Thursday, November 15, 2012

Greetings from Australia

A Busy Time

I really did intend to post some entries the last few weeks, I've got some ideas, and some half written pieces....  However, like it so often happens, life sort of directed my attention in other areas.  I work in Visual Effects for Film, and the hours can sometimes get a little crazy when deadlines loom.

Almost immediately after I finalized my choice and ordered my new 16" mirror, I launched into a little patch of overtime at work.  Nothing too crazy, but enough that I did not have the time to post any updates.  As this little burst of deadline related activity was winding down, plans for opening a new branch of our studio in Australia were heating up.

There was some talk of me flying out to do some training and help get things started, but the date was unknown and it all seemed a bit distant to me....  I had a nice weekend trip to Northern California planned, and figured I'd get some observing and writing time in the following weekend.  When I returned to work last Monday following my four day trip, I was asked if I could be on a plane to Australia that Friday, and stay for a few months.  Wow!

Between tying up loose ends at home and work, I was pretty busy last week.  I boarded a plane on Friday night, landed Sunday morning in Melbourne and went almost immediately to work.  Things are just now settling down, and my jet-lag subsiding, enough that I found an hour to update my blog.  

A Great Opportunity

This blog is not really about my work in Visual Effects, which I enjoy a bunch, it's about Astronomy, which I enjoy even more.  Aside from the craziness of getting ready to go, and the sadness of leaving my girlfriend, family, and usual observing locals behind, I'm really excited to be here.  There is a lot of work to be done over the next few months, but there is no way I'm NOT going to find some time to observe under the Southern Skies!

I've never even cracked the pages in my Pocket Sky Atlas that detail anything further south than Sagittarius, so I'm in unfamiliar territory to say the least.  I managed to order the Southern Sky edition of the venerable "The Night Sky" planisphere before I left, but I did not have enough time, luggage space, or mental bandwidth to pack my C6 travel kit.  I'm going to be pretty busy anyway, and I figured I'd need some time to get oriented and figure out a nice place to observe.

If I find time to observe before I head home for Xmas, I'll be using any scope I can beg from a local club, or perhaps a pair of Binoculars if I can find one here for a good price.  I've been meaning to get a nice pair anyway.  So the first few things on my agenda are to find a local club, find an optics shop, and spend some time with the planisphere trying to orient myself.

An Appeal to Locals

There are some Australian readers, if the Blogger stats are to be believed, and I know it's a long shot, but if anyone has any information about the Astronomy scene in and around Melbourne, I'd love to hear it!  Club information, observing sites, whatever you've got.

I'd also love to have some suggestions for 'Don't Miss' objects.  The large and small Magellanic clouds clouds are a long time dream of mine, but there is certainly so much to see, I'm afraid I'll miss some real gem.  If you have any suggestions, they will be appreciated.

I hope to finish up some of those long-delayed posts, but until then, Clear Skies wherever you are!