Results tagged “Astronomy” from Kazza the Blank One

By Jupiter!

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Was opening a window tonight and saw the moon next to Jupiter.  Looked so cool I took a bunch of photos.  An hour and a half later and they're even closer together so took a few more.

By Jupiter!

Issues at work are making it super stressful at the moment.  Undoubtedly affecting my blood pressure.  :(

The Dish

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Sorry this entry has *heaps* of pictures... Give up now if you're not interested :)

So Friday afternoon I left work super early and headed off into uncharted territory (Lachlan Valley Way - which I don't think I've ever been on in my life before!) and headed north.

Lachlan Valley Way
It's a three and a quarter hour drive to Parkes, but amazingly pretty (compared to the Hume Highway to Sydney which is quite boring for a lot of it).  Had the road to myself for a lot of it, and the sweetie had given me some podcasts to listen to, so was a great drive.

Lachlan Valley Way
Lachlan Valley Way
Well that is until the bugs got so bad I couldn't see out the windscreen anymore..

Windscreen bugs
Ha!  That's where the bogans come from!

Bogan Gate
I arrived at my motel at 6:40pm, and had to wait while they tried to find the room key.  Had just barely enough time to dump my stuff and go to the loo before Tony and family picked me up to go to dinner.  We went to Bellas in town which had good reviews.  And we all agreed, the food was delicious.  Although I did eat too much and it meant I took forever to get to sleep!

"Pollo Insalata" - proscuitto line chicken breast served on baby spinach and sweet roasted pumpkin with roasted hazelnut butter and crumbled fetta
Pollo Insalata at Bellas, Parkes
Fountain next to my motel, by night

Parkes fountain
Watched a bit of The Mummy Returns while waiting for dinner to settle.

Saturday morning it was foggy.  The motel also had a couple of police teams staying the night, apparently to cover the roads to Bathurst.

Police staying at the motel
Parkes fountain
We were going to have breakfast at Tony's motel, but they don't do breakfasts on weekends.  (?????????)  Lame. So went into town and found an open cafe, and I had bacon, eggs and a hash brown.  It was bigger than I expected but did keep me going all day.

So off to The Dish!!

It was still foggy, but that made for some cool photos.

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
We wandered through the visitors' centre and joined the queue for the telescope tours.  I think we had to wait maybe three quarters of an hour?  The queue length really didn't change the entire day.

They did have astronauts on segways, classic cars arriving, and Einstein to keep the crowds entertained..

Jess and an astronaut
Classic cars
The tour was pretty cool.  

We got to climb up a temporary staircase on the outside to the outside platform.

Azimuth track
Hydraulic stuff
Support structure

Here's a view you can't see every day!!

View from The Dish
View from The Dish
Then you climb *into* the top of the dish support.

The Dish cabling
And down into the control room!

The Dish control room
The Dish control room
Shielding on the windows
The Dish control room
What time is it?
The Dish control room
There were even some real astronomers doing some real observing.  Well so they say, I don't know what sort of results they would have gotten with all the people around with mobile phones and video cameras, and moving the dish around all the time..

And finally out the front door

The Dish front door
Next we had a wander down the train tracks past the old Kennedy Antenna (not in use anymore)

Kennedy Antenna
A quick look back at The Dish at a different angle

The Dish
Past the earth-air heat exchanger.  This is where they take outside air, then pump it underground for eighty metres to get the air to a constant temperature and into the twelve metre dish they have setup for testing for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA).

Earth-air heat exchanger
Twelve metre dish setup for Square Kilometre Array testing

SKA dish
A Lego version of the SKA (not accurate - the real thing will be a lot more "random")

Lego SKA
Then headed back up and had a look around at the classic cars.

Old Holdens
One of them gave us quite a surprise - it had wallaby joeys in it!!

Wallaby joey
The dish from another angle

Family photo
The Dish
Then it was time for the official ceremony.  So they brought the dish down till it almost touched the ground.  So low in fact that it nearly took out a bottlebrush tree as they swung it round.

