Sydney City Skywatchers

Sydney City Skywatchers – a friendly astronomy group for locals
6:30pm till about 8:30pm, first Monday of the month
in Sydney Observatory’s basement Discovery Room

We encourage new members to join, no experience is necessary!
Join the oldest operating astronomical group in Sydney. The group provides an opportunity for those interested in astronomy to share and broaden their interest in the sky. People at all levels are catered for – from beginners to serious amateur astronomers. Whether you want to listen to a lecture or discuss serious observing through a telescope, this is the club for you.

Meetings are held on the first Monday of most months and usually begin with brief reports on solar activity and other astronomical observations made during the month by club members, followed by either a presentation from a guest speaker or telescope viewing followed by a light supper. We provide information below about special presentations. There is a $2 fee for each meeting (to cover the cost of the light supper). Bookings are not required. Meetings conclude around 8:30pm.

Non-members are welcome to attend two meetings before deciding whether to become a member. (We ask only a $2 donation towards the cost of supper.) It is possible to join Sydney City Skywatchers on the evening or take home a membership form. Annual membership is $40 for lots of great benefits ($65 for family membership).

Monday 7 April 2014, 6:30-8:30pm

Radio galaxies: the unseen giants in the skyPresentation and telescope viewing (see below for details)
Radio Galaxies – the unseen giants in the sky
Presentation by Rajan Chhetri

Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are extremely energetic central parts of galaxies, where a region as big as the solar system produces tens of thousands of times more energy than the entire stars in the galaxy combined together. These ‘central engines’ are powered by supermassive black holes, expected to be in the centres of galaxies. The jets originating from the AGNs power massive radio galaxies – known to span large areas in the sky even though unseen in optical wavelengths. In this presentation, I will discuss some of the properties of the AGNs and radio galaxies and also discuss recent discoveries of giant radio galaxy by the new telescopes such as LOFAR.

Rajan Chhetri

Rajan Chhetri

Rajan Chhetri in Nepal in 2013

I was born in Hong Kong and raised in the western foothills of Nepalese Himalaya. My earliest memory of learning astronomy is that of my mother explaining the Earth orbiting the Sun to my older brother. I received a Bachelor of Science (in Physics) from Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu. I received a Graduate Diploma in Physics and then a doctorate in Astrophysics in 2013 from the University of New South Wales. My research, mostly conducted at the Australia Telescope National Facility, concentrated on understanding the high radio frequency properties of the Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) and searching for gravitational lenses in the Southern Hemisphere. I am currently conducting research on multi-wavelength studies of AGNs.

Bonus – telescope viewing!
(weather permitting)
After Rajan’s presentation and short reports by society members about solar activity and other topics, we will then take portable telescopes outside in the grounds of Sydney Observatory to view the night sky (weather permitting). If you have a portable telescope and are unsure on how to use it or would like to demonstrate its use please contact the Sydney Observatory Manager to organise drop-off and parking during the week prior to the meeting. If the weather is poor we will have a discussion and demonstrations of portable telescopes.

This is an opportunity to learn about the joy an affordable telescope with a good eyepiece and of a manageable size can bring or, for the experienced observers, to demonstrate how you use a telescope. Our aim is for more members to be able to give reports about their observations and to share observing skills.

W. J. MacDonnell's observatory in Mosman, c 1907

From left: William John Macdonnell, Mrs Macdonnell, Nathanial Basnett and G. D Hirst in front of Macdonnell’s private observatory in Mosman, c.1907. He was a leading member of the NSW branch of the British Astronomical Association – a forerunner of the Sydney City Skywatchers.