RASNZProgramme2011 by shuifanglj

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									          RASNZ Conference Programme 2011

Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand


                      2011 Conference
         Hosted by Hawkes Bay Astronomical Society




  The RASNZ and Hawkes Bay Astronomical Society gratefully
  acknowledges assistance from the following organisations




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                    RASNZ Conference Programme 2011
                                    Friday 27th May
1:00 pm – 4:00 pm RASNZ Council meeting
4:30 pm – 5:30 pm Affiliated Societies meeting


Session 1: 7:30pm – 9:00pm Chairperson: Glen Rowe
      Opening and Welcome by RASNZ and HBAS Presidents (10 min)
      John Cocking aka „Bertie‟, Napier‟s Art Deco Ambassador (10 min)
      Don McLaren : The Pukerangi Observatory Project (20 min)
      Graham Blow: Reflections of an Astronomer (40 min)


9:00pm – late: Refreshments and Socialising
                                         ******
               th
Saturday 28 May
Session 2: 9:00 am – 10:40am Chairperson: Jennie McCormick
      Gordon Hudson: Peter Read, the People‟s Astronomer (20 min)
      John Drummond: An Overview of astrophotography in New Zealand (20 min)
      Michael Miller: Modelling of White Dwarf Stars (20 min)
      Paul Chote: High precision CCD time-series photometry (20 min)
      Tom Richards: The Pro-Am SPADES Project: Search for Planets Around Detached
       Eclipsing Star (20 min)

10:40am – 11:10am Morning Tea

Session 3: 11:10 am – 12:45 pm Chairperson: Tom Richards
    Melanie Johnston-Hollitt et al: Galaxy Clusters - An overview of research in New
     Zealand (30 min)
    Jacquie Milner: A visit to four impact structures in Western Australia (20 min)
    Fred Watson: An Alien Like You..! Life on other Worlds? (40 min)

12:45 pm Conference Photo
1:00 pm – 2:00pm Lunch

Session 4: 2:00 pm – 3:50 pm Chairperson: Alan Gilmore
    Siamak Dehghan and Melanie Johnson-Hollitt: Understanding Tailed Radio Galaxies (20
     min)
    Grant Christie: How microlensing is changing our ideas about planet formation (20 min)
    Clare Plug: Sir Ian Axford, New Zealander of the Year, 1995 (20 min)
    David Malin: The Discovery of the Southern Cross (40 min)


3:50 pm – 4:30 pm Afternoon Tea


4:30 pm – 5:30 pm RASNZ AGM


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                 RASNZ Conference Programme 2011
7:30 pm Conference Dinner - ‘Your Favourite Sci-Fi Character’
    Some Presentations and Awards will be announced during the evening.
    Karen Pollard : Townsend Observatory (10 min)
    Fred Watson: Poles Apart? Extremes of Art and Science

Sunday 29th May
Session 5: 9:00 am – 10:45 am Chairperson: Grant Christie
    Haritina Mogosanu: My trip to the Mars desert research station (20 min)
    Gary Sparks: Thinking outside the envelope (20 min)
    Ed Budding and Ian Gallagher: BONZER: Backyard Observatories in New Zealand for
     Educational Radioastronomy (20 min)
    Warwick Kissling: Can we find pulsars in close binary orbits? (20 min)
    Dave Herald: Combining asteroid occultation observations with photoelectric light curve
     inversions (20 min)

10:45 am – 11:15 am Morning Tea

Session 6: 11:15 am – 12:45 am Chairperson: Warwick Kissling
      Luke Pratley at al: The dynamics of the head-tail galaxy PKS J0334-39 (20 min)
      Geoff Grimwood et al: Quickly, turn up the Radio ! (20 min)
      Denis Sullivan: Gravitational Lensing: The Inside Story (20 min)
      Haritina Mogosanu, Deborah Hambly: Governing what we see (30 min)


12:45 pm – 1:45 pm Lunch

Session 7: 1:45 pm – 3:15 pm Chairperson: Orlon Petterson
      Karen Pollard: The Music of the Stars (30 min)
      Pauline Harris: Some recent results from modelling microlensing events (20 min)
      John Field: Carter Observatory in 2011: The New Look Carter (20 min)
      Presentation on 2012 RASNZ Conference from Phoenix Astronomical Society (10 min)
      Conference Closing (10 min)

Public talk 4:00pm
    Fred Watson: Timewarp

RASNZ Council meeting

Poster Papers
   John Drummond: Wall display of competition photos
   Ed Budding, Roger Butland: Observations and analysis of the system R Canis Majoris
   Col Bembrick: Southern Eclipsing Binaries – modelling with Binary Maker 3
   Bob Evans: Solar Observing
   Maurice Collins: New Light on Old Basins




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                    RASNZ Conference Programme 2011

Abstracts for Papers.
Don McLaren: " The Pukerangi Observatory Project"
The Hawkes Bay Astronomical Society is building an observatory at a dark sky site near Napier.
Don will outline the progress to date.


