Macquarie Astronomical Night (20 May 2017)
The Macquarie University Association for Astronomy (AfA) and the Department of Physics & Astronomy hold an annual Astronomy Open Night every year. It’s a great opportunity to promote astronomy to the public and allow people to engage in the teaching and research that goes on at Macquarie University.
This year it was held on Saturday 20th May – a crowd of keen observers were already there by 6.30pm and the large outdoor courtyard was full of many different types of telescopes including Dobsonians, Refractors and Schmidt Cassegrain. A steady stream of visitors attended, all sharing a common interest in the skies and there were queues throughout the night hoping to observe some spectacular celestial objects. It was good to see families attending – introducing a new generation of children to astrology!
Sky-Watcher Australia displayed a 12 inch Dobsonian GOTO telescope which proved very popular, and many people got the chance to observe a very clear Jupiter showing 4 Galilean moons and clouds circling the planet. Aligning the Dobsonian was challenging due to the high percentage of cloud cover but the telescope coped perfectly tracking the planets superbly. The magnification was 1500/7.5 and the extra wide-angle Sky-Watcher 7.5mm eyepiece offered high contrast vision of Jupiter.
At the end of the night several people spotted Saturn rising but unfortunately this was short lived as after a few minutes the clouds rolled over, shrouding it in mist.