3RF Australia
Three Rivers Foundation
3RF (Australia) Pty Ltd | ACN 136 421 184 | www.3RF.com.au
18 Mosely Street, STRATHFIELD NSW 2135


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3RF Events and Activities

As a major part of 3RF's mission to promote interest & education in astronomy, we regularly support a number of local and regional star parties by providing and operating large, quality telescopes and running public Sky Tours for the benefit of those people wishing to attend those events.

Why do we do this? Because we know that so many of the people attending those events either do not have their own telescopes, or wonder what it would be like to observe through a larger telescope than they currently own or have access to.

A small selection of the events which we either host or support are listed below:


OzSky 2017: The OzSky Star Safari
22nd - 29th April 2017

The OzSky Star Safari is an exclusive event hosted by 3RF Australia on the outskirts of Coonabarabran, New South Wales - The Astronomy Capital of Australia.

OzSky's primary aim is to provide amateur astronomers from the Northern Hemisphere with not only a unique Australian cultural experience, but more importantly a unique opportunity to experience the grandeur of the southern night skies through a number of large, high quality astronomical instruments without the need to transport large telescopes from one side of the world to the other.

Formerly known as the Deepest South Texas Star Safari due to it's founding attendees coming primarily from Texas, the new name "OzSky Star Safari" has recently been adopted to reflect the expanding demographic of amateur and professional astronomers now attending this popular event on a regular basis.

OzSky 2017 will be held between 22nd - 29th April 2017 with pre-trip touring in Sydney suggested for 3-4 days prior.

For more details including booking information and registration forms for this unique event, please visit our website at www.OzSky.org or email Info@3RF.com.au



OzSky 2016: The OzSky Star Safari
2nd - 9th April 2016

OzSky 2016 was held between 2nd - 9th April 2016 and attracted a total of 61 people from 15 different US States, 3 Canadian Provinces, the United Kingdom and 3 Australian states. Whilst we ended up with 38 registered observers in this year's group (two over our nominal limit of 36), we also had a significant number of "non-observing" family members join us, including two very young "observers-to-be" aged 1½ and 3½.

For more details including booking information and registration forms for the next event, please visit our website at www.OzSky.org or email Info@3RF.com.au



OzSky 2015: The OzSky Star Safari
17th - 24th April 2015

OzSky 2015 was held between 17th - 24th April 2015 and attracted a total of 54 people from 6 countries.

For more details including booking information and registration forms for the next event, please visit our website at www.OzSky.org or email Info@3RF.com.au



SPSP 22: The South Pacific Star Party
22-25 May 2014

The annual South Pacific Star Party (SPSP) is a major star party hosted by the Astronomical Society of New South Wales and is one which 3RF has supported for a number of years. The 2014 SPSP was held from 22 - 25 May, 2014 with public Sky Tours again provided by volunteers from 3RF Australia.

Since it's inception, 3RF has supported the SPSP by providing large telescopes for public Sky Tours, and has also donated numerous door prizes of free private observing sessions using some of 3RF's largest telescopes.



OzSky 2014: The OzSky Star Safari
29 March - 5 April 2014

OzSky 2014 was held between 29 March - 5 April 2014 attracting a total of 45 people from 7 different contries.

For more details including booking information and registration forms for the next event, please visit our website at www.OzSky.org or email Info@3RF.com.au



SPSP 21: The South Pacific Star Party
9 - 12 May 2013

The annual South Pacific Star Party (SPSP) is a major star party hosted by the Astronomical Society of New South Wales and is one which 3RF has supported for a number of years. The 2013 SPSP was held over the weekend of 9 - 12 May 2013 with public Sky Tours again provided by volunteers from 3RF Australia.

Since it's inception, 3RF has supported the SPSP by providing large telescopes for public Sky Tours on the Friday and Saturday nights, and has also donated door prizes of free private observing sessions using some of 3RF's largest telescopes.



IceInSpace Astro Camp
11 - 13 April 2013

IceInSpace Astro Camp (IISAC) is a star party organised for the IceInSpace online Astronomy Community, and will be held over 3 nights from 11 - 13 April 2013 at Lostock Scout Camp, Lostock in the beautiful Hunter Valley area of NSW. This location is chosen because of its proximity to Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle, and at under 4 hours drive from Sydney you'll be amongst clear, very dark skies in a lovely country setting.

