Book: Light – The Visible Spectrum and Beyond

Posted by as Reviews

Light - The Visible Spectrum and Beyond book cover
Light – The Visible Spectrum and Beyond book cover

A beautiful book has just been published by two Chandra mission media specialists. It is available from all the usual online retailers, and would make a wonderful Christmas gift for yourself or others! It features an impressive collection of astronomical photographs, and the two authors have also chosen to blend artwork from Johannes Vermeer, van Gogh, Claude Monet, and a local Victoria artist Henri van Bentum!

A beautiful, fascinating, visual exploration of the power and behavior of light across the entire electromagnetic spectrum and how it affects life on Earth and everything in the Universe.

Buy on Amazon.ca

A visual exploration of the power and behavior of light, across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, and how it affects life on earth and everything in the Universe.

Light illuminates our world and allows us to see everything around us. But, in fact, humans can see only a sliver the full spectrum of light that governs life on Earth and everything in the universe, known as the electromagnetic spectrum. In this highly visual, original exploration, Megan Watzke and Kimberly Arcand present the subject of light as never before. Organized along the order of the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to gamma rays, each chapter focuses on a different type of light, describing its particular properties, characteristics, and practical uses. From radio waves, which allow for TV and cell phone communication, to infrared light which makes thermal body scanning possible, to X-rays, which allow us to peer inside the human body, as well as view black holes and supernovae millions of light years from Earth, Watzke and Arcand show us all the important ways that light impacts life on Earth and beyond. An introductory chapter gives an overview of the electromagnetic spectrum and describes what light is and how it behaves, while hundreds of full-color photographs and illustrations demonstrate concepts and make for a stunning book that’s a joy to read and browse through.

Light is the perfect book for readers of all ages and anyone interested in the beauty of science of our visual world.

More details from the authors’ website.

Monthly meeting speaker: Dr. Roberto Abraham, UofT professor

Posted by as Meetings

October 14, 2015, 7:30PM, University of Victoria, Bob Wright Centre A104 – RASC Victoria Centre’s monthly meeting

Event info

“Exploring the ghostly side of galaxies with Dragonfly” – Dr. Roberto Abraham, University of Toronto professor, Dept of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Dragonfly multi-lens array
Dragonfly multi-lens array

Abstract: Bigger telescopes are usually better telescopes…. but not always. In this talk I will explore the ghostly world of large low surface brightness structures, such as galactic stellar halos, low-surface brightness dwarf galaxies, and other exotica such as supernova light echoes. These objects are nearly undetectable with conventional telescopes, but their properties may hold the key to understanding how galaxies assemble. I will describe why finding these objects is important, and why it is so devilishly difficult.

I will also describe a bizarre new telescope (the Toronto/Yale Dragonfly Telephoto Array, a.k.a. Dragonfly) which is now being used to explore the low surface brightness universe and is testing some of the most fundamental predictions of galaxy formation models. Dragonfly is comprised of multiple commercial 400 mm f/2.8 telephoto lenses which utilize novel nanostructure-based optical coatings that minimize scattered light and ghosting. I’ll showcase some our early results, mainly focusing on the properties of ultra-faint stellar halos. I’ll also report the discovery of gigantic stellar disks underlying nearby galaxies, and will describe the discovery of a new class of ghostlike galaxies that are as big as the Milky Way but have about 1/1000 of its mass.

Bio: Roberto Abraham is a Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. He obtained his BSc from UBC and his doctorate from Oxford. His work is focused on observations of galaxy formation and evolution and the development of innovative instruments. He has been awarded the Canadian Astronomical Society’s P. G. Martin Award, the Canada Foundation for Innovation Career Award, the NSERC Steacie Fellowship, a Premier’s Research Excellence Award, the University of Toronto Outstanding Teaching Award, and a bunch of other things, including recently becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, thus making him officially over the hill.

Prof. Roberto Abraham
Prof. Roberto Abraham

His proudest moment is winning second prize in the Vancouver All-City Elementary School Grade 6 spelling bee, where he lost out for not knowing how to spell the word “satellite”, leading eventually to learning how to spell the word “ironic”. He’s presently Vice-President of the Canadian Astronomical Society. Being keen on outreach, he has served as Honourary President of the Toronto Centre of the RASC for many years. He is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Gemini Observatory, on the Science Advisory Committee for the Thirty Meter Telescope, has advised NASA by serving as panel chair on the Hubble Space Telescope time allocation committee three times, and is currently by serving as Canada’s representative on the James Webb Space Telescope Advisory Committee.

President’s message October 2015

Posted by as President's Message

Welcome to Autumn! I hope you’re all having a nice rest after such a busy summer. Personally, I love Autumn observing; although the balmy Summer nights are gone, they are replaced with crisp steady seeing, and longer nights. And you can observe both the Summer and Winter skies all in one night!
Did you see the Total Lunar Eclipse? Check out our members’ great photos!
http://rascvic.zenfolio.com/lunareclipse2015
Even though the DAO Summer Star Parties are over for the year, there are lots of fun things coming up. Here are a few:
Cattle Point observing in Victoria’s own Urban Dark Sky Park:

RASCals of Cattle Point

•  Friday, October 16th at 7:30 pm
•  Friday, November 6th at 6:00 pm
•  Friday, December 4th at 6:00 pm
•  Friday, January 15th, 2016 at 6:00 pm
•  Friday, February 5th at 6:30 pm
•  Friday, March 4th at 7:00 pm
Everyone welcome!
UVic telescope observing. All welcome, not just VCO Active Observers!
-Oct 8,
-Nov 13,
-Dec 11.

All are weather permitting. Email notifications are sent out prior to each of these events, and you can find more info on the Victoria Centre website.

Our weekly Astronomy Cafe is an excellent, informal,  way to meet us.  Bring your coffee mug and join the chat!

Astro Café

And don’t forget our regular monthly meetings. Joe has lined up some terrific guest speakers, so
come on out for those.
And a reminder of our upcoming Annual General Meeting, which includes Victoria Centre Board
elections, Sunday November 22. A spouse, partner, or friend are welcome to attend
with you. Check the RASC Website for schedule, and menu:

Victoria Centre AGM & Dinner – Nov 22, 2015

Please contact Nelson with your meal choices as soon as possible. His contact information is provided on that page. The Moon Under Water pub is able to keep the cost the same as last year, so big thanks to them!

Speaking of the elections, we have a few spots we really need to fill. There is link to the Call for Nominations on the AGM event page. Remember: every paid Victoria Centre member in good standing is eligible to run for a Council position, whether or not there is an incumbent or nominee already listed. So give it some thought, and if you would like to be a part of Council, please let us know!
See you out there!

Sherry.