View Full Version here: : Melbourne sessions?
09-07-2012, 11:55 PM
Hi, I am new to the hobby (well about 6 months new) and was wondering whether any Melbourne people get together for viewing sessions? I haven't seen much for the Melbourne area posted up here. I am a recent member of ASV but have not yet had the chance to get out to LMDSS yet.
I was wondering if any Melbournites drive out to nearby semi-dark sites (well darker than inner city) for observation sessions. I would be very interested in tagging along and picking up a tip or two if you do. Alternatively I would be happy to backyard observe if anyone is keen in the future? Do these sorts of things happen?
Don't worry I'm a mature-aged Dad with two kids and only a little bit crazy :D
10-07-2012, 01:48 PM
Give Ken a call
"Snake Valley" just past "Ballarat"
10-07-2012, 02:03 PM
Does not look good for LMDSS this weekend at this stage.
I know the ASV used to try have local urban get togethers but no longer. I'd be interested as well.
There was a few also meeting up around Kangaroo Ground years back.
ASV meeting and observing tomorrow night.
10-07-2012, 03:35 PM
It's been so cloudy, most melburnians have just given up.
There used to be a group down the peninsula that had meets from time to time
10-07-2012, 04:07 PM
Ah yeah there is a club down there somewhere. That's okay I'l keep plugging away in the backyard and try to get out to SV or up to Heathcote as soon as I can.
10-07-2012, 04:32 PM
There's also the ASV's Members Night, GMT House, Observatory Gate, Birdwood Ave., Melbourne at 8.30-10pm on this Friday night.
10-07-2012, 10:12 PM
Yep the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society http://www.mpas.asn.au/index.htm. There still active with public viewing nights and members nights each month.
11-07-2012, 09:28 AM
There's ASV at Botanic Gardens, Burwood (ASV Lodge) and LMDSS (Heathcote). They have all sorts of events running all the time, with regular trips to their dark sky site.
MPAS still meet down on the Peninsula, and there's a Melbourne Astronomy group on meetup.com. Some guys get together in Melb north, and there is a long-standing thread where people have expressed interest in getting together.
If you don't mind an easy weekend trip, Snake Valley (Ballarat) has been awesome, and there's two 4 day camps per year (March and November). They also have a monthly club night. ASV have some star parties through the year also.
Scienceworks at Spotswood also have some nights where they'll pull out scopes when they have an event at the Planetarium, but seeing is pretty poor in the shadow of the Westgate.
Can't half tell I'm a social butterfly :)
11-07-2012, 09:41 AM
I am a member of ASV just have to find the time to get out there. With two kids (4 years old and a 20 week old) SV may be a fair way off, but I think I'll become and member and try to get out there sometime in the future.
I am in the north of Melbourne and catch ups outside Melbourne's north interests me, this may be the Kangaroo Ground events that was discussed earlier in the thread. Thanks again, John.
11-07-2012, 10:13 AM
I'm not too far from there(KG). I was going to go scope out a few areas out my way, with lower horizons and less light than my driveway or balcony. I ran past a spot on Allendale Rd that may be ok. Also need to find a spot where we do not have to walk the gear too far to set up.
I'll let you know and see what we can organise.
Not sure how many others may be interested?
LMDSS is around 1 1/2 hrs from my place and an easy drive. Good for long sessions.
11-07-2012, 11:10 AM
I'm about 30 mins from Allendale Road. If you can find a good spot the more the merrier!
11-07-2012, 12:15 PM
I did find a good spot out near Yarambat but that has now had a housing estate built next door.
Allendale Rd is still rural once you cross the railway. Hopefully it will stay that way for a while.
11-07-2012, 03:58 PM
A few times now I have had a couple of members join me at my place for a session of photon gathering and will probably doing the same next new moon, 21/7, depending on clouds.
If anyones interested in joining us PM me and I will let you know when.
Don't come expecting to pick my brain for any helpfull hints cause it would be worse than a blind person triing to get you across hoddle street in peak hour.:lol:. But your :welcome: to come along anyway.
11-07-2012, 04:43 PM
Told you should charge people John :lol:
I never forget that sight of the milky way in your paddock. A true gentleman and a great host :thumbsup:
11-07-2012, 09:21 PM
Hahaha now he's outed himself, I can confirm that I meant John's place for a northern burbs catch up.
