2022 Queensland Astrofest

Queensland Astrofest 2022 is on.

It will take place at Camp Duckadang from Friday 22nd July through to Sunday 31st July 2022.

Event details are available, and accommodation bookings are now being accepted, at the Queensland Astrofest website: https://qldastriofest.org.au

The Queensland Astrofest was first held in 1993 and has been held every subsequent year up to 2019. The world then went on pause as we all focused on the health and well-being of communities at large; gatherings of people were restricted. Perhaps only when something is halted, do we fully appreciate its importance, and this is certainly true for this iconic astronomical event; an event which plays such a powerful role in popularising astronomy across all people in our communities, young and old alike.

It is difficult to concisely encapsulate what Astrofest means to the thousands of people that have attended the event over the past 29 years, from its humble beginnings in 1993 to the well-known and much-loved occasion it has become, run under the auspices of several Queensland Astronomical societies. The event brings together people from all different paths in life to enjoy a shared experience, to both teach and to learn from others and to pass on their passion to the next generation.

Brisbane Astronomical Society is especially proud of the role it played in that early genesis of an event that would go on to become one of the most enduring Astro Camps in the world today. We encourage all our members to indulge themselves and attend one or more nights to appreciate how special the event is.

We would also very much like to acknowledge the extremely generous support we have received from our sponsors over the years and they have really stepped up this year to make the return of Astrofest better than ever.

Sponsors for 2022 include:
Astro Anarchy
BINTEL
Celestron
Palmway Optical
SailPoint
Skywatcher
Testar
UNIFY Solutions

Full details of all our sponsors and the prizes they have donated this year, along with registration can be found on the Astrofest website, https://qldastriofest.org.au.

We look forward to seeing Brisbane Astronomical Society strongly represented amongst those attending.

What Telescope Should I Buy?

What telescope should I buy?  This is a very common question and perplexing for many adults wanting to get started in astronomy, or parents wanting to purchase a telescope for a child.

To cut directly to an answer, Brisbane Astronomical Society suggests a Dobsonian telescope is often the best choice, for multiple reasons.   We hope the attached PDF document will help you make the right purchase decision.

 

 

 

Finding Telescope Alignment Stars

Frustration often rules when you are just starting to learn the sky and get your new electronic mount set-up and properly aligned.  One source of frustration can be finding, and correctly identifying, specific alignment stars.

Every telescope mount manufacturer seems to use a different list of stars that can be used for an initial 1, 2 or 3-star alignment of their mount.  The names of stars can be another source of frustration as some manufacturers use different star names – many of which are obscure stars you may never have heard of.

However, the SkySafari Planetarium App can help reduce these frustrations.  The app allows you to download a list of all the alignment stars specific to most common mounts – Argo Navis; Celestron; Meade LX200; Orion Intelliscope; Sky Commander; Skywatcher Synscan, and Vixen Starbook.

Once loaded into your device it becomes a simple click, or two, for SkySafari to show you exactly where to find specific alignment stars.

How to Download and use Alignment Stars List in SkySafari

Open SkySafari and click “Observe” on the main menu. Then click “Observing Lists”.

Click “Import from Online Repository”.

Click to select the alignment star list that matches your mount.

The list of alignment stars will now be saved to your SkySafari Observing Lists in your mobile device.

When you are ready to do a mount alignment, open SkySafari and click Observe, then click Observing Lists and your set of alignment stars will be available for you to click on and open (such as for the Skywatcher Synscan).

Once you have clicked a list and opened it, you can sort the list by perhaps star name or magnitude, to make it easier to find desired alignment stars.  Stars that are currently visible are displayed with illuminated text (others are below the horizon).

To find the current location of an alignment star, click its name and then center to place it on the sky map.

The alignment star you are trying to find should now be easy to identify on the app map and in the sky.

Another approach to finding alignment stars is to have SkySafari display all available guide stars for you mount simultaneously on a sky map.

As explained above – click Observe on the main menu and then click Observing Lists.  Open the Skywatcher Synscan Alighnment Stars list, for example, and then click Actions and Settings.

Then click the Highlight Objects button on the top menu of the star list.

Click the x in the top-right to close this screen and display the Star Map.

The star map makes it obvious that SynScan Alignment Stars have been predefined by Skywatcher so that there are multiple “pairs” of stars the required 10 to 30 degrees of seperation for use in a two-star alignment.  The star map makes it very easy to then accurately locate the correct stars in the telescope eyepiece. 

The same procedure can be followed in SkySafari for alignment stars for multiple other brands of telescope mount.

Skywatcher EQ Mount – Setup and Alignment Guide

HERE is a step-by-step guide to setting-up and star-aligning a Skywatcher equatorial mount (such as the AZ EQ5 and AZ EQ6 mounts that use the Synscan hand controller) in the Southern Hemisphere.  When the guide promts you to select alignment stars, please find another blog article on this website with a list of Skywatcher Southern Hemisphere alignment stars sorted by periods of the year.

SkyWatcher Mount – SynScan Alignment Stars

The SkyWatcher mounts such as the AZ EQ6 use a SynScan hand controller to control the mount and complete the initial 1, 2 or 3-star alignment procedure. 

While the SynScan hand controller offers about 100 stars in the southern hemisphere for initial alignment, the user manual does not provide a printed list of stars.  As a result, the star options you can choose from are hidden within the hand controller and not readily available for consideration.  Some parts of the sky may be blocked by clouds, trees or buildings and repeatedly scrolling through star names on the hand controller to find a suitable star can be slow and frustrating.  This list may aid in quickly finding a suitable star (assuming you have a great memory for obscure star names) or checking a star’s suitability in a planetarium app.

The linked PDF document contains a sorted list of all southern hemisphere SynScan alignment stars, in 3-month calendar groups, and 30 degrees or higher in northern sky declination.

BAS Management Committee for 2021-22

Following the vote by BAS members at the 2021 Annual General Meeting, the following members were elected to the BAS Management Committee for 2021-22:

President – Peter Allison
Secretary – John Pitts
Treasurer – Subbarao Sivakumar
General Committee – Ken Wishaw
General Committee – Doug Edwards
General Committee – Bill McConnell
General Committee – Luke Michaux
General Committee – Denis Narramore
General Committee – Greg Newman
General Committe – Jarrod Sefton
General Committee – Mike Zupanc

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