AGM, Awards & Elections

Posted by as Meetings

Victoria Centre’s Annual General Meeting and dinner was held on Nov 16, 2014 at Moon Under Water Pub in Victoria, BC, Canada.

After enjoying a delicious dinner, and a fascinating presentation by Dr. James Di Francesco on the latest discoveries coming out of the Atacama Large Meter Array in Chile, awards were presented, reports were given, and an election of officers was held.

Nelson Walker presented Certificates of Appreciation to the whole key General Assembly 2014 team:

  • John McDonald – Registration
  • Chris Purse – Registration
  • Reg Dunkley – Registration
  • Deb Crawford – Hospitality
  • Nelson Walker – Finance
  • Lauri Roche – Papers and Presentations
  • Jim Hesser – Papers and Presentations
  • David Lee – Audio / Visual
  • Sherry Buttnor – Audio / Visual
  • Charles Banville – Transportation

David Lee was presented with the Award of Excellence in Astrophotography for his photos of the Partial Solar Eclipse Oct 2014.

Jim Stillburn was presented with the Ernie Pfannenschmidt Award in Amateur Telescope Making for the fabrication of his custom 10 inch Optical/Reflector Tube Assembly

Mark Bohlman and Paul Schumacher were presented as co-winners of the Newton – Ball Service Award 2014 for their management of the 2014 National General Assembly.

Outgoing President Nelson Walker was presented with a Certificate of Excellence for his excellent leadership of Victoria Centre.

A new slate of officers were all elected by acclamation. Congratulations to all!  See list here.

President’s Message – November 2014

Posted by as President's Message

 

Of the organizations that I have belonged to in my life, professional associations, sports clubs, conservation groups, and neighborhood associations, this one, RASC Victoria Centre, has been one of the best, if not THE best. I am honored that for two years I have been its president.

Let me explain why. In my experience, most such groups feature an impenetrable inner circle, a leadership that cannot separate its own interests from the group’s interests, and a mission that is largely ignored in practice. Not so with Victoria Centre. Its leadership positions are easily available to all, and rotate regularly. Its culture is one of inclusion, not exclusion. Best of all, its mission, public outreach, modest though it may seem when compared to the more important sounding missions of larger, but less successful groups, is front-and-center, and is practiced with enthusiasm by most of the members.

This last year stands as a testament to this club’s strength: an enviable national convention held at a first-class university, an astronomy day event held in a downtown Victoria landmark, and the successful resurrection of public tours and night-sky viewing from the DAO after they appeared to be lost among government budget cuts which seem to have become so common today. Most remarkably, these “signature” events were held in addition to our usual array of outreach events.

I could go on, but I won’t. Thanks to everyone in the club that makes its success possible. The energy and competence of our members is, well, amazing.

Victoria Centre AGM & Dinner – Sunday, Nov 16, 2014

Posted by as Events, Meetings

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Victoria Centre

Annual General Meeting and Dinner

Sunday, November 16, 2014

at the Moon Under Water Brewpub, 350 Bay St, Victoria, BC

6:00pm – Drinks, conversation

  • No host bar
  • If interested there may be a chance to tour the brewery

6:30 – Dinner

Payment -Cost of dinner is $35.00 per person, inclusive of all taxes and gratuities

  • Payment is only required for the meal.
  • Attendance at both the speaker presentation and the business meeting is free of charge.
  • The total number of dinners must be confirmed by Monday, November 10th. Please look over the menu and send your choice of First Course and Main Course to:
    • Lauri Roche – 250-652-2361 or text to 250-893-5277 or
    • By email to pastpres@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Payment at the door – by cheque (preferred) or cash
    • Meals will be pre-ordered and must be paid for, whether you show up or not

Menu: fixed sit-down meal. Choices:

First Course – choice of soup or salad

  • Carrot Ginger Soup
  • House salad

Main Course – choice of entrée

  • Grilled Pacific salmon filet, served with fresh seasonal vegetables and risotto
  • Roast beef served with a Yorkshire pudding, gravy and fresh seasonal vegetables
  • Stuffed Portobello mushroom caps, served with Yorkshire pudding, country cream gravy and fresh seasonal vegetable – vegetarian option

Tea, Coffee (regular and decaffeinated) and Dessert buffet service. Specialty coffees available at cost

7:30pm – Speaker – Dr. James Di Francesco

Dr. Francesco will be describing the newest research that is coming out of ALMA, the Atacama Large Meter Array, down in Chile and the latest advances in planetary formation and will bring us up to date with the James Webb Space Telescope. This talk should not be missed!

