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Voting for the IceInSpace Calendar Competition for 2015 is now open!

Voting for the IceInSpace Calendar Competition for 2015 is now open! Just by voting, you can win a prize pack valued at $100. Click here to vote!

So it's over to you! During May and June, we had some of IceInSpace's best astrophotographers submit their images. We had an amazing response, with 255 images submitted by 63 different photographers. The quality of images was absolutely stunning - we were blown away by the talent and will be pleased to feature ANY of those images in the 2015 calendar!

David (Astrovisuals) and I have now narrowed those images down to 5 in each category across 13 categories, and now it's up to you! You get to select your favourite images in each category, and the winning images will be used in the 2015 IceInSpace Astronomy Calendar.

So get voting, and please share the link with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.

For more information, see the IceInSpace Calendar Competition Rules and Info Page.

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Announcing the IceInSpace Calendar Competition for 2014!

It's on again! Last year's Astronomy Calendar Competition was a huge success, with over 250 entries, 70 fantastic photographers, over 1100 votes cast and over 3000 calendars sold (500 via IceInSpace!), so we're running the competition again for 2015.

The IceInSpace Astronomy Calendar for 2015 will again be made up of images captured by and chosen by the IceInSpace community!

Yes - you can submit your images for the chance to appear in the calendar, and you get to vote for the final images that will make up the calendar!

For more information about how to submit your images and how to vote, check out the article here:

IceInSpace Calendar Competition 2015

Image submission opens on the 15th May, so start preparing your images!

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Door Prizes at IISAC2014

I'm pleased to announce that there'll be 3 door prizes available to win at IISAC2014, thanks to our generous sponsors - Bintel, Wildcard Innovations and Knightware.

The following prizes are up for grabs:

Please support our sponsors and show them some love, as they show you love by offering these prizes for you to win!

There's just over a month to go before IISAC2014 kicks off! Get those registrations in!

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Upcoming Total Lunar Eclipse on the 15th April 2014

On the 15th April 2014, we'll (weather pending!) experience our first total lunar eclipse in 2.5 years!

For Australians and New Zealanders, the eclipse will be in progress at Moonrise - approx 5:28pm AEST when the totality phase will have just started. The further east you are, the more of the eclipse you'll see.

For more information about the event, including how and where to see it and photograph it, check out the article on IceInSpace here:

Total Lunar Eclipse - 15th April, 2014.

The image below is from the last Total Lunar Eclipse, in December 2011. Click the image to see more on my website.

Lunar Eclipses are completely safe to observe - no filters or glasses needed!

Enjoy the view and if you take some photos, feel free to post them on IceInSpace or our Facebook page!


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Check out our Articles and Reviews!

If you've only recently discovered IceInSpace, you may not yet have had a chance to browse our comprehensive list of user-contributed articles and reviews!

If you check out the Projects and Articles page, you'll find a vast number of how-to home projects, tutorials and guides, astrophotography tips and tricks, observing reports, upcoming celestial events and more. Plenty there suitable for beginners and experienced amateur astronomers.

The Equipment Reviews section has reviews for telescopes, astrophotography gear including cameras, accessories, eyepieces, binoculars, mounts and software. If you're looking to purchase a new or second hand telescope, it's a great place to start to see what others in the community have to say about it.

Very few of these articles would exist without the fabulous IceInSpace community contributing them for the benefit of others - sharing their knowledge so others can learn.

If you've got something you think you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you. Please don't think it won't be good enough - just imagine you'll be talking to other amateur astronomers just like you. Please get in touch via our Contributing to IceInSpace page.

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2014 CWAS David Malin Awards!

At IceInSpace, we love the annual CWAS David Malin Awards.

It's the premier astrophotography competition in Australia, and always challenges our best talent to step outside the ordinary and produce something extraordinary in a chance to win some fantastic prizes offered by Canon Australia. Check out the winning entries in previous David Malin Awards on the CWAS site.

