Helensburgh Tunnel (Metropolitan Tunnel)

The other week myself and a few friends explored the old and abandon Helensburgh Tunnel (some also call it the Metropolitan Tunnel). The biggest motivation for exploring the tunnel: Glow worms! We arrived at the tunnel at around 11pm and I was not disappointed at all, it was very cool 🙂

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The whole area is very muddy and dark so water proof boots and a torch is essential. The other end of the tunnel is fully submerged so it’s not actually possible to walk from one end to the other but it does mean there are tadpoles swimming around even in the puddles outside the tunnel.

 

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Observing Jupiter

I managed to get out my telescope and have a look at Jupiter early this morning. As you may or may not know, Jupiter is the largest planet in our solar system orbiting past Mars. It is composed mainly of an atmosphere of hydrogen, helium and other gases with a liquid layer and a most likely rocky core. Jupiter is currently just past opposition, which is when the Earth’s orbit is closest to the planet (best time for viewing). In the Sky Jupiter is apparent as a bright star:

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There was a bit of cloud cover which is bad news for viewing as the clouds blur and distort views beyond them. Through my telescope Jupiter looks like a bright circle and when focused and at a high enough magnification some cloud details become evident, particularly the two main brown bands near the equator. These are two of my attempts at photographing Jupiter through my telescope, sadly this is the part I’m not so great at 😦

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The other apparent feature when looking at Jupiter is it’s Galilean moons (Jupiter’s four largest moons) which look like stars close to the planet and all on a similar plane. When overexposing Jupiter the moons become visible in the photo.

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On another note I noticed a Satellite in the sky and took a 20 second exposure of it. It turned out not to be the International Space Station, just one of the many unmanned satellites we have up there. At the time I took this it was directly over the south of Australia (west of Melbourne) and in about 8 minutes was due to be directly over Antarctica. Still pretty cool to think about.

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And now I feel like a big nerd but really chilled out and ready for bed. It’s a fascinating universe we live in.

National Park Walk

Last Saturday myself and Maya went for a bush walk through the Royal National Park. More specifically we did this track. The drive to our starting point (a carpark area) was nothing out of the ordinary until I drove past the turnoff and then realised the turnoff was that rocky dirt road I passed by earlier… It would have had to have been the rockiest road I’ve driven on, but no popped tyres so all good!

 

 

The track was pretty good and it’s nice to be out there in nature:

 

We eventually descended towards the coast and reached an open area with some nice views of the Illawarra coast line.

 

And spotted this on the way back:

Overall it was a nice day 🙂

Jenolan Caves

Earlier today me and a mate, Alex visited Jenolan Caves. Specifically we visited the Nettle and Orient caves there. He woke up at 4:30am so he could catch the early train to Katoomba to get some extra photos which I was pretty impressed with 😛

Jenolan Caves and the surrounding area is quite nice. The caves have a unique eery feel to them, the entrance to the Nettle cave looks very surreal and I imagine it’s what being on Mars would feel like.

We were taken on a tour of the Orient cave which was the more “beautiful” of the two with fragile wet and dry limestone crystals, the scenes in this cave were very impressive. I didn’t think I would feel the slightest bit claustrophobic in the caves but let’s just say it was pretty crammed in some parts and the oxygen levels didn’t seem to be as high as they were outside but I got used to being in there pretty quickly. The most interesting thing to me was that the caves many years ago were actually submerged below the sea level.

After we got back to Katoomba we finished off the evening by going to the Common Ground Cafe which is a great place to get something to eat.