Monday, 9 June 2014

Iridium 3 with a spectacular double flair

Click to enlarge

Iridium 3 started out as a -8.2 Magnitude flair but no-one expected the second flair. The first was on time (top) and the second one a bonus. Notice the second satellite in a northern direction in the middle of the image.Still trying to identify it!  Then two bright lines are the pointer stars next to the Crux constellation.

Image info:  192 images were stacked with Starstax; Camera on tripod; Remote control;  ISO 800; 10 sec exposures; f4.5; Moon a big hinderance.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Vrystaat Sterrefees / Free State Star Party


Vrystaat Sterre Partytjie                         
( English version below)

ASSA Bloemfontein nooi u na twee nagte van waarneming en verwondering van die Winterkonstellasies in die unieke Vrystaatse naghemel.  Daarmee saam gedurende Saterdag 28 Junie, is daar praatjies en besprekings oor onder meer teleskoopkollimasie deur Brett du Preez.

Plek: Gansvlei-gasteplaas tussen Brandfort, Bloemfontein en Winburg. (G.P.S.: Suid 28°47'49.9" en Oos 26°28'23.1"; Elevasie: 1395m).
Tyd: Vanaf 17:00 op 27 Junie tot omtrent 09:00 op 29 Junie 2014, dus twee nagte.
Koste: R80 per persoon per nag, wat insluit 'n bed met paslaken, ablusiegeriewe, volledig toegerusde kombuis en eetgerei, hout en braai geriewe soos roosters en selfs potte.
Benodigdehede: U eie waarnemingstoerusting soos teleskope, vêrkykers, kameras, sterkaarte, stoel/tafel, beligting (beperk tot die flouste rooi liggie wat jy het...!) ens.  U eie kos en drinkgoed - genoeg vir die tydperk wat u daar bly - naaste winkel is omtrent 40km vanaf die plaas.  Warm klere en warm slaapgoed: onthou dis in die middel van die winter en dis in die middel van die Vrystaat...!!!
Bespreking: Indien u belangstel, antwoord asseblief per e-pos na assabfn@gmail.com, en doen dit asseblief nie later as 20 Junie 2014 nie.  Geen voorafbetaling is nodig nie.  Daar is huisvesting vir 40 mense so laat weet asseblief vroegtydig. 

Finale informasie sal per e-pos gekommunikeer word op Maandag 23 Junie aan diegene wat bespreek het teen daardie tyd.

Free State Star Party

ASSA Bloemfontein invites you to two nights of wonderful observation of the Winter Constellation in the unique Free State night skies.  Including, during Saturday 28 June, there will be talks and discussion on telescope collimation by Brett du Preez.
Venue: Gansvlei guest farm situated between Bloemfontein, Brandfort and Winburg (G.P.S.: South 28°47'49.9" and East 26°28'23.1"; Elevation: 1395m).
Time and duration: Two nights, from 17:00 on 27 June to about 09:00 on 29 June 2014.
Cost: R80 per person per night, which includes a bed with a fitted sheet, ablution facilities, fully equipped kitchen with cutlery, wood and braai facilities such as braai grids and even pots.
Requirements: Your own observation equipment such as telescopes, binoculars, cameras, star charts, chair and table, lighting (confined to the weakest and reddest light you own...!) etc.  Your own food and drinks for the duration of your stay - the nearest shops are about 40km from the farm.  Warm clothes and bedding: remembers it is mid-winter in the middle of the Free State...!!!
Booking: Please answer by e-mail to assabfn@gmail.com not later than 20 June 2014 if you are interested.  No pre-payment is necessary.  There is accommodation for 40 people so please respond soon.

Final information will be communicated by e-mail on 23 June 2014 to those who have booked by then.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Astrofotografie Werkswinkel vir beginners / Basic Astrophotography Workshop