The 2014 DMA's have just been announced, and there's a few nice twists this year. The animated sequences section now has separate categories for scientific and aesthetic animations, and the open theme this year is all about "The Moon" - not just Moon in the landscape, but something unique and different. I'm really looking forward to seeing how creative the community can be and see what they come up with.

Read the announcement below, or head on over to the CWAS site for more information, or to submit your entries!

Hello all,

The Central West Astronomical Society is proud to announce the 2014 CWAS Astrophotography Awards judged by Dr David Malin - the "David Malin Awards".

Entry submissions will be accepted from Tuesday, 1 April 2014, and will close at mid-night on Sunday, 1 June 2014 (AEST).

The theme for this year's Open Themed Section is "The Moon". We are seeking innovative and imaginative images of the Moon itself, in any of its phases and guises. The images can be either wide-field or high-resolution. The intention is to encourage people with vision, imagination and creativity to capture the wonder and awe that our nearest celestial neighbour inspires in the minds and hearts of people the world over.

A new category has been added this year to the Animated sequences. We also encourage entrants to consider entering the 2014 Australian Gemini Astronomy Contest.

For more information on the competition, the conditions of entry and to access the submissions page, see the following web site:

The 2014 CWAS "David Malin Awards" are proudly supported by CSIRO's Astronomy and Space Sciences, Canon Australia and the Powerhouse Museum.

Canon Australia continues to support the awards with the major prize this year being the Canon EOS 5D Mark III with 24-70mm f/2.8L lens.

Regards, John Sarkissian
2014 CWAS "David Malin Awards"

Good luck!

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IISAC2014 Bookings and Registration Open!

Apologies for the long time between updates. There's been heaps going on and I haven't been able to keep on top of it all, but I'm going to change that now!

The great news is that IISAC2014 is only 2 months away. We had such a great time in April 2013 for IISAC2013, that we've kept the star party in April for 2014 - and even better, you can take advantage of the school holidays and public holiday (ANZAC Day) to minimise the annual leave you need to take, AND bring the family along! :)

IIASC2014 is being held on the 24th - 26th April 2014, again in the beautiful Hunter Valley region of NSW, at Lostock.

Find out more about IISAC2014 by clicking on the image below, or jump straight to registration at the IceInSpace Shop.

If you've never been to a star party before, if you've never seen the Milky Way under a dark sky, you just have to come along. It's a great event for the whole family - you don't need to own a telescope, and you don't need to be an IceInSpace member. Everyone is welcome, and I hope to see you there.

Click on the picture above to find out more information about the star party. To book your spot, register online here.

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Comet ISON Update


Article by Suzy Webb.

These last couple of weeks have been a real roller coaster ride with comet ISON as it’s certainly been behaving with some attitude and pretty much doing the exact opposite of what’s expected. The month of November started with a very slow climb in brightness. In fact, just three weeks ago comet C/2013 R1 Lovejoy was outperforming ISON and stealing the show reaching magnitude 5.5. ISON’s nucleus at this stage wasn’t rotating so only one side was facing the sun. There was hope that once it got closer to the sun it would reveal its other side causing more dust to appear (we want lots of dust for a nice tail!). Observations were showing it to have a lot of gas, hence the blue/green colour.

Come November 12th, ISON was rapidly racing below our horizon. When comets get closer to the sun, the faster they travel. At the time, it was barely visible through even a 12” telescope from a dark site, sitting around magnitude 8 and just 16 days off perihelion (closest approach to the Sun).
Then all of a sudden on November 13th, something unexpected happened. It’s very unusual for a comet to have such a quick and sharp rise in brightness- it brightened to magnitude 5. Then on November 21st it brightened further to magnitude 3.7, where it was easily observed in binoculars. On the 21st, at 4am here in Brisbane, ISON was sitting just 10 degrees above my horizon in a brightening dawn sky. But despite this, and a bright moon in the way, it was still an easy catch in binoculars! It was such a thrill for those who had clear skies to just catch it just in time before it disappeared to the northern hemisphere.