3RF will be attending IISAC again in 2013, and will continue support the event by providing and operating a number of large telescopes which may include quality 14" and 18" telescopes.



OzSky 2013: The OzSky Star Safari
9 - 16 March 2013

OzSky 2013 was held between 9 - 16 March 2013.

For more details including booking information and registration forms for the next event, please visit our website at www.OzSky.org or email Info@3RF.com.au



OzSky 2012 Post-Eclipse Star Safari
17-18 November 2012

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly between Earth and the Sun, thereby totally or partially obscuring all or part of the Sun for an observer on Earth. A total solar eclipse occurs when the Moon's apparent diameter is equal to or larger than that of the Sun, and occurs in a narrow path across the surface of the Earth.

Volunteers from 3RF Australia were actively involved in observing the 2012 Total Solar Eclipse from north of Cairns in Far North Queensland, and also hosted this Post-Eclipse Star Safari at Coonabarabran.

The 2012 Post-Eclipse Star Safari was held at Coonabarabran, The Astronomy Capital of Australia, following the Total Solar Eclipse in November at Cairns.

While participants were still be in awe from the eclipse in Cairns on 14 November, this 2-night event was designed as an astronomical observing extension for those travelling from afar, with the opportunity to experience Australia's amazing night skies.

For more details including booking information and registration forms for this unique event, please visit our Post-Eclipse Star Safari website at www.3RF.com.au/PESS or email us at Info@3RF.com.au



Border StarGaze
15 - 19 August, 2012

The Border StarGaze is a star party hosted by the Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga and proudly supported by 3RF. The 2012 event was held from 15 - 19 August 2012 at the 120 hectare (300 acre) Wymah Valley Retreat, 32km north of Albury, New South Wales.

3RF again offered its support for Border StarGaze by providing a number of large telescopes for the Public Astronomy Sky Tours on the Friday and Saturday nights. Telescopes provided included quality 14" and 18" telescopes for the benefit of those attending this event.



Transit of Venus Outreach: Pacific Harbour, Fiji Islands
6 June 2012

The 2012 Transit of Venus was likely to be the last one anyone alive at the time would see.

A Transit of Venus occurs when the planet Venus passes across the face of the Sun. The previous transit occurred in 2004 and was the first since 1882. This Transit was visible in it's entirety from Sydney and most of Eastern Australia, commencing at 8:16am (1st contact) and ending at 2:44pm (last contact). The next Transit of Venus won’t occur until 2117, so if you didn't see this one, look up the photos!

In this exclusive, free event hosted by 3RF Australia's Lachlan MacDonald (who took time out of his honeymoon in Fiji!) on the grounds of the Uprising Beach Resort at Pacific Harbour in the Fiji Islands, tourists, residents and local communities alike had the opportunity to safely view the Transit event through a dedicated Coronado PST Solar Telescope, and at the same time learnt about the rotation of the elements of our Solar System and what the Transit of Venus was all about.



OzSky 2012: The OzSky Star Safari
15 - 26 February 2012

OzSky 2012 was held between 15 - 26 February 2012 with the observing portion scheduled for 19 - 25 February 2012.



OzSky Alumni Star Safari
3 - 10 November 2010

Another of the main events being coordinated by 3RF Australia is the pilot OzSky Alumni Star Safari (OzSky Alumni), held annually (upon request) near Coonabarabran, New South Wales - The Astronomy Capital of Australia.

The OzSky Alumni Star Safari is an event aimed at providing past attendees of OzSky / Deepest South Texas Star Safari and anyone else with a dedicated observing week under the grandeur of the October / November southern skies without the need to transport large telescopes across the Pacific Ocean.

The 2010 OzSky Alumni Star Safari was held from 3 - 10 November 2010.



