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Rodina
2003-Apr-06, 08:14 PM
Can any of our Australian correspondents help me with the following:

The wife and I are headed down to Australia arriving in Sydney on the 22nd -- we'll be there for a week and then we're off to Alice Springs and onto Ayers Rock for several nights where, I hope, clear weather will give us some excellent conditions for some Mark II Eyeball Astronomy.

So I'm looking for a good, solid starwheel for the southern hemisphere (preferably stiff plastic, not paper). I've got the astronomy programs and all that and I know -- sorta -- my southern constellations. And, I'm having a bear of a time trying to find a Southern hemisphere starwheel on Amazon.com or anywhere else.

The one time I was in Australia, I was mostly in Sydney and the weather was poor, so I didn't get the full effect of the Southern Skies.* I'd hate to be without a good guide when I do have the chance. I know I can print some out, but the chart is a lot of fun to have.

To wit: Can anyone down there recommend a good shop in Sydney where I could pick one up? Or a good online store that might send me one? Would anyone consider lending me theirs during my stay on my word I'll promptly mail it back?


* N.B.: If there's anyone from NZ or South Africa or Chile or whathave you that's got a good suggestion for store, that'd be great too, but I assume I'll need to buy mine in situ.

Thanks much!

Senor Molinero
2003-Apr-07, 06:03 AM
Hi Rodina,
Most major bookstores in Oz will sell skywheels for the south. "Australian Geographic" stores are also a good place to look.
When you get to Uluru (the indigenous preferred name for Ayers Rock) there are telescope viewing nights organised by a local amateur astronomer. Enquire at the Yulara tourist office. The skies there are so dark that you would swear that the Milky Way was a bank of cloud.
Happy viewing. You will receive a warm welcome Down Under

Rodina
2003-Apr-07, 06:56 AM
Sweet - Thanks!

I know it's now... Ulluru, but I've spent 30-odd years saying "Ayers" and I haven't gotten used to it yet.

I'd like to get a Southern starwheel as a souvenier anyway, so I'll swing by one of those stores... thanks for the advice!

Kiwi
2003-Apr-07, 12:34 PM
"Astronomy" magazine publishes a good sky map for the Southern Hemisphere (better than their northern map, in my opinion) in the centre of each monthly magazine. Laminated, it makes a nice, big, clear "wheel".

AGN Fuel
2003-Apr-08, 12:07 PM
Can any of our Australian correspondents help me with the following:

The wife and I are headed down to Australia arriving in Sydney on the 22nd -- we'll be there for a week and then we're off to Alice Springs and onto Ayers Rock for several nights where, I hope, clear weather will give us some excellent conditions for some Mark II Eyeball Astronomy.

To wit: Can anyone down there recommend a good shop in Sydney where I could pick one up? Or a good online store that might send me one? Would anyone consider lending me theirs during my stay on my word I'll promptly mail it back?

Thanks much!


Hi Rodina,

There are several large bookstores in the CBD of Sydney - Dymocks on George St is probably the pick of the bunch, or any Australian Geographic shop. There is also an excellent shop on York St, 'The Telescope & Binocular Shop', which has a good range of material. I also strongly recommend "Astronomy 2003" by Glenn Dawes, Peter Northfield and Ken Wallace, which is specifically written for star-gazing from Australian latitudes.

If you have the chance, I work as a volunteer guide at a small observatory about 2 hours north of Sydney. It is designed as an educational facility and allows the chance to look through a 0.5m Dob Newt under very dark skies and listen to some stories of the southern sky objects. All visitors welcome! :D

David Hall
2003-Apr-08, 03:42 PM
If worse comes to worse, install a good observatory program and print out skymaps of the area and time you'll be there. Then take them to the local copy shop and get them laminated, or buy some of that plastic adhesive film that does almost the same thing.

I also agree with Kiwi about the Astonomy magazine skymaps. They're rather good.

You can look here (http://www.seds.org/billa/astrosoftware.html) for a lot of good freeware sky programs.