Aug 18

Public Lecture: A CENTURY OF CHANGE IN NEW ZEALAND ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY

Public Lecture  – Hosted by the Gisborne Astronomical Society and Tairawhiti Museum

Professor Wayne Orchiston (National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand) will be presenting a lecture at the Tairawhiti Museum on:

“FROM JOHN GRIGG TO JOHN DRUMMOND: A CENTURY OF CHANGE IN NEW ZEALAND ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY”

Wednesday 24th August, 2016. 7:00pm (koha)

Details

The astronomical world underwent a remarkable change during the second half of the nineteenth century when both photography and spectroscopy were appropriated by astronomers, leading to a new type of research astronomy known as ‘astrophysics’.

However, not all astrophotography was research oriented, for amateur astronomers in particular were keen to apply this new technology and produce attractive pictures of the celestial objects and events that they could use as visual props when they gave lectures.

New Zealand’s astrophotography pioneer was Thames-based John Grigg who captured images of comets, eclipses and the Moon during the 1890s and first decade of the twentieth century. Soon he was joined by others, such as C.J. Westland from Cheviot, and the Reverend Dr David Kennedy and his assistants at the Meeanee Observatory near Napier.

During the twentieth century a number of notable New Zealand amateur astronomers experimented successfully with astrophotography, but the focus changed completely with the advent of colour films and, more recently, CCD imaging and digital cameras. New Zealand now can boast a number of international-level astrophotographers, one of the most accomplished being Gisborne’s own John Drummond.

In this lecture I will discuss the early achievements of Grigg, Westland and the Meeanee Observatory astronomers and others who successfully photographed the heavens during the twentieth century, before ending with a selection of John Drummond’s beautiful images of the Moon, comets, star clusters, gaseous nebulae and galaxies.

PROFESSOR WAYNE ORCHISTON
Wayne Orchiston was born in Auckland, but grew up in Sydney. He has B.A. Honours and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Sydney and formerly worked at the CSIRO’s Division of Radiophysics, Sydney Observatory, Victoria College (later Deakin University, in Melbourne), Carter Observatory in Wellington, the Anglo-Australian Observatory and the CSIRO’s Australia Telescope National Facility (in Sydney), and finally James Cook University (Townsville) before joining the National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand (NARIT) in 2013. Currently, he also is an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at the University of Southern Queensland.

Wayne’s research interests centre on meteoritics and the history of astronomy, and he has more than 350 publications, including 12 books. His latest book, Exploring the History of New Zealand Astronomy: Trials, Tribulations, Telescopes and Transits, was published by Springer earlier this year. Wayne is a long-standing member of the International Astronomical Union, and founded and chaired the Working Groups on Historic Radio Astronomy and Transits of Venus. Currently he is Vice-President of IAU Commission C3 (History of Astronomy). He is co-founder and Editor of the Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, and in 2013 the IAU named minor planet 48471 Orchiston after him.

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