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Launching IceInSpace.com.au!
Posted: Tuesday, 12th April 2005 Posted: 13th April 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


IceInSpace.com.au Launched!

IceInSpace has always been a site for Aussies and New Zealanders.. of course we welcome those from other parts of the world, but our strength is that we are a local site, for local amateur astronomers and stargazers.

Well today, we make it official. It is with great pleasure that today I announce the launch of IceInSpace.com.au!

Getting a .com.au domain name is not trivial in Australia, there are strict rules surrounding the registration of .au domain names and it required me to register a business name before I could get the domain name. With the help of the those who donated to IceInSpace, I was able to finally get the .com.au site up and running.

Since registering the domain, mojo and I have been working in the background ensuring that the site will transition smoothly over to the .com.au domain, and we wanted to launch this now distinctly Australasian site with a new logo as well. So you can see above the result of many emails between mojo and myself trying to get the right design that signifies what we are, and most importantly, where we are.

The hope is that with the .au domain name, the site will yield many more search results for Aussies looking for astronomy related information in a "Pages from Australia" search.

Lots of people have contributed to this site in one way or another, and I greatly appreciate everyone's contributions however large or small. Special mention must go to mojo who has helped enormously in the creative and technical area. And of course a very special thankyou to those who donate to the site to keep us up and running.

To read more and have your say, please see this thread on the IceInSpace Forums.

 



IceInSpace Star Party!
Posted: Monday, 11th April 2005 Posted: 12th April 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


IceInSpace Star Party!

IceInSpace is having its first official Star Party, on the Central Coast of NSW. It'll be on Saturday the 7th of May (new moon weekend), starting at 3:00pm with a BBQ and get to know each other.

If you live around the area (Sydney, Newcastle, Central Coast, Blue Mountains, Hunter) or even further afield, and would like to come along, everything you need to know is contained in this thread on the IceInSpace Forums.

There'll be dark skies, experienced astronomers and big telescopes! Please be sure to post your interest in the thread as we'll need to know how many are likely to show up.

I've also added the star party to the upcoming events page.

Start dancing for clear skies!



First How-To Article is born!
Posted: Tuesday, 5th April 2005 Posted: 6th April 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


How-To!

Hi all.

Paul R (1ponders) has written a fantastic article about the hartmann mask for the How-To's page.

He goes into great depth covering topics such as how the holes in the mask affect the diffraction spike patterns, the best configuration of holes to get the sharpest spikes and therefore sharpest focus, how to actually use a hartmann mask to get crisp focus, and of course how to construct one.

It's a really nicely written article, thanks heaps for taking the time to do it Paul. Read the article here:

Secret of the Hartmann Mask... Revealed!!

If anyone else is keen to write a how-to guide for the IceInSpace site, please contact me. I'd appreciate your time and effort.



Update to Rod's SPSP Report
Posted: Sunday, 3rd April 2005 Posted: 4th April 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


SPSP Report

Hi all.

Mike Kerr, president of ASNSW, contacted me after reading mine and Rod's SPSP reports, and had some concerns that some of Rod's points could be misleading for the casual reader.  I have given Mike the right of reply and with his permission, have added his email as an addendum so he can clarify and provide explanation for 2 of Rod's main points.

You can read Mike's email at the bottom of Rod's report:

Stellar Time, but Scope for Improvement

Thanks to Mike Kerr for contacting me.



Have Your Say About IceInSpace!
Posted: Wednesday, 30th March 2005 Posted: 31st March 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


Have Your Say!

Hey guys.

It's time to get some feedback from you, the users of the site, on what you'd like to see improved, new features added, things you don't like, etc.

One of my motivations and goals is to integrate the site and forums a bit more.. At the moment, people will find the site or be linked to the site, have a look around, go to the forums, stay on the forums (good) but probably never go back to the main site. And that's expected if there's largely static information on the site.

