Upcoming Events

End of Year Celebration

Members Only Covid-safe event

It’s hard to believe that 2020 is fast coming to an end. It has been a challenging year with the COVID pandemic. This time last year who would have thought we would all become Zoom experts !        

Our December meeting on Monday 7th December 2020 will be a members only Viewing Night and Celebration limited to 30 Sydney City Skywatcher Members only. This is STRICTLY BOOKINGS ONLY, in order to keep numbers within COVID limits.


On the night we will be selling the 2021 Australasian Night Sky Guide by our very own Dr Nick Lomb, at the discounted price of $14.00, a special rate for Sydney City Skywatcher members. (Another benefit of being an SCS member!). That’s a saving of over $2.00. Payment will be by cash only, as there are no facility for credit card or phone payments.


If you are a member and would like to attend please email our secretary on sydneycityskywatchers@gmail.com by Friday 27th November 2020

Juno Mission: Unlocking mysteries of Jupiter

Presented by Dr Lucyna Chudczer .

Dr Chudczer will discuss some of the latest and most exciting discoveries in our Solar System including the Juno Mission to Jupiter and the discovery of phosphine on Venus. 


Juno spacecraft was inserted into a unique polar orbit around Jupiter in August 2016 and NASA has approved an update to Juno's operations until July 2021. Juno has been taking data of Jovian atmospheric composition, magnetic fields and gravity that will help to answer very fundamental questions about planetary formation, evolution and physics. I will review the objectives of the mission, its status and highlight important results.  

Dr Chudzer will discuss the most detailed maps of Jovian clouds and radiometric measurements that probe planetary weather systems to unprecedented depths. In addition, I will discuss our supporting observations from the ground telescopes, which allow us to study Jupiter’s powerful auroral emissions and their connection with the Galilean moons. 


Lucyna Kedziora-Chudczer was born in Poland, where she studied astronomy and she completed her PhD on the radio variability of Active Galactic Nuclei at the University of Sydney in 1999. At the same year she became the AAO/ATNF Research Fellow at the Anglo Australian Observatory studying polarization properties and monitoring the intraday variable quasars. In 2003 she became the Harry Messel Research Fellow, and in 2009 she accepted a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the UNSW in the area of planetary and exo-planetary science. She is a member of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology. Her interests include the spectroscopy and polarimetry observations of exoplanets, as well as the modelling of planetary atmospheres and was involved in the design and construction of the High Precision Polarimetric Instrument (HIPPI) used at the Anglo Australian Telescope for observations of exoplanets and bright stars. In 2019 she accepted position of the Program Manager at Astronomy Australia Limited. She continues her research in planetary astronomy as an Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Southern Queensland.


Date: Monday 2 November

Time: 6:30pm

Members will be sent a Zoom link prior via email. If you are not a member you may like to join for this presentation and get a taste of Sydney City Skywatchers. Email our secretary at least 24 hours prior on sydneycityskywatchers@gmail.com.

'The Astrographic Catalogue and the Women who measured the stars'

Annual General Meeting followed by presentation

Take part in Sydney City Skywatchers 125th Annual General Meeting. You will elect your committee, and hear the Presidents address. Then find out about the Sun's activity with Monty Leventhal AM and explore why the Great Star Catalogue (also known as the Astrographic Catalogue) created a new labour force of women who measured the stars with Toner Stevenson. 


Dr Toner Stevenson is current president of Sydney City Skywatchers, past manager of Sydney Observatory and currently Manager of the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry and Honorary Affiliate at the University of Sydney. She has 35 years of Museum experience and for her doctoral thesis she investigated Australia's participation in the Astrographic Catalogue. She is passionate about  hidden histories of science in Australia and the preservation of heritage.

Date: Wednesday 7 October 2020

Time: 6:30pm

How to join: Members will be sent a Zoom invitation. If you are not a member please email: secretary@sydneycityskywatchers.org.au

Alice Gorman - The archaeology of our solar system

In over 60 years of space exploration, humanity has left objects and traces strewn from Earth orbit to interstellar space. They form an archaeological record that we can interrogate for what it tells us about human engagement with space beyond Earth. These spacecraft and places – such as the Apollo 11 landing site on the Moon – are also our cultural heritage. Taking a heritage perspective means seeing this record as far more than just discarded junk. It speaks directly to how we can make sense of our place in the solar system.




Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology. Her research focuses on the archaeology and heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-earth mining, space habitats, rocket launch pads and antennas. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide and a heritage consultant with over 25 years’ experience working with Indigenous communities in Australia. In collaboration with NASA and Chapman University, she is conducting the first archaeological study of the International Space Station. She is a mentor in the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs Space4Women Mentor Network. Her book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future (MIT Press, 2019) won the NIB Literary Award People’s Choice for Non-Fiction and the John Mulvaney Book Award. She tweets as @drspacejunk and blogs at Space Age Archaeology.

Date: Monday 3 August

Time: 6:30pm (join in via Zoom at 6:20pm)

How: Members will be emailed a Zoom link prior.

Non-members can attend. Please email sydneycityskywatchers@gmail.com at least 24 hours prior. Your Zoom profile must show your name when you are admitted by the host. After the event we hope you will be keen to become a member so you can access future events and, when Covid-19 conditions permit, telescope viewing. 

Live astro-broadcasting: staying connected in isolation

A Zoom presentation by Geoff Wyatt

Join Geoff Wyatt, a lifelong astronomy buff, as he explains how he broadcasts live astronomy over social media platforms to audiences of up to 60,000. This will feature live images from the telescope if weather permits but in the event of cloud it will revert to a step by step guide with some recent recorded examples and perhaps an image or two from a recent aurora chasing trip to Iceland. This is a great way to learn more and share the isolation via live astro-broadcasting

Geoff Wyatt has twice been awarded the prestigious David Malin Medal for astro-imaging and he has been featured on television, radio and via the newsmedia to comment about astronomical events. He is a much sought after educator and is currently the Senior Science Educator for the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. He has travelled widely seeking astronomical phenomenon and has a passion for technology and car racing. 

Date: Monday 6 July

Time: 6:30pm

How to join-in: 

This event is via an exclusive Zoom link which is sent to Sydney City Skywatcher members. If you would like to join but are not yet a member please email our secretary : sydneycityskywatchers@gmail.com at least 2 days prior.


Journey of Metals Through the Cosmic Web

Dr Anshu Gupta presents her research via Zoom

In her presentation about Journey of Metals Through the Cosmic Web Dr Anshu Gupta will  focus on how galaxies evolve in conjunction with their chemical evolution in this Zoom presentation to Members.


Dr Anshu Gupta is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. Her main focus is to understand how the local environment shapes galaxies as we see them today, from clouds of gas to galaxies like our Milky Way. She combine observations from the largest ground based telescope with the state-of-the-art cosmological simulations to estimate if galaxies living in dense galaxy clusters produce metals faster than galaxies living in isolation.

How do I join in?: An email will be sent to members with a link to the meeting 1 week prior to the event. If you are not a member and want to join this event consider becoming a member and/or email our secretary: sydneycityskywatchers@gmail.com

Date: Monday 1 June 

Time: 6:30pm sharp

Please log onto Zoom 10 minutes prior, mute your microphone.

125th Anniversary Sydney City Skywatchers

Snippets from 125 years of history, presented by Dr. Nick Lomb

Monty Leventhal OAM, previous President, will introduce Dr Nick Lomb who has been researching the recent history of our society.

There have been many notable people involved with the NSW Branch of the British Astronomical Association (precursor of the Sydney City Skywatchers) over the years. In this on-line talk we will briefly meet a few of them and have a quick look at some of the past activities of the Branch. Though the talk will be wide-ranging, the emphasis will be on the events and personalities of the last few decades.

Dr Nick Lomb worked at Sydney Observatory for thirty years, mostly as Curator of Astronomy. He has been associated with the Branch, and subsequently with the Sydney City Skywatchers, since 1979 and is now a Life Member.


After the talk charge your virtual glasses to celebrate the continuation of our astronomy society since its beginning in 1895 as the NSW Branch of the British Astronomical Association through to today.

Date: Monday 4 May 2020

Location: Zoom 

Time: 6:25 - log into the Zoom session (you will receive a link via email)

Presentation: 6:30pm.

Caption: Image caption: Who is the girl in the cage and what is she doing? Why is a former Branch President next to her? Photo George Smith

Zoom in to our April Member's meeting!

Solar Storms and Astronomy in the Age of COVOD-19

Due to the Covid-19 virus we are holding a 'virtual' meeting in April via Zoom.


Members will receive a link via email. Accept and Zoom in on Monday 6th April at 6:30pm.


