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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 🙂

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