterbury
Astronomical Society. The conference will be held at the Godley Resort
Hotel, Lake Tekapo from 23 to 25 May 2008. Please note the dates, which
are just one week before Queens Birthday weekend next year. Lake Tekapo
is ideally placed for great late Autumn holiday in the South Island so why
not plan to take a holiday in the week following the conference and
explore the region? The Godley Resort Hotel has reserved rooms those
attending the conference. For more information about the Godley Hotel see
the webpage
http://www.tekapo.co.nz/.

Alternatively Lake Tekapo has a number of delightful holiday homes for
hire at very reasonable rates, just a short distance from the Conference
venue. See the holiday homes webpage ttp://
http://www.tekapoholidayhomes.co.nz/.

The Conference Organising Committee are working hard to ensure a great
RASNZ conference next year. The focus will be on the the work at Mount
John and the Dark Skies of the Mackenzie Basin. Conference presentations
are not limited to this theme and presentations on other aspects of
astronomy will also be welcome. If you would like to make a presentation
(either oral or poster papers welcome) at next years conference please
contact the Scientific Organising Committee at conference@rasnz.org.nz.

The Conference will be preceded by the full day workshop "Introduction to
CCD Photometry" run by Tom Richards. As numbers attending this workshop
will be strictly limited we suggest you pre-register your interest in
attending this workshop by emailing Pauline Loader at varstar@rasnz.org.nz
to ensure a place is reserved for you.

Further information about the Conference and workshop can be found on the
RASNZ website
http://www.rasnz.org.nz/ and following the conference links.

-- Pauline Loader

==============================================================3. The Solar System in
November
-------------------------------
The usual notes on the visibility of the Planets for November 2007 have
been placed on the RASNZ web site:
http://www.rasnz.org.nz/SolarSys/Nov_07.htm. Notes for December 2007 will
be in place in a few days.

THE PLANETS IN NOVEMBER

The pre-dawn November sky will present a good display of planets for those
prepared to view at this time. Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury are all in
the morning sky, rising in that order. Only Jupiter remains an evening
object, but by the end of November it will set about 80 minutes after the
Sun, so by then the evening will be almost devoid of naked eye planets.

MARS is the first of the morning planets to rise throughout November. In
fact by the end of the month it will be rising before midnight, an hour or
so before in the north of New Zealand, but only just before in the far
south. During the month Mars brightens from magnitude - 0.6 to -1.3,
similar to Sirius which will be much higher in the sky.

Mars is in Gemini and will be stationary on November 15. As a result it
will be slow moving throughout the month, doing a U turn round the 3rd
magnitude star epsilon Geminorum.

SATURN moves further up into the morning sky and away from Venus during
November, (more correctly Venus moves away from Saturn). Saturn itself
moves less than 2 degrees through the stars during the month, slightly
increasing its distance from Regulus.

On the morning of November 4 Regulus, the Moon and Saturn will be in a
visually interesting line up, with our 32% lit satellite between the star
and planet.

By the end of November, the Saturn will rise just before 2am NZDT at
Auckland, but not until 2.30 at Invercargill.

VENUS rises about an hour and three quarters before the Sun throughout
November so will remain a brilliant but rather low object in the dawn sky.

The planet moves from Leo to Virgo on November 4, where there will be a
nice pairing with the 15% lit Moon two mornings later, with the Moon 2
degrees above the planet. At the same time, Venus will be about 40 arc-
minutes from the star beta Virginis, magnitude 3.6. Planet and star will
be slightly closer the following morning when Venus will have moved to the
opposite side of the star. At the end of November Venus will be 4 degrees
from Spica.

MERCURY rises only some 30 minutes before the Sun throughout the month, so
is very poorly placed for observation. The planet is in Virgo, 3 to 4
degrees from Spica at the beginning of November, it moves into Libra on
November 17 and is just over 1 degree from alpha Libræ on the morning of
November 21.

JUPITER will be visible in the early evening but especially by the end of
the month will be a low object following sunset.

The planet remains in Ophiuchus some 11 degrees from Antares. On November
12 a very thin crescent Moon, only 5% lit, will be between planet and
star.