How low can you go?
How low can you go?
How low can you go?
They attached a banner to The Dish and raised it up during the official speeches by Prof Phillip Diamond (head of CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science) (I think) and Dr Megan Clarke (Head of CSIRO).

The Dish - 50 years old!
They also had one of the sopranos for the night's opera lead a chorus of Happy Birthday (Helen Barnett I think)

The Dish - 50 years old!
Then Jess went off to make some Sandtastic art, so I wandered around and took photos as the sun was coming out.

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
This is Jess' sandtastic art - it's just a sticky bit of card with all these stencils you pull off one at a time and cover with coloured sand.  Sand sticks to the card and you shake off the excess.  Way cool!

Sandtastic art
I didn't play cricket on The Dish..  I think maybe I shoulda bought one of these! :)

The Dish squishy ball
Another wander while Jess made a paper SKA

The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
The Dish
Jess and her paper SKA dish

Jess and SKA dish
Jess and SKA dish
SKA dishes
There were a bunch of people there from the Central West Astronomical Society, some of them with telescopes pointed at the sun.  Which has some super awesome sunspots going on at the moment!

Then had a look in the receiver room.  I never realised that they actually change the receivers all the time!  Takes them a few hours to change them over.  Dad would have loved all this stuff - he would have understood what the dude was talking about :) These are some of the receivers actually in use at the telescope!

Finally we headed back through the visitors' centre to have a look at the displays.

This is a panel that they made up for the movie The Dish (2000) and donated to CSIRO afterwards.

Panel used in the movie The Dish
It's only a model! Shh!

The Dish model
We stopped at a couple of lookout places on the way out.

The Dish from a distance
The Dish from a distance
Then into Parkes to see the War Memorial.  It's supposed to be a lookout, but it was all locked up and nothing there to say it ever opened.  What's the point of a lookout if you can't go up it?  Too many trees around to have any views of the town, so that was a bit fail.

Parkes War Memorial
Then headed to Forbes for a late lunch.  There were like two places open in the entire town, one of them being Subway, so that's what we had.  Then filled the car with petrol and headed home, arriving a bit before 7pm.

So yeah a super fun day away.  Pity the sweetie bailed (still feeling too sick).  We might have gone to Dubbo for the Sunday, but those plans had to be cancelled.  Thanks Tony/Heather/Jess for putting up with me! :)

Because Dave asked

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That's how many photos I took in a 27 hour trip to Parkes and The Dish (open day)

Which was awesome!

One day soon I'll get some photos online...
I didn't get up.  Maybe if I'd known where I could have seen it without having to walk to far I might have.  But 4am is a completely silly time to be up doing that sort of thing.

So I satisfied myself tonight with a hazy shot through fine cloud.

Hazy moon


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I wasn't really planning on attempting moon photos tonight.  We don't have a good view of the east so I'd have to go out to try and find somewhere that could actually see the moonrise.

But in the end I did go out and found somewhere with a clear view of the moon.  

It was pretty cool.

Lunar eclipse
Maybe I should get that L series lens.. although the 24-105 would have this picture a little smaller, but clearer.  Unless I got a super zoom 300mm.. that would give me a much better zoom hehe.

ISS again

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So this time I was home, and had a tripod :)


StartTime: 19:10:02Alt: 10Az: SW
Max AltitudeTime: 19:12:26Alt: 51Az: WSW
EndsTime: 19:12:26Alt: 51Az: WSW
Magnitude: -2.5Exposure: 10 seconds

Last night I made six-cheese pizzas.  There's colby, tasty, parmesan, mozarella, feta and some mystery softish cheese leftover from work on Friday.  They were epic nom.

Six cheese pizza
Six cheese pizza
(I put olives and capers on Stu's, I just had the cheese :) )

Tonight we finally remembered to go look for the International Space Station.  We managed to see it very briefly as a tiny little moving dot, before it went behind a cloud and then presumably a tree (as we didn't see it again).  

