Free offline GPS

When you are out and about in the wilds of the Flinders Ranges, more often than not you are out of range of mobile network signals. Having a GPS app that works offline means that you can record the location of your discovery, whether it be echidna scats to report to EchidnaCSI or an interesting geological outcrop.

We’ve found a free, simple offline GPS app called My GPS Coordinates. It will give you a GPS reading within seconds no matter where you are. From here you can record your location by either simply taking a screenshot, or emailing yourself the geolocation data via the app.

Jupiter’s diminishing Great Red Spot

The Great Red Spot of Jupiter is appearing to unravel. Where once the great storm could encompass three earths, it is now diminishing to the size of one earth. The Great Red Spot is shedding a succession of jet streams as long as 10,000km long, as captured by an amateur astronomer.

Image by Anthony Wesley of Australia, 19/5/19

Jupiter is currently rising in the constellation Ophiuchus, easy to find by association with nearby Scorpius.

This nifty little calculator will tell you what time the Great Red Spot transits into visibility at your latitude / longtitude.

Echidna spotting – get involved via Echidna CSI app

According to a wave of anecdotal evidence from Beltana, Leigh Creek, Warraweena, Copley and across the district, Echidnas are being sighted in surprising numbers. The number of echidna sightings in the Northern Flinders Ranges is rapidly rising, but not much is known about the populations of these elusive little monotremes in our area. The following information and links come from the Atlas of Living Australia who are hosting the citizen science project Echidna CSI. This exciting project invites you to contribute reports of your echidna sightings – past, present and future!

“Although an iconic native Australian animal, we do not know much about echidnas’ wild populations, as they are extremely hard to find (when you’re actually looking for them). However, we know that there are many of you that have seen wild echidnas (sometimes even in your own backyard!) and taken photos or videos of them. With your help and photo taking abilities we can start filling in the gaps about wild echidnas in Australia.

What we also need help with is collecting echidna scats (which is a nicer way of saying poo). Why? Because we can get a lot of information about echidnas through the molecules in their scats. We can get out DNA and hormones to tell us who that echidna is, if it’s healthy, stressed or reproductively active. And so we can learn more about these wild populations without having to track or capture any of these animals.”

Get Involved! There are a couple of options for submitting data

Use EchidnaCSI app to record and submit sighting on the spot:

Download the app and have it ready to take a photo at your next sighting.

Or make a manual online submission of your echidna sighting :

Sign up to the Atlas of Living Australia website and lodge your sighting. Even if you didn’t get a chance to take a photo, you can still submit a date and map marker of your Echidna sighting.

The short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus) seen in Jubilee Creek near Copley

Astronomy night

April Astronomy night under the brilliant Flinders Ranges skies showcased a line up including the new moon, the Orion Nebula, some fabulous clusters, the Tarantula Nebula, globular cluster 47 Tucana, and a look at different types of star such as Betelgeuse and Sirius.

Orion Nebula

Caustic Bush

Native succulent Sarcostema viminale ssp astrale also known as Caustic Bush, Milk Bush, Caustic Plant, Lye Bush, Snake Plant, Pencil Caustic, Milk Vine, here seen at the Lyndhurst Ochre Pits.