Phil's blog

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy - the Christmas Comet

Lightning and a Lunar Eclipse: 10th December 2011

We just had an eclipse in July, but the next one is not till 2014 so I wanted to make the most of this one. A number of looming deadlines made the weekend away for astrophotography hard to fit in and unlike the eclipse in July (winter!), the weather for this eclipse was definitely not cooperating either. Still, I guess you could say we got lucky and it just about worked out ok.

End of total phase of lunar eclipse

Workshops Feedback

Feedback from Night Sky Photography Workshop Participants


Phil has a great love of the night sky which he shares in the form of infinite patience and a ‘no question is stupid’ approach.
Liz, June 2011

The course was well balanced with a good mix of theory and hands-on practical. Great weekend, great information.
Merri-Lyn, June 2011

Lunar Eclipse from Mt Buffalo: 16th June 2011

Total Lunar Eclipse from Mt Buffalo, 16th June 2011.
Total Lunar Eclipse Composite: Mt Buffalo, 16th June 2011
Takahashi FS-102 and Canon 5DmkII


This is my summary of the lunar eclipse in June 2011, which I enjoyed under clear skies from the sub-zero but beautiful surroundings of the Mt Buffalo plateau in north-east Victoria. Photos and more below!

QHY9 vs Astro40D

Any addicted astrophotographer is always considering new equipment, and also debating the merits of several options. One of the most common questions for beginners is about the difference between digital SLRs and astronomical CCD cameras. I love a good experiment so below is my answer.

Both these images were taken with a Takahashi Epsilon 160 astrograph (530mm f3.3). Total exposure time for both images is 115 minutes (almost two hours). The comparison is between a CentralDS cooling modified and spectrum enhanced Canon 40D and a QHY9 astronomical CCD camera.

Marlay Point Overnight Sailing Race 2011

More photos in the Gallery.

This was the second time I've been in the Marlay Point Overnight Race, sailing through the night from Marlay Point on Lake Wellington in Victoria's Gippsland Lakes to Paynesville.

Airglow and other thoughts on dark sky sites

The sky at night is not black. Dark yes, but certainly not black. I now have enough data from dark sky sites in central and western Victoria and the Ice In Space Astro Camp at Lostock in NSW to offer some comments on what makes the sky bright and how far you have to travel to get a 'dark sky'.


Click for full size

Cloud Forecasts for Australian Astronomers

Cloud Forecast Loop

Clouds wouldn't be so bad for astronomers, if they weren't so hard to forecast. But with new high resolution model output now available from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, things are looking up a little at least. The animation above is not a real satellite picture, but rather a 'synthetic satellite loop' - a forecast of what the weather model thought the clouds would look like over a 48 hour period.

Southern Skies Exhibition at Michaels Camera Store

Michaels Camera Store in Melbourne are hosting an exhibition of astrophotography images taken by members of the Astronomical Society of Victoria.

The exhibition will be on in the upstairs gallery at Michaels Camera Store, corner of Elizabeth and Lonsdale Streets in Melbourne. Opening night is Friday 3rd September from 5:30-7:30pm. The exhibition will then run until Thursday 30th September during store hours, Mon-Thu 9-6pm, Fri 9-9pm, Sat 9-5pm and Sun 11-5pm.

The 'Zero Carbon Australia' Plan

Cross posted from The Oil Drum

I thought I would share the key graphics and information from the synopsis report of the Zero Carbon Australia plan by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE). Note also the launch of the full report in Melbourne on 14th July.

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