I think I've had the pleasure of meeting most of the souls who wander up (though have never actually made it myself...) and can vouch for them being gentlemen and scholars :)
Even if you didn't have little people to look after, Melbourne's "nuclear winter" has made me pretty unenthusiastic about trudging out to a cooooold paddock... roll on, Spring!!
Good luck with your observing :)
11-07-2012, 10:18 PM
C'mon John, Hoddle street is a car park at 5pm, we could walk straight across:lol:
I'll bring out a thermos and a tin of biscuits. As long as there's a dark spot there I'm happy.
All the best John and thanks for the generosity. John.
12-07-2012, 12:51 AM
Thankyou both for your kind words. "Gentlemen":rofl::rofl:.
I'm with you on that one too Mishku. I've missed a few nights due to the thought of going out there and freezing.
It's been 20yrs since I've had to put up with peak hr traffic. It sound a lot worse now.
14-07-2012, 12:25 PM
John's skies are amazing for just a 50min drive out of melbourne. Forecast for the 21st looks good, if the weather holds up and if John's available, I'll be heading out there.
Need to get there by 5 this time to allow sufficient time for setup.
hope to try some imaging with my 10" serrurier truss.
I've been thinking of buying these heated jackets as well
but full thermals work and I was a lot more comfortable at -1 than usual.
John, just get that 30mm or 40mm EP for your finder and you'll be singing.
14-07-2012, 01:44 PM
Those jackets look good. I see you can get them for $230 inc. bat. and charger. http://www.justtools.com.au/prod7111.htm or were you just going to plug into an external power source?
I've got a 30mm. Had 1 all the time. I spent a lot of time getting the finder alligned up accuratly now. Can center a street light 10k's away in a 12.5mm illuminated EP in the finder and it's centered in the 12.5mm EP in scope. So that should make it a lot easier.
Now just need to work out why PHD wouldn't calibrate.
Can you use a street light to test PHD by turning tracking on so the light drifts or by using the hand controller to move the mount so the light moves around a bit? Will try this method tonight.
See you next week, skies permitting.
14-07-2012, 02:54 PM
From memory, the 30mm fov wasn't wide enough but if you've got it in a 12 mm, then might be ok, better to get a 40mm though, even a plossl should do
I'll try calculating the fov of an 8x50 and compare with yours with a 30mm.
As for the street light, as long as it recognizes its a guide star, it should do the calibration, have a look at the brain settings, or uninstall phd, remove the program files folder and reinstall with defaults! Or why don't you try guiding with maxim. There should be some videos on YouTube
This jacket works out a bit less
14-07-2012, 04:57 PM
17-07-2012, 04:52 PM
Looks like sat. night is going to be a nice clear night. And hopefully not as fresh as it was last time out.
If you would like to come up to kinglake west for a session just PM me and I will send you details.
17-07-2012, 04:59 PM
I'm in, hope to make it by 5
See you then
17-08-2012, 09:56 PM
Hi all, i was wondering where the best site was for star gazing?
i've watched all the 'through the wormhole' and brian greene's documentary and im now fixated on the stars. I stumbled across this site and noiticed there were special nights or monthly events where people get together and gaze.
Is there anything coming up soon?
10-09-2012, 11:44 AM
Welcome to IIS. Yes there are plenty of groups/clubs/people just getting together. And i'm sure all would welcome you along for the evening and most would allow you to ckeck out their gear and answer any questions you will have.
Most of the time these will occur when there is no or very little moon (new moon) around.
I dont know whats around in down south where you are, but the best think to do is keep an eye on the threads in this section, Star parties club and commuity events, as this is where most post where and when they will be getting together. I'm having a few members around this sat night if your interested.
Providing the skies play nice, a few members are coming out to my place (kinglake west) this coming sat night(15/9). So if any one else is interested in coming along you will be most welcome.
If you are interested just PM me for details.
13-09-2012, 09:07 PM
sounds great John
I'd love to come along and get my first glimpse at the night sky through some decent eqiupment. Even through just the naked eye.
14-09-2012, 09:22 AM
Looking forward to meeting you.
