Concert: On the Construction of the Heav’ns – Music of William Herschel – Jan 21, 2017

Posted by as Special Events

Saturday, 21 January 2017 at 19:30–21:30

Pre-concert talk at 19:00

Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC V8V 3G8

Uranus - discovered by William Herschel
Uranus – discovered by William Herschel

 

William Herschel wasn’t just the first President of the Royal Astronomical Society. And he didn’t just discover that the celestial body in the sky that others thought was just a star which was actually a planet, Uranus… Or the discoverer of infra-red radiation… He was a multi-instrumentalist and composer of great stature!

Michael Jarvis and Paul Luchkow are joined by Nathan Whittaker (cello) and some of Victoria’s (and the world’s) finest astronomers and astrophotographers in a programme of music and readings from William’s and his equally musical sister and astronomical collaborator Caroline’s diaries.

Acclaimed as some of the finest astrophotographers in Canada, the concert will take place in the splendour of projections of astrophotographs of deep space taken by members of the Victoria Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

The infinity of space in the intimate space of the Chapel of the New Jerusalem at Christ Church Cathedral. Truly a night to remember!

Tickets: General: $25; Students/Seniors: $20
Munro’s Books; Ivy’s Bookshop; Long & McQuade; Christ Church Cathedral Office (903 Burdett); or at the door

(Note by Jim Hesser: Acoustics in this intimate space are very good. Herschel’s beautiful music is played by three outstanding musicians. Dress comfortably and enjoy a unique event featuring Centre members prominently. As seating is limited to 175, I suggest securing tickets in advance; I’ll have some available at the 11 Jan Centre meeting: general $25, seniors (65 and older)/youth $20 all costs included; cash or cheques made out to Christ Church Cathedral.)

President’s Message – January 2017

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Happy New Year! As this is the season for making resolutions I thought I share one of my resolutions. My “astronomy resolution” for 2017 is to spend more time using my telescopes. Looking back in my log, I did not do much personal observing in 2016 so I would like to do much better in 2017. And, when it is cloudy, I plan to devote time to reading and rereading the astronomy books I have in my library so I can optimize my time when I can get out observing.

That got me thinking about a common question we hear at outreach events. That question is how do I know what to look at? Most astronomers do extensive preparation before observing sessions. Part of this process is to determine what part of the sky will be visible from the chosen observing site at the planned observing time. Once that has been determined, references are consulted to see what objects are visible in that part of the sky. This leads to the compilation of a list of targets that may be found and viewed or photographed.

How can a newer astronomer make use of this approach? Perhaps the best method is to complete an observing certificate program. A number of astronomy organizations, including RASC, offer observing programs where a certificate is awarded for documenting the observation of a predetermined list of objects. The advantage of an observing program is that someone has already picked the targets so the participant’s task is to find them and record observations. Specifically, RASC offers the Explore the Universe (ETU) certificate as an introductory program with the goal of learning the basics of observational astronomy while observing at least 55 objects out of a list of 110. This list has been chosen to include a selection of interesting objects that can be seen with the naked eye or binoculars from locations in Canada.

The ETU program has been enhanced by the recent publication of a book aimed at providing support to earn the certificate; the new book is called Explore the Universe Guide. I recently received a copy and have been reading it with interest. It is well organized and benefits from the work of Brenda Stuart, a member of our centre, who contributed the illustrations. The book starts with some “map reading” skills introducing how to navigate in the sky. It then moves into descriptions of the various targets included in the ETU including the Moon, other bodies in our solar system, deep sky objects, and stars. The text is well written and there are many illustrations to help demonstrate the points being made.

I encourage members to consider working on this certificate program especially those who are newer to astronomy or have never completed an observing list. If sufficient centre members are interested in purchasing copies of Explore the Universe Guide, we may be able to place a bulk order which helps save the shipping charge on individual orders. Please let me know by email at president@victoria.rasc.ca if you are interested in participating in a bulk purchase. The book’s list price is around $19 (including GST) and the individual shipping charge is $7.25.

By the way, there are other observing programs offered by the RASC; the list is located at rasc.ca/certificate-programs.

