Astronomy in June: Jupiter's moons and Harmonious Revolutions

Astronomy Year

Welcome to my June bulletin for the International Year of Astronomy in Australia.

There are over 30 events around Australia in June. I’ve listed them below and full details are online at

Highlights this month include astronomy from a historical perspective, from ancient cultures such as the Greeks and Romans at an exhibition in Sydney, to Captain Cook’s celestial charts and celestial globe touring Victoria. You can also hear music from the time of Galileo, played on period instruments, at the State Library of NSW, and learn about the myths and supersititions surrounding the Winter solstice at the Sydney Observatory.

You can join in many events over the internet with Galactic TV and Echoes of Apollo, or on amateur radio, on World Moon Bounce Day.

Coming up in July, look for Moon Madness celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11, including an open day at the Parkes Observatory, and the July lecture series for the International Year of Astronomy at the University of Melbourne.

My thanks to the Commonwealth Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research for their support of the Year and of these bulletins.

Please feel free to forward this bulletin to others with an interest in astronomy and to cut and paste from it for your own publications.

If you have any queries, please contact me on or (02) 9372 4251.

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Helen Sim

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy

Tel: +61-2-9372-4251

Mob: +61-419-635-905

(sent by Science in Public on Helen’s behalf)


In this bulletin:

1.          Calling amateur observers: the moons of Jupiter await you

2.          Answer engine can help to plan IYA2009 events

3.          Galilean nights, 23-24 October

4.          IYA banners for events

5.          Reminder: The Moon for all Mankind

6.          Events to the end of June


1.           Calling amateur observers: the moons of Jupiter await you

In 2009, the planet Jupiter will experience an equinox (it occurs only every six years) allowing the observation from Earth of mutual occultations and eclipses between the Galilean satellites. I encourage everyone to look at these satellites and to make astronomical observations.

Learn more about this opportunity at Observations have already started and some observers have put their observations on YouTube at

2.           Answer engine can help to plan IYA2009 events

A new computational answer-engine called Wolfram|Alpha has been released. Unlike conventional search engines, facts are given directly based on questions provided by users. This has particular relevance to astronomers, as the dedicated astronomy section shows.

Sky charts can be quickly produced for any date and location, calculations of astronomical properties can be performed, and astrophysical calculations are simplified. This could be useful for planning IYA2009 events such as star parties and lectures. Read all about it here:

3.           Galilean nights, 23-24 October

The “100 Hours of Astronomy” in April was so successful that another weekend, 23 and 24 October 2009, has been set by IYA internationally for popular astronomy events. This new IYA2009 Cornerstone Project is called Galilean Nights and will see amateur and professional astronomers around the globe taking to the streets, pointing their telescopes to the wonders that Galileo observed 400 years ago.

The project’s focus is sidewalk observations of gas giant Jupiter and its moons, but feel free to follow in Galileo’s footsteps and observe the Sun, our own Moon and anything else that takes your fancy.

4.           IYA banners for events

We have eight freestanding banners, each about 2 m tall, bearing the IYA logo. They are suitable for indoor use only. If you’d like one to use at your IYA event, please contact me at to see if one is available.

5.           Reminder: The Moon for all Mankind

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the first manned Moon landing, the IYA organising committee in Malta will produce a mosaic of the full Moon, 1.25 m in diameter, made from images supplied by different countries. The final image will be distributed to all the participating countries.

Australia has been allocated section 8 of the Moon to image, and your photo could be the one chosen as Australia’s contribution!

Details of the project are at

How to participate:

  • Photograph the specified section of the Moon when it is brightly lit. The image can extend beyond the borders of the section.
  • Make a jpeg file, 500 pixels wide, of your image. This is just for judging purposes: a high-resolution image will be used for the final mosaic.
  • Send the file to Helen Sim, at, by Wednesday 10 June.

The images will be judged (anonymously) by astrophotographer David Malin. We will then ask the lucky winner to forward a high-resolution image.

The image doesn’t have to be a new one: you might have a suitable one in hand.

Thanks to those of you who have sent photos already.

6.           Events to the end of June

Events coming up include the following. More information at except as noted.


  • “Galactic Television” will show a “live” stream of deep sky objects when the weather is clear, until 31 December
  • “Echoes of Apollo” is the world’s biggest space party – ever! with lots of ways to join in
  • “Astronomy webcast from Charles Sturt University” starting 7pm AEST will run for approximately 2 hours from the Charles Sturt University remote telescope, on Tuesday 16 June
  • “Orion Cruise – guide to the southern skies” is an 11-night voyage from Darwin to Broome, via East Timor, with astronomers Fred Watson and David Malin providing a guide to the southern skies, Saturday 21 June – Thursday 2 July
  • “World Moon Bounce Day” is an Echoes Of Apollo event for amateur radio operators to talk to each other via the moon, on Saturday 27 June

