Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

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  • My camera is not too sensitive to hydrogen emission, but great at oxygen emission. The Tarantula Nebula (NGC2070) glows with both hydrogen and also a strong oxygen emission (making it look a bit green). So to show the detail, I ignored the colours and highlighted the detail of the gas itself in B/W!
  • The International Space Station is making another pass on Thursday evening the 15th of March. If you live in the central west, tablelands or Sydney, you have an opportunity to see it. It will look like a bright moving star. Spot it coming from the Southwest at 8:00 pm (15th March). It will reach its highest point at 8:03 pm in the Northwest (a bit more than halfway up in the sky) before fading near the horizon in the Northeast at 8:06pm. The image below was taken through one of our telescopes on March 12th with a LOT of magnification. The space station was a bit side on in the image, so the huge solar panels weren't visible. I may try again on the 15th!!!!
  • The Keyhole Nebula. This is part of the Eta Carina nebula complex. The star Eta Carina itself is the bright star to the lower centre. It is destined to explode in a supernova explosion! Imaged March 2018.
  • The Rosette Nebula, just a bit to the East of the constellation of Orion (in Monoceros). I imaged this some time ago and have just got around to reprocessing it. Thank you everyone for helping us reach over 2000 likes! Some exciting plans coming hopefully soon!
  • The forecast storms held off long enough for me to snap a quick image of the Moon on the 24th Feb. The Moon is a wonderful object to view!
  • IC 2177 near Orion is a very faint but colourful region of the Milky Way. It is also known as the Seagull Nebula. Not my best image, but I was racing oncoming cloud and strong winds!
  • Comet R2 Panstarrs is again able to be imaged with the Moon out of the way. It is even fainter than it was before prior to my last image. It still has a very delicate blue gas tail! Image 4th Feb 2018.
  • The Moon passes into Earth's shadow on the evening of the 31st of January (a lunar eclipse). Perfectly safe for everyone to watch! The moon will become red to red brown during the total phase of the eclipse (due to light passing through Earth's atmosphere!). <br />
Here are the important times, note that they are Eastern Australian Daylight Saving times so adjust for your time zone! <br /><br />
The noticeable part of the eclipse commences at about 10:50pm when the Moon starts to enter Earth's dark shadow. <br /><br />
By about 11:50pm the moon is completely in Earth's shadow (the total phase where the moon looks red).<br /><br />
00:30am Is mid eclipse where the moon is at its darkest<br /><br />
01:07 am the moon starts to move out of Earth's shadow<br /><br />
2:10 am The Moon leaves the Earth's dark shadow.<br /><br />
The only issue.... There is a lot of cloud and perhaps rain forecast for the 31st for Eastern Australia. <br /><br />
The image is how the lunar eclipse of 2014 looked from Bathurst.
  • Here is the latest professional, artist impression of what the new observatory (in part) may look like. The big hold up is the lack of sale so far of the old place. Keen eyed people may notice I haven't included our little museum. It may be subject to being cut out if funding isn't available (funded out of my pocket, so something may have to go!). Don't forget, lunar eclipse night on the 31st. I will detail more in the coming week!
  • The delicate blue tail of comet R2 Panstarrs is visible in this image of the comet on the 15th of January. It is still VERY faint and again was hard to get the image.
  • Comet R2, Panstarrs is an exceedingly faint, but very interesting comet. It is very blue in colour due to high amounts of carbon monoxide it is releasing. Comets have a mix of gases and ices, but the excess of CO is not typical. The last comet seen like this was in 1962. Comet R2 is currently in Taurus but even a stretch for my telescope to image.
  • NGC 1566 is the wonderful spiral galaxy to the lower left. Elliptical galaxies NGC 1549 and NGC 1553 are to the upper right. The spiral is the closest at about 38 million light years away, while the two ellipticals are about twice that again! A wonderful region of the southern sky. I look forward to imaging these again at the new Billywillinga site!
  • The Moon on the 28th of December. Expected cloud (rain) over the next few days meant that I could just squeeze in a quick snap. I hope people that received a telescope for Christmas may have also been enjoying the moon as well.
  • I had set up the telescope to image automatically a few nights ago. While looking at the image today of the Horsehead Nebula, I noticed a strange object had travelling across the telescope's field of view. The object appears to be a small sleigh attached to reindeer shaped objects. I can only assume that it may in fact be Santa on a practice run for Christmas. I wish all our followers a Merry Christmas!
  • M42, The Great Orion Nebula! If you get a telescope for Christmas, have a look at the middle star of the sword of Orion for this wonderful star forming region.
