Brisbane South | Logan | Gold Coast | Tweed Heads

Queensland AUSTRALIA | Southern Astronomical Society Inc.

Archive for the ‘SAS News’ Category

World Record Stargazing Event – Friday 21st August 6.00 – 9.00pm (With record update and photos)

Noeleen Lowndes - August 8, 2015


~ You are invited to be part of this wonderful event for Science Week ~

The Southern Astronomical Society supports ‘Science Week’ with a World Record Stargazing Attempt being organized by The Hon Karen Andrews MP the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry & Science Federal Member for McPherson.

The All Saints Anglican School at Highfield Drive Merrimac is hosing the event and the Stargazing will be held on there large school oval with members from the Southern Astronomical Society kindly providing there large telescopes for everyone to look through.

There will be lots of food available on the night and also a live-streamed link from Mt Stromlo Observatory with astronomers giving talks, including a presentation by noble prize winner Prof. Brian Schmidt.

You can bring your own telescope or a pair of binoculars on the night to participate in the event, or purchase a telescope for only $5.50. But you must be very quick to order the telescopes by the 12th August so they can be delivered on time for the night.

Entry is free – but to be part of the world record you must register!
Go to the eventbrite ticketing section on the Facebook Event page:

Please Remember: Don’t forget to bring along your World Record Stargazing ticket so it can be scanned on the night to go in for the record attempt.

Come along and have a wonderful night of stargazing and hopefully we can make our record of 800 people looking at the night sky 🙂

Latest update on the Guinness World Record for Most People Stargazing Across Multiple Sites in a Country. (Australia)

As of the 4th September 2015 we are still waiting for confirmation, but as you see from the numbers below Australia has smashed the current record of 3007 from Mexico…but it has to be made official by the Guinness Book of Records.

MP Karen Andrews office will let us know as soon as they do, the latest information is from the Facebook site at:

Current tally is 8366 with 38 sites having reporting evidence. There were 3 sites, which were rained out, one site which didn’t meet the Guinness requirements and several which withdrew due to logistical difficulties. We’re still waiting on evidence from other sites which will be finalised by COB Monday when we submit our evidence pack to Guinness World Records. We’re hoping for confirmation of Australia’s newest world record by Thursday.

(Please see all the details for the night on the event flyer below and some images from the Stargazing Record night) 

1b.Paper bulletin

Copyright: Gold Coast Bulletin Photo: Glenn Hampson

Stargazing World Record flyer 1c.Header for event 2.Stargazing event NLowndes 3.Warwick telescope 4.Lyn Julie Noeleen 5.Ray Telescope 6.Hans Telescope 7.Michael and Joe 8.Karen and Brendan1 9.Karen and Brendan2 10.Michael New 11.People Warrick Telescope 12.Allison and friend 13.People Stargazing 14.Hans grandchildren 15.People 16.Stargazing cer

~ SAS member Dylan O’Donnell images on APOD and ESA websites ~

Noeleen Lowndes - August 8, 2015

Dylan’s awesome image of the ISS traversing across the lunar surface has been presented on the NASA ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’ website for the 31st July 2015.

9.Dylan APOD


Dylan’s text me to say that Commander Scott Kelly just shared his APOD picture from space! With the “Here I am!” How cool was that!
Congratulations Dylan on your second image to be highlighted on the APOD website 🙂

~ Dylan photographs the ESA tracking station in Western Australia ~

Dylans Image

Dylan’s was also invited to visit the European Space Agency’s Deep Space Tracking station in WA in early August where he took some beautiful images of the radio telescope with the Southern Cross.

I’m sure we are going to hear all about and see many more images at our next general meeting in September…what a wonderful opportunity, great work Dylan 🙂

Please go to the link below to see his image with the information at:

To see more of Dylan’s stunning image please go to his website at:

~ The New Horizons spacecraft successfully fly-bys Pluto ~

Noeleen Lowndes - August 8, 2015

On the 14th July, the New Horizon spacecraft successfully flew by Pluto at and incredibly close distance of only 1,250 kilometres and showed us what an amazingly complex world Pluto really is. Those first real images of a reddish coloured planet with a huge icy area in the shape of a heart were just breathtaking…we could even see the likeness of the doggy Pluto in this same region which is now named Tombaugh Regio after Pluto’s discoverer Clyde Tombaugh.

It’s just so hard to get your mind around how an object that’s only the size of a grand piano could travel nearly 6 billion kilometres through the solar system and safely reach its target at the precise time and place nine and a half years later to begin imaging…but that’s what NASA does time and time again with its space exploration…its just incredible!

Remarkably at the time of closest approach you could watch where the spacecraft was by using NASA’s ‘Eyes on Pluto’ app, that is designed for your computer or your mobile device…this app shows you where New Horizons is right now and you’ll find it at:

Currently, the spacecraft is now many millions of kilometres away from Pluto but its precious cargo of data is still to be delivered to Earth, so expect many more wonderful new discoveries to come over the next 16 months.