Oh and there was the whole thing about me breaking things in a big way today, which was really not what I needed at the moment.  *sigh*

Yass evening

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Had a nice quiet house day today.  Late this arvo we headed out to Yass, despite the second migraine for the sweetie in two days :(

Pink flowers

I got to take a whole heap of photos of the chookens

.. before moving in the wrong way freaked one of them out and she flew over the fence and onto the balcony then the garage roof..

Chooken on the roof
Annie made a delicous lasagna, and then we all watched Nanny McPhee.

Took a photo of a very yellow looking blue moon..

Yellow blue moon

And that's mars there on the bottom left... (really!)

Moon and mars

Can I go home now?

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Long day at work :/

But I did manage to get this (pretty crap) photo of Venus and Mercury in the early evening sky..   They'll be even closer tomorrow night, keep a look out for them :)

Venus and Mercury

It was *cold* this morning.  It was at -1 at 11pm and got down to about -5 around 6:30am.  Some frost, but not as much as other mornings this month, and a fog as well..

Foggy and frosty

As part of science this week, there was an amateur astronomer's night up Mt Stromlo last night.  So we drove up the denuded hills (I still miss the Canberra pine forests :( ) and met up with Natalie and Andrew.

And proceeded to get third-degree moon-burn!  Seriously who the @#% decided to have an astronomy night on the night of a full moon !?!?  The astronomers didn't know but were equally dismayed.

Still, it was a bit of fun, if very cold.  Got a spectacular view of Jupiter, Europa, Io, Ganymede and Callisto, and nearly blinded ourselves looking at the moon.  Didn't look at too much else.. spent most of my time playing with some long exposures of the observatory buildings...

Mt Stromlo by moonlight

Mt Stromlo by moonlight

Mt Stromlo by moonlight

It was really sad seeing the building that was burnt out by the 2003 bushfires..
Mt Stromlo by moonlight

Mt Stromlo by moonlight

Mt Stromlo by moonlight

Mt Stromlo by moonlight

You can just barely see the Southern Cross in this resized version..

Mt Stromlo by moonlight

On the way down the hill we stopped so I could take some Canberra by nights shots..

Canberra by night

Apparently they'll be there next week too... maybe we'll drag the parents up there...

Tonight a bunch of us went to Ruchi's in Belconnen to celebrate Damien's birthday next week.  It was a very pleasant evening :)  And got to know Amanda a bit better which was lovely :)

Damien and Amanda

While the food was pretty good, and the service not too bad, they did charge us corkage for five bottles of wine, when we only had three. Bastards. So we didn't give them a tip. They can take the tip out of the $9 extra dollars of corkage they charged us. That makes two strikes for Ruchi's in my book :)

As we arrived home, saw a rather spectacular moon bow. This is a hand held shot (cause it was all too hard to come and get my tripod).. mind you the moon already did look hazy behind the cloud. That's Jupiter up the top.


Goodbye Planetarium

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Tonight Natalie and some friends invited us along to the Canberra Planetarium and Observatory, which is closing this weekend :(

Although first off, we had dinner at a Turkish place in Dickson that was selling Lezzo.. which amused all of us..

And then on to the Planetarium

Canberra Planetarium exterior
This is the star projector

Planetarium projector
We saw the "Southern Skies" show, which was interesting enough, but really focussed on just the Southern Cross and a few things around it.

After the show he turned the dome lights on, so we could see through it - very cool!

Planetarium interior
Planetarium interior
Then we ummed and ahhed about going to the observatory.  The main telescope they use is actually the same as Michael's (a C-14).  But the dude said they also have a bigger one they use.  So we decided to go get a drink and come back for the 9:30 session (as it wasn't even dark yet at 8:30). 

So we went in and had a look at Mars, Betelgeuse, the Trapezium of Orion and the moon.  All good and all, but no different to seeing them through Michael's telescope.  Then he took us into the bigger telescope to show us Rigel, but because it was so high in the sky we couldn't use the ladder, and so ended up just using the "finder scope".  So that was all a little disappointing.  Oh well.

IK-6 Telescope
Afterwards we debated the man in the moon, and other possible interpretations of the dark patches..

Almost full moon
Definitely a fun night, and we both approve of Andrew.. :)

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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