Garma Festival of Aboriginal Culture - Astronomy Program
6 - 9 August, 2010 - Nhulunbuy (Gove), Arnhem Land, NT

3RF Australia was invited to attend the 2010 Garma Festival held at Gulkula, near Nhulunbuy (Gove) in north-east Arnhem Land in August 2010. This remote mining town, some 700km from the next nearest town, Katherine, in Australia's Northern Territory became the focal point of a week-long cultural event concerning indigenous culture in Australia.

The program included traditional tribal song and dance routines allowing groups normally remote from each other to share involvement, music and entertainment, and lectures and workshops on significant issues affecting the indigenous population. 3RF volunteers provided daytime viewing with solar telescopes displaying both sunspots and solar prominences, and night time observing with large telescopes up to 18 inches in diameter and were lucky to enjoy clear weather for these activities.

On the way back from the Garma Festival, a number of impromptu star parties were held for visitors to some of the more significant National Parks in the Outback, most notably at Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks in the Northern Territory, and the Bungle Bungles in Western Australia.

The format was to advertise each event as widely as possible to as many groups of visitors as possible with the designated observing site being at the foot of a bright green laser pointer aimed at the zenith. This beam was easy to spot in the clear darkness of parks remote from even the smallest towns. Around half the attendees were overseas tourists visiting the parks.



 

Coonabarabran Public Astronomy Night
26 June, 2010 - Coonabarabran, NSW

This was held on the evening of Saturday 26 June 2010 in conjunction with the "Celebrating the AAO - Past, Present, and Future" open day at Siding Spring Observatory. 3RF Australia set up a number of telescopes in the car park of the Coonabarabran visitors Centre to show attendees the night sky and a Lunar Eclipse which was also occuring on the night. The session was well attended, with a large number of tourists adding to the group.



 

Armidale Astronomy Night
8 May, 2010 - Armidale, NSW

On saturday 8 May 2010, 3RF volunteers conducted a public observing night in Armidale which was attended by about 500 locals, together with a number of tourists who had extended their stay in the city by several days so as to participate. The massive 30" telescope and several other large dobsonians were the focus of eager lines of observers in cool, clear conditions.



 

Parramatta Park Solar Astronomy Program
12 September, 2010 - Parramatta, NSW

Parramatta Park Trust invited 3RF Australia to attend it's annual Open Day to provide Solar Astronomy Observing opportunities to those attending the open day. Several solar telescopes were set up in the park giving attendees the opportunity to observe both sunspots and solar prominences which were quite spectacular on the day. Well over 400 people were treated to views through the telescopes, however one or two did not believe the views they saw through the H-alpha PST telescope, insisting that we must have placed photos of the sun in front of the eyepiece.



 

Parramatta Park
24 April, 2010 - Parramatta, NSW

3RF Australia's Tony Buckley and Lachlan MacDonald attended the recent Parramatta Park Public Astronomy Night along with a few hardy members of local astronomy clubs around Sydney to introduce the wonders of the night sky to members of the public as a part of the International Year of Astronomy. Unfortunately, the weather did not co-operate with us for this event, and at one stage 3RF's Lachlan MacDonald had to retreat at short notice to the shelter of 3RF's massive 30" telescope to keep out of the rain. 3RF has provided support for this annual family-oriented event since its inception in 2009.



 

Cape Hawke Astronomy Night
15 April, 2010 - Cape Hawke (Forster), NSW

This small, impromptu Public Star Party was held at Cape Hawke lookout, attracting a number of tourists and locals alike to enjoy the night sky through 3RF's 18" Ultra Compact Obsession Teleascope.


 

Port Macquarie
First event: 13-14 April, 2010 plus various other dates thorughout 2010-2012 - Port Macquarie, NSW

A small impromptu Public Star Party was held in the Observatory Park, Port Macquarie on the evening of 13 April, attracting dozens of tourists and locals alike. The following evening, 3RF Australia was asked by local identity and amateur astronomer Dave Reneke to assist with an Astronomy Presentation which he had organised for that evening. 3RF Australia provided it's 18" Ultra Compact Obsession Teleascope through which the participants enjoy stunning views of the night sky.


OzSky 2010: The OzSky Star Safari
19 - 19 March, 2010 - Coonabarabran, NSW

One of the main events coordinated by 3RF Australia is the popular OzSky / Deepest South Texas Star Safari (DSTSS), held each year near Coonabarabran, New South Wales - The Astronomy Capital of Australia.

The Deepest South Texas Star Safari, as the name suggests, is an event which is aimed at assisting amateur observers from the United States of America by providing them with the opportunity to experience the grandeur of the southern skies without the need to transport large telescopes.

Dozens of visitors from the USA attended the premium week-long event, with the majority planning their next return trip before the week was over.

For further details, including booking information, please visit: www.OzSky.org.



 

Glen Davis Lunar Star Party
First event: 7 February 2010 plus various other dates (ongoing) - Glen Davis, NSW

This small event attracted the hiking/birding/outdoor fraternity near Glen Davis on the Western boundary of the Wollemi National Park. Particularly for first time observers, the moon was a big attraction.


 

Kaputar Summit Star Party
First 3RF event: 23-24 January, 2010 plus various other dates (ongoing) - Mt Kaputar National Park, Narrabri, NSW

This event was held under crystal clear skies and warm weather despite being at an altitude of over 1,500 metres, in the National Park which is a series of extinct volcanic peaks and plugs 120km north of Coonabarabran. The site was very dark and capable of delivering superb seeing, as it did on this occaision. As well as quality 3RF telescopes, several participants brought their own telescopes, one being a new SCT (Schmidt-Cassegrain) and the owner was pleased to be able to get some practical lessons in getting the most out of his instrument.


 

New England Star Party
20 January, 2010 - Armidale, NSW

This small, impromptu Public Star Party was held at Armidale, attracting a number of tourists and locals alike to enjoy the night sky through 3RF's 18" Ultra Compact Obsession Teleascope.


 

Milparinka Gold Fields Star Party
First event: 19 September, 2009 plus various other dates throughout 2009-2013 - Milparinka, Outback NSW

This star party, held for the benefit of tourists and gold prospectors at the remote Mt Browne goldfields near Milparinka in the far north-western NSW border country was lucky to take place just ahead of the biggest dust storm on record. However, the lucky participants were able to enjoy views of the night sky from a spot where the nearest small town was over 100km away, and which was far enough north to be able to show such northern objects as the Ring Nebula (M57) at their best.


 

"Space is Big" School Astronomy Night
28 August, 2009 - Mamre Anglican School, Erskine Park, NSW

3RF Australia regularly donates Door Prizes to major events such as the ASNSW's South Pacific Star Party, in the form of free Private Observing Sessions using one of it's monster telescopes. The 2009 SPSP's door Prize was won by an amateur astronomer who elected to claim his prize by having 3RF Australia provide one of it's monster telescopes at an astronomy night held at his son's primary school.


 

PLC Sydney School Astronomy Night
First event: 26 August, 2009 and various other dates (ongoing) - PLC Sydney, Pymble, NSW

3RF's Tony Buckley, Lachlan MacDonald, Gary Kopff and Mai Tran recently visited Pymble Ladies' College to promote interest and education in astronomy by presenting a Public Astronomy Night to the teachers and students of Pymble Ladies College as well as their families, friends and neighbours, introduce the wonders of the night sky to members of the public as a part of the International Year of Astronomy.

Over one hundred students, teachers, family members, friends and neighbours attended this highly successful event, most of whom had never had an opportuity to look through a telescope before.


 

2009 Border StarGaze Public Sky Tours
19 - 23 August 2009 - Wymah (Albury), NSW

The Border StarGaze is a star party hosted by the Astronomical Society of Albury-Wodonga and proudly supported by 3RF. The 2009 event was held from 19-23 August 2009 at the 120 hectare (300 acre) Wymah Valley Retreat, 32km north of Albury, New South Wales.

3RF offered its support for Border StarGaze by providing a number of large telescopes for the Public Astronomy Sky Tours on the Friday and Saturday nights. Telescopes included high quality 18" and 30" telescopes as well as a 12½" binocular telescope, provided for the benefit of those attending this event.

Inclement weather experienced throughout most of Friday caused the organisers to cancel the public Sky Tours scheduled for that evening so as to avoid crowds of people flocking to the facility in the extreme wet weather with very little chance of observing. Fortunately for some, the skies opened up for a few hours on the Friday evening, treating those who braved the trip to Border StarGaze to the experience of a lifetime through the 18" telescope and a 12½" binocular telescopes provided for the public by 3RF Australia.

Saturday did not see that same luck however, with constant heavy rain plaguing all efforts to hold any further public sky tours for those attending on the Saturday evening.


 

Girl Guides Astronomy Night
8 August, 2009 - Camp Chapman Girl Guides Camp, Somersby, NSW

3RF Australia was invited by a Central Coast Girl Guides group to provide some telescopes and volunteers at one of it's regular Guide Camps.

3RF's John Bambury, Andrew Murrell, Tony Buckley and Lachlan MacDonald attended the event with various large telescopes, kindling interest in science and astronomy amongst the Girl Guide attendees.


 

2009 South Pacific Star Party
22 - 24 May 2009 - Ilford, NSW

The annual South Pacific Star Party (SPSP) is a major star party hosted by the Astronomical Society of New South Wales and is one which 3RF has supported for a number of years. For the past several years, 3RF has supported the SPSP by providing large telescopes for the public Sky Tours on the Friday and Saturday nights. We have also donated door prizes of free private observing sessions using some of 3RF's largest telescopes.

The 17th annual SPSP was a complete wash-out event in 2009, with rain and cloud preventing any observing. Spirits were kept high, however, with a number of daytime and evening activities planned to keep the hordes busy.

The 2010 SPSP will be held over the weekend of 14 - 16 May 2010.


DSTSS 2009: The Deepest South Texas Star Safari
20 - 28 May, 2009 - Coonabarabran, NSW

In May, the 2009 “Deepest South Texas Star Safari” (DSTSS) was held near Coonabarabran, New South Wales. This exclusive event, now in it’s sixth year, is aimed at providing amateur astronomers from the US and Canada with not only an Australian cultural experience, but more importantly the unique opportunity to experience the grandeur of the southern night skies through large, high quality instruments without the need for them to transport large telescopes across the South Pacific themselves.

With over 30 participants regularly attending this event from 10 US states and 3 Countries, we are able to book the entire 25-acre Warrumbungles Mountain Motel complex allowing us to have full control of the venue's on-site lighting to ensure that our visitors are treated to the best southern dark-sky experience possible.

Two New Telescopes
3RF’s two newest instruments saw “first light” at this year’s Deepest South Texas Star Safari:

  • A 30” ƒ/4.5 telescope designed and built by Peter Read of SDM Telescopes in Australia; and
  • A new 22” ƒ/4.5 binocular telescope - virtually identical to the impressive 22” binocular telescope at Comanche Springs Astronomy Campus - designed and built by Bruce Sayre of California

    Testimonial:

    I'm ETERNALLY, ETERNALLY in your debt for allowing me the privilege of seeing the wonders of the Southern Sky!!! My employer gives me a 8-week sabbatical leave every seven years, and I was eligible to take that time in February 2009. I'd been planning for years to include a week's solid observing of southern skies in Australia. The fly in the ointment was the logistics. Where should I go, to insure clear, dark skies? And more importantly, how do I insure access to a telescope at least as good as what I have at home--a 14" truss-tube Dob? Access to a good telescope was the real rub. I'd decided long ago that shipping my own scope to Oz was just not feasible, from both a cost and time perspective. I'd resigned myself to buying a 14" telescope in Australia, then selling it afterwards on E-Bay or elsewhere. And going to Alice Springs for observing.

    Then I discovered the existence of the DSTSS.

    *** WHAT A GODSEND!!! ***

    This was exactly, EXACTLY, what I was looking for!! You provide the venue and scopes (and far better ones than I could EVER have hoped for, if I did this on my own!).

    I was worried, as I know you were, that the event would be a complete wash-out, given the drizzly weather we had the first two days.

    But then the skies cleared and we had six absolutely glorious nights of observing. I would have considered it well worth the journey just for the first night's observing. In fact, I'd say the sightseeing in Sydney made the trip worthwhile. The rest was all gravy.

    I'm going to be back next year, if I possibly can!!

