Noeleen Lowndes is a Gold Coast-based astronomer and Campaign Member for NASA’s Saturn Observation Campaign in Australia. This is her fifth year as a special guest presenter at Kingfisher Bay Resort – where she introduces recreational astronomers to the clear night skies above Fraser Island.
This year we talked all things LUNAR in celebration of International Observe The Moon Night (InOTMN) – it was great to see you back Noeleen – we’re loving your pics! September 2012.
My visit to beautiful Kingfisher Bay Resort and Fraser Island this year was in celebration of ‘International Observe the Moon Night’ with the theme ‘Under the Same Moon’. This meant that for 24 hours on Saturday, September 22, people from all over the world including us here on Fraser Island went outside to look at our Moon in the night sky…how exciting is that!!!
On the first evening, when I was setting up my telescope just a short stone’s throw from the resort, I could hear lots of laughter and chit chat coming from children walking down the boardwalk, when all of a sudden I heard… “Wow’…look at that, it’s a telescope!”
Ranger Amelia was taking the Junior Eco Rangers on an adventure tour around the Wallum area (in front of the Resort’s Centre Complex) and I could not let the chance go by without offering them all a look at the Moon through my telescope.
It was brilliant to see how excited they all were to see the Moon for the very first time!
You can check out the full album on our Facebook page.
At my presentation to resort guests, a little later that evening, I gave a talk on how everybody can easily learn about the night sky using starcharts, binoculars and telescopes. I also explained all about the workings of the Solar System to better understand the phases of our Moon and movements of the planets and constellations in the night sky.
DO YOU WANT TO LEARN more about our amazing Moon? Visit the InOMN web site and check out the movie ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ – it is just stunning!
Then it was off to look at the real Moon in the telescope and to point out some of the constellations in the night sky.
Kingfisher Bay’s Ranger Nick joined us after doing a bush walk with his guests and everyone enjoyed viewing all the magnificent craters, lunar seas and mountains through the telescope. My husband Graham took a group photo of us all pointing at the Moon in celebration of the lunar event.
On Sunday evening, I gave another presentation on the many beautiful stellar objects that you can view in the night sky and showed many of my deep sky images taken from my ‘Stardust Observatory’ at Leyburn. I also gave an update on the many NASA space missions that are currently exploring the planets in our Solar System, especially the new Curiosity Rover mission to Mars and the Cassini mission to Saturn.
You can find out all about these incredible missions at: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov
After the talk we all went outside and had a wonderful time looking at the Moon through the telescope, where we saw some incredible features all along the terminator line of the eight-day-old Moon.
The sky was just perfect (as Fraser Island’s sky often is) and the Moon’s surface was so clear it was like we were in our own spacecraft looking down upon the surface. In fact, that is the beauty of using a telescope – you can change the eyepieces and use higher magnification to view all the features on the lunar surface.
Kingfisher’s Ranger Jermaine showed us his excellent astronomy app of the night sky and I also held up my Apple iPad to show the beautiful constellations in the night sky. These applications are another fun way for armchair astronomers to learn the night sky and many of them are free to download from iTunes.
Thank you to all the guests and Rangers for making ‘International Observe the Moon Night’ 2012 such a wonderful event and I wish everybody happy Moon and Stargazing until I see you all again.
NASA’s Saturn Observation Campaign Member – Australia