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MBO at PAVE Festival at Emerald for #StargazingABC

MBO will be at Emerald Secondary College for the PAVE Festival in Emerald from 5pm-10pm, our small contribution to #StargazingABC!  Come join us, it's free!

PAVE poster


Book review: "Cosmic Symmetry Shattered" by Michael D. Lemonick

MBO has an extensive library which is available to members and one member, Martin Mebalds, has kindly taken the time to review another title that he has been reading.

Cosmic symmetry shattered by Nicholas Mee - review by Martin Mebalds - shelved under Cosmology

The Higgs particle is the last particle predicted by the Standard Model of subatomic physics to be discovered in 2012 at the Large Hardon Collider.  The Higgs particle has been described as the "God particle" and as described by Mee; " is the subatomic particle that breaks the symmetry between the forces of nature and enables the universe to evolve into a complicated and interesting place."  So it is the basis for understanding the beginnings of the universe and of how the forces of nature and matter came to be and what made our our universe is possible.  Higgs Force is essential reading if you want to have a deeper understanding of cosmology, matter and the forces of nature.
Mee takes us on a journey through modern physics with the discovery of electricity the description of electromagnetic forces and beyond.

We are taken from the concept of the atom being the smallest unbreakable particle to Rutherford’s work on the structure of the nucleus when he discovered that atoms are made of electrons protons and neutrons. We are taken deeper into the structure of the atom and the forces that keep the nucleus together, the strong and weak force and of gluons. Beyond that there are even more complexities of neutrinos, mesons, muons, ups and downs, colours and colour forces.  Anyone would think that it would be too complicated to fully understand unless you had a PhD in physics.  However Mee gently takes you along the path of understanding and by the finish of the book, you have a much better appreciation of the importance of the discovery all the subatomic particles and forces leading to the Higgs particle.

The book is written in an easy style with a little mathematics along the way but not too much!  The book not only explains the theories of physics but the people and history behind its advancement.  This adds a great deal for the reader interested in the history of science.
I would recommend however that you approach the book ready to tackle a whole new range of concepts and assimilate a lot of new facts as it is necessary to understanding particle physics.  If you come to this book with some understanding of chemistry and physics at a high school level, it would be a help you in assimilating the concepts in this book.

Mee has done a wonderful job in guiding the reader through this area of science and in identifying the road ahead, explaining what mysteries remain to be solved.

If you are interested in what makes the universe tick, what forces are responsible for powering the stars and what happens inside atoms when they decay this book is for you.


MBO "Seeing Stars" Astrophotography Exhibition "Peoples Choice" award winners!

The Yarra Ranges Regional Museum has announced on Twitter the "Peoples Choice" award winners from the our recent "Seeing Stars" astrophotography exhibition. Congratulations to Neil Creek and Logan Nicholson for winning the poll of over 500 voters!


Book review: "The Georgian Star" by Michael D. Lemonick

MBO has an extensive library which is available to members and one member, Martin Mebalds, has kindly taken the time to review a title that he has been reading.

The Georgian Star by Michael D. Lemonick - review by Martin Mebalds - shelved under Astronomy History

This book is not about the discovery of Uranus by William Herschel, although the book does cover the discovery.  It’s not about Caroline Herschel, William’s sister who surpassed Charles Messier by many thousands in discovering and cataloguing nebulae, although that is also covered.

The book is about the beginnings of modern techniques in the study of astronomy. While cataloguing stars sand double stars, it’s about a musician who turned to astronomy in his thirties, and though untrained in astronomy, with original thinking made his mark.  He not only swept the skies cataloguing stars with his own telescopes, he built them and they were the best made anywhere at the time.  The story is also about team work and women in science at the time, how they were treated and how Caroline defied the odds and made her own significant contributions to astronomy. She was the one that documented all William’s 8,760 observations and calculated all of their coordinates.  This was the start of the star catalogues astronomers rely on today.

The book is also about the progress of science in general, the progress in thinking and the many stumbles along the way.  For example, William Herschel believed that most planets and the moon were inhabited because ‘why would god go to all that trouble if it weren’t populated?’

This book is a treat to read, it’s full of surprises and insights about the progress of science and the early beginnings of cosmology.  I have only given a small sample of the discoveries made by these two wonderful 18th century astronomers. Less than 200 pages, it is suitable for any astronomy enthusiast from teens to nonagenarians and beyond!