I'll PM you details.
17-12-2012, 08:12 PM
Hello,A couple of guys are coming up on Sat night 22/12for a bit of an imaging session. If anyone would like to come up you are welcome too.
Will be having a byo BBQ while setting up.
Hopefully the clouds will say away this time.
17-12-2012, 09:49 PM
sounds awesome, i'll check my diary (xmas and all) but i'd love to come up!
thanks for the heads up John
17-12-2012, 11:43 PM
would have been there, but hosting a Christmas do at my place.
Spoke to Alistair at SV camp and he said you've had some good nights.
Hopefully you have another one this week :thumbsup:
Thanks for the open invite.
18-12-2012, 10:45 AM
Sounds great and would love to come up, but I've got tickets to a concert in Melb on Sat night - present from the kids for Christmas.
Hopefully catch up soon.
Merry Christmas to the family.
18-12-2012, 11:00 AM
Hi Joe, Hopefully you can make it. I looked for you on the Sunday at SV but didnt see you there.
Hi Paul, Rod, yeah it is a bit close to christmas, but I figure Christmas will be there next year rain hail or shine, but clear nights, well who knows when we'll get another of those, esp in melbourne. Hopefully Jan will be clear and might see you then.
Merry Chritsmas to you both and our families, hope you have a good night on sat and a great christmas.
Bahaha nice description there John with your Hoddle street example :P I can vouch for the beautiful night skies and John's gentleman nature, I've been there a few times with Alistair and it's always been great fun and John is an excellent host. Just the drive and scenery to John's is worth the trip! Bit tricky to find his place the first time around though.
This time I'll be there with my DSLR shooting some Widefields/Startrails/Timelapse videos with a friend, so if anyone isnt interested in lugging their telescopes around, then just bring a camera and maybe a pair of Binos and it'll be good fun :)
19-12-2012, 10:58 AM
yep, looking forward to it and can vouch for the dark skies. Plenty dark enough for us beginners.
Plan is to arrive a bit early, setup the scopes, and then fire up the bbq, catch up till dark when we can start imaging/observing.
I'll bring along my Dob mount with the 8inch newt as well so I can do a bit of visual and so can anyone else if they'd like.
Ahh you bringing your 8" for visual Alistair? I was gonna bring my 120ED just for kicks/PA practice but might just stick with my DSLR now, keep it stupid simple as they say.
Wonder what the 22T4 and my (soon to be) 13mm Stratus would look like through there. How about I bring my NEQ6 instead and you can mount the 8" on it, so we can have GoTo?
19-12-2012, 11:21 AM
Considering the trip. Meru if I come I'll bring the Stratus along. Is it possible to park and unload? I'll be bringing the 12" dob with me but don't want to move it far as it's on castors not a trolley. Cheers.
Sure sounds good, John has a rather large clearing in front of his house where you can comfortably park the car anywhere and unload/set up. That's where we do all our imaging too. I'd be very keen to look through a 12" as I'm considering getting one later, happy to help set up!
19-12-2012, 11:54 AM
Hi John, The castors probable wont like the gravel/grass no concrete but there is plenty of room, you should be able to park next to your setup, or at worst unload where you setup and then move the car.
People will be arriving 4.30-5pm so will probable fire the Barbie up around 6ish so we'll have time to setup before hand and have a feed before it gets dark.
19-12-2012, 11:58 AM
Thanks John, I don't think I'll need to move it as long as the clearing is within 20 metres of the car. Thanks again.
19-12-2012, 12:16 PM
Why don't you bring your NEQ6 and RC8? that should give us some good close ups at F10.
Now we need a target list so we don't waste much time deciding on imaging/ viewing targets.
anyone know how to get an output from CDC or skyx on targets?
Hey John (Varangian), the clearing is exactly where we park our cars. Our scopes are usually set up right next to it too; I usually place my laptop on the boot on my car. So provided the gravel/grass surface isnt a problem, it will be quite close to your vehicle :)
Alistair, yea I'm happy to bring the RC8 instead, I find that my 22T4 doesn't come into focus with it if I use a diagonal so I don't want a sore neck :P I figured your 8" and my NEQ6 would be a great combo. We'll see how we go on Saturday, let me know!
