This Friday we will have our regular “Learning Friday”. The presentation will be one which was previously scheduled but had to be postponed due to a Total Fire Ban closing the Observatory.

Dr James Murray, Astrophysicist and our Outreach Officer will present on “From Variable Stars to Aboriginal Astronomy“:

I was once a professional astronomer more interested in the maths of the problem than looking through a telescope. But now through MBO I am slowly learning the night sky and have been asking myself a few questions.

How did astronomers measure the brightness of stars (particularly variable ones) before they had CCDs and photomultiplier tubes? Can we learn these techniques? Can we do our own photometry?

On the darkest of nights the stars form clear patterns i the sky that change with the season. Many of the children that visited MBO have identified constellations or named new ones. But how did the local aboriginals see the heavens? Is there a story about the seven sisters of the Pleiades like in Western mythology or are there completely new ways of remembering constellations?

In this talk I will describe how I am answering these questions and hope to make exciting progress over 2014 with the Outreach crew and MBO young observers.

Following the presentation, there will be a light supper and viewing through the MBO telescopes.If you have a telescope and would like to know how to use it, or alternatively, would like to show it off to us, please bring it along.