Foto: Hannes Pieterse
ASSA Bloemfontein bied aan:
‘n Basiese Astrofotografie Werkswinkel.
(English version below)
Aanbieder: Brett du Preez, lid van ASSA Bloemfontein en ervare Astrofotograaf.
Plek: Boyden Sterrewag
Tyd: Saterdag 24 Mei 2014, vanaf 15h00.
 Toegang: Gratis vir Klublede en R100-00 per persoon vir nie-lede.
Weens die aard van die Werkswinkel, kan slegs 30 persone geakkomodeer word.
Bespreek asseblief deur per e-pos te stuur aan assabfn@gmail.com
 Program:15h00 vir 15h30 – Ons begin op die Platform: Almal pak hul goed uit en slaan op wat hulle saamgebring het.
15h30 - 16h30 – Gesels oor wat ons gaan doen en begin die Werkswinkel met die afneem van Son (bring hoedens ens saam….).  Brett sal ‘n beperkte hoeveelheid son-filter saambring vir afneem van die son.  Bring ook ‘n skêr of matmes, karton, dubbelkantige kleefband en gewone kleefband of kits-gom vir die maak van sonfilters.
16h30 - 18h00 – In die Ouditorium: stapsgewyse demonstrasie van die omskepping van die son se data na 'n foto. Bring asseblief u eie rekenaars en geheue-stokkie (“flashdisc”) saam. Brett sal sagteware verskaf en ook basiese prosesering demonstreer op 'n foto van die naghemel.
18h30 - 19h30 - 'n Kort praatjie oor astrofotografie. Die plan is om as groep saam te gesels. Brett sal begin met die basiese beginsels asook 'n verduideliking van die konsep oor "noise". Hannes Pieterse verduidelik ook die gebruik van die “barndoor“ montering vir nag-hemel fotografie.
20h00 - 22h00 – Terug op die Platform wys Brett hoe om polêre oplyning (“polar alignment“) te doen met 'n kamera asook watter tipe fotografie mens kan doen met die minste moeite en met ‘n basiese kamera….
Onthou asseblief:
Almal wat fotografiese en ander toerusting saambring, moet weet hoe om dit te gebruik sodat ons nie gedurende die werkswinkel tyd hoef te spandeer om basiese gebruike aan te leer nie.  Toerusting om saam te bring sluit in: kamera, driepoot, genoeg batterye (daar sal kragpunte op die Platform wees), nodige verbindingskabels en afstandsbeheer kabel, tafeltjie om op te werk ens: eerder teveel as te min.  
Daar sal tussendeur geleentheid wees om ietsie te eet: elkeen bring sy eie verversings.  Daar sal kookwater wees vir diegene wat koffie of ‘n soppie will maak. 
ASSA Bloemfontein presents:
A Basic Astrophotography Workshop.
Presenter: Brett du Preez, member of ASSA Bloemfontein and experienced Astrophotographer.
Venue: Boyden Observatory
 Time: Saturday 24 May 2014, at 15h:00.
 Admission: Club members free.  Non-members: R100-00 per person.
Only 30 persons can be accommodated.
Send  e-mail to assabfn@gmail.com to book
Program: 15h00 for 15h30 – We start on the Platform:  unpacking and setting-up of equipment.
15h30 - 16h30 – Discuss the program and start the Workshop by taking a photo of the Sun (remember to bring a hat…).  Brett will demonstrate the making of a solar filter: he has a limited stock of solar film which he will provide.  For this, please also bring along scissors or a carpet knife and carton, double sided tape and normal tape or fast-drying glue.
16h30 - 18h00 – In the auditorium: step-by-step demonstration of the conversion of the Sun data to  a photographic image.  Please bring your own computer and flash disc. Brett will provide the necessary software and also demonstrate the basic processing of a night-sky image.
18h30 - 19h30 – A short discussion on Astrophotography, also involving the audience.  Brett will also explain the importance of the concept of “noise”.  Hannes Pieterse will demonstrate the use of the “barn door” mounting for night-sky photography.
20h00 - 22h00 – Back to the Platform: Brett demonstrates polar alignment using a camera and also demonstrates what type of photography can be performed with the least effort and with a basic camera.
Please remember:
Make sure that you know how to operate all the equipment you bring along: you do not want to figure out how to use your equipment during the workshop, you actually want to use it.  This equipment can include:  camera, tripod, enough batteries (power outlets are available on the Platform), all necessary connecting cables and remote control cable, a small table to work on: rather bring too much than forget something vital…!  
There will be time to eat/drink something in between: please bring your own refreshments.  There will be boiling water for coffee and/or soup.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Sutherland by Night - Milky Way, Melkweg

Sutherland by Night - Milky Way, Melkweg
In this beautiful image by SAAO Astronomer Stephen Potter we see the Milky Way setting behind the 20, 30, 40 inch, MONET and SALT telescopes. Jupiter is the bright star at the top and Venus is setting into the MONET dome. The bright glow on the horizon is from distant city lights.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Key Signature of the Big Bang's Origin Discovered


  South pole telescope detects echoes of Big Bang


UPDATE MARCH 17: All the rumors were true. The story below was written yesterday, before today's announcement that "primordial B-waves" have been found in the cosmic background radiation. These must have arisen from inflation-driven gravitational waves rippling through spacetime in the first 10–34 second of the Big Bang. 
MARCH 16: Rumors have been racing through the physics and cosmology communities for the last few days that long-sought, Nobel Prize-worthy evidence for cosmic inflation driving the Big Bang will be announced on Monday, March 17th. A press conference for a "major discovery" regarding this topic is scheduled for noon EDT (16:00 UT) at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, just up the street from Sky & Telescope. We'll be there.

Word of what may be announced first broke into wide circulation late Friday night, when The Guardian newspaper in the U.K. published an article online, Gravitational waves: have US scientists heard echoes of the big bang? Here are excerpts: