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Mt Cook over Lake Pukaki
Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest peak, towers over Lake Pukaki


The Occultation Section of the Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand (RASNZ) is pleased to announce that the Seventh Trans-Tasman Symposium on Occultations (TTSO7) will be held in Invercargill, New Zealand, over Monday May 27 and Tuesday May 28, 2013. The meeting will immediately follow the Annual Conference of the RASNZ.



(Updated 18 May 2013 - Subject to change without notice)

MONDAY May 27 08:45 Graham Blow Welcome & Housekeeping
  09:00 Steve Kerr An Introduction to Occultations
  09:30 Murray Forbes How to get Predictions for Occultations
  10.00   Morning Tea
  10:30 Steve Russell Occultation Observing for Visual Observers
  11:30 Brian Loader Lunar occultations: Are they worth the Bother of Observing?
  12:00   Lunch
  13:00 Brian Loader Using Limovie in Association with Lunar Occultations.
  13:30 John Talbot The Process of Recording and Reducing Occultation Results
  14:00 William Hanna My Start in Observing Occultations
  14:30   Afternoon Tea
  15:00 Tony Barry An Introduction to the Technical Aspects of Video
  15:30 Steve Kerr An Introduction to Integrating Video Cameras
  16:00 Dave Gault & Tony Barry An Introduction to ADVS and a demonstration
TUESDAY May 28 09:00 John Talbot Recent Successful Asteroidal Occultations in our Region in the Past Year.
  09:20 Martin Unwin The 2012 Transit of Venus from Mussel Point Observatory
  09:40 John Broughton Asteroid Dimensions from Occultations
  10:00   Morning Tea
  10:30 Greg Bolt Using SEXTA to validate ADVS
  11:00 Brian Loader Reporting Observed Occultation Times
  11:30 Jacquie Milner Observing Occultations Using Video: A Beginners Guide (Discussion)
  12:00   Lunch
  13:00 John Talbot Jovian Extinction Events, JEE2012 Observing Campaign Preliminary Results
  13:30 Murray Forbes A Grazing Lunar Occultation on 22 September 2012
  13:50 John Talbot Prepointing for Occultations
  14:10 Chris Chad The Samsung Security Camera as an Occultation Video Camera
  14:30   Afternoon Tea
  15:00 Jonathon Bradshaw Depth of Magnitude verses Field of View
  15:20 Steve Kerr Mighty Minis
  15:40 Graham Blow Free-form Discussion Time
  16:10 Graham Blow Closure


The venue is the Ascot Park Hotel, the premier conference facility in Invercargill.

Ascot Hotel Foyer
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Superior Hotel Room
Ascot Park Hotel Foyer
Hotel Location
Ascot Park Superior Hotel Room

TTSO meetings are alternately held in New Zealand and Australia and attract a wide variety of participants from novices to advanced observers. Their common goal is to advance the observation of all types of occultations. Included will be sessions catering for new observers – e.g. how to select and set up an occultation observing programme – while there will also be sessions on data reduction, the latest observing techniques, reviews of successes from the preceding year and expected highlights of the upcoming year.

A feature of TTSO7 will be the new Astronomical Digital Video System (ADVS) developed by Tony Barry, Dave Gault and Hristo Pavlov to overcome many of the problems inherent in current video occultation systems. Tony and Dave will be in attendance and will have a full working model with them so that participants will be able to get some “hands on” experience.

Request for Presentations

The organisers now invite other potential speakers at TTSO7 to advise us of their intent to submit a presentation. Presentations can include both full talks and poster papers.  Please send your expression of interest, including a title, brief abstract and requested duration in the case of oral presentations, to the TTSO7 convenor, Murray Forbes ( with a copy to Graham Blow (  At the meeting digital copies of all presentations will be required in a form suitable for inclusion on the Symposium CD.

If you are considering attending simply as a participant we would also like to hear from you now so we can judge approximate numbers attending. Overseas guests will be particularly welcome. If you are coming for the TTSO meeting we strongly recommend that you enrol for the preceding RASNZ Conference, as that meeting is expected to feature some occultation-related papers which will not appear in the TTSO7 meeting.

Tourism Opportunities

New Zealand is particularly known for its diverse and stunning landscapes, and wide variety of tourist activities. These range from semi-tropical beaches and volcanoes in the north to majestic mountains, glacier-fed lakes, fjords, rainforest and more in the south. Many people will have seen some of these locations in director Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy based on the books of J.R.R. Tolkien, and his recent release of the first in The Hobbit film trilogy.  Some of New Zealand’s stunning scenery featured in these movies can be viewed here:

Within 2-3 hours drive of Invercargill lie many locations used in either Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit, plus additional scenery for which New Zealand is well-known. In addition to the beautiful Southern Lakes, there is easy access to the fjords around Milford Sound, majestic snow-covered peaks of the Southern Alps, the semi-arid desert-like areas of Central Otago and some of the best and most spectacular walking tracks in the world.  Two hours drive from Invercargill is Queenstown, acknowledged as the adventure capital of the Southern Hemisphere, with hundreds of activities as diverse as bungy jumping, jetboating, and back-country safaris. While the TTSO7 meeting occurs at the end of autumn making temperatures cooler, this opens up new possibilities for those wishing to participate in winter sports. Alternatively, visitors are advised that arriving earlier in May may allow you to still see some of the golden autumn colours for which the region is famous.

To get to Invercargill international visitors can fly into the city of Christchurch, and from there travel by plane, or by rental car via the inland Southern Scenic Route to Invercargill.  En route you will pass through the Mackenzie Country, the world’s newest – and largest - Dark-Sky Reserve (as declared by the International Dark Sky Association), which includes some 4300 square kilometres of the darkest skies on Earth. Near the centre of this region lies Lake Tekapo, home to Mt John Observatory with its 1.0 and 1.8 metre telescopes, the latter being home to the MOA (Microlensing Observations in Astrophysics) project hunting for exo-planets.

New Zealand has much to offer members of both the astronomical and environmental communities, and the organisers of TTSO7 will be delighted to assist visitors from overseas in making the most of their visit here.

Useful Links

  • Lake Wanaka
    Arrowtown Church
    Mt Cook over Lake Pukaki
    Church of the Good Shepherd
    Aurora over Cook Strait
    Lake MacGregor
    Lake Wakatipu
    St Bathans
    Shotover Jet
    Sheep Mustering
    South Mavora Lake
    Lake Brunner
    Near Harihari, West Coast
    Lake Matheson
    Lake Matheson
    Bluff Signpost
    Milford Sound
    Sheep Grazing, Canterbury


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