How do we get back all this wonderful information back from New Horizons? It’s done by NASA’s Deep Space Network of Radio telescope that are placed strategically around the globe to capture the signal from New Horizons please go to the DST website to find out all about it at:

Congratulations to all the New Horizons team for all your dedication in showing us what this mysterious little planet looks like…and what a spectacular surprise its turned out to be 🙂

Please find below a couple of the stunning images taken during this remarkable flyby, go to the New Horizons website to view more at and stay tuned for many more new discoveries to be made over the coming year from all the data collected.

If you want to see a stereo image of Pluto please go to the APOD image for the 6th August 2015 at:


Mosaic NASANASA-charon-inset


~ NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft finally arrives at Pluto on Tuesday the 14th July 2015~

Noeleen Lowndes - July 12, 2015


It’s only 2 days now until humankind will be enlighten by the images and science taken from the New Horizons spacecraft that will fly by this enigmatic small world called Pluto.

The New Horizons spacecraft left Earth in January 2006 for a journey that has lasted over nine years to finally arrive on Tuesday the 14th July at 9.50pm (AEST).

This is going to be an amazing moment in history…to see what this planet (dwarf planet) really looks like that’s nearly 6 billion kilometres away from us. The DSN tracking station at Tidbinbilla in Australia will be tracking the spacecraft during the flyby, so Australia is playing a crucial role again in another space mission.

DSN Pluto encounter

In August 2006 the IAU demoted Pluto from being a fully-fledged member of the solar system to being a dwarf planet along with Ceres in the asteroid belt and numerous other bodies discovered beyond Pluto in an area known as the Kuiper belt.

Yes, it was a very controversial issue at the time and I would say still is…because before the classification NASA has already sent this robotic explorer off to discover exactly what this far orbiting body was really made of…these are indeed very exciting times, its been a long time since we’ve seen another new world in our solar system like this.

Pluto has been in the imagination of humans since its discovery by Claude Tombaugh who first discovered the rocky world in 1930. We all grew up with this little planet being known at the 9th planet in our solar system

Pluto has always held a fascination for children, I think because it was so far away from the Sun and very tiny they felt an affinity with it, plus they really loved its name…now we all know that a feeling like this is not what you call ‘real science’ but it seems quite remarkable to me that the first real close up image that’s been taken shows an incredible heart shape feature on the surface…now isn’t that quite extraordinary!


Soon we will see it with our own eyes, thanks to the continued vision from the people at NASA and all the scientists that truly believe in the exploration of the universe we live in…thank you NASA for your vision and sharing that knowledge with all humanity.

Please go to the websites below for more information and to witness live coverage of this wonderful event:

Stardust Kids_IMG_9236Stardust poster IMG_9256

The children from the Stardust Junior Astronomy Club on the Gold Coast got very excited about New Horizons spacecraft arriving at Pluto, so they did up a poster of drawings for the New Horizon team at NASA to put up on there wall…Noeleen Lowndes 🙂

~ SAS member Dylan O’Donnell captures stunning image of the Moon and the ISS ~

Noeleen Lowndes - July 10, 2015


Just once in a while somebody captures and image and all you can say is ‘Wow’

On the 30th June 2015, Dylan set up his large telescope in his garden at Bryon Bay and waited…and what he captured was an amazingly clear and perfect image of the ISS against the majestic surface of the lunar surface.

This was a remarkable shot that had to have a perfect alignment with the Moon and a split second exposure to capture the outline of the ISS is such clear detail. I must add too, that you really need nerves of steel when taking an image like this, because you only get one shot at it…and it all came together for Dylan on this evening…’Congratulations’ on such an awesome image!


~ Dylan’s stunning image of the Moon and the ISS ~

Since taking his image 10 days ago, Dylan’s picture has gone viral on social media with so many people wanting to feature his stunning image on there websites. Dylan was also invited to talk about the event on ABC radio and has had his image published in many newspapers around the country.

Please go to his website at to find the whole list of where his image has been featured…you will be amazed!!! Time Magazine, European Space Agency (ESA) website at, IceInSpace and the list goes on and on, just incredible…Great work Dylan 🙂

Noeleen Lowndes (President)


~ Combined Societies Meeting Friday the 22nd May 2015 ~

Noeleen Lowndes - April 25, 2015

You are welcome to come along to the 2015 Combined Societies Meeting, which is being held at the Nathan Campus at Griffith University, Kessels Road, Mt Gravatt on the 22nd May starting at 7.30

The Meeting is being held in Lecture Theatre Room 0.03 in N16 Macrossan Building (This is the same room as in 2013). Please find a link to the University map below, where you will find the venue and the public car park. After 7.00pm the Ridge Carpark (N38) is FREE. There is also a jpg map below that you can download.

This will be an enjoyable evening, where a member from each society will give an astronomy presentation. This year, Mario Vecchi will be our representative from SAS and will be giving a very informative presentation on Mars.

Also on the agenda, will be the presentation of the 2015 Combined Societies ‘Achievement and Discoveries Awards’ for some deserving members from our clubs.

After the meeting, supper will be supplied where everyone can mingle and have a chat.

