Saturday 7th September and it’s the Annual Macquarie University Astronomy Open Night. Bintel has been supporting these nights since they were started by Dr Alan Vaughan back in the mid 80s. This year was the first time for Bintel team members David Caradonna, Jack Gow and Braeden Borg and the 30th for Bintel technicians Mick McCullagh and Don Whiteman. Whilst Mick manned his 10” f/5 Dobsonian out in the telescope field, the others set up a display in the main hall amongst the exhibitors for this year.
Once it started there was a influx of nearly 1600 people who came to listen to the many talks that were being given non stop in the theatres, asking questions of the many exhibitors and astronomical societies that had stands, while over at the Bintel stand we had kids trying to complete a 250 piece Jigsaw of The Great Orion Nebulae and Running Man Nebulae. Whilst a SkyWatcher ED 80 scope on a HEQ5 Pro mount with a ZWO ASI290MC Camera shot images of a strategically place photograph of the Gourd Nebula and then Saturn from the inside the exhibition hall.
Congratulations to the young boy that helped to complete the jigsaw and won an astronomy jigsaw to do at home. The boys got to go out and look through some of the over 30 telescopes that were in the telescope field. Large queues were at every telescope as members of the public got the opportunity to gaze at Jupiter and its 4 moons, the magnificent Rings of Saturn or the hundreds of craters on the Moon in great detail as well as bright open clusters and nebulae of the Milky Way.
A really cool laser show was put on by the School of Physics which lit up the night sky. David struck a great pose next to Micks Dobsonian just as a photographer happened by. All in all it was a great night, totally clear for the most part, a little windy and not too cold for the crowd that come to see the night sky in all its beauty, even from an urban location.
Photos by Joanne Stephan of Macquarie Uni and Don Whiteman of Bintel