  • Article published in Amateur Astronomy #64 on the DSTSS



  •  

    "First Light for 3RF's 30" ƒ/4.5 Telescope"
    20 - 28 May 2009 - Coonabarabran, NSW

    The 2009 Deepest South Texas Star Safari held in May 2009 was notable for many reasons, including first light for 3RF 's new 30" ƒ/4.5 Telescope which made its debut at that event and quickly demonstrated that "Aperture Rules!"

    Even on nights of average seeing, internal structure could be easily seen in objects like the Homunculus, while views of Omega Centauri and the Eta Carinae Nebula were simply breathtaking. For many people attending the DSTSS, the 30" telescope reperesented one more great reason to return to Oz for future 3RF events.

    Fortunately, there was no sign of the dreaded "New Telescope Syndrome" where any new telescope uncovered for "first light" allegedly causes the skies to cloud over preventing any observing through that telescope on that night.


     

    "Double Vision through new 3RF 22" ƒ/4.5 Binocular Telescope"
    20 - 28 May 2009 - Coonabarabran, NSW

    3RF's new 22" ƒ/4.5 binocular telescope, designed and built by Bruce Sayre of California, was unveiled at the Deepest South Texas Star Safari near Coonabarabran, NSW in May this year.

    Binocular viewing is an addiction for many observers, and viewing through a pair of high-quality, twin 22" mirrors demonstrates why: transmitting to the observer's brain an intoxicating stereo view of the "Eye Candy" in which the Southern Sky abounds, from 47 Tucanae (NGC 104) to the Tarantula Nebula (NGC 2070), or simply crising through the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and taking in the extra-galactic globular clusters and emission nebulae.

    Coming to the Southern Hemisphere to observe with a humble 10" telescope is a blast. Observing with telescopes like these provided by 3RF is simply unforgettable!

     

    Sapphire Coast Star Party
    First event: 16 May, 2009 plus various other dates (ongoing) - Batemans Bay, NSW

    Beach goers near the NSW South Coast hamlet of Broulee Beach got the novel experience of observing through a large newtonian a few hundred yards from the sand at this popular resort on the coast 300km south of Sydney. We have found that such impromptu events reach an audience of those who would not normally think of attending a formal public night or star party in the same way that the Sidewalk Astronomers of Los Angeles and San Francisco have pioneered.


     

    Parramatta Park Astronomy Night
    2 May, 2009 - Parramatta Park, Parramatta, NSW

    3RF's Tony Buckley and Lachlan MacDonald attended the recent Parramatta Park Public Astronomy Night along with members of many of the local astronomy clubs around Sydney to introduce the wonders of the night sky to members of the public as a part of the International Year of Astronomy.

    Well over two thousand people from the Greater Sydney area attended this popular event, both as individuals and family groups, with many of theose people never having had the opportuity to look through a telescope before.

    Highlights of the evening's observing list included the Moon and Saturn as well as a number of bright double stars and star clusters.

    3RF's support for this event included providing two large telescopes for Sky Tours which treated over 1,500 members of the public to views of the night skies.



     

    Lake Burrendong State Park Star Party
    First event: 27 March, 2009 plus various other dates throughout 2009-2013 - Lake Burrendong, NSW

    This park attracts Water-sports and other outdoor enthusiasts, and this was the latest of several successful one night events held at this popular resort. We have found that the outdoor fraternity readily relates to the astronomy experience and an appreciative audience is always easy to attract.


     

    Cattai National Park
    First event: 7 March, 2009 plus various other dates throughout 2009-2010 - Cattai, NSW

    This star party was coordinated by the Astronomical Society of NSW, who asked 3RF Australia to assist them with the event. Around 100 people attended this event, where over a dozen telescopes were set up to stun the participants with amazing views of the night sky.


     

    Golden Triangle Star Party
    First event: 23-24 January 2009 plus various other dates throughout 2009-2011 - Golden Triangle, VIC

    The famed Golden Triangle, encompassing the rich gold fields of Central Victoria, attracts large numbers of prospectors using the latest in metal detecting technology, and although looking up is a novelty for many of these folk, their technical expertise and interest in the natural world made them a keen and interested audience.