8:30 pm Annual General Meeting

The agenda will be sent out closer to the meeting date.

Partial Solar Eclipse – success!

Posted by as Events, News

October 23, 2104

Sid Sidhu – What a day it was for viewing the Solar Eclipse! In the early morning all the weather reports indicated nothing but rain in Victoria for the rest of the day, however the 10 am updates showed some glimmer of hope that we may be in luck. Then, on cue at noon, the clouds parted and – wow a blue sky. I suppose a bit of sacrifice does help.

By 1:20 pm we had 11 telescopes at Mt. Tolmie to view and share the spectacle with the public. There was a continuous stream of people young and old hoping to have a glimpse of the Moon biting a chunk of the Sun. There was one older couple who were one of the first to come and practically the last to leave. From all the responses of their appreciation from everyone it appears that it was a very successful event and they were glad to be a part of it.

Though the main event in Victoria was at Mt. Tolmie, many of our members had their own individual eclipse viewing at their work places. Many thanks for their participation and reporting their GM counts.

After all the tallies, the total GM count is 274. Thanks to all the volunteers for their help.

Betty Hesser – Sid, you can add eight amateur cellists to your list of enthusiastic eclipse viewers! The sky was not very promising in the morning, but I took two pairs of solar viewing glasses to my cello group rehearsal in the early afternoon. One set her watch alarm for eclipse maximum, and then we laid down our instruments, loosened our bows, and headed out to the patio in the bright, clear sunshine. There was much excitement as we passed the glasses around and everyone wanted to know what exactly was happening, why we didn’t see this every month, why didn’t everything get dark, etc.

A wonderful afternoon among friends with music and a public-outreach opportunity, too! By the time our rehearsal was over, it had clouded over again, and we were sprinkled on as we left the parking lot.

Joe Carr – The weather today did not start out very promising for successfully observing the Partial Solar Eclipse in the early afternoon. The morning saw heavy cloud cover and rain squalls, and the forecast was gloomy, which probably also described many RASC Victoria members’ mood for this event. The eclipse was to start at 1:32PM, and about an hour before the skies cleared and the Sun shone, as if some kind of miracle was being given to us. The clear skies held through the first half of the eclipse, and didn’t really deteriorate until midway through the last half.

I was very happy to have observed and photographed this partial solar eclipse, and shared the experience with four others from my front yard location in the city. We must be somehow charmed in this part of the world, since virtually the same miraculous weather circumstances repeated themselves for the Transit of Venus in 2012.

Bill Weir – I skipped out of work early at Victoria General Hospital, drove around to the front entrance, and setup solar gear. I took some really awful shots of the eclipse through my scope so won’t show those. My favourites are of those of people who were nice enough to share the event with me.

Sherry Buttnor – I set up my gear on the Metchosin star party field about 30 minutes before the start of the eclipse. The clouds had almost completely disappeared; it was wonderfully (and unexpectedly) sunny, but windy and cool. My first visitor was a Westshore RCMP K9 officer, who was exercising his service dog in the adjacent field. He enjoyed a look at the pre-eclipse Sun and the huge sunspot complex through my telescope, but couldn’t stay for the main event.

After connecting my camera and laptop, I began taking images of the eclipse. The sky remained clear until just past mid-eclipse. Within moments, the clouds rolled in and I just barely got my gear packed up before the rain came pelting down.

During the two hours I was on the field, I had six other visitors at my scope; all people who came to walk their dogs, and whom I offered a look at the eclipsed Sun on my laptop screen. They were pleasantly surprised, and all of them thought this eclipse was an amazing sight. Seven additional GM’s for the list. Video

David Lee – Prepared to be disappointed I packed my car this morning with my camera and a half made solar filter. I recall the transit of Venus from previous years that we had lost hope for appearing miraculously from behind clouds. Today after days of rain the skies cleared just hours before the beginning of the eclipse. I assembled the solar filter over the lunch hour and made it to my vantage point just moments after the eclipse started.

I was most impressed by the display of sunspots especially the one near the centre which narrowly missed being covered as the eclipse progressed.

