Tag Archives: Australia

Myki: How to Make the Most of the New 2 Hour Fare

Myki’s 2-hour fare will now last exactly two hours. Yes, for the out-of-towners, a 2 hour ticket used to last you up to 2 hours and 59 minutes. As of Sunday 10 August 2014, a 2 hour ticket will now last exactly 2 hours.

A Typical Myki card

A Typical Myki card

At first glance you would be forgiven for thinking the PTV have come to their senses and removed some absurdity from the system. But from now we will actually have less value for money and possibly more confusion, stress, revenue collection and possibly more inadvertent fare evasion. Continue reading

Songs That Grabbed Me – 5 Seconds of Summer, She Looks So Perfect

Typically in this series I’ve talked about songs that have stuck with me over the years for various reasons. Today will be a little different. It’s a very recent song and it’s by my daughter’s favourite band. Yes, it’s a teeny bopper song. There. I said it. 44 year old dude likes a teeny bopper song. Continue reading

Songs That Grabbed Me – Hunters & Collectors, Throw Your Arms Around Me

I’ve loved this song since the day I first heard it. The beautiful haunting lyrics written by Hunters & Collectors lead singer Mark Seymour in the mid-1980’s Human Frailty album, apparently are about a one night stand. Hmm. I completely missed that when I was 15. Continue reading

Songs That Grabbed Me – Yothu Yindi, Treaty

Yunupingu died earlier today.

The lead singer of Australian band Yothu Yindi was 56 and was suffering from kidney failure. Far too young.

He is best known for the song Treaty which was written by Yothu Yindi and Paul Kelly and Midnight Oil front man Peter Garret, around the time the then prime minister Bob Hawke promised to form a treaty between the Indigenous Australians and the Australian government by 1990. And then failed to do so. Treaty was originally intended to raise public awareness of the promise made and then became a protest song when the promise was broken. Continue reading

Songs That Grabbed Me – Goanna, Solid Rock

This is a protest song about the treatment of the Australian indigenous people during the time of the first European settlement and the whole invading-the-country thing. It’s suggesting the accepted history is inaccurate and that it wasn’t the relatively peaceful encounter many are led to believe. Continue reading

ANZAC Day – Lest We Forget

April 25 is the day Australia and New Zealand pause to remember the brave diggers, the men and women who sacrificed all on that fateful day in 1915 when they came ashore at Gallipoli. It was the wrong landing point and many, many brave soldiers lost their lives.

Anzac-day_thumb

Lest We Forget

The Double Lunar Occultation of Feb 18, 2013

It was a bit of a mixed bag on Monday night with the moon passing in front of Jupiter.

I first went out for look while twilight was just kicking in. The moon was at its highest point in the sky, almost due north and not very high. Jupiter was barely visible to the east (right) of the moon. As the sky darkened Jupiter shone more brightly, becoming easily visible beside our nearest neighbour, slowly closing in.

I recalled studying the diagram in this post where I said Jupiter would disappear behind the lower right hand side of the moon. I assumed the terminator (day-night line) would be vertical. Jupiter seemed to be lined up almost exactly with the centre of the moon’s terminator. Chalk it up to a small and difficult to read section of the diagram. And me not quite knowing what I was doing!

Animation of Lunar Occultation of Jupiter 18 Feb 2013

Animation of Lunar Occultation of Jupiter 18 Feb 2013

As the hour of action drew closer I noticed Jupiter was dropping in the sky relative to the moon. But if anyone was using what I wrote last week as a guide to finding Jupiter they should have had no trouble. It was so bright you couldn’t miss it, even when it came close to the moon’s night side. I was snapping pics every few minutes with my DSLR and its standard 55 mm lens. Here’s an animation I put together of frames spanning the 35 minutes leading up to occultation, plus a bit more.

Each frame is roughly 3 minutes apart except the last few where the moon darkens. These were taken about 15 and 20 minutes after Jupiter disappeared. The darkening was caused by smoke from a grass fire north of Melbourne hanging on the western horizon, effectively occulting the moon just as Jupiter was scheduled to emerge from behind the moon 40 minutes after the beginning of occultation.

So a beautifully clear 35 degree day that promised perfect conditions for viewing the occultation, ended in disappointment for those of us in the east who, instead of seeing the end of occultation with the re-emerging Jupiter, witnessed a Lunar occultation of a different kind: that of the moon completely obscured by grass fire smoke.

Meteors, Asteroids? Bah! Jupiter is About to Disappear…

It’s a big week in astronomy. You’ve no doubt heard about the meteor lighting up the Russian sky earlier today. And in a few hours time a 50 metre wide asteroid will be closer to us that some of our geostationary satellites. It will be 4:30 AM here. I won’t be watching it because I can’t find my binoculars and it’s too dim and fast-moving to be easy to find with the naked eye. Never mind.

Anyway, the original purpose of this post was to talk about a disappearance. In January I noticed the moon passing suspiciously close to Jupiter in the sky and wondered when was the last time I paid any attention to lunar occultations – when the moon passes in front of a planet or a star or something interesting other than the sun (because that’s known as a solar eclipse and is orders of magnitude more spectacular).

As it turns out from Melbourne, Australia on the Monday 18th of February the moon will in fact pass in front of Jupiter, briefly winking it out of view for about 40 minutes or so. Check out this confusing diagram (or click it to get the original at the Astronomy Almanac Online!):

occn.2013Feb18.Jupiter

Shadow diagram of Moon-Jupiter Occultation Feb 18 2013 (reproduced from The Astronomical Almanac Online and produced by the U.S. Naval Observatory and H.M. Nautical Almanac Office.)

The diagram shows the shadow of the moon cast by Jupiter on the Earth at ten minute intervals from start of occultation in the Indian Ocean (marked by the tiny red shadow) to the end, about 3 hours later in Tasmania at the other red shadow.

Now, assuming I interpret this diagram correctly, Melbourne will be near the top of the Lunar shadow, so from here Jupiter will be seen to disappear behind the night side near the north end of the first quarter moon. Look at the bottom right of the moon when gazing up towards the moon in the north western sky from Victoria . This will be the most dramatic part visible. It will be much easier to see the bright planet vanish behind the unlit half of the moon’s disc than trying to watch it reappear in the glare of the moon’ day side.

In fact the flat side of those half-oval shapes is the moon-set line across the Earth so Tasmanians will see the moon set just as Jupiter emerges from behind it, about 70 minutes after it disappeared.

When can you see this you may ask? Well, from the above diagram it’s difficult to get an accurate estimate but working backwards from the last shadow in Tasmania at 13:13 UT (00:13 19 Feb) The shadow will be over Melbourne between 12:23 UT (23:23 AEDT) and just after local midnight. But I don’t guarantee anything in case I read the diagram incorrectly. The moon will be on its way down in the west so it is recommended to have a clear view of the western and north western horizon.

Hope the skies are clear on the night and enjoy seeing our humble little moon obscure the mightiest planet in our solar system. Adelaide and Perth will see it too, just earlier in the evening than Victoria.

Take that 2012 DA 14!

A Postscript to Myki

Dear Myki,

On the very day I wrote to you expressing my frustration and disappointment with your performance, the state government announced it decided not to get rid of you after all. This means it’s just you and me kiddo and a million or so other passengers, so we have to learn to live with each other. Continue reading

A Letter to Myki

Dear Myki,

I tried to like you. I wanted our relationship to work so I give you more chances than you deserved but you’ve disappointed me. At first things worked very well between us, even when you ignored me I was willing to look past that. I was patient but you let me down, Myki. I don’t have the trust in you I expected at this stage of our relationship. It’s been over a year! Continue reading