20-12-2012, 11:31 AM
Okay, if the weather holds I'm in. John, I have sent you a PM, Meru I'll bring the Stratus with me.
20-12-2012, 12:55 PM
Hi John, Thats great.
The weather looks good sofar.
PM replied to.
Sounds good John (Both of you lol)
20-12-2012, 04:10 PM
Hi John (scagman),
I have a colleague of mine who wanted to drop by for an hour with her kids to let them have a look through our scopes. hope that's ok.
20-12-2012, 04:46 PM
Yep thats fine.
SkippySky and 7Timer both are showing over 50% chance of cloud Saturday night at the moment. Are we still going ahead?
21-12-2012, 10:00 AM
Its not looking to good at the moment. Will say that it is still on for the moment and if we all think positive thoughts really hard they might blow away before then.
If it stays like it is then I'll cancel by 2pm tomorrow.
21-12-2012, 12:40 PM
I would recommend visual confirmation rather than the forecasts cause yesterday, about 5 different forecasts showed clear whereas it was completely clouded over.
the cover looks between 30 and 50% on the forecasts, so going by forecast inaccuracies, it could swing either way.
will wait and see till tomorrow afternoon.
21-12-2012, 09:34 PM
Bugger, looks good tonight. Might jump out the back for quick session. Skippy and 7timer been that inaccurate over the past month that I'm happy to wait until the 11th hour. Clear skies (hopefully).
21-12-2012, 10:33 PM
SkippySky and 7 Timer are both presenting data from the same weather model so they're not independent. Almost all online sites are using US GFS weather model data.
More info here: http://philhart.com/content/cloud-forecasts-australian-astronomers
Aside from Australian BoM, the only other model data you can easily access is the European Model, only publicly available for worldwide locations via yr.no (http://www.yr.no/)
22-12-2012, 09:19 AM
Thanks phil, I didn't know that. Couldn't figure out the European one though.
It's looking a bit better on 7 timer and bom.
22-12-2012, 10:26 AM
Okay that explains why both programs have been displaying erroneous conditions, they provenance the same data. Thanks for the links Phil.
22-12-2012, 11:51 AM
Well its a beutifull day here at the moment and 7timer has improved its out look for tonight. So at the moment its looking very promising but will post another update around 2:30 or so.
Thanks Phil, never knew that!
John, yup the forecast looks much better now. Cant wait to shoot some timelapses :)
22-12-2012, 01:29 PM
Well, There is a bit of cloud cover at my place, but the meat's marinated and packed. so might as well have the bbq clouds or no clouds.
starting to pack up the car.
Meru, are you getting the RC and neq6? I wonder if we can view andromeda. might be a bit ambitious. I've never seen it through a scope.
I'll try and compile a visual target list for the kids as well.
22-12-2012, 01:30 PM
My GF and I will be coming up at around 9pm. I'll wait for your weather upstate
22-12-2012, 01:35 PM
hope you have a great night. Woud have loved to join you :sadeyes:
Was outside last night till about 4am, playing around with EQAlign and Eqmod, as well as a bit of imaging. Needed my fix as I can't come tonight.
Clear Skies and Merry Christmas.
Hey Alistair yea sure why not. BBQ sounds good, if anything I should hopefully get some nice landscape shots while I'm driving there.
Haha Paul! Hopefully you got some good data :)
22-12-2012, 02:17 PM
Looking cloudy through Brunswick now. I'll watch until 5pm unless I hear from John beforehand.
22-12-2012, 03:37 PM
Its clouded over here too and doesn't look like clearing. The national radar image at BOM shows a large gap coming thru then lots of cloud behind that. 7timer is now showing partial cloud all night.
So at the moment I would say that it wont be a good night for telescposes.
But you are still all welcome to come up anyway for the BBQ. It should still be a nice evening.
22-12-2012, 04:09 PM
Thanks John, pity about the clouds and even though it would be great to get up there and meet you all I only have a certain amount of brownie points away from the kids and I think I'll bank these for a telescope session in the future. Have a great BBQ.
22-12-2012, 05:02 PM
Hi John, Yes big pity about the clouds. Hopefully the clouds will part next new moon and you will be able to get out then.
I hope you and your family have a great christmas.