There will be 2 short presentations lined up for you to engage with on-line:

'Imagine if...: all about Space Weather' presented by Dr Toner Stevenson 

'Sidewalk astronomy in the Age of Covid-19' by Ann Cairns


Date: Monday 6 April

Time: 6:30pm

Don't forget : Astronomers without Borders have declared April as Global Astronomy month. Many of you can stargaze from home and there are super on-line resources available. Have a look at Fred Watson's on-line Cosmic Relief Webinars.

Reveal new worlds from darkness

Discovery methods for exoplanets presented by Dr Marc-Antoine Martinod

Michel Mayor, Didier Queloz received the Nobel Prize for their discovery of the first exoplanet in 1995. This discovery showed the solar system is not alone and trigger the race of the exoplanet discoveries. Today, 4000 exoplanets are discovered by various techniques but little is known about them and the time of their characterisation is coming.

At the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, we are developing a new kind of instrument, called GLINT, based on a simple yet clever idea to study the exoplanets and may be, discover an habitable one.


I am a postdoctorate fellow researcher at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, working on the GLINT research about the instrumental aspect at The University of Sydney. My Phd thesis was about the development of a new instrumental concept for long-baseline interferometry in the visible, for stellar astrophysics. I was also a amateur-astronomer and this passion led me to where I am now.

Date: Monday 2 March

Time: 6:30 pm - there is limited seating so please arrive on time

Place: Sydney Observatory, 1003 Upper Fort Street Millers Point.

Cost: Members are free with a supper charge of $2, non-members are $5.

Meteorites - Visitors from Outer Space

Presented by Ross Pogson, Scientific Officer and Collection Manager at the Australian Museum

Welcome to our first meeting and talk for 2020.


Meteorites  have fascinated people for thousands of years. They have been objects of fear, curiosity, superstition , religious veneration, and eventually, scientific study. Their extra-terrestrial nature was only recognised in the late 1700's to early 1800's, and even since then the message has been slow to spread.

This talk will address historical accounts, what meteorites are, where they come from, the different types of meteorites and what they are made of. The world's largest meteorites and meteorite craters will also be mentioned.

Ross Pogson is a Scientific Officer and Collection Manager for Mineralogy and Petrology at the Australian Museum, Sydney, where he has worked for 40 years. The image on this page is of a meteorite from Molong, collection of the Australian Museum.

Date: Monday 3 February 2020

Time: The evening starts at 6:30pm and finishes around 8:15pm. Seating is limited so please arrive on time.

Cost: Members are free. There is a $2 supper charge.

Non-members are welcome and are charged $5 and can attend for two talks but must join at their third event.

Sydney City Skywatchers end of year party

6:30pm Monday 2 December at The Australia Hotel

Yes it’s that time of year again where we join with our fellow members

in festive spirit. Come along and spread some cheer! There is plenty to chat about and share.

Members may bring a guest.



Date:  Monday 2nd December 2019

Time: 6:30 p.m.                                                 .

Venue:  The Australian Hotel

               100 Cumberland St, The Rocks

Cost:  Approx. $30.00 plus $5 per person exclusive room hire. Pub bistro style food, drinks at bar prices


BOOKING ESSENTIAL .  RSVP 25th November 2019



Look forward to seeing you there.




There is no SCS meeting in December at Sydney Observatory due to the above Christmas Party.

Cosmic Chronicles

Professor Fred Watson AM explores the hottest topics in space science and astronomy

Are we alone in the Universe? Where did the Moon come from? How do we know what stars are made of? Could there really be a future in asteroid mining? In Cosmic Chronicles, Fred Watson – Australia’s Astronomer-at-Large and bestselling author – explores the hottest topics in space science and astronomy. Watson presents the most up-to-date knowledge on everything from light echoing around the cosmos, the mechanics of black holes and how to navigate the hidden delights of nightfall, to the most profound questions facing humankind. With mind-bending stories from the frontiers of science, Cosmic Chronicles is an expert’s view of what we know and how we know it.


Fred Watson's latest book  'Cosmic Chronicles' will be available at a special price of $30 (no credit card facility is available so please have cash). This is a unique opportunity to purchase your signed copy and have some great summer holiday reading on hand.

