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PhilCo126
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Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Uppsala schmidt telescope - Australia
      #5768127 - 03/31/13 06:08 AM

During a week long visit to the Siding Spring Observatory in New South Wales Australia, I had the privilege to meet Scottish-Australian astronomer/comet-hunter Robert McNaught. Moreover I could see him at work at the upgraded 0.50 m Uppsala Schmidt reflector after observations during the night of 18th March. Rob McNaught checked out C 2013 E2, a comet discovered by Japanese astronomer Masayuki Iwamoto, as it passed near perihelion at 1.4 AU in the constellation Aquarius (Water bearer). That morning, he also reported a newly discovered Near Earth Asteroid to the Minor Planet Center in Massachusetts USA. He elaborated on the use of the Astrometrica software/shareware developed by Austrian computer engineer/astronomer Herbert Raab. We discussed his observation of the close Earth flyby of asteroid 2012 DA14 and the probability of comet C 2013 A1 hitting the planet Mars in October 2014. Robert explained that the asymmetrical shape of a comet makes it very difficult to precisely determine its orbital trajectory but the most recent observations pointed out it will fly past the red planet at a very safe distance. C 2013 A1 will be a Southern hemisphere object at 7th magnitude and will fade to 10th magnitude when it enters the Northern hemisphere in January 2015.
In March, Rob McNaught also found C 2013 E1, a 19th magnitude comet which will reach perihelion at 7.6 AU in October 2013. These latest discoveries brought his total number of comet discoveries to 75...

See:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72473941@N03/8600593315/in/photostream



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obin robinson
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/25/12

Loc: League City, TX
Re: Uppsala schmidt telescope - Australia new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5786179 - 04/08/13 02:43 PM

Phil,

Thanks for sharing such cool photos! I have a question about this one:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/72473941@N03/8601469428/in/photostream

Was anything recovered from that telescope or was it a total 100% loss?

I have never been in a large observatory like what you've been in. What's it like in there during the middle of the night? Noisy? Quiet? What do you hear? I have to make a point to visit a large observatory some day. Thanks again for showing us that link!

obin


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Lucullus
member


Reged: 02/14/12

Re: Uppsala schmidt telescope - Australia new [Re: obin robinson]
      #5789649 - 04/10/13 06:31 AM

Hi there

Thanks for your picture Obin. Now I've seen and read about fire-threaded observatories in Australia the third time - the second time was only weeks ago.
Now my question, can there be a safety area cleared around observatories in order to prevent such consequences in case of a fire and what would be a reasonable clearance radius in depentence of the observatory radius?

Thanks
Lucas


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PhilCo126
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: Uppsala schmidt telescope - Australia new [Re: Lucullus]
      #5873751 - 05/20/13 01:19 PM

@Lucas
Problem with the bushfires is the wind, carrying burning debris all over the observatory. Luckily the domes at Siding Spring Observatory are well spaced apart, but smaller equipment such as weather stations, all sky cameras burned down. Mount Stromlo's workshop burned down in 1952 and the complete observatory was destroyed in the January 2003 bushfires...

@Obin
Standing between the domes at any major observatory is an amazing feeling, even with a full Moon (mostly the time of the month non-professional astronomers can be up at an observatory). Sometimes You hear animals, an owl flying over or as I heard in Australia the creepie noise of a burned tree falling down in the far distance...
So far I have visited 88 observatories in about 30 countries... My Flickr page gives an idea and there're some night shots as well


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PhilCo126
Post Laureate


Reged: 01/14/05

Loc: coastline of Belgium
Re: Uppsala schmidt telescope - Australia new [Re: PhilCo126]
      #5989737 - 07/25/13 02:56 PM

I really hope Robert McNaught received the funds to continue his research at the Siding Spring Observatory !
http://media.smh.com.au/news/national-times/comet-man-could-lose-his-job-3444...



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