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VicSouth Desert Spring Star Party 2017


Last updated 2017 October 18


VicSouth 2017 occurs from Friday October 20 to Monday October 23.
Download the 2017 booking form from this page. Scroll down to find out what's happening each day.

The VicSouth public astronomy session is on again this year, Friday October 20, 8pm to 10pm on the Lodge's main lawn. Come along to this FREE event if you live in Nhill or nearby.   WEATHER PERMITTING -- phone the Lodge (03) 5391 5232 late Friday afternoon if the weather looks doubtful.

Our prize sponsors this year include (alphabetically):


Saxon Australia
, who are donating their 1026AZ3 SC refractor telescope, and their 20x80 astro binoculars.


Sidereal Trading
, who are donating a QHY Polemaster polar alignment camera.


Sky-Watcher Australia
, who are donating a Skywatcher 82deg Ultrawide Eyepiece Kit, and Meade 10x50 binoculars.


What's happening?

  • FRIDAY (sunset at the Lodge is at 7:20pm AEDT)

    3pm to 6pm -- VicSouth registration (with Door Prize raffle ticket to each registrant).
    REGISTER BEFORE YOU START UNPACKING/SETTING UP ANY EQUIPMENT.
    VicSouth 2017 will have specified areas for astrophotography and for visual observing.


    Also note that it takes at least 4.5 hours to drive to the Lodge at legal speeds from the edges of Adelaide (Glen Osmond Tollgate) or Melbourne (Westgate Bridge), the highway has heavy vehicle traffic on it 24/7, and long stretches of the highway are single lane. Please schedule your journey to arrive at the Lodge before 6pm.

    6pm -- Dinner, the welcome address, and the weather forecast for the night/weekend.

    8:00pm to 10:00pm -- Public astronomy session on the main lawn, weather permitting.

    8:30pm -- Barry & Kay & Gavan's Movie of the night (if you're not outside observing).

    8:50pm -- End of astronomical twilight.



  • SATURDAY
    Midnight to 10am -- QUIET TIME so that everyone gets adequate sleep.

    12 noon -- Lunch

    1:00pm Presentations (in the dining room) including:

       BLACK SUN AFTERNOON.
    Michael Mattiazzo How to plan a great eclipse expedition
    The perfect holiday. Combining astronomy with a geological tour of Midwest USA.

    Russell Cockman Eclipse images

    Darren Bellingham Astronomy and the Gold Rush
    A lighthearted but factual discussion of links(sometimes tenuous) between these 2 subject areas.

       Also various displays by our sponsors.

    5:45pm -- Group Photo on the main lawn prior to dinner.

    6pm -- Dinner, followed by weather forecast for the night and the drawing of the Major Door Prizes.

    8:30pm -- Barry & Kay & Gavan's Movie of the night (if you're not outside observing).



  • SUNDAY
    Midnight to 10am -- QUIET TIME so that everyone gets adequate sleep.

    12 noon -- Lunch

    1:00pm Presentations (in the dining room) including:

    Neil Creek Easy Astrophotography

    It's a lot easier to get started with astrophotography than you may think, and there's a good chance you already own all the gear you need to get started! With modern digital cameras, amateurs can today take photos that were beyond the professionals just twenty years ago. In this talk, astrophotographer Neil Creek discusses the minimum gear needed, the challenges you will face and how to overcome them. The evening following the talk, Neil will continue the lesson with practical demonstrations on the astrophotography field.

    Robert Jenkins Variable star astronomy is not for everyone

    I grew up in country South Australia and my first jobs were in entomology and wildlife research. I spent many nights sitting around a camp fire looking up at the stars, enjoying the spectacle but not understanding what I was seeing. When I got a job trying to find a possible location for the Square Kilometre Array Radio Telescope in country South Australia, I quickly realised in my meetings with Australian Telescope National Facility people that my astronomical knowledge was abysmal so I joined the Astronomical Society of South Australia (was President for a while) bought a telescope started studying astronomy and was hooked. I bought a good CCD to do astro imaging but while I was technically competent, I had the artistic ability of a blind wombat and could not turn the images into decent pictures. I moved to variable star research, concentrating on eclipsing binaries, getting excited as I saw eclipses on distant stars appearing in the data before my eyes. It has been an easy step to combine the eclipsing binaries work with eclipsing exo-planets and do real research with modest equipment in my back yard. The talk aims to encourage people with modest equipment to get involved in research with like minded people around the world

    6pm -- Dinner, followed by weather forecast for the night.

    7pm -- Fraser unveils the 2017 Quiz (with prizes for the winning team).

    8:30pm -- Barry & Kay & Gavan's Movie of the night (if you're not outside observing).



  • MONDAY
    9:30am Early lunch and checkout before noon. If departing early, prepacked lunches can be arranged with Lodge staff. See you all next year!



Tentative dates for subsequent VicSouths are:

  • 2018 : Friday November 2 to Tuesday November 6 (the Melbourne Cup public holiday).
  • 2019 : Friday October 25 to Monday October 28.
  • 2020 : Friday October 16 to Monday October 19.


go to VicSouth 2016

go to VicSouth 2018