Speaker: The MASSIVE Galaxy Survey – Dr. John Blakeslee, NRC Herzberg

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January 11, 2016, 7:30PM, University of Victoria, Bob Wright Centre A104 – RASC Victoria Centre’s monthly meeting

Event info

“The MASSIVE Galaxy Survey” – Dr. John Blakeslee, NRC Herzberg

 

John Blakeslee
John Blakeslee

The MASSIVE Galaxy Survey is a project to study the structure, internal dynamics, and evolutionary histories of the approximately 100 most massive galaxies visible in the Northern hemisphere out to a distance of about 100 Mpc, or roughly 330 million light years. In this project, we combine 2-D “integral-field spectroscopy” on small (sub-arcsecond) and large (arcminute) scales in order to perform simultaneous dynamical modelling of the central supermassive black hole, stars, and dark matter. We also have an ongoing Hubble program to image a high-priority subsample of the MASSIVE galaxies. The ultimate goals of the survey include understanding variations in dark matter fraction and stellar mass function, the connection between black hole accretion and galaxy growth, and the assembly of galaxy outskirts over cosmic time. I will describe the survey design and observational strategy, as well as present first results on black hole mass measurements, stellar populations, and molecular gas detections in MASSIVE Survey galaxies.

Video of the presentation – Youtube

Bio:

John Blakeslee is an Astronomer with the NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Programs at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Saanich. He studies galaxies and the large-scale structure of the universe using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and large ground-based observatories. Dr. Blakeslee received his PhD degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and did postdoctoral research at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena and Durham University in the UK. He then spent five years as a Research Scientist at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. He has worked at the DAO for the past nine years.

President’s Message – December 2016

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As this is my inaugural message as the centre president, I want to take this opportunity to thank past and current council members for their efforts to make the RASC Victoria Centre a successful and enjoyable organization. It is the people like you, sharing your love of astronomy, who have kept me involved since becoming a member. Compared to many of you, I am a relative newcomer to astronomy having joined RASC in 2010. I cannot believe how much I have learned and experienced in that time, but I have only scratched the surface of this limitless topic. Astronomy is one of the remaining human endeavours where both professionals and amateurs contribute to ongoing research and discovery due to the vastness of the universe.

Over the past few years, I have been the centre’s membership coordinator. It has been great to see the membership numbers growing. As was noted in a session presented at the General Assembly in 2015, a number of people across the country join RASC each year but do not renew their membership when it expires. Why is that? I am sure there are many reasons. I do invite members to let your council know how you think the Victoria Centre is doing. If you have ideas of other activities we might offer, I would welcome hearing from you. Ultimately, my advice to all members is to get involved in the Victoria Centre. Come out to the various activities and meetings as you are able. You will get much more out of your membership through participation.

In reflecting back on the past year, we have had a fascinating series of speakers, learned from each other about our own areas of expertise, spent quite a few evenings at the VCO, camped out for night sky viewing, and shared views of the sun and the night sky with scores of members of the public. We do a lot as a volunteer organization and thank you for making those events successful! We are planning to have a similar number of public events in 2017 so we will be looking for people to help out. Please consider putting your name forward as a volunteer.

In closing, I look forward to working with the new council to further the objectives of the RASC Victoria Centre and continue to make the centre an organization of which you are proud to be a member.

2016 Award Recipients for Victoria Centre

Posted by as Events, Meetings

Service and achievement awards presented at RASC Victoria Centre’s Annual General Meeting, held November 27, 2016 at the Cedar Hill Golf Course, Victoria, BC, Canada

All AGM Event photos

 

Certificate of Appreciation, For Public Outreach at the DAO summer star parties

For their outstanding support and engagement in the role of ” Person in Charge ” and Volunteer Coordinator. Presented to: Nelson Walker, Chris Purse, Sherry Buttnor, and Lauri Roche (absent).