New South Wales

  • “The sky’s the limit: astronomy in antiquity” is an exhibition at the Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney, exploring the astronomical understanding of ancient cultures, from Sunday 3 May to Sunday 13 December
  •  “Macquarie University Observatory – Friday Night Observing” offers a weekly “starfinder” session and telescope observation, every Friday until 27 November
  • “Named objects for namely observers” is a talk by Scott Mellish, Astronomical Society of NSW, on the deep sky object that have been named, not just catalogued, at Epping, Sydney on Friday 5 June
  • “Harmonious Revolutions: Galileo And The Music Of The Spheres” is a multimedia concert of early music played on period instruments, at the State Library of NSW on Friday 5 June.
  • “Young starwatchers” program at the Observatory of Western Sydney teaches science and astronomy to young children, on Friday 5 June
  • “Macquarie University Observatory – Friday night observing” offers a starfinder session to demonstrate how to identify bright stars, constellations and planets, at Macquarie University every Friday until 27 November, subject to bookings and the weather
  • “Impact of astronomy on Greek & Roman culture” is an evening event at the Nicholson Museum, University of Sydney, on Thursday 18 June
  • “CosmoDome Shows” are 3D IMAX style movies plus a real-time sky simulator at the City of Sydney Library on Friday 19 June
  • “Winter solstice” guided tours at the Sydney Observatory will teach you about the mythology and superstition surrounding the solstice, on Sunday 21 June
  • “The Many Faces Of Centaurus A” is an international meeting of professional astronomers that will bring together the understanding of the galaxy Centaurus A, which was discovered from Parramatta Observatory and was later one of the first known sources of radio waves from beyond our Galaxy. Sydney, Sunday 28 June – Friday 3 July


  • “Urban observers public viewing, Indooroopilly” with the South East Queensland Astronomical Society is for people who want to learn about telescopes or just stargaze, on Sunday 7 June
  •  “Wat’s On Space” at Watson Road State School has astronomical activities for the school and local community, with the Brisbane Astronomical Society, Thursday 4 – Tuesday 9 June
  •  “Scout space program” is a three-night astronomy program for Scouts and Cub Scouts in the greater Brisbane area to work towards a space or astronomy badge, second night on Friday 12 June and third night on Monday 29 June
  • “Urban observers public viewing Mt Coot-tha” with the South East Queensland Astronomical Society is for people who want to learn about telescopes or just stargaze, on Sunday 21 June
  • “A night sky tour (Ballandean)” will show spectacular views of stars, galaxies and nebulae at Twinstar Guesthouse Observatory, Ballandean, on Wednesday 24 June


  • “The Shared Sky” exhibition at the Ian Potter Centre, NGV Australia, Federation Square, explores the cultural experience of the night sky over Australia, until 2 August
  • “Beyond visibility: light and dust” is a mixed media exhibition of works by indigenous artist Gulumbu Yunupingu, visual artist Felicity Spear and astronomical photographer David Malin at the Monash Gallery of Art, until Sunday 28 June
  • “Light Years: Photographs And Space” exhibition at the National Gallery Victoria International, St Kilda Rd, brings together photographs of real and imagined space travel, until Sunday 27 September
  • “Astronomy in a nutshell” exhibition at Monash Science Centre, Clayton
  •  “Travelling treasures” will bring classic Charles Darwin books and priceless historic items used by Captain James Cook, including a celestial globe and celestial charts, on his voyages to public libraries in Warracknabeal (Wednesday 3 June) and St Arnaud (Thursday 4 June).
  • “Neither here nor there” exhibition of new paintings about the universe by Robert Hollingworth in Melbourne, until 5 June
  • “Heavens Above” multimedia talk and stargazing with the Mornington Peninsula Astronomical Society will be held at the Briars, Mount Martha, on Friday 5 June
  • “Shared Sky: Short Talks Afternoon – Night Sky Songlines” has Elina Spilia and Ray Norris talking about Gulumbu Yunupingu’s “Crying Stars”, on Saturday 27 June


  • “Tasmania Gems Astro-Tour” with astronomer Dave Reneke as guest lecturer on the P&O cruise ship Dawn Princess cruising around southern Australia, until Sunday 7 June

Western Australia

  • “Meteoritics, clues to the origin of the solar system” by Alex Bevan is the talk at the June meeting of the Royal Society of Western Australia, open to members and guests, on Monday 15 June
  • “Blast from the Past” by Alex Bevan explores the risks and effects of cosmic collisions, such as the meteorite that hit the earth at Tunguska in Siberia on this day in 1908, at Horizon – the Planetarium, Thursday 30 June


For more information about these events visit

If your event isn’t included in this listing please register it at




Helen Sim

Single Point of Contact (SPOC) in Australia for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy


Tel: +61-2-9372-4251

Mob: +61-419-635-905

(This email is sent by Science in Public on behalf of Helen Sim. Full contact details at

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