I was able to share some of the shots from the hour and half that I was there with a few people that passed by. Just a few minutes before totality the clouds started to appear so I packed up, but with a smile on my face as one of my co-workers observed while passing by.

Constantine Thomas – Partial Eclipse in progress, with monster sunspot! Yay, I got the binocular projector to work!  This was from around 3:30ish, just before the clouds rolled in.

Bill Smith – The sun came out from noon-3:30pm. Thanks to the Gods. Cattle Point was a stunning packed place to watch this moving event.

Chris Spratt – Watching it from home. Can see sunspot group with naked eye!

Gary Seronick – We lucked out at my place — but only just. A little while after mid-eclipse, I had to rush outside to rescue the scope from the rain! My story on Skynews.

John McDonaldVideo event from Fairfield.

 

Solar Eclipse Viewing – Oct 23, 2014

Posted by as Special Events

News Release 14 October 2014

 

RASC Victoria Plans Viewing of Solar Eclipse Thursday October 23

 

RASC Victoria Centre: Joe Carr &emdash; Partial Solar EclipseMembers of the RASC Victoria Centre plan to have their telescopes and viewing equipment out on Mount Tolmie for the solar eclipse that will be visible from Victoria the afternoon of Thursday, October 23.

The Moon will move across the face of the Sun as seen from Victoria starting at 1:32 p.m. that day and ending at 4:19 p.m. At the midpoint of the eclipse at 2:58 p.m., about 55 per cent of the Sun’s surface will be covered by the Moon as seen from Victoria.

It is most important to note that solar eclipses should only be viewed only through specially filtered telescopes or filtered glasses. Looking at solar eclipses without this equipment could result in serious damage to the eyes.

All RASC members will use the proper filters when viewing the eclipse. It should also be noted that even with more than half the Sun being covered, the eclipse will not be noticeable to people who are not viewing the Sun.

RASC Victoria members will gather on top of Mount Tolmie to view the eclipse if weather permits throughout the length of the eclipse, and it is possible that RASC members may set up their telescopes elsewhere around Greater Victoria. Telescopes will be fitted with solar filters, and glasses with solar filters will be available for use.

For more information, contact: Sid Sidhu 250-391-0540

If you are observing on your own, here is an information brochure.

Call for nominations 2014

Posted by as Uncategorized

Dear RASC members

As Past President it is one of my duties to oversee the Election of Officers for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre. I hereby give notice that the Election will take place at this year’s Annual General Meeting. The business part of the meeting will be held on Sunday, November 16th at the Moon under Water Brew Pub, 350 Bay St. Victoria, B.C. beginning at 8:30 pm. (A reminder that all members of the RASC Victoria Centre are invited to attend the key speaker at 7:30 pm, and the Annual General Meeting which follows free of charge.)

The election to Council is usually for a two year term. Elected positions are: President, 1st Vice-President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. All other positions, including Members at Large are elected or appointed by Council. Some council members have agreed to let their names stand for their present positions or to run in new positions. These are outlined below and are accurate at the time of writing. We do need to fill the First vice-President, Second Vice-President and Secretary positions at the General Meeting.

Nominations will be accepted from the membership for all positions. Please send in your nominations to me, Lauri Roche, at pastpres@victoria.rasc.ca by November 15th. Nominations will also be accepted on the floor of the Annual General Meeting. If an Election of Officers is necessary we will carry out a secret ballot. Please contact me if you need any further information.

Sincerely,

Lauri Roche Past President, RASC Victoria Centre


List of RASC Council positions for the Victoria Centre 2014-2016

* Elected Positions – People who have let their names stand for election ( so far)

*President – Sherry Buttnor

*First Vice President

*Second Vice President

*Secretary

*Treasurer – Bruce Lane

Appointed/ Other Positions

Past President – Nelson Walker

National Representative – Lauri Roche

Librarian

Telescopes and Public Outreach – Sid Sidhu

Skynews Editor

Membership Co-ordinator

Light Abatement Chair

Webmaster – Joe Carr

Observing Chair

Systems Administrator

Members at Large: Bill Almond (Victoria Centre Historian), Jim Hesser (NRC Liaison), Alex Schmid (University of Victoria Liaison), David Lee (Observing), Li-Ann Skibo, Paul Schumacher

Monthly meeting – Oct 8, 2014

Posted by as Meetings

Date/time: October 8, 2014 7:30PM

Venue: University of Victoria, Bob Wright Bldg Lecture Theatre B150

(Note we are still using B150 instead of our usual A104 in Bob Wright Bldg)

Nelson Walker will be the evening’s speaker with “How Can You Become a
Better Observer?

