Welcome to the live coverage of NACAA Sydney 2016 host by the Sutherland Astronomical Society in Sydney.
The main conference is just about to begin after a day of pre-conference workshops. This NACAA is being held on the 50th anniversary of the formation of NACAA. The organisation was founded by the James Cook Astronomers club in 1966 with the first conference being held in 1967.
So this year is quite a historic occasion, with the NACAA conference returning to its place of origin on Gadigal Land (part of the Eora Nation of the Sydney Basin), what better place for this years conference than the magnificent sandstone foundations of the University of Sydney. Its easy to understand the modern colloquial reference to "Sandstone Universities" when you enter these magnificent grounds.
The pre-Conference yesterday (Friday 25th) consisted of the Symposium of Variable Stars South (VSS) and an afternoon workshop on the Professional Amateur Collaboration in Astronomy (PACA) between the Space Science Institutue led by Dr Padma Yanamandra-Fisher and local Australian Amateur Astronomers.
The variable star symposium featured some brilliant papers and presentations on eclipsing binaries, improving observing techniques, presentations on visual observing, and some eccentric stars requiring further study were highlighted.
The PACA session featured a workshop on the PACA collaborations, their history, starting at Comet ISON through Comets Siding Spring, Lovejoy and more recently the Rosetta/67P campaign.
Padma gave us an update on the Comet 67P ESA Rosetta Mission. I covered off some of the details of the Comet Siding Spring campaign and the involvement of some of our iTelescope.net members. The group had fun assembling a little (not to scale) model of the Rosetta Probe, Philae, and the Comet. (pictured above)
Jakub Cerny joined us from Europe via video and gave us some pointers on the finer points of Cometary photometry and aprho measurement methods, something I needed and need to spend some more time on.
Anthony Wesley and Phil Hart dazzled us with their latest images of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and their plan for collaborations during the 2017-2020 window when the planets will be at their highest elevation for southern observers. 2018 promises to be the best ever imaging window for 200 years for Mars where the disk resolution will be 22 arcsecs.
The day concluded with the welcome event for conference, on the beautiful Sydney University campus.