IceInSpace AstroCamp, 11th - 13th April 2013

The IceInSpace AstroCamp (IISAC) at Lostock, now in its 7th year, is back again!  

After a break in 2012 due to the Total Solar Eclipse, the IISAC has moved to April in 2013! The change in date will mean a change in temperature, a change in scenery and a stunning change in the night sky as the bulge of the Milky Way will be rising in the evening.

IISAC2013 is a star party organised by the IceInSpace community and held over 3 nights, from the 11th to the 13th April 2013, at Lostock Scout Camp in the beautiful Hunter Valley area of NSW. The location was chosen because of its proximity to Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle, and at under 4 hours drive from Sydney you'll be amongst clear, very dark skies in a lovely country setting. If you want to see pictures and read reports from the three previous IISAC events, check out the Previous IISAC Events page.

There is bunkbed accomodation for up to 35 people in the two onsite farmhouses, or you can camp out in the large fields which have held over 500 scouts - so space is not a problem! The farmhouses also have a BBQ, full kitchen facilities, 240v power, 10 showers and 10 toilets, fridges and freezers. For off-site accomodation, the Lostock Caravan Park is only 6 km's away on the edge of Lostock Dam.

There'll be plenty to do when it's not dark, with a swimming hole to cool off during the hot summer days, as well as organised talks and workshops to cater for both newcomers and experienced amateur astronomers alike. You can go for leisurely drives through beautiful rolling hills, or a short trip takes you to the popular Hunter Valley wineries area.

The IceInSpace AstroCamp is the no-fuss star party - come to relax, to have fun, to unwind and to meet some of the great, friendly people that make up the wider IceInSpace family. And when it's clear, observe under brilliant dark skies and take home memories you'll cherish forever.

The AstroCamp is not restricted to IceInSpace forum members, it's open to anyone from anywhere! Of course we'd love you to join the forum community and join in the discussions and the fun, and we're very welcoming to newcomers.

Come for one night or stay for all three! We look forward to seeing you there!


A very big thanks to our generous sponsors who have donated prizes to IceInSpace AstroCamp 2013. They are:




Vital Stats


 Date: 11th - 13th April 2013 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights)
 Location: Lostock Scout Camp, Lostock (near Dungog/Gresford. It's about 3-4 hours drive North of Sydney)
Cost: Prices
To Book:
Programme of Events:
Forms and Policies: -IISAC2013 Handout (600k PDF) - contains all forms below:
-Site and Competition Policy
-General Field Policy
-Light Use Policy
-Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form
-IISAC2013 Sky Lists
-IISAC2013 Programme
Maps: -General Location
-Aerial Map
-How to get there (Google Map Directions)
-Field Map 1, Field Map 2
Lat/Long: Long: 151° 25.476 ° E , Lat: 32° 18.875 S , Elevation: 200m
Group Photo: Saturday, 5:30pm at the Bottom House. Please make yourself available!
Forum Thread: For all discussions and questions
Anything else: Email me: (This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it)
Quick Links: -Features of the Site
-Competitions and Prizes
-What to Bring
-Things to Know
-Daytime Activities, Guest Speakers and Workshops
-What's in the Sky at Lostock?
-Food and Beverage
-IISAC2013 T-Shirts
-Prices and Booking
-Rules and Conditions
-Location Photos



Features of the Site

  • Exclusive use!
  • Very dark skies
  • 2 farmhouses with up to 35 bunkbeds in total (bring own linen). Remember, this is a scout camp. The bunkbed accommodation is not 4-star luxury!
  • Loads of room for camping
  • Huge observing fields with good open viewing (no trees etc)
  • Camp where you observe!
  • Power available on-site for recharging batteries, astrophotography, etc.
  • Undercover area for meetings/presentations/wet weather etc
  • The houses have full kitchens (stoves, cutlery, glasses, hot water, fridges and freezers)
  • Amenities block with 5 showers and 5 toilets for both male and female  (remember, this is a scout camp!)
  • The farm houses also have additional toilets and showers
  • Swimming hole for cooling off during a hot summer day
  • Off-site caravan park at Lostock Dam, about 6km's away
  • Supplies at Gresford, 20km away.

