SkyArt - Vistas of the Night Sky

Date: Wednesday, 4 June, 2014

Time: 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Venue: Kerr Grant Theatre

Location: Level 2 Physics Building, University of Adelaide, North Tce Adelaide

Presented by Russell Cockman, Astronomical Society of Victoria

A selection of images taken with film and, more recently, CCD cameras are presented to highlight the beauty and colours of the heavens. Subjects include phenomena such as aurorae, solar system conjunctions, and deep sky objects, nebulae, Milky Way star fields and galaxies. Equipment and techniques used to photograph these subjects are described.

Russell, an Aussie by birth, has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Melbourne and took the opportunity to travel to the UK where he progressed from University researcher to a 17 year career as an Industrial Chemist with BP Chemicals in Scotland. He returned to Australia, after 20 years away, in 2004. He worked as a manufacturing chemist for a while and is currently enjoying lecturing to 1st and 2nd year chemistry students at RMIT University. Whilst in Scotland Russell enjoyed learning about new constellations and the view of the sky from a very northern perspective. His interest in astrophotography lay largely dormant until March 1996 when he saw a story on the BBC news about a bright new comet in the sky, Comet Hyakutake, which put on a splendid show for a couple of weeks. His “film camera on a tripod set-up” proved to be barely adequate and so the journey began to acquire equipment that would track the sky for 5-10mins with camera and lens on-board. This worked well for Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997, for the Leonid meteor storm over the Sinai Desert in November 1999 and for general wide field views of the sky from dark sky sites. He saw his first Scottish aurora over Dundee in 1998 and so began an almost obsessive passion to photograph astronomical phenomena of all kinds. He has observed several aurora displays from Melbourne since 2004.

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