Global Astronomy Month – Poetry Contest – last chance to enter

Just in case anyone has the opportunity to get a last poem entered in the GAM
astropoetry contest, in these last 4 days of April, here is the link to the contest
info and application form:

Happy days!

Astronomers Without Borders and Southern Stars Announce a New Promotion for Global Astronomy Month

A personal recommendation: I love this App – I have tried many astronomy Apps over the last couple fo years and have purchased it for both my iPhone and iPad and use it on all my outreach events. It is a great hit with young and old alike. I purchased before the discount offer and certainly recommend it to anyone looking for a reasonably priced but powerful app – it can drive most go-to telescopes and let you know when the ISS or an bright Iridium flare will occur at your site.

Apple and Android Device Owners Get Special Pricing on Award-
Winning Astronomy Apps While Supporting Astronomers Without
Borders’ Global Astronomy Programs April 16, 2012.

For the last two weeks of Global Astronomy Month
2012 (GAM 2012), April 16 to 30, Southern Stars’ very popular
SkySafari 3 apps for Apple and Android mobile devices and Mac OS
X are available at discounted pricing.
During this special GAM 2012 promotion, 30% of proceeds from all
SkySafari sales will be donated to Astronomers Without Borders
to support Global Astronomy Month and other Astronomers Without
Borders global programs.
Astronomers Without Borders endorsed the award-winning SkySafari
as its preferred mobile astronomy app in 2011, and recommends its use
for all Global Astronomy Month activities.


more info:

  • SkySafari 3 – $2.99, 48 MB. 46K stars, no telescope control.

    The basic version of SkySafari 3 shows you 46,000 stars, plus 220 of the best-known star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies in the sky. It displays the Solar System’s major planets and moons using NASA spacecraft imagery, and includes the best-known 150 (or so) asteroids, comets, and satellites.

  • SkySafari 3 Plus – $14.99, 181 MB, 2.5M stars, telescope control.

    SkySafari 3 Plus adds a hugely expanded database – and wired or wireless telescope control – to our basic version. It shows you 2.5 million stars, and 31,000 deep sky objects – including the entire NGC/IC catalog. It includes over 4,000 asteroids, comets, and satellites with updateable orbits. And it can point your GoTo or “Push-To” telescope anywhere in the sky, using your iPhone/iPad/iPod’s built-in WiFi, and our SkyFi or SkyWire serial accessories.

  • SkySafari 3 Pro – $59.99, 418 MB, 15M stars, telescope control.

    The all-new SkySafari 3 Pro has the largest database of any astronomy app, period. It contains everything in SkySafari 3 Plus – but also includes over 15.3 million stars from the Hubble Guide Star catalog, plus 740,000 galaxies down to 18th magnitude, and over 550,000 solar system objects – including every comet and asteroid ever discovered. Yet it runs just as fast and smoothly as our $3 basic version.

check it out for yourself



NASA Mission Wants Amateur Astronomers to Target Asteroids


WASHINGTON — A new NASA outreach project will enlist the help of
amateur astronomers to discover near-Earth objects (NEOs) and study
their characteristics. NEOs are asteroids with orbits that
occasionally bring them close to the Earth.

Starting today, a new citizen science project called “Target
Asteroids!” will support NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation
Resource Identification Security – Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx)
mission objectives to improve basic scientific understanding of NEOs.
OSIRIS-Rex is scheduled for launch in 2016 and will study material
from an asteroid.

Amateur astronomers will help better characterize the population of
NEOs, including their position, motion, rotation and changes in the
intensity of light they emit. Professional astronomers will use this
information to refine theoretical models of asteroids, improving
their understanding about asteroids similar to the one OSIRIS-Rex
will encounter in 2019, designated 1999 RQ36.

OSIRIS-Rex will map the asteroid’s global properties, measure
non-gravitational forces and provide observations that can be
compared with data obtained by telescope observations from Earth. In
2023, OSIRIS-REx will return back to Earth at least 2.11 ounces (60
grams) of surface material from the asteroid.

Target Asteroids! data will be useful for comparisons with actual
mission data. The project team plans to expand participants in 2014
to students and teachers.

“Although few amateur astronomers have the capability to observe 1999
RQ36 itself, they do have the capability to observe other targets,”
said Jason Dworkin, OSIRIS-REx project scientist at NASA’s Goddard
Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Previous observations indicate 1999 RQ36 is made of primitive
materials. OSIRIS-REx will supply a wealth of information about the
asteroid’s composition and structure. Data also will provide new
insights into the nature of the early solar system and its evolution,
orbits of NEOs and their impact risks, and the building blocks that
led to life on Earth.

Amateur astronomers long have provided NEO tracking observations in
support of NASA’s NEO Observation Program. A better understanding of
NEOs is a critically important precursor in the selection and
targeting of future asteroid missions.

“For well over 10 years, amateurs have been important contributors in
the refinement of orbits for newly discovered near-Earth objects,”
said Edward Beshore, deputy principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx
mission at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will provide
overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and
mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Dante Lauretta is the mission’s
principal investigator at the University of Arizona. Lockheed Martin
Space Systems in Denver will build the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the
third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. NASA’s Marshall Space
Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages New Frontiers for the
agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information about NASA, visit:

For more information on Target Asteroids! and OSIRIS-REx, visit:

A Masterpiece of Engineering: The Great Melbo urne Telescope – talk by Dr. Ric hard Gillespie

Tuesday 19 April 2012
6:00 – 7:30 pm
Engineers Australia
John Connell Auditorium
21 Bedford Street, North Melbourne


The Story:
The Great Melbourne Telescope is one of the great hidden stories of 19th century Melbourne, yet at the time it received much press coverage and public attention. At the completion of its construction by Dublin engineer Thomas Grubb, the telescope was hailed as a masterpiece of engineering, the first large telescope to be placed on an equatorial
mounting. Erected at Melbourne Observatory in 1869, the telescope was the second largest telescope in the world, designed to explore the nature of the nebulae in the southern hemisphere skies.

The telescope was transferred to Mount Stromlo Observatory in 1946, where it was twice rebuilt and modernised for major research projects, until it was destroyed by the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

The Great Melbourne Telescope is about to embark on a new chapter in its history, with plans to restore and refurbish it for public and educational use, back home in its original building at Melbourne Observatory.

About the Speaker:
Dr Richard Gillespie trained as a historian of science at the University of Melbourne and University of Pennsylvania. He taught history of science and medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Deakin University and the University of Melbourne before joining Museum Victoria in 1990, where he is now Head of the History & Technology Department. The department cares for a collection of close to one million objects, images and related archives. The department also contributes to exhibitions, websites, publications and programs, and provides historical expertise for the interpretation of three heritage buildings: the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building, the old Melbourne Customs
House, and the Spotswood Sewerage Pumping Station. Richard Gillespie has also led the development of exhibitions at Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum He has been a Fulbright Scholar, been awarded a Mellon Fellowship,
Gordon Darling Fellowship, and received the Henry Schuman Prize of the History of Science Society (US).

He is the author of The Great Melbourne Telescope (Museum Victoria, 2011) and Manufacturing Knowledge: A History of the Hawthorne Experiments (Cambridge Univ
Press, 1987).

Registration at: is
This is a free event.
Contact for queries: Emily James at:
Attendance may be credited towards Engineers