Competitions and Prizes


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TeleVue Delos 12mm

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50% off an Argo Navis DTC

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Deep-Sky Planner Software

Lucky Door Prizes

Like previous IISAC's, there will be just 3 prizes; 3 lucky winners.

The following prizes are up for grabs, thanks to our generous sponsors.

The Important Competition Rules are set out in the Rules and Conditions section below. Please make sure you read them.

What To Bring!

Following is a list of items we strongly recommend that you bring to the AstroCamp.

  • You may bring your own chair/picnic table, especially if camping. There will be plastic chairs and trestles tables under the marquee area. 
  • Insect repellant (there will be mosquitoes and flies!)
  • Toiletries (towel, soap, shampoo, toothbrush etc)
  • Linen (pillow, sheets, blankets, sleeping bags)
  • Tent, pegs, etc (if camping)
  • Drink bottles for water (it will be hot, drink plenty of water)
  • Hat and sunscreen (it will be hot!)
  • Swimming costumes, towels (there is a beautiful swimming hole)
  • It can get quite cold at night, so remember to bring warm clothes for observing or sleeping.
  • Breakfast, Lunch, Snacks and Dinner. The nearest town for supplies is Gresford, about 25-30 minutes away.
  • Batteries for powered scopes (240v power will be limited to the area around the farmhouse)
  • Cardboard box / red screen for your laptop (see Light Use Policy)
  • Torch with deep red filter (see Light Use Policy)
  • Garbage Bags. There are no facilities for litter disposal. We will all have to take our rubbish away with us.
  • Tarps for under your scope (if required)
  • Tarps/covers for over your scope (if required) 
  • Dew shields/dew heaters (it can get quite dewey)
  • Wet weather games or DVD's (hopefully they won't be needed!)
  • If bringing children, please bring enough games and toys to keep them happily busy! :)
  • Your signed Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form.

Things to Know!

Along with the What to Bring section above, here are a few important things to know if coming to the IceInSpace AstroCamp 2013 at Lostock.

  • Please come to the bottom house (HQ) when you arrive to collect your info pack, name tag and raffle ticket for the lucky door prize. We will also note down your car registration number for emergency purposes.
  • The IceInSpace AstroCamp is the no-fuss star party. Come to relax, to have fun, to unwind and to meet some of the great, friendly people that make up the wider IceInSpace family. And when it's clear, observe under brilliant dark skies and take home memories you'll cherish forever. Please don't expect 4-star accommodation or amenities.
  • The Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form must be signed and handed in when you arrive. This is to protect IceInSpace and the organisers against legal action if someone hurts themselves at the camp. All care is taken, but ultimately you are responsible. Please read the legal waiver now. And remember, it must be signed and handed in if you wish to stay at the camp.
  • There is no GSM mobile reception at Lostock, however NextG may work from the high areas. There is no landline phone in either farmhouse.
  • An "info pack" will be distributed when you arrive, containing rules, policies, the agenda, and local tourist information.
  • There are 2 farmhouses, the bottom house is the HQ and the top house (5 minutes walk) also has facilities and beds. Each farmhouse holds about 18 beds. For those that have booked bunkbed accomodation, it is first-in best dressed when choosing your bunk. If you're bringing a family and wish to all be in the one room, please request this at the time of booking and every effort will be made to accomodate this.
  • In the case of an emergency (bushfire, etc), please meet at the muster point outside the bottom house - see the field map.
  • Please be all packed up and be ready to leave the camp by 10am Sunday. We need to leave it how we found it, so please help clean up any mess you make, take your rubbish and leftover food/drinks with you. Volunteers who wish to stay behind and help clean up will be most appreciated.

Daytime Activities, Guest Speakers and Workshops

A number of activities are planned to keep us busy during the day, while still allowing plenty of time to just relax, or go on sight-seeing tours of the Hunter Valley or local surrounds.

Please see the Programme of Events for the day and time that these activities are on.

Guest Speakers

The following guest speakers have agreed to share their time and expertise and give talks at IISAC2013:
  • Chris Malikoff: The role of mobile devices in amateur astronomy

    Chris will talk about the meteoric rise in the acceptance and use of mobile devices, and more specifically the modern tablet and smart phone. He'll run through a list of his favourite apps on both iOS and Android platforms, showing how they can be used to help ourselves as well as educate others.