OUTER PLANETS

Both Uranus and Neptune set after midnight throughout November and so are
well placed in the evening sky. Uranus is in Aquarius between phi and
lambda, slowly moving towards the latter. Neptune is in Capricornus,
just under 2 degrees from iota, magnitude 4.3

BRIGHTER ASTEROIDS:

(1) Ceres is at opposition on November 11 when it will be magnitude 7.2.
By the end of the month it will be visible all evening. The dwarf planet
is in Cetus and will be moving to the west more or less parallel with, and
2 degrees from, its border with Aries. Ceres pass lambda Ceti in the
middle of the month.

(4) Vesta is in Sagittarius in November 11 and will set about 3 hours
after the Sun at the end of the month. Thus it is an evening object.
It will pass about 1.5 Degrees from sigma Sagittarii, Nunki magnitude 2.1
mid month. At magnitude 7.9 Vesta will be fainter than Ceres.

(8) Flora is at opposition on November 20 when it will be at magnitude
8.0.

(29) Amphitrite is at opposition on November 16 with a magnitude 8.8. It
is in Aries most of November and well north of the equator. It will be
nearly 20 degrees below Flora.

-- Brian Loader

==============================================================4. Comet C/2007 F1
(LONEOS)
---------------------------
Comet C/2007 F1 (LONEOS) should be a binocular and small-telescope object
low in the south-western evening sky from the second week of November.
It passed perihelion, 0.4016 AU (60 million km) from the sun on October
28.6 TT. The following ephemeris is based on a download from the Minor
Planet Center. It gives he comet's position at 9h UT on the dates shown.
Example: Nov. 8 9h UT = November 8 at 10 pm NZDT.

2007 R.A. (2000) Dec. 2007 R.A. (2000) Dec.
9h U.T h m o ' m1 9h U.T h m o ' m1
Nov. 8 16 39.1 -33 44 6.7 Nov. 13 16 57.8 -41 02 7.7
9 16 43.4 -35 27 6.9 14 17 00.8 -42 09 7.9
10 16 47.5 -37 02 7.1 15 17 03.6 -43 12 8.1
11 16 51.2 -38 28 7.3 16 17 06.2 -44 10 8.3
12 16 54.6 -39 48 7.5 17 17 08.7 -45 07 8.5

m1 is the comet's total magnitude: A star of this magnitude, defocused to
the size of the comet's head, matches the comet's brightness. To be
obvious to the naked eye a comet needs to be total magnitude 3.

-- Alan Gilmore

==============================================================5. Stardate North
Island 2008
------------------------------
Stardate will be held at Tukituki, near Havelock North from Thursday
January 10 - Monday January 14 2008
For details see
http://www.astronomynz.org.nz/stardate/expression-of-interest.html

-- Edwin Rod in a note to the nzastronomers group

========================================================6. Stardate South Island
2008
------------------------------
Stardate South Island will be held at Staveley, inland from Christchurch
(a long way inland!), on Feb 15-17, Friday to Sunday. Stavely is a
dark-sky site with cabins, kitchen, lecture theatre and camping ground.

========================================================7. We're Black Hole Dust?
-------------------------
When the writer of Genesis said man was made of dust, he spoke true. And
not just man. The whole Earth was made from dust particles in orbit around
the primitive sun, as were all the other solid objects in the solar
system. But how did the dust itself come into existence?

That is a puzzle. Modern space dust blows off stars that formed about 10
billion years ago. These stars would have been too young to have shed much
of the stuff by the time that the solar system formed, 4.5 billion years
ago. The universe's primordial dust must therefore have come from
somewhere else-and a team of researchers led by Ciska Markwick-Kemper of
the University of Manchester think they know where. The answer is from
black holes.

The black holes in question are at the centres of quasars. These formed
shortly after the universe began and they came to the attention of
earthling astronomers because quasars are powerful radio sources. The
radio waves (and lots of other radiation) are the result of matter being
drawn into the black hole and releasing energy as it falls. But not all
this matter is swallowed. Some is baked, transformed and spat out again.
It was this transformation that interested Dr Markwick-Kemper.

Suspecting that it might be the source of primordial dust, she recruited a
space telescope called Spitzer to look at a quasar called PG 2112+059 in
more detail. Spitzer is tuned to pick up infra-red radiation-the sort of
radiation emitted by dust that has been heated. And the details of the
spectrum of infra-red radiation given off by a speck of dust will betray
its composition.

