Continuous Spectrum over Melbourne

Continuous Spectrum over Melbourne

OK, It’s just a rainbow. A rainbow appears when the light from the Sun is split into its component colours as it passes through water in the Earth’s atmosphere.

A Backyard AstroScience team is currently exploring Spectroscopy using their telescope and a Grating to split the light into its unique spectrum. The next step analyse each of the images using RSPEC to see how much science we can extract.

Sirius Spectrum
Procyon Spectrum


Spectroscopic Analysis

Observing Diary – Australia from Space

Date: 4th March 2017

Location: My Backyard, Melbourne Australia

Backyard Groundstation
NOAA 19 Satellite Image

I used a basic radio scanner and a Quadrafilar Helix antenna (QFH) made from bits and pieces from my local hardware store, to capture this image from the NOAA 19 Weather Satellite as it passed overhead.

WXTOIMG was used to process the radio signal and produce the final image.

Tasmainia shows up clearly in the centre of the image, with Victoria and South Australia above it.

If you play the recording of the satellite transmission, notice how the signal quality changes as the satellite rises above the horizon and finally drops out of sight.

The next challenge is to capure a night-time pass and image the satellite itself as it passes overhead.


NOAA-19 was launched on February 6, 2009 and is the last of the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s POES series of weather satellites.

Building a Mars Rover

This project aims to build a remotely operated ‘Mars Rover’ which teams can use to explore an unknown location using sensors and cameras loded onto a a rover.

☑ Step 1 is pretty simple: hack an off-the-shelf RC car to give us a base platform for the rover.

The Original RC Car
Mars Rover Stage 1

☐ Step 2: Hacking the electronics on the rover to be controlled by an ArduPilot instead of the regular remote control.

☐ Step 3: Add sensors and a camera to the rover and integrate these with the Ardupilot MissionPlanner software.

Stay tuned for updates

Our first confirmed Variable Star discovery

Variable Star Search Workshop
Will plans his approach at our Variable Star Workshop

On the 1st of January, Will, one of our Junior AstroScientists, reported that the AAVSO have reviewed his data and approved the variable star that he has been analysing. It is a previously undiscovered variable star, with a period of just over 1/3 of a day. It has been given AAVSO Unique Identifier (AUID) of 000-BMD-525.

This is a magnificent achievement showing how amateur astronomers (and astrophysicists) can contribute to the wider community.

The star is located in the constellation APUS and shines at magnitude 14.3 so it’s pretty faint!

An example of one of Will’s images
Apus is shown at the upper/middle in this view







The following phase plots show how the star magnitude varies over time with a clear, repeated pattern.

Read more of Will’s story here

Phase Plot of Will’s Variable in Apus
Phase Plot of Will’s Variable in Apus

International Observe The Moon night on 8th October

International Observe the Moon night
International Observe the Moon night
The Moon on the 8th of October 2016

The weather Gods smiled on us for the International Observe The Moon Night on the 8th of October. The Moon was visible through crystal-clear skies throughout the afternoon and evening.

Over 200 members of the public joined us at the Melbourne Observatory to view The Moon, many for the first time.

Send us your Moon Observations from the night.

Visitors try their hand at Astrophotography
Queues form to view The Moon
Visitors get their first telescopic view of The Moon
Junior observers get their first taste of Astronomy
Perry Vlahos was on hand to guide visitors around the night sky
Scopes of all sizes provide views of The Moon to visitors of all ages



Join in and observe the moon on the 8th of October.

The Moon will be high in the sky when it gets dark at about 8:00 pm

We’ll be with the ASV at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne. Come and join us, or observe from your own backyard and send us your photos.

Find out more at