    Chris Malikoff is an IT/Systems Development manager for an advertising and publishing workflow software house. He has been in the IT field for over 33 years, the last 20 specialising in publishing. Recently he has been pushing development towards mobile devices as they rapidly gain acceptance at corporate level within the publishing and advertising industries. He has been a keen amateur astronomer for decades, and is currently the president of a very active Sydney-based astronomy club. He is also a very keen street photographer and is thankful that this "sport" is less weather dependent than astrophotography.

  • Greg Bradley: Basics of Photoshop Processing

    Greg's talk will cover basic photoshop techniques to bring up an astrophotograph from its raw state up to the polished final image.

    Greg is 57 years old, a Bachelor of Business and has been an enthusiast in astrophotography for about 8 years now. Having won honourable mentions in the last 3 Malin Awards, and gave a talk at the Australian Astrophotography Imaging Conference last year and again this year, Greg is well placed to share his workflow and advice.
    Greg has studied Photoshop extensively and is familiar with the various techniques for different types of images, and has imaged with quite a few different telescopes and mounts and have produced hundreds of astro photos using both DSLRs one shot colour cameras and mono cameras.

  • David Lloyd-JonesAsimoplan

    A software tool for designing and executing the imaging of mosaics of astronomical objects. Works by floating a matrix of camera frames over your existing sky atlas display. Lets you preview the content of each frame before imaging and delivers precisely aligned images thus reducing the need for large overlaps between adjacent images.

    David Lloyd-Jones is a keen amateur astronomer for many years. Lately almost exclusively uses a video camera for viewing and astro-imaging. Enjoys developing astro-related software tools.

  • Mark Bolton: Reflections on building a remotely operated observatory

    This talk covers the experiences gained from the recent construction of the presenters remotely operated observatory. It will cover hurdles overcome, such as the lack of mains power and copper pair internet access, as well as modifications required to the observatory to suit the needs of the user.

    Mark Bolton is a Geotechnical Engineering academic with the Griffith School of Engineering based on the Gold Coast in Queensland. He has been a keen astrophotographer for approximately 30 years, progressing from a cheap Russian SLR on a tripod in 1972 to his current Astrophysics equipment.

  • Mike Salway: Nightscape Photography 101

    Nightscapes is a relatively new genre of photography, combining beautiful foregrounds with a night sky scene - often in a single exposure, sometimes as a composite of varying exposures.  As we are seeing more and more people around the world capturing these amazing and inspiring nightscape photos, what's their secret?
    What makes a good nightscape photo?
    What makes a good nightscape photographer?
    Mike will share his thoughts on these questions as well as a show-and-tell of some nightscape photos he's captured in the last 12 months.

    Mike Salway is the founder of IceInSpace and has been photographing the night sky in various forms for over 6 years. His current passion is nightscape photography and loves the simplicity of a camera, a tripod and the night sky to create beautiful night sky scenes.


  • Astro Sketching Workshop by Alex Massey (Saturday 1pm, main marquee area).
    Learn about Astro Sketching using the Mellish technique. The workshop will go for approx 30 minutes.

For other help needed or impromptu workshops, a whiteboard located at the bottom house HQ will be used as a "community noticeboard" to get people together. It will be used both for people that need assistance and those that have the expertise to assist.

  • For those that need help with collimation or polar alignment (for example), they might post a "wanted" notice such as "Bruce needs help collimating a 10" newt. Blue Hyundai Excel on the bottom field" or "Need help with polar alignment. Please meet here this afternoon at 4pm".
  • For those willing to assist, they can post something like "John happy to help with polar aligning or collimation. Meet here at 4pm or see me at the white toyota hilux at the east end of the field".

Please don't be afraid to ask for help! Most amateur astronomers are happy to help and share their expertise when they can - we all started out by asking heaps of questions!

Vendor Stalls and Swap Meet

A number of vendors will be offering telescope equipment for sale at IISAC2013. The vendor stalls will be open on Saturday morning from 9:00am - 11:30am.