Nelson Walker receives his Certificate of Appreciation for publi
Nelson Walker receives his Certificate of Appreciation for public outreach at the DAO from Sherry Buttnor

 

Chris Purse receives his Certificate of Appreciation for public outreach at the DAO from Sherry Buttnor
Chris Purse receives his Certificate of Appreciation for public outreach at the DAO from Sherry Buttnor
Sherry Buttnor receives her Certificate of Appreciation for publ
Sherry Buttnor receives her Certificate of Appreciation for publ

Special Certificate of Appreciation

For His Continued Efforts and Successes in Supporting RASC Members in the access of on-line Live-Broadcasting of Monthly General Meetings. Presented to : Matt Watson.

Matt Watson receives his Certificate of Appreciation for the live broadcasts of the meetings from Sherry Buttnor
Matt Watson receives his Certificate of Appreciation for the live broadcasts of the meetings from Sherry Buttnor

Award of Excellence, Ernie Pfannenschmidt Award for Amateur Telescope Making

For His Outstanding Achievement in Designing and the Building of a Custom Telescope Tracking Platform c/w innovative features. Presented to : Jim Stillburn.

Jim Stillburn receives the Ernie Pfannenschmidt Award in Amateur Telescope Making from Sherry Buttnor for building his Poncet Telescope tracking system
Jim Stillburn receives the Ernie Pfannenschmidt Award in Amateur Telescope Making from Sherry Buttnor for building his Poncet Telescope tracking system

Award of Excellence in Astrophotography

For His Excellent ongoing work in Solar Imaging and the Mercury Transit on 6 May 2016, 6:14 AM, Canon T3i, f/4 300 mm. Presented to : Mr. John McDonald (absent).

Transit of Mercury AM - by John McDonald
Transit of Mercury AM – by John McDonald

Special Award of Excellence

For His Dedicated Support of Public Outreach at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, 2016. Presented to : Mr. David Lee

David Lee receives his Award of Excellence for organizing the speaker series for the DAO Summer Star Parties from Sherry Buttnor
David Lee receives his Award of Excellence for organizing the speaker series for the DAO Summer Star Parties from Sherry Buttnor

The Newton / Ball Service Award

For his Outstanding Dedication to Serving RASC Members in 2016, including : the Messier Marathon, Astronomy Day at the RBCM, the RASC Star Party and DAO Public Outreach. Presented to : Mr. Nelson Walker.

Nelson Walker receives the Newton Ball Service Award from Sherry Buttnor
Nelson Walker receives the Newton Ball Service Award from Sherry Buttnor

 

Pizza Party!

Posted by as Events, Special Events

Last call for the pizza party!

Saturday, December 3rd, starting at 4PM

Garry Oak room at the Fairfield Community Centre

NEW TIME: we will be starting at 4pm. Because there is a VCO session AND a Plaskett session on the same night, we will start the pizza party at 4pm to give people a chance to stop by for a slice or two, then head up to the hill.

If you are a Victoria Centre member, and volunteered at a Victoria Centre event (DAO, Astronomy Day, Beaveree, Saanich Fair, etc) in the past couple of years, you’re invited. Your spouse, too! After all, they’re the ones who stay home to mind the fort while we go out and play under the stars.

If you would like to come to the party, please reply to Sherry by Monday Nov 28th latest. (use the email address she sent via email).

Pizza night
Pizza night

President’s Message November 2016

Posted by as President's Message

Good grief. Anyone want to start an ark-building club? Learn scuba in the back yard? We can only hope November brings us better observing weather…it can’t get much worse than October. Somehow, we did manage a couple of VCO sessions, but other than that….yikes! At least we have the warmth, good food, and terrific companionship of the upcoming Annual General Meeting to look forward to on Sunday, November 27th. If you haven’t already done so, have a look here:
https://victoria.rasc.ca/2016-agm/
Our Centre AGMs are really quite special and a lot of fun, so please consider attending. Spouses/partners welcome, too! Just call or email Nelson with the number in your party and your entrée choice(s).

