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  • richardmitnick 7:35 am on June 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Siding Spring Observatory   

    From COSMOS Magazine: “Universities gang up to take over major telescope” 

    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    From COSMOS Magazine

    27 June 2018
    Geetanjali Rangnekar

    Siding Spring Observatory

    From July 1, the Australian National University (ANU), based in Canberra, will lead a conglomerate of 13 institutions to run the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), located in Coonabarabran in the state of New South Wales.


    AAO Anglo Australian Telescope near Siding Spring, New South Wales, Australia, Altitude 1,100 m (3,600 ft)

    Australia’s largest optical telescope, the AAT has been operational for more than four decades. When it began operating, the 3.9 metre device was the first of its kind to map the southern hemisphere skies.

    Housed at the picturesque Siding Spring Observatory, it has taken part in a multitude of missions that have added to humanity’s knowledge of the dark expanse out there.

    These include one named Galactic Archaeology with Hermes (GALAH), which involved mapping hundreds of thousands of stars in the Milky Way. Another, the 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey, measured changes in the light emitted by bodies in the northern and southern galactic hemispheres.

    The current restructure allows the ANU to take over operation of the telescope from the Australian Astronomical Observatory.

    This will allow Australian astronomers and universities to have unprecedented access to the highly sought-after advanced instruments, including a spectroscope capable of simultaneously observing 400 cosmic bodies. The move will also enable Australian scientists to access high-tech optic telescopes situated in Chile operated by the European Southern Observatory.

    The academic partnerships will include universities from Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia.

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

     
  • richardmitnick 12:45 pm on April 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Christian Sasse, , , Siding Spring Observatory   

    From EarthSky: “Milky Way spins across the sky” 

    1

    EarthSky

    April 16, 2018
    Deborah Byrd


    This composite – centered on celestial south – is made of images taken hourly from outside the dome of the Anglo-Australian Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory.

    1
    Composite image by Christian Sasse.

    Christian Sasse emailed EarthSky on April 11, 2018, from Australia’s Siding Spring Observatory and wrote:

    “A spectacular night at the Anglo-Australian Telescope (3.9-meter [13-foot] mirror). This composite – made of images taken every hour from 7 p.m. until midnight – shows the apparent movement of the Milky Way across the sky. See Jupiter on the left, leaving a discrete trail as it moves towards the dome until midnight. Top is location of the celestial South Pole.”


    AAO Anglo Australian Telescope near Siding Spring, New South Wales, Australia, Altitude 1,100 m (3,600 ft)

    Siding Spring Mountain with Anglo-Australian Telescope dome visible near centre of image at an altitude of 1,165 m (3,822 ft)

    As you can see, Christian has a novel approach to acquiring photographic images of star trails. His images have been featured in National Geographic and Nature. His Ph.D. in optics has helped shape his photography. You can visit him on his Facebook page, or on YouTube, or on Twitter (@sassephoto).

    3
    Article by Christian Sasse, originally published at his blog, The Cosmic Clock.

    The Earth rotates or spins on its axis about every 24 hours, causing an apparent movement of the stars overhead by about one-quarter of a degree per minute. If we leave a camera in a fixed position and point upwards, open the shutter in bulb mode and let the Earth rotate under the stars, we will create an image with star trails. Similarly we could take shorter exposures and superimpose (stack) the images with image processing software.

    Most images of star trails taken in the Northern Hemisphere show a pattern similar to the one below taken in Arches National Park, Utah, in spring of 2016.

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    Star trails at Arches National Park via Christian Sasse

    Bottom line: Milky Way composite image by Christian Sasse.

    Read more about Christian Sasse’s photographic process: A novel approach to star trails

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.

     
  • richardmitnick 3:56 pm on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , SASSEPHOTO, See the Awesome March of the Milky Way Across the Night Sky, Siding Spring Observatory   

    From natgeo.com: “See the Awesome March of the Milky Way Across the Night Sky” 

    National Geographic

    National Geographics

    15 May 2017
    Nadia Drake

    A photographer captures rare views of the galaxy as it spirals over southern Australia.

    1
    High overhead, the Milky Way galaxy twists itself into a whirling pinwheel, its glittering stars and dense, dark clouds weaving spirals on the sky.

    At least, that’s the view photographer Christian Sasse revealed when he shared this image of the nighttime sky over southern Australia. Seen from Earth’s vantage point in one arm of the Milky Way, our galaxy appears to dive through the cosmos, its curling spine anchored to the sky by the southern celestial pole — one of the points around which the stars and all their minions appear to wander as Earth spins on its axis.

    2
    Time: 10 minutes
    PHOTOGRAPH BY SASSEPHOTO

    3
    Time: 120 minutes
    PHOTOGRAPH BY SASSEPHOTO

    Sasse made the image he shared on Twitter from a series of 30-second-long exposures, each taken 50 minutes apart, over 10 hours on April 28. He stacked those photographs using Startrails software and then edited the final composite image using Photoshop.

    “The southern sky is fascinating in so many ways,” says Sasse, who set up his gear near one of the telescopes at Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales.

    5
    Siding Spring, near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia

    AAO 1.2m UK Schmidt Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia

    ANU Skymapper telescope, a fully automated 1.35 m (4.4 ft) wide-angle optical telescope, at Siding Spring Observatory , near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia

    Siding Spring Observatory, near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, Australia

    “I remember hearing the dome roaring deeply all night whenever the telescope moved from object to object.”

    Based in Vancouver, Sasse had travelled to Australia to visit a friend. He rented a small camper van, decked out its interior with the gadgets he’d need to capture both wildlife and the glorious southern sky, and headed out to a spot where “the skies are pristine and you can be all on your own at night … often accompanied by curious kangaroos.”

    Indeed, some of the most notable treasures in the immediate cosmic neighborhood are visible primarily in the south: Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system to our own, the bright star grouping known as the Southern Cross, a dark blotch called the Coalsack Nebula, small satellite galaxies known as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, and the glowing backbone of the Milky Way.

    “In the Northern hemisphere, I tend to look South, and in the Southern hemisphere — well, I also look South,” says Sasse, who captured those curiosities in the great looping footprint he constructed.

    Photographers often use a similar technique to create images depicting stars tracing circles around the celestial poles. Sasse initially did the same thing, stitching together roughly 1,250 images from the same night. But when he smeared the stars into circles, Sasse saw that our home galaxy had vanished, taking with it some of the most striking textures in the sky.

    So he experimented with layering images taken at different intervals (see gallery), and was astounded by the result.

    “What appeared were circular patterns with intrinsic beauty. Each feature of the Milky Way has its own distinct pattern, and details became finer the closer one moved to the pole,” Sasse says. “The Milky Way is creating this incredible pattern all the time, and the way we freeze it is the way we like it.”

    I’ve been looking at the heavens all my life, and that great, milky spiral is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before — it reminds me of a galactic mandala, a demonstration of celestial geometry, an accidental fractal, a rippling kaleidoscope of stars.

    “I have a fascination with light patterns in nature — iridescence of birds and fish, feather structure of eagles, anything that changes with small angles such as diffraction and reflection,” says Sasse, who has a doctorate in optics.

    To me, it evokes a sense of awe and appreciation for the intricate patterns hiding in the skies, and a restless yearning to throw myself onto grass still warmed by the southern sun, snuggle in for a few hours, and stare into the twinkling tapestry that twirls overhead.

    PHOTOGRAPHY BY SASSEPHOTO

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    STEM Icon

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Geographic Society has been inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888. It is one of the largest nonprofit scientific and educational institutions in the world. Its interests include geography, archaeology and natural science, and the promotion of environmental and historical conservation.

     
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