One Sky, One People (Part 2)


Well, last night was the second part of the two-part Astronomers Without Borders (AWB) project – Big Dipper to Southern Cross (you can read about Part One here), and it started at 1:30am NZ local time. I think I finally fell into bed at about 4am, but it was well worth the lack of beauty sleep (although my wife may disagree…I probably need as much as I can get!). This was the southern hemisphere event (my neck of the woods, so to speak), so I could hardly bail out early could I?!!! 🙂

Unlike the northern hemisphere event, the primary video server was up and running, which was thankfully one less drama for the team to have to deal with. Terry Bridges was the host astronomer/telescope operator and was operating the GRAS telescope in South Australia from Canada, whilst Gianluca Masi from Italy worked frantically in the background to download the telescope images, process them and post them onto the Virtual Telescope website for all participants to see. Quite mind-boggling the technology that must be involved in making all this happen, and the end result was a credit to all involved.

Live chat was working overtime and, as with the northern hemisphere event, everyone was made to feel welcome. What a fantastic display of ‘togetherness’ this whole event has been! True allegiance to the AWB catchphrase ‘One People, One Sky’. Here’s a prime example of it in action – when I logged into the live chat and introduced myself as being from Levin, NZ, Terry instantly welcomed me via the video feed and commented on our Levin StarGazers award for the IYA2009 100 Hours of Astronomy event we held back in April. How wonderful to be recognised from the other side of the world! I was blown away by that, as I had never met Terry before last night.

Terry was kept busy selecting targets and setting up the telescope remotely to take images, as well as keeping an eye on the live chat. Some of the wonderful objects imaged live last night were 47 Tuc (a fantastic southern hemisphere globular cluster), the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud and M42 (Orion Nebula) to name a few, and Gianluca was doing a fantastic job in the background getting the images processed and onto the Virtual Telescope website.

This was truly a fantastic worldwide event and I have made several new friends simply by joining in and participating. My hat is off to all involved in setting up and running the event – Thilina Heenatigala, Gianluca Masi, Terry Bridges and many others…you should be justifiably proud of what you have achieved!!! My sincerest thanks for inviting me to join you.

Incidentally, if you want to rent one of the GRAS remote telescopes for free to try your hand at imaging, there is a fantastic limited-time offer of free credit available through Astronomy.FM! Check it out.

Clear skies!
– Mike


6 Responses to “One Sky, One People (Part 2)”

  1. Mike, wonderful post! This just made me re-live the whole moment again! Such a wonderful time we had! 🙂

    Many thanks for being a part of it!


  2. Terry Bridges Says:

    Mike, what a wonderful article! You have really captured the flavour of this event. My only regret (aside from having our system go down) was not having more time to chat with everyone. But I still got to meet lots of great people (and I have doubled my number of facebook friends!), and it was a lot of fun. We’ll definitely have to do more of these events. And thanks for mentioning the GRAS/ special offer– GRAS (especially Arnie Rosner and Tony Farkas) have given us great support for this event, and we’re really grateful to them.


    • Hey thanks for that Terry! Credit where credit’s due though, you guys did a fantastic job. Your role was a tough one and I thought you handled really well!
      Pleased to have met you and many others on the live chat 🙂
      Cheers, Mike

  3. HI Mike,

    thank you for this post. People like you and many other are the “salt” of AWB. You are living the solgan “One People One Sky”

    All the best, CLS


    Some more stuff about this event
    If you have not enough try this:
    Some historic stuff (First AWB Remote-Meeting):

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