Dr Markwick-Kemper and her colleagues report their findings in a
forthcoming edition of Astrophysical Journal Letters. The dust around PG
2112+059 contains large quantities of rock-forming minerals, including
crystalline forms of silica (essentially, small sand grains), a form of
aluminium oxide called corundum (better known on Earth as the principal
ingredient of rubies and sapphires) and a form of magnesium oxide called
periclase (which is present in marble).

These minerals must have been produced by the quasar, Dr Markwick-Kemper
argues, because their crystal structures would not survive long in the
hostile conditions of outer space. Cosmic rays would zap them into an
amorphous, glass-like state. Moreover, corundum and periclase have not
been detected in space dust before. Their association with the quasar is
therefore strong evidence that this is the object that created them. A
human being may still be a handful of dust. But that dust has had an
exciting history.

-- copied from The Economist 11 Oct 2007, page 96.

==============================================================8. Massive Black Hole
Upsets Big-Star Evolution Theory
------------------------------------------------------
An exceptionally massive black hole has been found in orbit around a huge
companion star. This result has intriguing implications for the evolution
and ultimate fate of massive stars.

The black hole is part of a binary system in M33, a galaxy about three
million light years away. By combining data from NASA's Chandra X-ray
Observatory and the Gemini telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, the mass of the
black hole, known as M33 X-7, was determined to be 15.7 times that of the
Sun. This makes M33 X-7 the most massive stellar black hole known. A
stellar black hole is formed from the collapse of the core of a massive
star at the end of its life. [Super-massive black holes found in the
centres of galaxies are million or billions of time heavier than the sun.]

The properties of the M33 X-7 binary system - a massive black hole in a
close orbit around a massive companion star - are difficult to explain
using conventional models for the evolution of massive stars. The
parent star for the black hole must have had a mass greater than the
existing companion in order to have formed a black hole before the
companion star.

Such a massive star would have had a radius larger than the present
separation between the stars, so the stars must have been brought closer
while sharing a common outer atmosphere. This process typically results
in a large amount of mass being lost from the system, so much that the
parent star should not have been able to form a 15.7 solar-mass black
hole.

The black hole's progenitor must have shed gas at a rate about 10 times
less than predicted by models before it exploded. If even more massive
stars also lose very little material, it could explain the incredibly
luminous supernova seen recently as SN 2006gy. The progenitor for SN
2006gy is thought to have been about 150 times the mass of the Sun when
it exploded.

Jerome Orosz of San Diego State University was the lead author of the
paper that appeared in the October 18th issue of Nature. Coauthor Wolfgang
Pietsch was also the lead author of an article in the Astrophysical
Journal that used Chandra observations to report that M33 X-7 is the first
black hole in a binary system observed to undergo eclipses. The eclipsing
nature enables unusually accurate estimates for the mass of the black hole
and its companion.

Additional information and images are available at:
http://chandra.harvard.edu
and http://chandra.nasa.gov

-- Adapted from a NASA Chandra press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

==============================================================9. Orion Nebula Comes
Closer
----------------------------
A new measurement of the Orion Nebula's distance puts it at 1270 light-
years, compared with the best previous measurement of 1565 light-years.
The old measurement had an uncertainty of about 17 percent, while the new
VLBA measurement has an uncertainty of 6 percent.

The measurement was made with the U.S. National Science Foundation's Very
Long Baseline Array (VLBA), a system of 10 radio-telescope antennas
stretching from Hawaii to the Caribbean. The extraordinary resolving power
of the system allowed determination of the parallax a star in the nebula.

Because the newly-measured distance to the region is 20 percent closer
than the earlier measurement, the stars in the region are intrinsically
fainter by a factor of 1.5, making them nearly twice as old as previously
thought.

The results was obtained by a group of astronomers at the University of
California at Berkeley and published in the October 10 edition of the
Astrophysical Journal.

-- abridged from a U.S. National Radio Astronomy Observatory press release
forwarded by Karen Pollard.

==============================================================10. Comet Encke Docked

---------------------
Earlier this year, Comet Encke was passing a little too close to the Sun
when a coronal mass ejection (CME) hit the comet and ripped off its tail.
NASA's STEREO spacecraft was watching and recorded a must-see movie.
See it at
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/01oct_encke.htm?list778348

- Thanks to John Drummond for passing this note on.