The APOD image above is when ISON was in outburst. Very few pre-perihelion widefield nightscape images were shared out as there was such a small window of opportunity and the weather wasn’t co-operating for many.

Then, uh-oh! Photometry observations were now coming in thick and fast about a possible fragmentation or disintegration event causing the brightness outburst. The “angel wings” noted on images fed this further. Then, within the same week, it started to dim again. This was not looking good a week off its November 28th perihelion (29th for us Aussies). Karl Battams who operates the NASA funded Sungrazing Comets Project, summed it by saying, “It’s either fine, completely broken up or somewhere in between.” Everyone was left scratching their heads. On November 28th, there was much relief when the brightness picked up again, indicating that perhaps it’s nucleus is still intact. Time will tell. Perihelion is just a few hours away. So now we wait and see, if it survives its close encounter with the Sun.....

On a final note, and now, just a few short hours before perihelion, I leave you with words from Astroblogger, Ian Musgrave: “Now on the last leg of its long journey, which began around a million years ago in the Oort cloud at the edge of the solar system, in a few short hours it will skim around a solar diameter from the surface of the sun, being exposed to almost unimaginable heat which will vaporise the very dust on its surface.”

UPDATE 8am Friday 29th November:

Well it seems "that unimaginable heat which will vaporise the very dust on its surface" took out the whole comet all together! No visible fragments can be seen at this stage. No nucleus of any form is visible and the the tail's appearance resembles one of a debris tail. They don't hold much hope for it. So it's not looking good at all for this morning's perihelion encounter.

Carl Battams said they were going to give it another couple more hours before they start writing ISON's obituary and that was an hour and a half ago.

C. Alex Young said that there will be no meteor shower either, as ISON will not be making its closest approach to Earth on the 26th December for that to happen.

This was a very special comet of interest.

It's the first time in observable history that a first time Oort Cloud comet was to graze the Sun (Sungrazer). There was much science to be learned from this event which would've helped us further understand the formation of our solar system. This is why there was a global observing campaign on ISON to watch it closely.

Phil Plait remaining optimistic, said that hopefully we will still be able to get some information from the debris.

UPDATE Tuesday 3rd Decmber, 7am:

The comet definitely looks to have broken up. Click the image below to watch a movie of the comet approaching the Sun and then breaking up as it comes around the other side. 

It also takes you to the IceInSpace Facebook page where there's some FAQ's courtesy Karl Battam's blog about what's left of Comet ISON.


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Astronomy 2014 Yearbook Now Available

The 'Astronomy 2014 Yearbook' from Quasar Astronomy is now available at the IceInSpace Shop.

This must-have yearly almanac has tonnes of info about observing the night sky during 2014. It contains star charts and other ephemeris, dates and details of important astro events during the year and much more.

In addition to the usual features, this year’s book includes an article on Nightscape Photography and information on observing double stars.

IceInSpace Discount: The RRP is $27.95, but order through the IceInSpace Shop and pay only $24 and receive an IceInSpace Sticker included free with your order. Also, order 2 or more books and receive a further 10% discount!

Limited stock available, so get your orders in quickly.

Why not take advantage of combined low-cost flat-rate shipping, and order the IceInSpace Astronomy Calendar or Southern Sky Calendar for 2014.

All of these products make great xmas gifts, and with xmas only just over 2 months away, now's the time to get your order in and stock up on gifts for family and friends.


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IISAC2014 Dates Set!

The dates for IISAC2014 have been finalised! The IceInSpace AstroCamp 2014 will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights - April 24th to 27th, 2014.

Stay for 1 night, stay for all 3 - what better place to get together with the extended IceInSpace community, observe and/or photograph under beautiful dark skies, and have a great weekend away with your partner or your family.

The image below was captured at the IISAC2013 star party by Mike Salway and is now the cover image of the Southern Sky 2014 Calendar for sale at the IceInSpace Shop.

The IISAC2014 Info page will be updated over the next few months and as more information is finalised.

Make sure you get your annual leave forms in at work, build up those brownie points at home, and start planning for a great weekend under the stars.

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