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The travelling astronomer in Prague 6

August 26, 2006

Voting card for the planet vote A long time ago the Seekers sang "The Carnival is Over" and so is the Prague General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union. Wednesday night saw the farewell dinner which itself ended spectacularly with a light show to the music of Czech composer Smetana at the Krizik fountain.

The travelling astronomer in Prague 5

August 23, 2006

Debating the definition of a planet Today saw the lunchtime discussion on what is the definition of a planet. Though the proposal put to the meeting had already been somewhat modified there was some strong opposition and heated debate - unusually heated for a group of astronomers.

The travelling astronomer in Prague 4

August 21, 2006

Statue of Kepler & Tycho Brahe The travelling astronomer has sore feet after climbing up and down in Prague's castle district in the footsteps of these two famous 16th/17th centuryastronomers. This statue was erected in 1984 near the site where Tycho lived at one stage in Prague.

The travelling astronomer in Prague 3

August 18, 2006

Dr Richard Binzel demonstrating one of the new criteria for a planet Yesterday saw the release of the proposed new definition of a planet under which there are at least 12 planets in the solar system.

To be or not to be…

August 17, 2006

Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Ceres, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Charon and "Xena" (2003 UB313). When is a planet really a planet? Astronomers at the International Astronomical Conference Union in Prague are debating this question at the moment.

The travelling astronomer in Prague 2

August 16, 2006

Entertainment at the opening ceremony This afternoon was the opening ceremony of the General Assembly. This was a most impressive ceremony with lots of speeches, some very good, as well as some entertainment.

The travelling astronomer in Prague 1

August 15, 2006

The Prague astronomical clock at 2 pm I arrived in Prague today to attend a major international gathering of astronomers. This is the three yearly General Assembly of the International Astronomical Union, the last one one of which was held in Sydney in 2003.

Winning sky photos exhibition opens

August 8, 2006

The overall winner of the 2006 David Malin Awards Peter Ward flanked by Bishop Christopher Toohey (CWAS President) and Dr David Malin The "Winning sky photos: the David Malin Awards" exhibition opened last night at Sydney Observatory.

Fireball over Bega

August 6, 2006

Carolyn reports a fireball in the Bega area: Aug 5th, 2006 at 9:00 pm Hi we have just witnessed what looked like a huge fireball coming across the sky we live in the Bega Area the time is now 8.55pm we took video of the fireball.

Wurzelbauer and the giant “cowpat”

August 4, 2006

As indicated on the previous post, the moon is the easiest celestial body to observe and a wealth of detail can be seen even through a small telescope. Here is another of the exquisite lunar drawings by amateur astronomer and member of the Sydney City Skywatchers Harry Roberts: This is the story Roald Dahl didn’t write!

Vitello – a strange crater on the moon

July 31, 2006

If you have a small telescope or a friend with one that you can use, it is worth while examining the moon. Huge amount of details are visible and the features change in appearance as the lunar day progresses.

The newest globular cluster – seen!

July 27, 2006

Globular clusters are roughly spherical collections of old stars that circle around the centre of the Galaxy. Some like Omega Centauri are massive objects with hundreds of thousands of stars. Others like the just announced AL 3 are faint and have relatively few stars.

One of the most wonderful Sydney experiences

July 25, 2006

Q. I have heard that sometimes when there is a full moon one can sit at McMahons point and watch it rise under the Harbour Bridge. I was told it is one of the most wonderful Sydney experiences. Is this the case and how often/when does it happen?

Mars is not approaching this August

July 24, 2006

There is an email circulating in cyberspace saying that the red planet Mars will be exceptionally close on 27 August (2006). According to one version "It will look like the Earth has two moons"!!! Once again this is a good lesson in not believing everything on the Internet.

Weather clears for a great Festival

July 23, 2006

Sydney Observatory's annual Festival of the Stars was held this weekend on Friday (21 July) and Saturday (22 July). The weather forecast was gloomy and sure enough there was lots of cloud for the Friday evening.