========================================================11. Iapetus's Winking
Explained
-------------------------------
Iapetus, a mid-sized satellite of Saturn, is well-known for its remarkable
variation in brightness. The moon's discoverer, Jean-Dominique Cassini,
commented on it in 1671. He assumed that the moon was locked in its
rotation with one side always toward Saturn, as one side of our moon
always faces Earth. He then guessed that the side leading in Iapetus's
orbit was covered in dark material. Modern measures find the leading side
has an albedo (reflectivity) of 0.05; the trailing side 0.5.

Cassini's surmise has been confirmed by the spacecraft named after him.
The Cassini spacecraft's images show that on the moon's bright trailing
hemisphere, especially in the equatorial regions, dark material tends to
coat the equator-facing slopes of ridges and crater walls and also many
crater floors. This finding strongly suggests the warming action of the
Sun inremoving bright ice from these sunward-facing surfaces and leaving
behind the native dark material that is normally mixed with the ice.
Subsequent downslope motion is very likely responsible for collecting
much of the dark material in the floors of craters and other low lying
regions.

The fact that this process of thermal segregation is so clearly
operating on the bright face of Iapetus lends confidence to the idea that
the same thing happened in a more extreme form on the dark side. The
infall of a thin coating of dark material onto Iapetus' leading side long
ago initiated a runaway version of thermal segregation there. Dark
material scooped up by the moon in its orbit around Saturn coated all
surfaces on the leading hemisphere except at high latitudes. They then
became warm enough, regardless of the direction to the sun, to evaporate
the ice beneath.

The origin of this foreign material remains a mystery, but potential
candidates are the small moons at large distances from Saturn or a
previously existing outer moon that was broken apart long ago.

Observations of very small bright craters seen for the first time in the
recent Cassini images, point to impactors that punched through the dark
upper layer to the bright ice beneath and reveal the layer's thickness
at no more than a few meters.

Images from Cassini's close flyby of Iapetus can be found at
http://ciclops.org, http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and
http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov

-- based on a NASA pres release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

==============================================================12. Dawn Spacecraft
Successfully Launched
-----------------------------------------
The Dawn spacecraft was successfully launched at the end of September. It
is scheduled to begin its exploration of Vesta in 2011 and Ceres in 2015.
These two icons of the asteroid belt are located in orbit between Mars and
Jupiter and have been witness to so much of our solar system's history.

By using the same set of instruments at two separate destinations,
scientists can more accurately formulate comparisons and contrasts. Dawn's
science instrument suite will measure shape, surface topography and
tectonic history, elemental and mineral composition as well as seek out
water-bearing minerals.

For the latest information about Dawn and its mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/dawn

-- from a NASA release forwarded by Karen Pollard

==============================================================13. Mars Rovers Work
Overtime
-----------------------------
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has descended the inner slope of
the 800-meter-wide Victoria crater. The rover is in position to examine a
selected slab of bright bedrock exposed partway down.

Opportunity drove 2.25 meters on September 25 to get the selected flat
rock within reach. That was the 1,305th Martian day of a mission
originally planned for 90 Martian days. By sampling the rock at several
different levels in the crater, NASA scientists are hoping to figure out
the processes that led to its formation and its very distinctive
appearance.

Meanwhile Spirit, the other rover, is exploring the top surface of a
plateau called "Home Plate," where rocks hold evidence about an explosive
combination of water and volcanism.

-- from A JPL press release forwarded by Karen Pollard.

==============================================================14. Monster Telescopes
in the Works
-----------------------------------
Since 1993 and 1996, the world's largest optical telescopes have been the
twin 10-meter Keck reflectors in Hawaii. Next year the Kecks will be
edged out by Spain's 10.4-meter GranTeCan in the Canary Islands. And the
Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) in Arizona, with its twin 8.4-meter
mirrors on a single mount, is coming online soon too. But much bigger
things are in the works.