Also, just a reminder of our pizza party on -Saturday December 3rd, 6pm-10pm in the Garry Oak room, Fairfield Community Centre,1341 Thurlow Road, Victoria, as a way of saying thanks! for all your hard work as volunteers. If you’re a Vic Centre member and have volunteered at one of our events in the last two years, you’re invited. Spouses/partners, too!  Check it out: victoria.rasc.ca/pizza-party/
Please email me at popokinui@shaw.ca no later than Monday, November 28th if you’d like to attend. (also let me know if you have any food allergies and/or preferences) Let’s let our hair down, stuff our faces, and reminisce about all the fun we’ve had at the various Victoria Centre activities!

For other Centre activities and events coming up, just place your cursor over the Events tab on our website for a list.

                                                                                All Good Things.
For me, this final monthly president’s message is a bittersweet one. I don’t like long goodbyes: you, the members of RASC-Victoria, are an amazing, wonderful, and immensely talented group of people, and it has been my sincere honour and pleasure to have served as Centre president for the past two years. Thank you for that opportunity, and for all for the support you’ve given the Victoria Centre with your knowledge, enthusiasm, and hard work. My best wishes to the new Council; I know you will continue the Victoria Centre’s tradition of excellence in all things astronomical and educational.

Clear (and dry) skies.

Sherry.

2016 Victoria Centre Council Nominations

Posted by as Meetings

RASC Victoria Centre

Council (Board of Directors) Nominations 2017

  • President
    • Overall responsibility for Victoria Centre, public relations, conducts meetings
    • Nomination: Chris Purse
  • 1st Vice President
    • arrange speakers for meetings and events, event preparation
    • Nomination: Reg Dunkley
  • 2nd Vice President
    • membership, special projects, events
    • Nominations: Deb Crawford
  • Secretary
    • minutes, official records, correspondence
    • Nomination: Leslie Welsh
  • Treasurer
    • budget, financial records, taxes, retail sales
    • Nomination: Bruce Lane
  • Librarian
    • Nominations: Michel Michaud, Diane Bell (assistant)
  • Director of Telescopes
    • Nomination: Sid Sidhu
  • Light Pollution Abatement Chair
    • Nomination: Dave Robinson
  • School Outreach Co-Chairs
    • Nominations: Lauri Roche, Sid Sidhu
  • Public Outreach Chair
    • Co-ordinates and arranges public outreach events and volunteers
    • Nomination: Ken Mallory
  • Past President
    • Nomination: Sherry Buttnor
  • National Representative and Liaison
    • Nomination: Nelson Walker
  • Membership Coordinator
    • Nomination: Chris Purse
  • Skynews Editor
    • Nomination: Reg Dunkley
  • Observing, Co-Chairs
    • Nominations: Jim Stilburn, Michel Michaud
  • Technical Committee Chair
    • Nominations: Matt Watson
  • Webmaster
    • Nominations: Joe Carr

Members at Large: Nominations:

  • Jim Hesser (National RASC Anniversary Working Group)
  • Lauri Roche (National RASC Anniversary Working Group )
  • James DiFrancesco (DAO Liaison)
  • Alex Schmidt (UVic Liaison)
  • David Lee (Observing)
  • Li-Ann Skibo (RBCM Liaison)
  • Bill Almond (Historian)
  • Chris Gainor (National Officer)
  • John McDonald (Astronomy Café)

Please contact Nelson Walker (Past President and Nominations Chair – email) to nominate yourself or another RASC member for any office listed above.

Pizza Party! Yes, the one I promised. :-D

Posted by as Meetings, Special Events, Uncategorized

Remember the pizza party I mentioned? Probably not…it was a year ago or more. Well, it’s on! As a thank you for all the long hours and hard work you’ve put in at various events, we’re inviting all Victoria Centre members (and your spouses) to a party.

If you are a RASC-Victoria Centre member, and have volunteered at one or more RASC events in the last couple of years, you’re invited!
-Saturday December 3rd.
-6pm-10pm
-Garry Oak room, Fairfield Community Centre,1341 Thurlow Road, Victoria.
This will be a pizza party, our regular monthly meeting for December, and a Members Night combined. We’d like at least two or three members to come and show off their skills: astrophotography, research projects, telescope making, crafts….anything astronomy-related that you’d like to share with the group.
Please email me directly if you plan to attend (and if you’re bringing your spouse), and if you’d like to present something as part of Members Night. Also let me know if you have any food allergies and/or special requests for pizza.