Graham Blow, fellows speaker. "Reflections of an Astronomer"
In this talk I will reflect on my life in Astronomy, with particular reference to the nurturing
environment provided for students in the Auckland Astronomical Society, the formation of the
National Committee for Student Astronomy and its impact on the wider New Zealand
astronomical scene, the formation of the RASNZ Occultation Section, and the 17 years I spent at
the Carter Observatory.


Gordon Hudson: "Peter Read the People's Astronomer"
This presentation will show much about the late Peter Read featuring his two sons who will be
shown on screen and much about Peter's past along with many photos and some of his
achievements such as: an Artist; an Actor; TV Front Man; an Educator; an Entertainer and an
Astronomer. His telescopes will also feature.


John Drummond: "An Overview of Astrophotography in New Zealand"
New Zealand has witnessed a surge of interest in astrophotography. This presentation looks at the
current astroimaging scene around NZ and touches on the past.


Michael Miller: "Modelling of white dwarf stars "
This presentation will provide a simple overview of the methods used to construct realistic
models of white dwarf stars. The nuclear fusion reactions that power most visible stars have
ceased in a white dwarf, and it is the stellar equivalent of a hot ember that slowly cools. It is
instructive to commence with the simplest possible models and add complexity as needed. Quite
realistic models that describe the internal density and pressure profiles can be constructed by
ignoring the thermal processes. Including the energy flows in the models complicates things
greatly and the presentation will point to the way these are dealt with.


Paul Chote: " High precision CCD time-series photometry "
In order to accurately and efficiently capture the brightness variations of the rapidly pulsating
white dwarf stars, a photometer needs to operate with exposure cycle times in the 10 to 20
second range. The VUW CCD photometer (puoko-nui) optimally meets these goals by using a
shutter-less frame transfer CCD system, which eliminates deadtimes arising from frame
readouts, and a GPS-controlled clock system to accurately trigger exposure start times. This talk
will describe recent progress, as part of a PhD programme, in improving both the acquistion
software and the online reduction software for extracting lightcurves. Lightcurve data for a
pulsating white dwarf star obtained recently at Mt John will also be presented.




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                    RASNZ Conference Programme 2011
Tom Richards: “The Pro-Am SPADES Project: Search for Planets Around Detached Eclipsing Stars”
Secular variations in binary star eclipse timings provide a sensitive and largely untried method
for discovering exoplanets – in this case orbiting outside the binary pair. The presentation
describes the science case for mounting a methodical search, and the search project recently
launched as a collaboration between Variable Stars South and the Australian Astronomical
Observatory. This project can be joined by any amateur or professional astronomer with
appropriate (and common) equipment.


Melanie Johnston-Hollitt, Siamak Dehgahn, Geoff Grimwood, Luke Pratley & Sara Shakouri: "Galaxy
           Clusters – an overview of research conducted in NZ"
Galaxy clusters are the largest bound structures in the universe and typically contain hundreds to
thousands of galaxies embedded in a hot plasma. Clusters are a rich laboratory for studying the
evolution of galaxies and a powerful tool for testing cosmology. We will present an overview on
the observational properties of galaxy clusters, exhibiting the rich variety of objects we find
within them. In particular we will present new results from multi-wavelength analysis of radio,
optical & X-ray data conducted within New Zealand.

Jacquie Milner: "A Visit to Four Impact Structures in Western Australia"
The ancient and heavily eroded landscape of Western Australia offers an opportunity to see some
of the major features of meteorite impact sites. In September 2004 a small group of members
from the Perth Observatory Volunteer Group and the Geological Society of WA toured around
four impact structures in central Western Australia: The Yarrabubba Impact Structure, revealing
the deep effects of a strike; the renamed Shoemaker Impact Structure (formerly known as the
Teague Ring) displaying some of the surface features of a complex crater; the well-known
Dalgaranga Crater, a good example of the simple crater; and the Yallallie Impact Structure,
formed in an unusual setting. Together these structures provide an overview of impact structure
geology, both above and below ground.


Fred Watson: "An Alien Like You..! Life on other Worlds?"
Despite all the astonishing things we've discovered about the Universe in recent years, we still
have no firm evidence of living organisms anywhere other than here on Earth. But new
knowledge about the way life permeates every corner of our planet is fuelling optimism that life
will soon be discovered elsewhere in space. In this entertaining and provocative talk, Fred
Watson looks at the search for alien life in the Solar System and beyond, and asks 'where (and
what) are they?'


