|Posted by Trevor Barry on February 3, 2010 at 3:52 AM|
Greetings to all that visit my new Quarks Astronomy site.
I live in the far west of NSW Australia in the mining town of Broken Hill.
I worked on the mines for 34 years and have an obsession with astronomy. I have built several telescopes & mounts and also designed and built my own observatory. I enjoy observational astronomy, deep sky imaging and of late have specialized in planetary imaging.
Currently I have a 16” F 4.5 Newtonian Reflector mounted on a German Equatorial Mount that I designed & built. I have also highly modified my scope.
After finishing work on the mines I successfully completed a Graduate Certificate of Science in Astronomy with Swinburne University in Melbourne graduating with straight High Distinctions. Later my faculty also presented me with its Award for Excellence as the top graduating student in my degree program for 2004.
In January 2008 I serendipitously imaged a white spot on Saturn, following communications with Dan Green at CBAT ( Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) I was contacted by Cassini RPWS ( Radio & Plasma Wave Science) team researcher Dr Georg Fischer from the University of Iowa. Georg was aware of the storm, his RPWS instrument onboard the Cassini space craft recorded out bursts of lightning known as SED’s (Saturn Electrostatic Discharge) as radio data. This only gave a rough indication of the position of the SED’s, there were imaging cameras on Cassini but due to its orbit and other priorities, could not image the storm on a day to day basis. Georg invited me to join the small band of amateurs supplying him with image data that he used to accurately establish the position of the storm which was vital for his scientific analysis of the dynamics behind the formation of the SED’s.
I supplied data from January through to July 2008 when I lost Saturn below my local horizon.
In April 2008 CICLOPS (Cassini Imaging Central Laboratory for Operations) put out a media release announcing the existence of the longest lived storm ever recorded at Saturn, also acknowledging the vital contribution of the amateurs that contributed data, naming Marc Delcriox from France, Ralf Vandebergh from the Netherland, Chris Go from the Philippines and Trevor Barry from Australia.
Following this I received an inordinate amount of publicity Nationally and Internationally with NASA TV, ABC TV News, The Ten Network TV News, ABC TV Catalyst Special, ABC radio, BBC radio and Radio New Zealand plus The Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Herald Sun, Melbourne Age and The Australian.
Following the feature story in The Age Professor Duncan Forbes, one of my old unit instructors contacted me and offered me the opportunity to become part of a group he was taking on an observing run with the Keck telescopes in Hawaii. (see my blog, From Broken Hill to the Keck’s).
I continue to supply storm data on Saturn to Dr Georg Fischer, now at The Austrian Academy of Sciences.
I supply Jupiter images to JUPOS, the Jupiter section of The British Astronomical Association and ALPO Jupiter.
I supply Mars images to the Mars section of The British Astronomical Association and ALPO Mars.
I have also provided Mars data to Dr Tim Livengood at the Goddard Spaceflight Centre as part of the EPOXI mission that plans to use the Deep Impact space craft to search for extra solar planets.
I have run astronomy classes at our local community college and spoken at various local service clubs on astronomy. I have contact with the local schools and have run astronomy sessions for MLC ( Methodist Ladies College) from Burwood in Sydney on their annual excursions to Broken Hill. In conjunction with the IYA I was invited to give an astronomy presentation at the Bendigo Science & Discover Centre which was very well received and very satisfying for me.
Several years ago I was most fortunate to be asked to put on an astronomers breakfast at my observatory for a visiting group of astronomers that had come to Broken Hill for Science Week. This group included Dr Fred Watson (now Professor Fred) & Dr David Malin from the Anglo Australia Observatory, Dr Michael Burton from the UNSW, Tim Kennedy from the Australia Telescope and Melissa Hulbert from Sydney Observatory. This was my first introduction to the exceptional skills of Fred & David as astro communicators. This really left a lasting impression on me. Years later when I was doing my degree they were most supportive. Initially I had severe doubts as to how I could possibly communicate with the other students, my course was post graduate and I had only been accepted based on, at that stage about 15 years experience as an amateur. Swinburne had added the proviso that I had to attain a minimum of credit passes to maintain my enrolment. The encouragement offered by Fred and David really made me determined to succeed.
My goal is to raise the profile of astronomy at the community level and to continue to make a contribution to the science of astronomy via Pro / Am collaborations.