There's the Caltech/University of California Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT),
scheduled for completion in 2016 if all goes well. Recently a consortium
of US universities and institutions announced that a site has been chosen
for the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT). This one will consist of seven
8.4-meter mirrors grouped in a rosette on a single mount, sending light to
a single focus. It'll have the light-collecting area of a 22-meter
aperture. The GMT will be built at Cerro Las Campanas in the Chilean
Andes, which is already a major observatory site with well-developed
infrastructure. The Carnegie's Institution has two 6.5-meter Magellan
Telescopes currently in operation there.

It was long thought that the 5-meter (200-inch) Hale Telescope on Palomar
Mountain in California - opened in 1948 - would be the largest ever built
on Earth's surface. This made sense when Earth's atmospheric seeing (the
shimmering and blurring of high-power telescopic images due to tiny, ever-
present heat waves) was an intractable problem. The breakthrough that made
monster apertures worth building came not just from modern optical
manufacturing methods, but from adaptive optics that cancel out
atmospheric distortion.

-- From a Sky & Telescope posting by Alan MacRobert, October 4, 2007

==============================================================15. Council Nominations
Sought
--------------------------------
At the Annual General Meeting in 2008, the term of the present council
comes to an end. It is therefore necessary to call upon members to
consider who they wish to nominate to Council for the next two years. We
need to elect the president, a vice-president (who will by custom be
nominated for president in two years' time), the secretary, the treasurer,
and five councillors. Two more councillors will be appointed by the
Affiliated Societies Committee, and the council may co-opt others if they
are needed.

Nominations in all categories must be made by two currently financial
members of the RASNZ, and must contain a signed statement by the nominee
that he/she is willing to be nominated. A short (200 words) biographical
note can also be included.

A nomination form is available at
http://www.rasnz.org.nz/Nomination08.rtf
Please use this as a guide if you wish, but it is also possible to send in
the nomination without using the form, as long as all the necessary
information is included. The form cannot be used online, as there must be
signatures from the nominee and the two nominators.

Nominations should be sent to the Executive Secretary, Pam Kilmartin,
P.O. Box 57, Lake Tekapo 7945, to be received before 24 February 2008.
An election may be held during April 2008.

-- Pam Kilmartin, Executive Secretary

Nominations for Newsletter Editor would also be welcomed. -Ed

==============================================================16. 2007 AGM Minutes
Available
------------------------------
Brian Loader advises that the minutes of the AGM held on 30 June 2007 at
Manukau are now available on the RASNZ website as a pdf
file at <
http://www.rasnz.org.nz/Minutes/0706AGM.pdf>

==============================================17. NZ IYA Website - Biographies Still
Needed
----------------------------------------------
Marilyn Head, RASNZ Publicity officer, is still looking for notes of
upcoming events and for local biographies:

The NZ International Year of Astronomy (IYA) site is up and running thanks
to the sterling efforts of Roland Idacsyk at
http://www.astronomy2009.org.nz

To make it as useful as possible we'd like it to be comprehensive so
please let me know if you want any events - and that includes any from now
until the end of 2009 - to be posted.

A critical part is the section that deals with NZ astronomers - past,
present and overseas. We would like to include as many active astronomers
as we can - it should end up being the Who's Who of NZ astronomy. So we
would like all individuals and societies to send me (not Roland) names and
very short profiles with any relevant links to be posted. See last month's
Newsletter for an example biography. Marilyn's email address is on
http://www.writerfind.com/mhead.htm

==============================================================18. NAACA 2008
--------------
The 23rd National Australian Convention of Amateur Astronomers (NACAA)
will be held in Penrith, western Sydney, over the 2008 Easter weekend
(March 21-24). The NACAA committee invites everyone interested in the
"cutting-edge" of amateur astronomy to attend. We are working to ensure
that the programme will include an exciting mix of invited speakers,
technical sessions, group discussions, and hands-on workshops.

Full details about the conference can be found at our web site
http://www.nacaa.org.au. Registrations will commence later in 2007, but
in the meantime potential attendees are encouraged to pre-register their
interest. Anyone who would like to contribute to the conference's
content should download the Call for Presentations guidelines from the
web site.

-- Steve Russell

==============================================================19. Optics for Sale
--------------------
Bill Allen advises that he has two sets of professionally made optics for
sale:

30cm f15 Dall Kirkham Cassegrain optics made by Garry Nankivell, together
with a Serrurier truss tube and primary mirror cell. $3000. The optical
tube assembly can be viewed on
http://www.observingwines.co.nz, under Vintage
Lane Observatory tab.