Siamak Dehghan and Melanie Johnston-Hollitt: "Understanding Tailed Radio Galaxies"
Bent-Tail radio galaxy describes a Fanaroff and Riley Class I (FRI) radio source that appears to
be bent by ram pressure as it moves through a galaxy cluster. These sources range from double
lobed radio sources in which the lobes are not aligned with the galaxy nucleus (Wide-Angle-Tail)
to sources in which all the radio emission lies in a tail on one side of the galaxy, and the galaxy
itself forms the head of the tail (Narrow-Angle-Tail or Head-Tail galaxies). The accepted
explanation of head-tail radio galaxies is that they are conventional radio galaxies moving at a
high velocity through a static intracluster gas. In our present work, we implemented a simple
mechanical model on a recently found Wide-Angle-Tail galaxy in Horologium-Reticulum
Supercluster, to understand that how complex movement of the galaxy in the windy environment
could form the morphology of the Head-Tail galaxy.
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                    RASNZ Conference Programme 2011

Grant Christie: "How microlensing is changing our ideas of planet formation."
Microlensing can estimate the frequency of planets orbiting stars near the “snowline”. This paper
will review how these discoveries are changing our understanding of planet formation. Amateur
telescopes (<0.5m) are making a significant contribution to this field.


Clare Plug: "Sir Ian Axford, New Zealander of the Year 1995"
Clare will talk about Sir Ian Axford, a local boy who went on to become a world class
astrophysicist.


David Malin: "The Discovery of the Southern Cross"
The stars of the Southern Cross have been known to the indigenous peoples of the Southern
Hemisphere since it was first inhabited, tens of thousands of years ago. Europeans had hints of
the existence of the constellation 800 years ago, but the first sketch and description of the stars
did not appear until about 1516. I will outline this history and then talk in more detail about this
especially beautiful part of the sky and the interesting and unusual stars that are found there.


Karen Pollard: "Townsend Observatory"
Abstract not available.


Fred Watson: "Poles Apart? Extremes of Art and Science"
The environment near the Earth's poles is very different from most of the rest of our planet, and
some intriguing physical processes make these regions particularly remarkable. Our planet is not
alone in this, and polar regions throughout the Solar System are special and unusual places.
Taking inspiration from the world of the arts, Fred Watson takes you on a colourful top-to-
bottom journey through some of the Solar System's polar jewels.


Haritina Mogosanu: "My trip to the Mars Desert Research Station"
My trip to the Mars Desert Research Station analogue facility in the USA in January 2011 as
crew member of RoMars2011 sponsored by the Romanian Space Agency.


End of January 2011 I would have participated in the RoMars 2011 expedition in Utah, USA,
under the auspices of Mars Society and the Romanian Space Agency. The object of my research
would be the biosecurity of Mars ecopoiesis; I would do astronomical observations at the Musk
Observatory as one of the two astronomers of the crew and be the agricultural engineer of it. This
would be the first time when a Romanian/Kiwi would participate in a Mars simulation in
anticipation for the first New Zealand expedition – Kiwi Mars that I intend to organise next year
in 2012.


Gary Sparks: "Thinking Outside the Envelope"
Not everyone spends their astronomical disposable (or not) income on equipment. Gary will
show you how other aspects of astronomy can be just as interesting and indeed just as addictive.

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                     RASNZ Conference Programme 2011
Ed Budding: "BONZER: Backyard Observatories in New Zealand for Educational Radioastronomy"
W. Lonc's book “Radioastronomy Projects” reviewed a number of low-budget goals for direct
individual participation in observational radioastronomy. The (NASA-sponsored) Jove Project
and Moonbounce efforts represent other comparable engagements. We concentrate in this
presentation, however, on the two-element interferometers of Wayne Thresher (Pohangina
Valley) and Ian Gallagher (Emerald Hill), describing the equipment and showing some data. We
also briefly explain how such observations can be analysed to allow source flux mapping,
providing some typical results and discussion. The talk will also include a few words to
background the activities of the New Zealand Radioscience Group (NZRG).


Warwick Kissling: "Can we find pulsars in close binary orbits?"
One of the major problems in modern pulsar astronomy is that current search techniques cannot
identify pulsars in very close binary systems. Because the orbital speeds are very high in these
systems the pulse frequency is Doppler-shifted in a complicated way and traditional search
techniques no longer work. In this talk I will describe the astrophysical motivation for finding
close binary pulsars, and describe progress toward a method which might be able to detect such
objects in existing pulsar survey data.


Dave Herald: "Combining asteroid occultation observations with photoelectric light curve inversions"
In recent years photometrists have developed techniques to model the shape of an asteroid from
its rotational light curve. Recently results of asteroidal occultations have been combined with
these shape models. This paper will provide an overview of the results obtained.