Vendors currently confirmed:


What's in the Sky at Lostock?

April is a great time to be observing under a dark sky. Wind your planetarium software forward and see what great stuff is on offer! Here is a sample of objects that will be in favourable viewing positions during the IceInSpace AstroCamp 2013.

  • Saturn will be rising shortly after sunset and be visible all night long
  • Crux (the Southern Cross) will be high in the South East
  • The bulge of the Milky Way rises after 9pm and will be visible all night long
  • Heaps of deep space objects in the Milky Way and surrounds, including Eta Carinae, M8, M20, globular clusters and more.

Check out the IISAC2013 sky list for some more detail.

Night Sky Tours

Night Sky Tours will be conducted each night from 8:00pm on the lower field. Representatives from the Three Rivers Foundation (3RF) will have a number of large dobsonian telescopes (18" and above) through which you will be able to see amazing galaxies, nebulas, globular clusters and more.

Food and Beverage

The bunkhouses have fridges and freezers, as well as a full kitchen, cooking facilities and 2 BBQ's.  You are welcome to use the facilities provided and they are available for use by all paid attendees.

  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are not catered, and you must make your own arrangements.
  • I'm sorry, but there will be no catered dinner this year. You will need to make use of the house facilities (microwave, stove, bbq) or have your own arrangements at your camp site (portable stoves etc).
  • Tea and Coffee will be on-tap, 24 hours a day.
  • Cans of cold soft-drink will be available for $1 each.
  • Bottled Water will be available for $1 each.
  • Tube iceblocks will be available for 40c each or 3 for $1.

The nearest shops for restocking and supplies are in Gresford, which is about a 25-30 minute drive from the camp.

IISAC2013 T-Shirts

IISAC2013 T-shirts are available for order through the IceInSpace Shop. They will need to be added to your cart separately from your camp booking. If you're not attending the camp but still wish to purchase an IISAC2013 t-shirt, please order through the IceInSpace Shop.

The shirts are available in the following sizes:

  • Adult sizes: S (w:46cm/l:71cm) , M (w:51/l:73cm) , L (w:56cm/l:76cm) , XL (w:61cm/l:79cm), XXL (w:66cm/l:81cm) , XXXL (very very big shirt- w:71cm/l:86cm)
  • Kids sizes: XS (w:41cm/l:51cm)


  • All size shirts: $20

The shirts will be available for collection at IISAC2013.

Thanks to PD Screenprinting for the excellent printing!

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IISAC2013 t-shirt

Prices and Booking

Book early! Bunkbed accommodation is limited, so be fast to secure your spot. On the booking form, you'll choose your option of bunkbed, camping or off-site accommodation.

Click on the button below to open the registration form and book your place!

  • Participants who have made a booking and paid their money are eligible for the lucky door prize competition.
  • Book and pay early (on or before the 10th March 2013) to receive an early-bird discount ($15 off the total price). Use the coupon code IISAC-EARLYBIRD.


Adult $85
Child (13 years and under) $15
Family (2 adults & 1 or more children) $170


Camping $12 per camp-site per night
Bunkbed $7 per person per night
Off-site $N/A per night


Dinner Unfortunately dinner must be self-catered this year. There are kitchens and BBQ's for use by guests.
IISAC2013 T-Shirts $20 all sizes
Early-Bird Payment Discount $15 off the total cost (if paid on or before 10th March 2013, and the coupon code IISAC-EARLYBIRD is used)


Here's what a few people had to say after previous IISAC's:

