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 Discussion night - Show n Share night for all
Instead of listening to me talk about a topic its time to have a discussion. Members are invited to step up and bring a subject to the table. Maybe you have a favourite web-site, a recent book, what you've been observing lately, a pet astronomy project, a recent purchase, have you built something?

I'm available to assist with your presentation before the meeting if required.

 February    Telescopes - Essentials about how they work and what accessories are available
- How a telescope works: Collect more light, magnify, and focus
- Types of telescopes: Refractor  vs  Reflector  vs  Catadioptric
- Mounting: Holds things steady with freedom to accurately point: Alt/Az  vs  EQ
- Telescope control: Push to  vs  Tracking  vs  Guided
- Viewing interest: Planets, Double and/or Variable stars, Deep sky, Galaxy hunt

- Telescope purpose: Visual  vs  Photographic
- Mostly binoculars help you find stuff... so which ones?
- A guide to focusing your binoculars for sharp views
- Holding binoculars steady: Handheld  vs  Tripod  vs  Monopod  vs  Parallelogram arm
- The basic eyepiece set begins with Low, Medium & High powers
- A Barlow lens can extend (double) an eyepiece set... so what are they?
- Filters for Astronomy: We discuss the different types like: Moon, Colour Sets, Deep Sky
- Solar viewing requires a re-think to make your whole set-up Sun-Safe
- Finder scopes: Optical  vs  Red dot  vs  Telrad  vs  Setting circles  vs  Push guide
- Red torches are about seeing in the dark while preserving your night vision
- How to rescue an old telescope from the cupboard... and is it worth doing that?

Want to bring your scope for help, or give a demo to others, please let me know

 March   Our Moon... A Lunar 101 for beginners

We will cover the basics of Lunar observing, what is Dichotomy, main feature types, using Moon and coloured filters, following the phases & terminator, what is the Lunar 100 challenge, etc...

In 2018 NASA made a big discovery about the Aitken basin on the far side of the Moon based on data from the Lunar Recon Orbiter and GRAIL spacecraft missions. This has big implications on theories about how the Moon has evolved, and hints at why the near side (that we see) could look so different to the far side (we don't see).

 April    The Planets - Our Solar System

Our Solar System is readily visible from our humble backyards, which coincidentally, is our local back yard, astronomically speaking.

Before we discovered exo-planets we thought we understood formation of our own Solar System. However with hot Jupiters and Super Earth planets found around other stars, our own solar system now looks to be the odd one out. We will discuss the Grand Tack theory (NASA 2011) which tries to explain why this might be.

 May   Astrophotography basics

We usually have a guest speaker to two sharing their night sky photography journey.
I invite everyone to bring along your photos or equipment so we can talk about whatever you have to share in this question and answer style session.

 June    Life Cycle of Stars and how we came know such things
Stars are the essential building blocks of the Universe. So it is important to understand the environments in which Stars are born as this effects planetary systems that form around them. As they live their lives each Star evolves before transforming when they start running out of Hydrogen fuel to continue nuclear fusion.
The largest Stars will enter the instability strip of the Hertzsprung/Russel diagram as they becomes unstable before an often violent end to their relative short lives. Medium stars puff off layers after a few Billion years, leaving a brief Planetary Nebulae. The smallest stars burn through their stellar fuel so meagerly they may last 100+ Billion years. Which proposes that no red dwarf star has reached their end yet?

 July   Galaxies in a nutshell can be described as the largest building blocks in our Universe
Discussion includes... but is not limited to:
- Size of the Universe - The Herber D. Curtis vs Harlow Shapley debate: 1920
- A new tool called the Cosmic Ladder helps us find our place in the Galaxy
- Galaxies are gregarious with the collective term being: A cluster of Galaxies
- Galaxies provide the four astronomical ingredients of life
- Messier bags a Galactic list without knowing what a Galaxy really is?
- Dark Matter weighs in on Galaxy Rotation: Vera Rubin
- The aptly name Hubble telescope: Mission objective is the Hubble expansion

 August    Life in the Universe
The Fermi Paradox seeks to answer the question of where the aliens are. Given that our Star & Earth are part of a young planetary system compared to the rest of the Universe. That interstellar travel might be fairly easy to achieve. Theory says that Earth should have been visited by aliens already. The implications, however, have had extraterrestrial researchers scratching their heads in the decades since. There are many aspects to discuss like the Drake Equation, Exo-Planet discoveries, the Goldilocks Zone, life found in unexpected places, how might we detect other civilizations, Dyson Spheres, the Robots arriving first and more.

 Observing Challenges and why we need one?
It happens to all of us at some stage. Our first introduction to a telescope is usually a battle in learning how to use a foreign contraption. At the same time we need to start building the basic observing skills that will help us start navigating unfamiliar paths across the night sky. Eventually we manage to observe our first night sky objects and W-O-W what rush!

Before long you have acquired a short but spectacular list of 10 to 20 favourite objects.  Sentimentally these first objects stick with you forever, etched as grand memories. Warning a trap has been set. The more often you look them up the easier and quicker you will be able to hunt them down, within minutes, sometime seconds. They become so easy that whenever you show people through your scope these same 10-20 favourites become your standard tour. The same ones over & over & over? What you need is an observing challenge to break out of the rut your stuck in!

 October  Star Atlas - How to make an observing plan using a humble Star Atlas or the many modern alternatives
The humble Star Atlas was the original solution to navigating our night sky with a telescope. They evolved over hundreds of years into sophisticated and detailed charts. What features should you look for? The more of these features a Star Atlas has the better it should be! Technology has moved us on to better ways to navigate our way around the night sky? Find out more as we talk about making an observing plan, using a planisphere, different chart types, setting circles, digital solutions, computer and phone apps & more.

 How to use your Telescope

This will be a hands on demonstration so those who attend in person will definitely get the best experience! Members are encouraged to bring their own telescope along for assistance -or- maybe some members would like to assist with a demo of their scope to others. Members are encouraged to bring along attachments or accessories for discussion and/or assistance with how to use.

This meeting will definitely be held in person, as well as Zoom

 December    No meeting due to the close proximity with Christmas

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