“How can you become a better observer? How can you do something other than look at the same fifteen objects every time you go out? Can you learn to star hop to IC 289? What equipment works best for visual observing? What charts are best for visual observing? Do you need finder charts? Should you keep a logbook? Learn the answer to these and other burning questions next Wednesday night.”

A great topic, especially for those newcomers to astronomy who have joined us recently!

As usual, we’ll meet afterwards in the astronomy lounge on the fourth floor of the Elliot building for chat and coffee.

President’s Message – October 2014

Posted by as President's Message

The end of summer has brought, oddly, mostly clear nights, and great moons for observing, including, tomorrow morning (October 8), a total lunar eclipse.  A bunch of us, if we can get out of bed at the unholy hour of 2:00 am, will be at Clover Point to see it, and to entertain the public.  And just a reminder, our annual general meeting (AGM) for this year will be held again at the appropriately-named Moon Under Water brewpub located at 350 Bay St.  This will be our third outing at this venue, which has proven to be an excellent choice for us.  Date: November 16 at 6:00.  Details to follow.

President’s Message – September 2014

Posted by as President's Message

This will be a summer to remember – our hosting of GA 2014, along with our hosting of a series of “Summer Star Parties” at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.  Although there was a tiny bit of initial reluctance to undertake both of these at the same time (along with, for sure, most of our “normal” summer outreach activities), once the commitment was made, it was full speed ahead.  The obvious success of both of the ventures was due to the almost unbelievable commitment and effort of their organizers.

It is the latter of these that is freshest in the mind.  Last Saturday, at the last of these “Summer Star Parties,” there were nearly five-hundred visitors!  Public attendance on the Saturdays when in was not raining, or when the wind was not howling, was always in the hundreds.  And problems that arose were mostly connected with the traffic on West Saanich Road.

There is something deeply satisfying about the notion and practice of “public outreach,” something known to our members that head up the club’s outreach efforts, but which I have personally really begun to experience only this last year.  Last Saturday, on the hill, the gibbous moon was crystal clear.  We had telescopes set up on both sides of the dome.  Mine was aimed at the moon.  The lineups at my scope were endless: young families, seniors, twenty-somethings.  Out of this hoard of people of all ages who looked at the moon through a telescope, most surely for the first time, there was not a handful who had nothing to say.  The moon, coming and going unnoticed as it does, can still bring a tear to the eye.

Thanks to those of you in this club that made this happen.

RASCals Star Party – schedule of events

Posted by as Events

Please download our poster to stick on your fridge and to refer to: Poster (130k PDF)

Event – map and times for your e-calendar


Come join us!  Learn Astronomy and Explore the Night Sky

July 25 to 27, 2014

At the Metchosin Municipal Grounds
behind the Metchosin Fire Hall
4440 Happy Valley Road, Victoria, BC, Canada

 

Gates will open at 12pm noon on Friday. Camp on the field and setup your telescope.

Cost: Free of charge!  RASC members and visiting observers (who stay overnight): suggested donation of $20/Adult one day, two or three.  Everyone who is present is entitled to tickets for door prizes, lectures and access to the observing field.

Schedule of Events  (subject to change)

Friday 25th

12:00pm – Gates open

8:00pm – Welcome and Door prizes     

8:30pm – Presentation: Open University Astronomy, John McDonald

9:30pm –Guided Telescope Walk , followed by viewing of the night sky           

Saturday 26th

Solar viewing – all day

1:00pm – Workshop: 27,000 Km per hour, photographing ISS Passes, Charles Banville

2:00pm – Workshop: Observing Not for the Faint of Heart: The RASC Challenge Objects, Nelson Walker

3:00pm – Workshop: Astronomy 101, Sherry Buttnor

4:00pm – 6:00pm – activities for the kids

8:00pm – Door prizes

8:30pm – Speaker: Space Flight through the Ages, Chris Gainor

9:30pm – Guided Telescope Walk, followed by viewing of the night sky

Sunday 27th 

9:30 am – Farewell to Charles Banville – brunch at My Chosen Cafe (no host)

Cleanup (Please pitch-in & help)

12 noonearly departures please!