Professor Matthew Colless,
Director, Anglo-Australian Observatory
For at least the last 30 years Australia has been at the front rank of optical astronomy. This was based initially on the success of the 4-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope, and more recently on Australia's share in the two Gemini 8-metre telescopes. In 2005, Australian astronomers launched a Decadal Plan that saw the need for Australia to develop new optical telescopes in order to stay at the forefront of the field. As well as calling for an extended scientific lifetime for the AAT and increased Australian access to 8-metre class telescopes, the plan highlighted two priority options for the future: the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), a 25-metre telescope that is proposed to be built in Chile by a US-Australian consortium, and the PILOT telescope, a 2-metre optical-infrared telescope that is proposed to be built at Dome C in Antarctica. I will discuss the development of these facilities in the context of the evolving needs of Australian astronomers for access to optical telescopes in the coming decade.
To obtain comparative accuracy in my reductions, the method of time keeping in the 19th century was investigated as it is known that time was counted from noon. A study of "Sundials Australia", by Margaret Folkard and John Ward, gave a concise explanation of correction to sundial solar time as mean solar time = true solar time + an Equation of Time correction. A similar approach is used to produce an equation of time correction chart for each observatory used by Schmidt, and this has been applied to his crater timings.
Once corrected, each of the 28 lunar eclipses observed by Schmidt were analysed for umbral enlargement (%E), associated mean error and, where possible, the observed umbral oblateness (Fo).
Recently, improvements made to my topocentric umbra semi-diameter program has made it possible to produce Excel charts of the estimated size for each eclipse, as Fi and the slope angle delta.
The data obtained have been included in my web pages in the Lunar Eclipses Finder under the Lunar Eclipses-Schmidt link.
Both Dunlop, and Rümker to a lesser extent, have been historically heavily criticised for these works.
This paper presents a general summary of their contributions, and examines there relevance in light of the available modern statistical and positional data, especially towards the relationship to the earlier PSC. New identifications of several of the missing pairs will also be presented.
Points to be covered in this presentation include the frequency range of narrow band filters, the choice of suitable objects, suitable scopes and cameras, colour mapping, and image processing.
During 2007, Macquarie University participated in a special education project
facilitating access by NSW and Victorian schools to the Faulkes 2-m Telescopes. Ten schools in the pilot program obtained observations that were used for science teaching
in the classroom. All schools in Australia have access to these telescopes and this
project will provide a lasting resource in the form of a web site offering background
material, freeware for data analysis, a step-by-step guide to submitting observing
requests and sample projects.
The presentation will be of a live demonstration of GRAS system interface screens for target selection and set up, imaging and exposure downloads.
Points to be covered include GRAS operation, the user interface, the equipment and observatories used, the automation software used, and other software used for pointing, imaging, auto focus etc.
Anomalous flaring: while the drawings show specific flares, data are also presented showing flaring generally across the last three solar cycles (21 to 23 inclusive). Plotting the IPS data for the "Most Powerful Flares" of these cycles reveals an anomaly.
When plotted against the sunspot number (R) the level of flaring measured by GOES satellite (IPS) shows a strong increase in amplitude from cycle 21 through cycle 23, in contrast to the sunspot number that shows steady decline. It is concluded that flaring anti-correlates with other measures of solar activity. Why might this occur?
This apparent anomaly may be unnoticed by workers in the field. The author's graph was compiled from materials published by others, and has been recommended for publication by Pasachoff, J. (Prof.), Williams College, USA,
In the early 19th century, a 27 year old, Scottish army officer opened an observatory on his estate. This year, 2008, marks the bicentenary of Brisbane Glen Observatory built by Lieutenant–Colonel Thomas Brisbane in Largs, Scotland. The importance of this event had a direct impact on the growth of Australian science and astronomy. In 1821, now Major-General Sir Thomas Brisbane brought a plan for a similar observatory to be constructed under the southern skies. He arrived in Australia as the 6th Governor of New South Wales and his Parramatta Observatory was in operation by May 1822. At the end of his vice-regal role in NSW, Sir Thomas sold his observatory and equipment to the government and returned to Scotland. Many of these instruments are now on display at Sydney Observatory.
In 1826, Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Brisbane erected another observatory at Lady Brisbane’s family seat in Makerstoun, Scotland. It was also in this year that her family name, Makdougall, was integrated into their last name. The fourth establishment by Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, Bart., in 1841 was a magnetic observatory. Magnetic observations were a major focus of astronomers throughout the 19th century and Sir Thomas' Makerstoun site was the first such observatory built in Scotland.