Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Did the earth move for you?

alvin earthLast nights earthquake between Moe & Mirboo North, best estimates at the moment a 5.4 Magnitude at 8:54PM, gave the folk in Melbourne a good shaking, but how was it felt at Venus Bay?
Geoscience Australia likes to get reliable first hand accounts of what people felt, as it helps them improve both the assessment and prediction of the effects of earthquakes & damage. If you want to help here is the link,

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Having fun …BUT

 IMGP4776 IMGP4777 IMGP4778
These very noisy mechanized wave runners are obviously have fun, albeit in a high risk way BUT they certainly didn’t impress the other beach one users. The fishermen were muttering about yoboos, the pipi gathers were yabbering about the strong smell of the spilt fuel and the tradition board riders shaking their heads in despair, What I notice is their wasn’t a single bird to be seen anywhere close by. Yet up at beach five there were plenty.
Is this a case of NIMBY over-reaction or is jet skying one of those recreations that really does needs to be controlled in national parks?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Kings Tides and beach profile


At the same time as last weeks, transit of venus there was also a full moon and a very low atmospheric depression out to the east over the Tasman Sea.. Perfect conditions for a really high tide. I did check the beach on the 7th. and could only see the old erosion face from last year and the regrowth on the sand screen below them. There was a slight notch in several location that looked as if it could be more than a few days old but it was not very extensive (these are labeled in white in the above photo). I revisited the same areas south of beach one today and can see a fresh cut (only 5 to 20cm tall) but extending most of the way along the beach (labeled in yellow). Also the beach below the cut does seem to be “steeper”. So I suspect there has been some significant erosion/sand movement along the beach in the past week. So the picture that the erosion events are most likely to occur with the king tides (full moon) and atmospheric lows does have a little more circumstantial support.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Venus Bay Inspired Art

The Last Pipi Harvest at Venus Bay

Mixed Media on Canvas
102 by 102cm
By Norm Hanson 2012
imageThis is a story of anthropogenic extinction, as written into future stone. The ochre coloured sandstone [1] was at one time a thriving beach, brimming with life and specifically a prolific population of Donax Deltiodes, also known as Pipis or Surf clams. However the Pipis were so yummy and they were harvested in such numbers that fewer and fewer shells reached maturity each year. Then suddenly in one season, the entire population failed to reproduce. Worse the rich food chain of the beautiful beach collapsed, with their demise, and the once thriving beach became a pale version of itself. Only a few brave worm burrows [2] could be found. Then all signs of life disappeared [3].

This story need not come true.

The work was created first as a mould of the main units in the sand south of Beach one. This included leaving some of the worm burrow/air holes undisturbed. broken Pipis and other shells where collected nearby and scattered in the mould. The mould was filled with expanding polyurethane foam and cover with the canvas, burried and left to harden for an hour or so. The foam on canvas mould was next painted with several coats of sand, gesso and latex to create an absorbent sandstone like finish. Finally this was “stained” and painted with various oxides. It represents a future geological rock face, perhaps a few million years into our future. This rock face runs close to the bedding planes with the oldest layers, the ochre sandstone on the lower left, closest to you. You are looking "up" in time.

This work will be on display at the Mount View Art Show, 14th - 17th June 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Transit of Venus

Second contact of Ingress taken in 2004Providing the skies are cloud free, Venus Bay will be a great place to observe the Transit of Venus. Remember you must not look directly at the sun SERIOUS EYE DAMAGE MAY RESULT.
The transits of Venus, they are like an eclipses, are very rare but when they occur there are two such events 8 years apart. During the transit Venus is positioned between us and the sun and casts a shadow. Unlike an eclipse of the moon this show is small and seen as a small dark dot as it moves across the face of the sun.
This is only the fifth transit since James Cook travelled to Tahitti in 1769 to make observation there. Astronomers back in England wanted to know exactly how long the transit took and from that they predicted they would be able to compute the distance of the earth and Venus from the sun. This trip is also famous because on the way back to England he reach Australia, called it New South Wales and claimed it for England.


There are four key events in the transit
First touches the sun
8:18 AM
Just inside the Sun, ingress
8:34 AM
Just inside the Sun, egress
2:27 PM
Last Touches the Sun
2:45 PM


Where is the best place to observe?

Well really anywhere around Venus Bay you can see the sun at the times above. Remember the sun will be relatively low in the sky during the Ingress. So I might start my own observations just near lees Road and Jupiter avenue intersection, on the bike track as it comes off the little rise. There is a very clear view of the eastern sky from here. During the Egress the car park at Beach One is a good location as it has a good view of the north western sky.

The Venus Bay, Tarwin Lower Men’s Shed are having activities around observing the transit, weather permitting, including a sausage sizzle & live music from local artists. They will have a solar telescope for safe viewing of the transit, solar flares, sunspots and active regions of the sun. Gold Coin Donation. Check the May edition of Matter of Fact Newsletter for more details.

How to Observe?

I will be using the same method used by captain cook. I will project an image of the sun onto a screen using my telescope. I took the picture below of the transit in 2004 and I’m hoping I can do better this time.
Taken in Wheelers Hill on 8 June 2004
The Sydney observatory has a great factsheet on the 6 June 2012 Transit of Venus. If you’d like more information of making observations yourself, it will even help you do the calculations of distance to the sun and Venus if you want to independently verify the astronomers work.