  • "Having attended this event on all three occasions it has been held, I heartily recommend that the amateur astronomy community get behind this event. There is wonderful sense of community, and all levels of knowledge and ability are welcome and enjoy the event. When the skies are clear, they are superb, with many objects taking on stunning detail, even in modest apertures. This is also a place that the whole family will enjoy, with a beautiful natural environment and natural swimming hole which will keep the kids entertained for hours. The organisers deserve congratulations for the care and planning that go into making this event such a success."
  • "This is my 4th IISAC and I'll continue to return as long as they are held. The organisers do a terrific job in making the stay as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. The location is great for family with kids and the atmosphere is easy going and fuss free. The amenities are more than adequate and the meals provided are just spot on.
    If your new to astronomy, then IISAC is a fantastic introduction to meeting people, equipment and the hobby in general. You don't need to be an expert in the astronomy nor do you even need to bring a scope to enjoy the wonders of the night sky. I would like to thank Mike Salway and the volunteers for an event that gets better and better each year."
  • "An absolutely fantastic star party.  To Mike and the other organisers, the speakers, sponsors and the volunteers from Greford RFB my hat goes off to you for so generously giving your time, astro goodies, knowledge and help to make the event a complete success."
  • "Having never been to a IISAC before and knowing absolutely nothing about Astronomy, I was thrilled with the standard of knowledge & the willingness to share it. The members were a pleasure to be with.And, it was fantastic value. My congratulations."
  • "This is one star-party that I don't want to miss and the one that I enjoy myself at the most."
  • "A great place to mix with amateur astronomers of all levels in a friendly environment. Highly recommended."
  • "A terrific experience for all the family!  Saw fantastic objects in the sky you could never hope to see in Sydney!"
  • "An awesome event. A great chance to meet like-minded people under dark skys and a credit to Mike and the team. Great work!"
  • "Well run, great people, friendly atmosphere top event."
  • "IISAC is a great informal event at a pretty campsite, run by people who are passionate about their hobby. Heaps to learn and enjoy, about stargazing, hearty dinners and a great creek side location to chill out in the daytime."
  • "Would recommend this camp to newbies in astronomy as there are lots of talented people  happy to share their knowledge with you."
  • "Fantastic event as always, good crowd and great people. Sadly I was away for the 2008 lucky door prize & my name got called out 2nd! Defintely going back again next year."
  • "My guests loved the 2 hour 'window' where they gazed at Jupter and some of its moons for the very first time in ther lives! Also, they gazed at the milkyway and the shooting stars that could be plainly seen!"
  • "It was great to attend IISAC 2008, in spite of the clouds it was great to meet and network with the people I have come to know on the forum."
  • "The best river swim in history."  

Rules and Conditions


  • IceInSpace and the organisers of the AstroCamp accept no responsibility for the safety or security of your posessions while at the Astronomy Camp.
  • Please supervise all young children, as there will be expensive telescope equipment that the owners won't want knocked over.
  • No pets are permitted. I'm sorry there are no exceptions to this.
  • When driving, be aware of local wildlife and drive slowly and carefully. The last 20km's into Lostock is narrow and winding and you never know what's around the corner.
  • The road into Lostock is narrow and winding. When driving, please be careful and take your time, especially in the wet or dark.
  • It is a condition of entry that you sign and hand in the Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form when you arrive.
  • All times specified on this page are in AEST (not daylight savings time).

Swimming Hole Rules

  • The swimming hole is there for us to enjoy, however you choose to use it at your own risk. By signing the disclaimer form, you waive any right to bring action against the IISAC organisers or any volunteers for any injury sustained while using the swimming hole.
  • The swimming hole will be open from 9am-11:30am and 1:30pm-5:30pm each day. It is not to be used outside these hours.
  • Volunteer "lifeguards" will be present during open hours to ensure safe play.
  • Parents must supervise their children while using the swimming hole. If a child is seen in the swimming hole without their parent present, the child will be asked to leave the swimming area.

Registration Payment

  • Payment can be made in 1 of 3 ways, as outlined below:
    • Cheque/Money Order - made out to "IceInSpace". The address to send it to will be displayed upon completion of your registration.
    • Direct Deposit - bank/account details will be displayed upon completion of your registration.
    • Paypal - A paypal payment link will be displayed upon completion of your registration.
  • Please arrange payment of your registration fee as early as possible so numbers can be confirmed for catering and insurance. Payment of your fees on or before 10th March 2013 and use of the coupon code IISAC-EARLYBIRD entitles you to receive an early-bird discount ($15 off the total price).
  • Cancellation of your registration may incur cancellation fees (see below).  

Cancellation Fees

  • I understand that circumstances beyond your control may mean you can't make the camp. If you have booked and it turns out you can't make it after all, please cancel as early as possible. You will receive a 100% refund, less $20 cancellation fee.
  • If you simply don't turn up at the camp, there will be no refund given, however 50% of your payment may be used as a credit for the next IISAC event.  

