Crowded Space Station


Crowded Space Station


It was a bit crowded at the International Space Station (ISS) this week.


A busy week at the International Space Station (ISS). With nine crew members on board this week, the orbiting laboratory was unusually crowded from Wednesday (25th September) until Thursday (3rd October) when three of those crew members returned to Earth.


On Wednesday (25th Sept) the Soyuz MS-15 spacecraft arrived with three new crew members. This isn’t a permanent set-up; part of the reason there were so many humans in space was because of overlap in crew assignments.

Nine is certainly not the highest number of people ever stationed on the space lab. The record for the largest population on the ISS was set in 2009 when there were 13 people on board.

ISS crew

The International Space Station’s nine-person crew of Expedition 60 poses in “space band” shirts in this photo shared by European Space Agency astronaut Luca Parmitano (upside down) on 30th September 2019. The shirts say “Kryk Chayky” (“Cry of the Seagull” in Russian). Pictured are (clockwise from top left) NASA astronaut Christina Koch, Parmitano, NASA astronaut Drew Morgan, Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka, NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Nick Hague, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin, giving a thumbs up as crew commander.

(Image credit: ESA/Luca Parmitano via Twitter)




In This Post –

Crowded Space Station

Public meetings this week –

 ~ Saturn’s moon Titan (Tuesday)

 ~ 2019 Beatrice Hill Lecture (Friday)



~ Public meeting #1

This Tuesday 8th October

Saturn’s largest moon – Titan



Some moons of Saturn


Our telescopes will be operating

At 7.30pm the on-screen presentation will be –

Saturn’s largest moon Titan, the solar system’s second largest. Titan is more massive than Earth and has a very dense atmosphere.


Titan & Saturn

Image Credit: NASAESAJPLSSICassini Imaging Team

This is not a solar eclipsePictured here is a busy vista of moons and rings taken at Saturn. The large circular object in the centre of the image is Titan, the largest moon of Saturn and one of the most intriguing objects in the entire Solar System. The dark spot in the centre is the main solid part of the moon. The bright surrounding ring is atmospheric haze above Titan, gas that is scattering sunlight to a camera operating onboard the robotic Cassini spacecraft. Cutting horizontally across the image are the rings of Saturn, seen nearly edge on. At the lower right of Titan is Enceladus, a small moon of Saturn. Since the image was taken pointing nearly at the Sun, the surfaces of Titan and Enceladus appear in silhouette, and the rings of Saturn appear similar to a photographic negative. Now if you look really really closely at Enceladus, you can see a hint of icy jets shooting out toward the bottom of the image. It is these jets that inspired future proposals to land on Enceladus, burrow into the ice, and search for signs of extraterrestrial life.


Admission charges are listed at the end of this post.

Fergusson Park Observatory, Tilby Drive, Matua, Tauranga.



~ Public meeting #2

This Friday 11th October

2019 Beatrice Hill Lecture –

The World at Night

At Otumoetai Baptist Church auditorium

The Tauranga Astronomical Society sponsors an annual address by a prominent international astronomer / scientist organised by the Royal Astronomical Society NZ.

This years’ lecturer is Babak A. Tafreshi. Born in Tehran, Babak is a photojournalist and science communicator. He is the National Geographic night sky photographer merging art and science. Babak is also the founder and director of The World At Night program, a board member of Astronomers Without Borders organization, a contributing photographer to Sky&Telescope magazine and the European Southern Observatory.

Bakak Tafreshi Photo

Babak Tafreshi lives in Boston, but he is often on the move and could be anywhere, from the heart of Sahara to the Himalayas or Antarctica. He received the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognized award at the time for scientific imaging, for his global contribution to night sky photography.


Lecture Title and Synopsis

The World at Night

Bridging science, art and culture by connecting the Earth & sky in photography. Babak Tafreshi spent the past two decades photographing surreal scenes of night sky in all continents, an adventurous journey to the world at night where the wonders of Earth & sky merge in photography.


This talk also presents The World at Night (TWAN) international program that involves many of the world’s best nightscape photographers documenting the last remaining starry skies on the planet to increase public awareness on values of natural night environment for all species. TWAN is also a bridge between art, humanity, and science, with a unique message. The eternally peaceful sky looks the same above symbols of all nations and regions, attesting to the unified nature of Earth and mankind. One People, One Sky!




TWAN produce and present photographs and time-lapse videos of the world’s landmarks against the celestial attractions. The familiar context of the images, which represent naked eye views, add a new tool to efforts to popularize astronomy alongside images and science results from large telescopes. The photos have been used by astronomy educators world-wide as they educate viewers on many fundamental aspects of practical astronomy such as the natural look of sky, constellations, celestial motions, and sky events. With the images taken at important cultural sites around the world, the connection between our many cultures and the night sky through history is emphasized, particularly in images that include ancient sites of astronomical importance.

Venue: Otumoetai Baptist Church auditorium
241 Otumoetai Road
Tauranga 3110
Admission charges are listed below.


Admission to our 2 events mentioned in this post –
Door entry $5.
Members & children free.

Admission to the event at our observatory (8th October) –
Payment by cash only.
No EFTPOS facility available.

Admission to the lecture at Otumoetai Baptist Church (11th October) –
Payment by cash and EFTPOS.


Annual subscriptions are due –
$30 each adult
or $40 each family
$10 students.
Payment on-line or
cash at meetings.
No EFTPOS facility available.

On-line payment is easy, to –
Bank account number
03 0435 0659752 00
Please indicate
“Subscription” and your name.
Once payment is received your nametag(s) will be available at subsequent meetings.


Telescope viewing possible only with zero or minimum cloud cover.

Happy skies everyone.

Kevin Patmore
Tauranga Astronomical Society


TAS large



Affliated With:


With funding support from:


Slooh Space Camera


NASA astronomy picture of the day