Luke Pratley, Melanie Johnston-Hollitt and Geoff Grimwood: "The dynamics of the Head-tail galaxy PKS
           J0334-39"
We present detailed radio images for the Head-tail galaxy PKS J0334-39 at various frequencies.
Head-tailed galaxies are radio galaxies where the jets are believed to be bent due to intra-cluster
weather. The radio images were combined with optical and X-ray images of the cluster in which
the galaxy resides. Using this information we investigated the structure of the Head-tail galaxy
and how it might be interacting with the intra-cluster medium. We find the morphology of the
galaxy is not directly due to intra-cluster medium but might be from the motion of its orbit.


Geoff Grimwood, Melanie Johnston-Hollitt: "Quickly! Turn up the radio!"
We present analysis of the radio sources at 1.4GHz in the central region of the Horologium-
Reticulum Supercluster and in particular the galaxy clusters Abell 3125 and 3128. We investigate
the statistical character of the source count density, the flux density distribution and the radio
luminosity function and discuss what these indicate about the nature of the clusters‟ dynamics
and the merger process.


Denis J Sullivan: "Gravitational microlensing: the inside story"
The technique of gravitational microlensing has been employed to discover more than a dozen
extrasolar planets to date. Although this number of exoplanets is dwarfed by the other techniques
used (primarily radial velocity and transit measurements), microlensing is not limited to the
relatively bright nearby stars. Evidence of a planet is extracted from a microlensing lightcurve
via sophisticated modelling techniques. At VUW we have recently completed new modelling

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                    RASNZ Conference Programme 2011
software and this talk will aim to give an overview of the modelling process, along with some
physical insights into the gravitational microlensing phenomenon itself.


Haritina Mogosanu, Deborah Hambly: "Governing what we see"
The Government at all levels in New Zealand can influence how we see the night sky. This talk
gives an overview of how to win over the decision makers in Government. Also included is a
review of the DarkSkies Group over 2010 and how it might function into the future.


Karen Pollard: "The Music of the Stars"
Understanding the structure of stars can be advanced by studying the surface vibrations of
certain types of pulsating stars. The way in which seismic waves propagate through a star's
interior depends on its internal structure. In much the same way that seismologists on the earth
deduce the structure of our planet, astronomers can learn about the stellar interior by a detailed
comparison between observations and complex theoretical models. At the Mt John University
Observatory we detect the surface motions of certain stars using the HERCULES spectrograph.
We monitor the way in which the spectral lines shift and change shape in a periodic manner and
interpret these line profile changes in terms of the different modes of vibration. The different
stars have different modes of vibration and hence different musical “voices” depending of their
particular internal structure.


Pauline Harris: "Some recent results from modelling microlensing events"
Modelling of a microlensing light curve that contains evidence of an extrasolar planet is a
process that requires a significant amount of computing. Basically the technique is trial and error.
A large number of model light curves with different parameters are generated and each of them
in turn is compared with the measured light curve in a search for the best fit (usually using the
chi squared statistic). The model light curves can only be generated numerically. Use of parallel
computing techniques speed up the search in direct proportion to the number of computing
nodes. This talk will survey how we are tackling the modelling at VUW, along with presenting a
number of the results.


John Field: "Carter Observatory in 2011: The new look Carter"
Carter Observatory reopened in 2010 following a major redevelopment. This presentation will
give a look at the building design, exhibits, current roles and structure along with future
development.


Abstracts for Poster Papers.
Col Bembrick: "Southern Eclipsing Binaries – modelling with Binary Maker 3"
Eclipsing binary modelling by amateur astronomers is now a reality with software such as
Binary Maker 3 readily available. There are many southern eclipsing binaries that remain poorly
studied. A number of preliminary models are presented here, including W UMa systems and
detached (Algol-like) systems. These models remain unconstrained until reliable spectral data
become available, but are a guide to further observational work and modelling efforts.



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                   RASNZ Conference Programme 2011
Ed Budding, Roger Butland: "Observations and analysis of the system R Canis Majoris"
New high-resolution spectroscopy of the Algol type binary R CMa is presented and reduced,
paving the way for a re-analysis of this 'puzzling' close pair.


Maurice Collins: "New Light on Old Basins"
New techniques and data accessible by amateur researchers can reveal new information about
lunar impact basins. In this poster we use the latest spacecraft data and freely available software
that reveal previously hidden details about the lunar basins and present some new ideas on how
they may have been formed.


John Drummond: "Wall display of competition photos"
A wall display showing the entries for the 2011 RASNZ Astroimaging Contest


Bob Evans: "Solar Observing"
The RASNZ Aurora & Solar Section‟s solar observing programme covers several aspects of
varying complexity. These are illustrated. More solar observers for the section are invited.




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