22-12-2012, 06:00 PM
John, many thanks, looking forward to it. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
22-12-2012, 10:52 PM
Beautiful clear night in Melbourne's north :mad2:
23-12-2012, 11:54 AM
Just back from an all nighter with John and Meru, and contrary to all the forecasts, it was clear throughout till dawn. occasional wisps of cloud but they were pretty low.
Had a great time, relaxed and had the bbq in the evening, set up the scopes, and then had another bbq at 2am!
Did a bit of visual as well with my 8" newt on a Dob mount, surprised the hell out of myself by locating sombrero in 5 seconds flat with just a laser.
Whilst I had some guiding issues, Meru was happily snapping away his widefields with two dslr's, and John managed to get a few subs on four or five targets in one night, which is a bit of a record for both of us.
we both used the CCD method for polar alignment and that got us aligned quick and easy. Amongst the best method I've used and highly recommended.
It was a bit chilly till around 2 when suddenly the temperature rose by 3 degrees and became very warm. that was very strange.
But in all, a fantastic night, sure to see some good images from John and Meru.
Can't wait till next new moon. we'll be heading out again.
Well said Alistair, it was truly amazing. It was so clear we actually saw quite a number of DSOs with Alistair's dob, and I got some great footage for my timelapse video :) cant wait to post it here! The BBQ was also great idea!
The drive home was actually very beautiful, you could see the sun rising over the mountains and valleys with patches of low lying fog here and there on the road. Look forward to it next time guys!
23-12-2012, 02:40 PM
Rub it in why don't you! Who dares wins I suppose.
23-12-2012, 04:13 PM
It turned out to be a good night afterall. Even at 7pm it was still doubtful that it would be that good a night. By 8 we decided we would set up, even thou the forecast wasn't that promising and the moon was quite high and didn't seem to be moving across the sky at all. (maybe the Mayians did have it right i thought.)
My main aim for the night was to get my PA method down to a reasonable time, 4-5hrs seemed a bit long last time. This time, using the CCD method Alistair showed me, I had a good PA an hour later if you take out all the chat time. I was happy.
It turned out that the clouds stayed away all night so we were all able to get some imaging done till about 5am this morning.
Claudia, my partner, did find a nice little suprise waiting for her when she got up about 1/2 hr after I went to be. Saomething 1 of the cats dragged in. See pic below.
Next new moon is on the 12 jan which is a sat night, so I am planning on another evening then. So start building those brownie points and hope to see you then.
04-04-2013, 01:33 PM
Sat. night is looking like it might be a reasonable evening.
I know its a bit late notice for any that have to get permission from thier other half but thats the way with this hobbie.
So if your interested PM me for details. So far I think there will be 2 others coming up.
No moon, clear skies, not too warm.... I cant wait!
07-04-2013, 10:41 AM
Thanks John for the oppertunity to use your great location and dark sky's.
Ill see you again next time.
Yup, amazing views and a great host as always John :)
07-04-2013, 02:04 PM
Agreed! Thanks again John and it was great to meet both Meru and yourself. :)
07-04-2013, 04:47 PM
Thanks guys I'm glad you all had a good night. A few clouds early but not many. It cleared up after 2 but the wind picked up a bit more.
Saturn looked great thru Pete's TEC160.
07-04-2013, 05:49 PM
Sounds like you guys had a good night, I'm hoping to make it next new moon if the weather clears up.
What did you'll end up imaging or observing?
07-04-2013, 07:07 PM
Hi Alistair, Yes I think we did. It was good to meet Pete and Ricky. I tried my 2x Powermate out on M83. Here is a quick rendition of it.
07-04-2013, 08:11 PM
Ricky and myself are visual guys and did a comparison test on a TEC140ED vs TEC160FL mostly on Saturn. The point of it was to put to rest what an extra 20mm of glass can do. The results where ???? well maybe next time when both of us are there people like yourself and others can see for your selves. But I do recall some huge similarity to this image but at the eyepiece and at a reduced image scale http://www.iceinspace.com.au/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=132371&d=1360605892. I think John has a great thing going here where people can come and enjoy them selves or learn new techniques. Can wait to make it to the next get together.
I reckon you might have to build a hotel there soon John.;)
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