Biography: Professor Fred Watson is the former Astronomer-in-Charge of the Australian Astronomical Observatory. Before that, he worked at both the UK’s Royal Observatories. Today, he is Australia’s first Astronomer-at-Large, and holds adjunct positions at several Australian universities. Fred is best known for his radio and TV broadcasts, talks, and other outreach programs, which earned him the 2006 Eureka Prize for Promoting Understanding of Science. He has also written a number of award-winning books, and was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2010. Fred has an asteroid named after him (5691 Fredwatson), but says that if it hits the Earth, it won't be his fault.

Date: Monday 4 November

Time: 6:30 to 8:30pm 

Place: Sydney Observatory, 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point 2000


supper charge at the door (cash only)

$2 members; $5 non-members supper charge (non-members are welcome but you must join on your third attendance)

Books: $30 (cash pnly)

Transport : Short walk from Wynyard or Circular Quay. Bus 311 goes from Elizabeth Bay to Observatory Hill.

Parking: there is meter parking on the hill- credit card tap accepted.

About telescopes - presentation and observing night on Wednesday 2 October

AGM, then Peter Osman discusses his methodology plus hands-on telescopes and camera!

6:30 to 6:45pm Annual General Meeting.


6:50pm A portable push-to equatorial mount using gravity referenced sensing

Peter Osman presents a short talk about his telescope mount referencing system especially for amateur astronomers who have very few tools and no workshop but would like to add electronic setting circles to an equatorial telescope. The method uses accelerometers and gravity as a stable reference and this allows telescope pointing alignment, polar altitude alignment and cone error minimisation to be carried out in daylight hours and stars to be readily located at night.


7:15 to 8:30pm Hands-on Telescopes and Cameras.

Learn how to use our club telescope, bring your own telescope or camera and tripod to experiment with images of the night sky. There will be a 15% waxing crescent Moon setting in the west, Jupiter and Saturn will be in the sky. If the weather is poor we will examine and compare kit inside the Observatory.


Date: Wednesday 2 October

Time: 6:30 to 8:30pm

Cost: $2 members and $5non-members supper donation

Primeval darkness, deep-caverns, and fire-spitting cobras

Brenan Dew explores the cosmic geography of Egypt and other ancient cultures

Brenan Dew is a PhD candidate at Macquarie University whose current research probes the realms of ancient astronomy and the thought of ancient “religious-astronomers”. How did pre-scientific theologians attempt to come to terms with, and effectively explain, the unknown corners of our infinite universe? This talk will centre around the ancient Egyptian world view and their proposed cosmic geography, while briefly comparing cosmological understandings with other ancient cultures.


Brenan has been an astronomy educator at Sydney Observatory since 2014, and is also part of the Macquarie Theban Tombs Project who are currently excavating and recording the tomb of Amenmose – a high priest who lived during the reign of Ramesses IV during the 12th century BCE.

Monday 2 September 2019


Sydney Observatory, 1003 Upper Fort Street, Millers Point

$2 supper charge (Members) $5 (Non-members)

Total Solar Eclipse in Chile: the journey, the event and aftermath

Presented by Melissa Hulbert and Toner Stevenson

On 2 July a total solar eclipse was able to be seen from South America. These are amazing, but short events which attract millions to view, many thousands to travel to from distance places, and sometimes cause havoc at airports and other transport hubs. The experience of being in the shadow of the Moon for a few hours in the Andes with a small group of other passionate ecipse-chasers will be shared  by Melissa Hulbert and Toner Stevenson. The story will begin and end with the journey, which is part of the adventure and include images and anecdotes along the way.

Image of the diamond ring, 2 July 2019: Photo and copyright Melissa Hulbert ©, all rights reserved.



Melissa Hulbert is an astronomer who works for the MAAS at Sydney Observatory and teaches on-line astronomy, astro-photography and CCD Imaging online units of study for Swinburne University, Melbourne. Melissa has now experienced nine total solar eclipses. She has presented at internaitonal solar eclipse and is well known for her photographic expertise and as a science communicator. Melissa is also President of the Australian Society of Geneaologists.


Toner Stevenson is vice president of Sydney City Skywatchers and was previously manager of Sydney Observatory. This is her fifth total solar eclipse. Toner has also worked in other heritage sites as Head of House Museums for Sydney Living Museums and is currently Manager School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at The University of Sydney. Her Doctoral Thesis researched the women who observed and measured the stars from 1887 to 1971 in Australia.


Date: Monday 5 August

Time: 6:30pm

Place: Sydney Observatory 1002 Upper Fort Street Millers Point Sydney, near The Rocks.

Cost: $2 supper charge for members; $5 non-members.

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