Joe Mather is over the moon that University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Fraser Coast is joining with the Hervey Bay Astronomical Society to host a solar eclipse viewing from USQ’s “grassy knoll” in the early hours of November 14.
“Thanks to USQ Fraser Coast on Old Maryborough Road, Hervey Bay, we can all share the experience at close quarters, through telescopes equipped to watch the sun in safety,” the Hervey Bay Astronomical Society president said.
The group will set up four or five telescopes on USQ’s grassy knoll, with one relaying video to a website, to watch as the moon slowly obscures over 82 per cent of the sun.
“It’s a spectacular experience to observe and will be the last solar eclipse to be seen from Hervey Bay that will obscure such a large area of the sun until 2028,” Mr Mather said.
“Our members will be there to operate a Newtonians, a Refractor and a Maksutov telescope, explain what is happening, answer questions, and advise how to spot prominences and get the best from the view of a solar eclipse through an astronomical telescope.”
Mr Mather warned people should not attempt to watch the solar eclipse without wearing spectacles designed for that purpose.
“Wherever you may be during the eclipse, do not stare at the sun unless wearing spectacles designed for that purpose. Under no circumstance assume sunglasses, old x-ray film, photographic negatives, or any other similar material will protect your eyes from serious and irrevocable damage if you stare at the sun. They won’t. In fact, never look at the sun for anything more than just a brief glance”
Solar Eclipse Shades will be available for purchase at $3.95 each on the day by anyone attending the public viewing.
Mr Mather said several community centres throughout Hervey Bay would also have similar outside areas to support the November 2012 solar eclipse.
: November 14; eclipse starts 5.40am; maximum obscurity 6.50am; moon leaves the sun 7:50am.
: Grassy Knoll, USQ Fraser Coast, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay.
: Free, but gold coin donations to cover costs are most welcome
For more information log into www.hbastro.net, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0419 461 532.
Hervey Bay Astronomical Society
From a casual group of observing enthusiast in 2008 to incorporation as the Hervey Bay Astronomical Society Incorporated in January 2010, the group has retained deep interests in the cosmos, night sky observing, the science of astronomy, and astro-photography.
Hervey Bay Astronomical Society holds one dark sky observing session and one education night each month, as well as special public events such as the November Solar Eclipse Viewing at USQ Fraser Coast.
Group membership varies from beginners to advanced astronomers but all have the same passion for astronomy and teaching others about the wonders in the day and night skies.
Interested people are welcome to attend a meeting to assess if it is something from which they could enjoy and learn information they can pass on to others.
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