Observing Diary – Mini Astro Camp

Date: 15th/16th April 2017
Location: Heathcote. Australia

NOAA 19 Satellite image
The Milky Way
Jupiter – Io transit completes
Spectrum of Jupiter
Lunar Surface
Eta Carina Nebula

We kicked off our astrocamp early with some weather satellite data capture sessions which clearly show the clouds that will roll over us at about 2:00AM
Once the Sun went down started observing in earnest, with multiple scopes running.
Early in the night, before the Moon came up, we had magnificent views of the Milky Way
As we watched, Io and its shadow transited across the face of Jupiter. This image shows Io emerging from the disk of Jupiter, with its shadow close by.
Along the way we collected some spectroscopy data for our projects, including spectra of Jupiter and Saturn, we also got some close up views of the Moon and did a spot of Deep Sky nebula hunting.

It was a busy night!

Stargazing Live

It was great to see Will and Amelia presenting their astro achievements to Dr Karl

Will and Amelia being interviewed by Dr Karl

Will’s discovered his variable star as part of our Variable Star Hunt and Amelia ran her own exploration of the Sun’s spectrum.

I was camped out on Federation Square with Blake, demonstrating spectroscopy to the public (A couple of thousand of them!)

Blake prepares his equipment
Queues form to observe through the scopes


Observing Diary – Supernova sn2017cbv

Date: 18th March 2017

Location: My Backyard, Melbourne Australia

On the 10th of March a new supernova has been reported in the galaxy NGC 5643. It has received the designation SN2017cbv and is reported to be a Type Ia event.

I took this quick shot of NGC 5643 during an observing session last night to see if I could spot the Supernova.

Supernova SV2017cbv in NGC 5643 (March 2017)
You can use this chart to help you find NGC 5643


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.