  • One of the best meteor showers of the year (the Geminids) will be visible this week from after midnight until dawn on the 13th, 14th and perhaps 15th of December. (I recommend the 14th around 1am until 3am). This is a computer simulated view looking northwards from Australia to help you know which direction to look. Expect to see a few faint meteors and the occasional bright one!
  • Heavy rain has meant digging through the archives again. But below is the Pleiades, imaged late last year. If you are down under, look for them as a hazy patch of stars low in the north east not long after dark. Most people with good eyesight can count 6 or 7 stars in this group. The image shows what they look like with the research telescope!
  • With the big research scope decommissioned ready for its move, I thought I would dig through my image archives. This is barred spiral galaxy NGC1300.  I actually imaged this a year ago. Thank you to those offering help to relocate the observatory. During the move phase, I will offer a few more posts of things to go outside and see yourself, a few archived images and photos of broader areas of the sky.  So in short, I will keep on posting!
  • Sorry for not posting anything in a few days. I had been away this week and though I did image the International Space Station on Monday the 13th (below image), I haven't had time to do more. If the storms continue, maybe I will image lightning tonight. I will also get more planning and pegging out done at the new site over the weekend. Hopefully soon things will progress at the new site!
  • The Sculptor Galaxy NGC 253. As you may notice, a favourite of mine. I imaged this a few weeks ago while getting the observatory ready for its move. Progress is much slower than planned for the relocation. It is now early 2018 before tours will happen again. As we have to fund the move ourselves (no grants or sponsorships have been offered) I am already making a few cut backs to the plans for the new site. The major cost (worry) is the shed to house the museum.
  • The International Space Station made a nice pass over our region on the evening of the 23rd of October. Using a lot of magnification, I was able to image it (at a distance of  475km)
  • These four galaxies are known as the Grus Quartet. They are about 55 million light years away. The observatory move is progressing slowly, actually much slower than I thought!
  • Old school imaging (kind of). Taken with a very cheap 80mm F5 refracting telescope, on a basic motor driven mount, no computers driving the mount or camera, no automatic guiding. It shows what you can do with basic equipment. The galaxy is M31, the Andromeda Galaxy. From Australia it is very low down in the northern sky.
  • Well it is now officially ours. This is the view of the proposed site of the observatory (we are going to keep but move the sheds). Sometime (soonish) we hope to host a BBQ for all our nearby neighbours at Billywillinga! Thank you to all those that have welcomed us to the area!
  • While some people watched football games over the weekend, I was outside with the Moon. We are all geared up to start our move to the new site from this weekend. Tours will start again  as soon as I can. It marks a new and exciting chapter in the observatory!
  • M27, It is a bubble of gas shed from a dying star. The colours are due to gases like oxygen and hydrogen. This is how our sun will end its life in about 4 billion years from now.
  • The Moon on the 25th of September. Sometimes it is nice to image wider angle, rather than just close ups. The telescope that imaged the Moon is one I built in the mid 80's!
  • Known as the "War and Peace" Nebula NGC 6357 is located in Scorpius. It is fairly faint and took a bit of imaging to capture! A big thank you as well to all those turned up for the Sky Stories astronomy night in Orange. There is an even bigger event in the planning for Bathurst in 2018.
  • I will be in Orange for an Astronomy Night on Wednesday the 20th! Hope to see you there!
  • All telescopic "eyes" will be watching Saturn on Friday evening (the 15th) as the Cassini space probe ends its mission of imaging Saturn and its moons. The probe is scheduled to burn up in Saturn's atmosphere and there is a very slight possibility it may be imaged from powerful telescopes on Earth. I did a practice run on the evening of the 10th of Sept to make sure all was working prior to this event.
  • NGC 6188 is a nebula about 4000 light years away in the constellation of Ara. A nearby star cluster causes the hydrogen gas to glow, while thicker regions appear dark. It is in areas like this that new stars are formed. I imaged this about a month ago!
  • Thank you everyone for the support after our relocation to a new site announcement! I tried something new on the evening of the 28th August. I tried to image the International Space Station. It is about 100m in size but 400km above us, therefore presents a REAL challenge to image (like imaging a football field 400km away!). This is my first attempt, so I hope they will get better next time I try!

Contact Us

Bathurst Observatory Research Facility

(Open Night Tours, Research and Meteorite related enquires)
624 Rossmore Park, Limekilns Rd, KELSO NSW 2795. Australia
Phone: 02 6337 3988 | International: +61 2 6337 3988
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