Lucky Door Prize Rules

  • Everyone who has a fully paid-up booking (whether staying on-site or off-site) will receive a raffle ticket for the lucky door prize when they arrive. That is, each person on your booking will receive a raffle ticket.
  • If you turn up on the day without making a booking, you can still be eligible for the draw if you pay when you arrive and sign the Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form.
  • You are only eligible for the draw if you have signed and handed in the Acknowledgement and Disclaimer form.  
  • You (or your ticket) must be present at the draw to claim the prize. If the prize is not claimed within 2 minutes, a new ticket will be drawn.
  • TBA will be drawing the tickets out of the hat. 
  • Each ticket that is drawn (in order) will get their choice of the (remaining) prizes on offer, until all prizes are won.
  • The competition will begin at 4:30pm on Saturday the 13th April 2013.
  • The prize may not be converted to cash.


Location Photos

Here are some pictures of previous IISAC events, so you can get a feel for what it will be like to be there for IISAC2011!

IISAC2011 Photos


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IISAC2011 Group Shot

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Chris Malikoff running the IISAC Cafe!

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Fred.. what more needs to be said!

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ASA 8 inch

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Tent under the stars

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Solar viewing

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Remote control aircraft, daytime fun!

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Scope on the field

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John Bambury and 3RF Dob

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Chris and Fred tinkering with timelapse setup

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Scopes on the field

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Sketching workshop

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Scope on the field

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Mike Salway and Al Sheehan

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View from up on the mountain

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Passing the time on a cloudy night

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Discussing the night before?

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Mozzies down by the creek

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Field view

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Field view

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By the marquee

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Finding the Way Home

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Staying for the Night

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Southern Reflections on Lake IISAC

IISAC2010 Photos


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IISAC2010 Group Photo

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Setting up for the clear skies

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Southern Star Trails

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Fred Watson preparing for his sing-a-long

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Fred Watson's talk

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Gary Kopff demonstrating the Argo Navis

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Mine's bigger than yours?

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Rod and family enjoying the talk

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Houghy's car boot sale

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Chris Lidman's talk

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Norm's son won first prize

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Signs of affection

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Fred's talk

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Greg coming back from the water hole

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Fun with light painting

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The ghostly ghastly old man Vanderhaven

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Monte and Mark

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The new Atlas mount

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More affection from big Mike

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Phil Hart in thought

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Only a mother could love

IISAC2009 Photos


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IISAC2009 Group Shot

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Milky Way For Sale

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IISAC Light Painting

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Convincing the Telescope

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Ready for the night

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Mountain views

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The landing strip

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The kids gang

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Beautiful weather above the camp

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The creek

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Early morning fog

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From the nearby mountain

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IISAC Astronomers Ahead

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Mike 'chopper' Sidonio

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Mike Salway

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Prof Geraint Lewis

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Star Trails and Light Painting

IISAC2008 Photos


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IISAC2008 Groupshot

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IISAC in Red

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Field shot at night

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Field shot pano

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Mike on Halloween :)

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Imaging Hill

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Final morning

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Swimming Hole

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Lazing around

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Marquee and Talks

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Chris Omaroo

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Private Property

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Gresford RFB cooking the meal

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IISAC2007 Photos


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Comet McNaught and IISAC Groupshot

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Some of the 3RF big dobs in the field

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The three amigoes, happy to be at IISAC

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Groupshot from IISAC2007

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Panorama from near the top of the property

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More field/camping shots

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More field/camping shots

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Lizz and Mariah enjoying the waterhole

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Transfixed on Comet McNaught!

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Panorama of the waterhole

IISAC2006 Photos


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Anthony Wesley's 13" scope

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Gary Kopff and Andrew Murrell with "Hector"

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Anthony Wesley giving his talk

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The bottom farmhouse

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Outside the bottom house

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Enjoying the swimming hole

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Group shot from IISAC2006

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Bottom house kitchen

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Light trails at night

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Male toilets

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Mike enjoying the rope swing

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Mike enjoying a refreshing beverage :)

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The road down to the bottom house

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Swimming hole

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