There will also be some great lucky door prizes, so please come along and enjoy a great
 evening of astronomy and space with your fellow astronomers.

Presented By:

Southern Astronomical Society (SAS)
Brisbane Astronomical Society (BAS)
South East Queensland Astronomical Society (SEQAS)
Scenic Rim Astronomical Society (SRAS)
Astronomical Association of Queensland (AAQ)
Star Gayzers Inc.

See you all on the night, Noeleen Lowndes (SAS President)

2.Map Nathan Campus

SAS Observation Night, Ormeau April 11 2015

Dylan O'Donnell - April 12, 2015

Here are some photos of the members observation and bbq night. We had perfect conditions and a few extra new members and friends along which was great to see.

SAS welcomes you to attend ‘Jupiter in the Park’ Saturday 28th March 2015

Noeleen Lowndes - March 27, 2015

Have you ever wanted to see the magnificent planet Jupiter through a large telescope or see the lunar craters on the surface of the Moon?

Then come along to our ‘Jupiter in the Park’ evening where our members will be setting up there large telescopes for a FREE viewing night for this Saturday, along The Esplanade waterfront near Mallard Avenue at Paradise Point, from 6.30-9.30pm.

Our local newspaper the Gold Coast Sun have kindly advertised our event in this weeks edition, please also see more details on our events page, and come along for a wonderful night of stargazing, compliments of the Southern Astronomical Society on the Gold Coast.

SAS Jupiter Flyer~ SAS Jupiter in the Park ~

~ Update of our Jupiter in the Park event on the Gold Coast ~

Unfortunately the weather let us done again, but still a couple of hundred people turned up hoping to view the Moon and Jupiter through our telescopes. Even though we were not able to see much of the sky we spend a lot of time talking with many people about the night sky.

The children just loved looking through the telescopes even through it was just at the clouds 🙂

All images presented are complements of Duncan Gillespie…thank you Duncan.

DSC_4220 DSC_4221 DSC_4222 DSC_4223 DSC_4224 DSC_4225 DSC_4226 DSC_4227 DSC_4228 DSC_4229 DSC_4230 DSC_4231 DSC_4232 DSC_4233 DSC_4234



Presidential Musings.

Noeleen Lowndes - March 5, 2015

Dear Members and Friends,

The past month has been very exciting for SAS, we now have a wonderful new website that went live last weekend. We are all very grateful to Dylan O’Donnell for building and hosting this new website for our club and I’m sure you’ll all agree it’s just awesome! Many thanks also to Mario Vecchi and Julie Lancaster who have made up the new EH and library pages. Julie has also posted an excellent report on her trip with Lyn Ahern on the Fred Watson’s Discovery Recovery tour in NSW, for you all to read. I’m still updating a few pages, but that should be all done by next week.

There are some great features on the site in the members area, once you’ve registered you can post your images and chat with other members that are on line all in the privacy of the chat room. There will also be some more new features coming soon for our members. You will also see a new section that Dylan has made up, where you can conveniently pay your yearly membership fees by PayPal.

A reminder that our ‘Jupiter in the Park’ public viewing night will be held on Saturday evening the 28th March, I will be there from about 5pm for set up, the event does not start until 6.30pm so please feel free to arrive anytime before about 6pm. Please see the flyer for the event in EH with all the details…and don’t forget to tell all your family and friends to come along 🙂

On Sunday the 8th February we had our first ‘SAS Solar Day’ here at the club grounds at Ormeau where many of our members turned up to view the Sun through the clubs new Lunt 80mm solar telescope. We were extremely lucky, because for days leading up to this viewing day there had been a very huge dark magnetic filament opening up across the solar surface. By the 15th of February this was to be the largest solar filament ever witnessed on the surface of the Sun at over one million kilometres long!

What were we really looking at? Essentially it was a huge tendril of plasma more than 1,000,000 km long held suspended above the surface of the Sun by magnetic forces. If the filament had become unstable and erupted, it could have hurled parts of itself into space. When you view a prominence on the Suns limb, you are in fact seeing what a dark filament looks like, but because you are looking at the Sun face on, it just looks like a dark shadow. Please see some images in the gallery that I took on our Solar Day and also some of my H-alpha solar images of this huge filament during February.

I’ll be holding another Solar day (weather permitting) this coming Sunday (8th March) from 2pm at the hall grounds, so please come along and see our amazing sun in Hydrogen Alpha. Bring along your camera with its t-mount adapter and see if you can capture some images. Please be patience, as some people have to find the right setting for their cameras, bring along a chair and a snack and enjoy one another’s company. My mobile is 0407 126 452 if you need to contact me on the day.

Looking forward to seeing you all at our next general meeting on Saturday night the 7th March, where Jenny Robinson and Klaus Schlussler will talk about how they are remotely controlling there telescopes from inside their houses…Wow, I wish I could do that! Also, Dylan is going to do a presentation on how to do layers and layer masks in Photoshop for your astro images…see you all then 🙂

©2017 Southern Astronomical Society | ABN 14 693 585 419 | Incorporation Number IA04526
Website Design & Hosting by