15cm f4 Maksutov camera optics made by David Sinden (ex Grubb Parsons),
mounted in a tube. $1500. The camera has a 15 cm clear aperture, a 20cm
primary mirror and a prime focus field flattening lens.

For more information contact Bill Allen at
Vintage Lane Observatory, 83 Vintage Lane, RD 3, Blenheim 7273.
Email: whallen@xtra.co.nz. Phone: 03 572 9275

========================================================20. Losmandy GM8 Mount for
Sale
-------------------------------
Very lightly used, has the standard motors and controller, plus one
Losmandy counterweight. Available with or without brand new G11 legs
(still in the box, NEVER used). GM8 owners often opt for the G11 tripod
and this makes this mount exceptionally stable. Mount head without G11
legs, $1500. With G11 legs, complete $2150. Both prices do not include
postage.
Enquiries to Gary Beale at g.beal@xnet.co.nz

========================================================21. AstroPhoto Insight
October 2007
----------------------------------
The October 2007 issue of AstroPhoto Insight(tm) is now available.
In this issue:
* No Dark Skies? No Filters? No Problem
- DSLR Imaging in Urban Skies by Robert Reeves
* High Resolution Lunar Imaging Part 1 by Bob Pilz
* Maintaining Star Colors with a One-Shot Color Camera by Alan Chen
* Curves II - Curve Confidence by Warren Keller
* Mapping Out You Light Pollution with Google Earth
* Readers' Image Gallery
You can download your copy of this issue here:
http://www.skyinsight.net/apv.php?h=e90051929b2a1352fe4a89b855e01ca5
Save or bookmark this link for direct access to future issues.

-- Al Degutis

========================================================22. Kingdon-Tomlinson Fund
--------------------------
The RASNZ is responsible for recommending to the trustees of the Kingdon
Tomlinson Fund that grants be made for astronomical projects. The grants
may be to any person or persons, or organisations, requiring funding for
any projects or ventures that promote the progress of astronomy in New
Zealand. Full details are set down in the RASNZ By-Laws, Section J.

Contact the RASNZ Executive Secretary, secretary@rasnz.org.nz
or, P.O. Box 57, Lake Tekapo 7945 for an application form.

===============================================================23. Gifford-Eiby
Lecture Fund
-----------------------------
The RASNZ administers the Gifford-Eiby Memorial Lectureship Fund to
assist Affiliated Societies with travel costs of getting a lecturer
or instructor to their meetings. Details are in RASNZ By-Laws Section H.
For an application from contact the Executive Secretary
secretary@rasnz.org.nz, P.O Box 57, Lake Tekapo 7945.

==============================================================24. How to Join the
RASNZ
-------------------------
A membership application form and details can be found on the RASNZ
website
http://www.rasnz.org.nz/infoform/membform.htm.
Alternatively please send an email to the membership secretary
members@rasnz.org.nz for further information.

The annual subscription rate is $75. For overseas rates please check with
the membership secretary.

==============================================================25. Your Stars in
November
--------------------------
More of Madam X's 'horrorscopes' relayed by Lloyd Esler. Libra this
month. The sun is in Libra from November 1 - 15, about.

You know that when you wish on a falling star your wish comes true? In
this case it's one of last year's expired wishes that you should have
cancelled.
Nice to have a totally thief-proof car. Nicer still to have a spare
key.
Trapped in a bizarre time-warp, you spend a day in the stocks where a
medieval crowd pelts you with rotten eggs and shouts "That's for saying
the Earth goes around the sun."
When daylight saving starts, you don't get any more than you did
before.
The tooth fairy comes tonight. She's got the wrong address of course
but that's not going to stop her.
Your cat brings in a rabbit. You have it for dinner but let the rabbit
go.
Due to a remarkable set of co-incidences combining botanical and
physiological phenomena, you _will_ turn into a pumpkin if you're not in bed
by midnight tonight.

=============================================================Alan Gilmore
Phone: 03 680 6000
P.O. Box 57 alan.gilmore@canterbury.ac.nz
Lake Tekapo 7945
New Zealand
=========================

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