Email me at: popokinui@shaw.ca

*Please note: there will be NO regular monthly meeting at UVic in December.  The Pizza Party/Member’s Night will be in its place.  We will hold a short business segment as usual as required by our bylaws (around 7:30pm), but this meeting will be primarily a Thank-You get-together for our amazing volunteers.

President’s Message October 2016

Posted by as President's Message

Two thousand, four hundred fifteen. 2415. That’s the grand total for our Summer Saturday Star Parties at the DAO. Despite clouds and rain, 194 visitors came out to our final star party at he DAO on September 24th, raising the total to 2415. That’s an amazing number. Given that it was cloudy and showery for the first five or six Saturday star parties, and the final one, it’s a testament to the knowledge and enthusiasm of you amazing Victoria Centre members offer the public, that visitors would come up to the DAO at all during inclement weather. But come they did, rain or shine, 2415 of them.
Once again, congratulations and a heartfelt THANK YOU to all the volunteers who made this work. Well done!
Remember the pizza party I mentioned? Probably not…it was a year ago or more. Well, it’s on! As a thank you for all the long hours and hard work you’ve put in at various events, we’re inviting all Victoria Centre members (and your spouses) to a party. If you volunteered at one or more RASC events in the last couple of years, you’re invited!
-Saturday December 3rd.
-6pm-10pm
-Garry Oak room, Fairfield Community Centre,1341 Thurlow Road, Victoria.
This will be a pizza party, our regular monthly meeting for December, and a Members Night combined. We’d like at least two or three members to come and show off their skills: astrophotography, research projects, telescope making, crafts….anything astronomy-related that you’d like to share with the group.
I will post this party as a separate event on our website front page. Please email me directly if you plan to attend (and if you’re bringing your spouse), and if you’d like to present something as part of Members Night. It’ll be fun!

The President and Secretary of the newly-minted RASC Yukon Centre will be visiting Victoria October 7th through 10th. Anthony Gucciardo (President) and his wife Catheryne Lord (Secretary) would like to meet us, and have a tour of the VCO. Depending on the weather; if it’s cloudy/raining, we will meet them and show them around the VCO Saturday afternoon. If it’s clear out, I’ve invited them to join in when the VCO is in action Saturday evening (Oct 8th). All Active Observers are welcome to come out and meet them. I’ll send an email with details when I know what the weather is doing that day.

Observing plans with the UVic 32” telescope are ongoing. I’ve had to write a new proposal to the telescope committee asking for telescope time. I’ve asked for the second Friday of each month as before, but we may have to be flexible regarding which evenings we’re allotted. I’ll let you know.

Some sad news: life Member Dr. Edward Robert Walker has passed away in June. A long-time Member, the Victoria Centre meant a great deal to him, and he will be missed. Sincere condolences to his family from all of us at RASC-Victoria Centre.

Some upcoming events:
-RASCals of Cattle Point. Bruce Lane’s terrific observing meetup begins Friday October 7th at 7:30pm (weather permitting). Check our website and watch for emails for upcoming Cattle Point sessions.

RASCals of Cattle Point

-October monthly general meeting. Wednesday October 12th, 7:30pm, room A104 in the Bob Wright Building at UVic. October’s guest speaker is Dr. Christian Marois:
“Searching for Habitable Planets around our Closest Neighbors, the Alpha Centauri Triple Star System.” How awesome is that!?

Oct 12, 2016 – Searching for Habitable Planets around Alpha Centauri – Dr. Christian Marois

-Astronomy Cafe. Every Monday, 7:30pm, in the annex behind Fairfield Community Centre. Informal, informative, great company! Everyone welcome…members and non-members.

Astro Café

-Annual General Meeting. Sunday, November 27th, 6pm to 10pm. Watch for emails announcing the AGM, and details will be posted to the Victoria Centre website on or about October 15th. Just a reminder that we are returning to the Cedar Hill Golf Course; it’s a great room, with a terrific menu.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for better weather, so we can get out there enjoy some great Autumn observing!

Clear skies,
Sherry.