Back for 2016! The Victoria Centre will be hosting thirteen Saturday Evenings at the DAO, featuring guest speakers, solar and nighttime observing with telescopes provided by RASC-Victoria Centre volunteers, tours of the historic Plaskett telescope, and more! Rain or shine, we will have something for everyone to experience.
Dates begin with International Astronomy Day on May 14th. Here are all the dates:
May 14, 21, 28. June 4, 11. July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30. August 6, 13, 20.
PLEASE NOTE: due to the extreme traffic congestion in previous years, admission is now by ticket ONLY. Tickets are FREE and will be available during the week preceding each Saturday evening from our EventBrite site: https://summerstarparties.eventbrite.ca
See you there!
8:15 – 9:00 May 28th – The Night Sky Hitchhiker’s Toolkit: A Guided Tour of Observing Equipment – (RASC Members)
Abstract: Once you’ve been captivated by astronomy you will want to learn about observing. It’s all very confusing at the start, so many choices of telescopes. Tonight we will offer you a guided tour of observing equipment. We will talk about
- Appropriate dress (dependent on the seasons),
- Optimizing your dark adaptation using red light,
- Unaided naked eye observing,
- Use of binoculars,
- Various type of telescopes,
8:15 – 9:00 June 4th – Imaging Other Worlds – Benjamin Gerard
Abstract: The past 20 years has seen the dawn of a new field in astronomy: extrasolar planets, or exoplanets for short—planets orbiting around starts in other solar systems. We now know that the Universe is teeming with exoplanets, thanks largely to the help of the Kepler space telescope, which finds exoplanets by seeing their shadow on its much brighter host star. Although there are a number of different methods of finding exoplanets, my research focuses on an exoplanet detection technique called direct imaging, which as the name suggests is designed to directly image these other worlds. But this is not as simple as it sounds, and it ultimately requires the use of our most powerful telescopes and specially designed optical systems in order to distinguish an exoplanet from the overwhelming glare of its host star. After outlining these challenges, both in engineering and in physics, and how they can be overcome, I will highlight the history of the instruments and detections in this field of direct imaging, and also compare the advantages direct imaging has over other techniques. Come prepared to see real pictures of other worlds!
Bio: Benjamin Gerard is a 2nd year Masters student in Physics and Astronomy at UVic and will continue on to the PhD program in the fall. He did his Bachelors in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Colorado at Boulder and is originally from San Francisco, California. His research, supervised by Dr. Christian Marois, focuses on optical design and image processing algorithms for instruments made to directly image exoplanets.
8:15 – 9:00 June 11th – Monsters in the Dark: Black Holes and Their Messy Habits – Nicholas McConnell
Abstract: Black holes are among the strangest and most powerful objects in the Universe. In their immediate vicinity the familiar concepts of space and time are warped beyond recognition. Farther away, astronomers witness the catastrophic effects of black holes devouring gas and stars, both inside our own Galaxy and far across the universe. But how do we detect black holes lurking in deep space, and what can they teach us about the birth and death of distant galaxies?
Bio: Nicholas McConnell is a Plaskett Postdoctoral Fellow at DAO (NRC Herzberg). He earned his PhD at UC Berkeley in 2012 and then worked for three years at the University of Hawaii. In 2011 he led the discovery of the two most massive black holes known in the universe, each 10 billion times the mass of our Sun. He continues to search for extremely massive black holes and studies how they impact the galaxies in which they reside.
8:00 – 9:00 July 2nd – Introduction to the Night Sky – David Lee
Abstract: Since the beginning of time we have been curious about the objects in the night sky. Have you ever wondered about that bright star early in the morning or at dusk? Do you know the best time to view the Moon? Do you know which planet was once thought to have ears! What does splitting doubles mean? Learn about what you can see this summer at our Summer Star Parties.
Bio: David Lee is an amateur astronomer who has supported public outreach for astronomy and the sciences for over two decades. He is also an avid photographer who has found himself becoming more and more a tourist of the night sky.
Speakers for this season
May 14th – Journey to the Edge of the Solar System, New Horizons The First Mission to the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt (Ivar Arroway)
May 14th – The Greatest Show on Earth: Solar Eclipses (Michael Webb)
May 21st – Introduction to the Night Sky (David Lee)
May 28th – The Night Sky Hitchhiker’s Toolkit: A Guided Tour of Observing Equipment (RASC Members)
June 4th – Imaging Other Worlds (Benjamin Gerard)
June 11th – Monsters in the Dark: Black Holes and Their Messy Habits (Nicholas McConnell)
July 2nd – Introduction to the Night Sky (David Lee)
July 9th – Where Baby Stars Come From: A Look Behind Orion’s Belt (Steve Mairs)
July 16th – Gravitational Waves and a New Era of Discovery (Nicholas McConnell)
July 16th – Hubble Space Telescope (Chris Gainor)
July 23rd – The Birth, Life, and Death of Stars (Jared Keown)
July 30th – What is Dark Matter? (Kyle Oman)
August 6th – Observing Planning and Logging Panel Discussion (RASC Members)
August 13th – Light and Life, Sculptors of Earth: The First 2 Billion Years (Dorothy Paul)
August 13th – Voyage to Alpha Centauri (Christian Marois)
August 20th – Astrophotography: Imaging the Sky Panel Discussion (John McDonald, Dan Posey and David Lee)