So one of my aims is to have more content on the main site. That includes:

  • More upcoming events and event reports (need input and submissions from club/society secretaries)
  • More observatories and club/society listings (just need time to find all the details and add them)
  • More reviews of astro equipment/accessories. I need your submissions here, unless you can convince telescope shops to lend me stuff to review :)
  • Content in the "How-To" section, including the promised GS Dob FAQ, Astrophotography with a dob guide, as well as general how-to guides for lots of different things, such as mirror centre-spotting, making a hartman mask, etc. I need your ideas and submissions! Astronomy DIY'ers I need your input!
  • More astro news on the front page (just need more time to add them)

One of my other aims is to have some more dynamic/changing content on the site, to give more reasons to go back to the site and have it as an allround astronomy resource. Some ideas/potential features include:

  • IceInSpace Member Map (due for launch in about 2 weeks)
  • Integrated Sky Chart, linked to your forum profile which has your lat/long. Kind of like the S&T site interactive sky chart.
  • Satellite/iridium flare pass information.. A popup/flashing button will let you know when a bright ISS pass or iridium flare is going to pass over your location in the next 24 hours (for example), and you can click on it to see the details etc.
  • A dark observing site database with location, maps, instructions etc of observing sites around normal suburban locations (will need submissions from members).
  • Integrated Observing Plan generator, so you can plan a nights observing by picking objects from a database and creating/printing a list to take outside with you.
  • Integrated Observation Report database, where forum members can submit their own observing reports to be stored in the IceInSpace database. They'll be able to search for old reports, and if the member chooses to allow it, other people will be able to view your reports etc. Potentially, sketches can be uploaded etc.
  • A "What's in the sky this week" section, which lists and highlights the best objects to view this week, any special events such as occultations or conjunctions, best features to view on the moon given it's current phase, etc. Just needs time to write each week as it's not a 5 minute job.

Most of these are just ideas and thoughts at the moment, they may be technically difficult to implement so it may rule them out..

So i'm after your feedback and ideas on the above lists, and your suggestions on what you'd like to see on the site.

And for the forums, how can they be improved? How is the current breakdown of sub-forums? Should there be a split of sections or categories, more sections added, less sections? What other features would you like to see on the forums?

This site is for you and the amateur astronomy community down under in australasia, so I need your help and content submissions, ideas, suggestions and feedback to make it the best site it can be.

Thanks for your time. You can reply with your feedback in this thread on the forums, or if you'd like to do it privately, just email me or send me a PM.

Thanks



Get Your IceInSpace Stickers!
Posted: Wednesday, 23rd March 2005 Posted: 16th March 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


IceInSpace Stickers!

Hi guys.

Thanks to IceInSpace Forum member Silvinator, I have some IceInSpace stickers to give away.

Follow the directions in this thread on the IceInSpace Forums to claim yours!

Here's what they look like on my scope!



New Project, SkyCommander DSC's
Posted: Tuesday, 22nd March 2005 Posted: 23rd March 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


New Project!

Hi all

I've just added a new project to the Projects page:

SkyCommander DSC's

These are the best investment i've made to my scope so far, head on over and check out the mod.



A New SPSP report, by Rodstar
Posted: Sunday, 20th March 2005 Posted: 21st march 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


SPSP Report

Hi guys

Rodstar (Rod Berry) has emailed me his SPSP event report, which I have now uploaded onto the website. The article is listed under the Event Reports section, or you can get straight there via this link:

Stellar Time, but scope for improvement

It's subtitle would be "The good, the bad and the ugly of the SPSP" :)

Rod has submitted a very well written article, and pulls no punches in suggesting some improvements for next year. The report also contains his observing log from the 2 nights out under the stars.

It's well worth a read, so check it out.

Anyone else with an SPSP event report (seeker, xstream, robby, John, anyone else?) is welcome to email me their report (with pics?) and i'll upload it to the website.

Thanks



South Pacific Star Party 2005, Report!
Posted: Sunday, 20th March 2005 Posted: 15th March 2005 by Mike Salway Comments


The IceInSpace Contingent

Hi guys.

On the weekend, I went to the South Pacific Star Party at Wiruna, near Ilford in NSW. A small IceInSpace Forum contingent went along too, and we had a great time.

You can read the full weekend report, viewing report and see pictures in the observing logs section, under Special Events. Thanks to everyone I met with and chatted with there, it was a memorable event.

In IceInSpace Forum news, we're up to 189 members! Who will the 200th member be? Maybe you? Sign up and register at the forums, we'd love to hear from you. It's fast, free, and only takes 30 seconds.

Don't forget to fill in your latitude and longitude information in your profile - there's a surprise to be announced hopefully later this week and having your information there will make the surprise better for you!



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