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, Uncategorized

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 News, 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!

 

OUR STAR PARTY THIS WEEK – WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND IT!

Posted by as Special Events

HI RASCals -

Our annual star party is coming up this week, and I urge you to support it. Event details

Here’s why:

1.  It is unique.  It is literally an “urban star party” (“semi-urban?”)

2.  It’s close.  It’s twenty minutes from Victoria.

3.  It’s low key (it is organized by a tiny committee which barely knows who its own members are).

4.  The weather provides plenty of opportunity for excitement.  Up to thirty knots of wind has been recorded on the telescope field.

5.  Good speakers, poetry possibly excluded.  Good workshops.

6.  Lots of prizes.  Lots of prizes for the kids.

7.  It’s free (although some pressure for donations might be applied by the “committee” until the cost of the privies is covered).

8.  Camping, and it too is free.  Many of the campers will be local families.

9.  A good turnout by the locals who are eager to look through your scope.

10. It is appreciated as a community event by the community of Metchosin.

11. There is a good restaurant a five minute walk away, plus pizza.

It is easy to find things to criticize about our star party.  It isn’t dark.  The weather is unpredictable. It isn’t advertised nationally.  But I have been to every one of our star parties since 2005 (lots of members have been to many more), and I have also been to the Oregon Star Party (many times), Merritt Star Quest, the Golden State Star Party, and Mt. Kobau.  None of these is a community star party.  None of these is twenty minutes from my house.  None of these has pizza nearby.  And as to darkness …. I have logged many hundreds of deep sky objects from the Metchosin field.  It is certainly as dark as it needs to be to do any list of double stars, or the Messier list, or the Finest NGC list, or even the H-400 list, all of which you are doubtless working on.

Come and join us at what may be the only star party in Canada which is twenty minutes from your front door.

Event details

2014 General Assembly – it’s over!

Posted by as Special Events

Thanks to the legions of volunteers who made the GA a great success!

 


The Canadian Space blog – the RASC looks back and looks forward


Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) facebook

I had so much fun last night at the DAO. The cake was so realistic – Peter Jedicke
I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks and congratulations to the Victoria Centre for putting on one of the most memorable 5 days that I can recall in either recent or distant memory. The programmes, the spirit, and the people all made for a real sense of community and camaraderie. I can barely imagine the behind-the-scenes work that went into making this such a special event. A special thank-you to the tireless volunteers who ferried fellow RASCals to and from events and the airport. It was greatly appreciated. - Craig Levine

Hear! Hear! Many thanks for a grand time.- David L. Clark

Visits from Queen Elizabeth and the Duchess of Cambridge, where the Queen knights our own Randall Rosenfeld; Winston Churchill inspires us (Chris Gainor); and Bob MacDonald of Quirks and Quarks pulls us along with his concepts for space travel. Tonight’s banquet was a great end to a successful GA here in Victoria! - Joe Carr

Just got back from tonight’s AGM observing session at the 32″ telescope on top of the Bob Wright Centre. A big thanks to Russ for donating his time so everyone could get in some astronomy on the big scope. - Bruce Lane

RASC, Victoria Centre facebook

I heard many complements about the great job the Victoria Centre did with the 2014 RASC General Assembly, which wrapped up last night. Congratulations to Paul Schumacher, Mark Bohlman, and the rest of the team for a fabulous job. -  Chris Gainor

I also heard many positive comments from guest delegates about our GA, during its four-day run. Well done, everyone! - Sherry Buttnor

Dave Balum wowed the RASC GA 2014 crowd inside the Plaskett dome. Dave was dressed in period costume which Dr. Plaskett would have worn in his day 100 years ago. - Joe Carr

The evening was wonderful and the cake was….Epic !! - Diane Bell

RASCvic email list

Loved it! Sessions were top notch and everyone seemed to be having a good time, with lots of fun moments and humor, especially at the banquet. Congratulations to everyone who helped to make this a memorable GA. – Bill Almond

Saturday Night Public Observing Returns to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory

Posted by as Special Events

For release June 18, 2014

The Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is pleased to announce that the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory will be open for public observing on seven Saturday nights this summer.

The grounds of the DAO will open from 8:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. for the Saturday night observing sessions on July 5, 12 and 19, August 2, 9 and 16, and September 6. Location: 5071 W Saanich Rd., Victoria, BC V9E 2E7.

Please download the poster (1.8Mb PDF) and stick it on your fridge as a reminder, and take another to your local store to post.

On these evenings, RASC members will use their telescopes to show visitors the Moon, planets, stars and other objects in the sky. As well, these evenings will include audio-visual presentations and astronomy lectures inside the historic Plaskett Telescope. These inside activities will take place regardless of the weather conditions.

The National Research Council of Canada is providing its astronomical facilities for the RASC’s summer viewing activities. While the Centre of the Universe educational centre will not be open during these evenings, the NRC is making it available this summer for space-themed camps for young people from Grade 3 to 8 run by the Science Venture program at the University of Victoria.

“We are pleased that our members will be on Little Saanich Mountain again this summer showing the wonders of the universe to members of the public,” said Nelson Walker, president of the Victoria Centre of the RASC. “Our history of public outreach at the DAO goes back decades.”

After the closure of the Centre of the Universe facility at the end of last summer, various community groups met with NRC officials to examine ways of continuing public access to the DAO. This year, Science Venture and the Victoria Centre of the RASC are offering programs, and it is hoped that in the coming months a new organization will be established to operate programs at the Centre of the Universe.

On Astronomy Day in May this year, we had a highly successful event at the DAO, and more than 200 people visited the Plaskett Telescope despite poor weather that prevented any observing that night,” Walker said. “We would like to thank the NRC for their cooperation, which makes all these activities possible.”


Please be aware that although we are open until 11:30 pm the gate to the hill will close for new visitors at 10:30 pm each evening. The Observatory Hill is restricted to 300 people at any one time so there is a chance that you may be asked to wait at the bottom of the Hill before being allowed to go up. Please follow the directions of the commissionaires for parking. It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and bring a sweater or jacket for cooler times after dark. We welcome all ages. There is no registration or reservations and all programs are free. We hope to see you there.

 


 

For more information, contact: Nelson Walker, RASC Victoria Centre, pres@victoria.rasc.ca 250-477-4820. See also: RASC Victoria Centre and Friends of the DAO on facebook