Diane Bell – a memorial

Posted by as In Memoriam, News

Diane Eleanor Bell, joined RASC in 2010

Diane Bell celebrating a birthday with friends in southern Arizona in 2019 – photo slideshow

It is with sadness that I announce the sudden passing of Diane Bell. The Victoria Centre has lost one of its most active members. Diane was a positive spirit who radiated a sense of wonder. Her contagious enthusiasm about Astronomy elevated the joy and energy of our observing sessions and gatherings. She possessed an encyclopedic knowledge of the night sky and was often seen at RASC events hoisting huge binoculars with a sketchbook nearby. She had served as editor of SkyNews, was the current Centre Librarian and a Member in Charge at the Victoria Centre Observatory. Diane generously shared her knowledge and passion through her participation in Public Outreach and Education programs. We were most fortunate to have her in the Victoria Centre and she will be sadly missed.

Reg Dunkley, President, RASC Victoria

Diane. Our very loved friend, sister, sister in law, aunt, cousin and all around the most genuine kind and faithful human being has passed away. We are all taking comfort that she is with Mimi, Sport, Rick and Aunt Mickey. – Lannea MacDonald


Very sad. My condolences to family and friends. I will miss her. – Li-Ann Skibo

I was so saddened to hear this shocking news. My sincere condolence to family and friends. – Michel Michaud

I am so very saddened about Diane, she was a beautiful person. Every time I look at the constellations and binoculars, I will think of her. Bless everyone that was close with her. She was very welcoming and friendly to be around. What a bright light she did shine. Sending blessings to her family and friends. – Jennifer Ikle

This is such sad news. Diane shone so brightly in our community! She exclaimed about how the sky is a gift for us all. She encouraged us to appreciate the science and the art of astronomy. Diane got me sketching from the telescope eyepiece – and then I saw so much more than I had before. Her clever cookies and quilts delighted us. Her knowledge of the constellations was an inspiration. We will miss her. – Randy Enkin

That’s devastating news. Her infectious enthusiasm and willingness to help out were hallmarks of Victoria Centre. I’ll sorely miss her. – Dave Robinson

I am so saddened by this news. Diane was always cheerful, and positive. If I was down I just had one of her hugs and it would all go away. There are many memories of being “roomies” at AGM’s and down at Garry’s in Arizona.
I will miss her joy at working with kids at the CU with her Constellation blanket, sharing eclipse cookies at Astro Cafe, her love of Orion and Omega Centauri. She will be so sorely missed. Rest In Peace, Diane.
Lauri Roche

This is terrible news. She has been such a good friend to all of us, and will be deeply missed…Nelson Walker

Very sad news! My deepest condolences to her family, friends, and the Victoria Centre. – Ed Majden

This is such shocking news. We are deeply saddened to hear it. In the three years we’ve been members, Diane has always been at the sessions we’ve attended. Whether sitting in the second row at AstroCafe, showing people the stars on the Hill at summer star parties, or sharing stories of her astronomy adventures and passion for travel up at the VCO, Diane has been a steady fixture of our local group.

She has always been enthusiastic, energetic and engaging. She was extremely generous with her knowledge, her time, her baking and her commitment. She was creative and talented herself, yet always provided genuinely positive feedback to other people on their work and accomplishments.

Since March, we have looked forward to seeing Diane at the weekly virtual AstroCafe. Her absence on Monday evening was noticed by many. Her passing will be felt by us all for a very long time to come. She will be missed greatly.

When the time is right, we would like to be part of a virtual get-together to honour Diane’s life. We could share stories, and, when I spoke to Lauri earlier today, she suggested we all bring cookies in Diane’s memory – a sweet farewell to a kind soul.

And from Nathan: See you in the stars, Diane. I will miss you very much.

Kathy, Nathan and family

This is very sad news . I will miss her so much for the way she welcomed new members and taught to the young ones on nights at the hill. – Maryl McCay

I have posted a short notice of Diane’s death on Victoria Centre’s Facebook group, and I have created a collection of photos to memorialize Diane on our Zenfolio photo hosting site. Diane was a close personal friend, astronomy buddy, and all-round good person. Her cheery face and keen observational skills will be missed deeply. – Joe Carr

I will miss her vibrant smile and her willingness to volunteer whatever was asked of her. She left us too soon. She will be missed. – Sid Sidhu

Oh No! We are very much saddened by this awful news. Both Glynis and I were greatly inspired by Diane’s infectious and powerful enthusiasm. At the AstroCafe nights, the VCO, and everywhere else we attended, Diane was always there to guide and answer. What a loss for the Victoria Centre! – Rod and Glynis Miller

So sad. Sympathies to you. – Emma MacPhee

Very sad to hear this. She will be missed. – Catherine Gregory

Terrible news – condolences to her family and friends. She was always had great energy and enthusiasm during the UVic and other events. #RIP – Brian James Kyle

A sad loss to everyone who knew her and to those who never had the chance. Such a gentle soul. She was always one of the first people I called for any public outreach event.- Bruce Lane

This is extremely sad to hear. She was a great volunteer and I will miss her dearly. Condolences to the family. – Nishith Eluri

I was deeply shocked to hear this today and took several minutes to come back from tears. She was a very kind, giving and outgoing friend . I send condolences to her family and all those who knew her. I am sure many members both within the Victoria RASC family and others she knew will deeply miss her. – Malcolm Scrimger

Such a sad loss. – Chris Spratt

A devastating loss, Diane Bell was a rare soul of relentless positivity and enthusiasm. – Matt Watson

That is very sad news indeed. – Jim Cliffe

So very sad to hear about Diane’s passing. She was such a lovely person with an infectious enthusiasm for astronomy that drew everyone to her. Clint and I send our condolences to her family & friends and wish them peace at this difficult time. – Melissa Tupper

Oh, this is very very sad indeed – Donna Andrew

I am terribly saddened by this news. I last saw Diane Bell in person in May when she gave me a mask that she had made out of astronomical fabric. That is still the mask I wear most of the time these days. She only asked that I contribute to a local charity, which I did. We often saw her great skills with fabric, notably the ‘star blanket’ she brought to the DAO to educate members of the public about various constellations. And who can forget her eclipse cookies?
I always enjoyed talking to Diane about her youth in a military family, growing up on Canadian Forces bases around Canada and in Europe as part of NATO. One of them was CFB Cold Lake in Alberta, close to where I spent many summers growing up. I note that her final posting on Facebook was in anticipation of Remembrance Day, the day the news first came out of her unexpected passing.
Although Diane experienced her share of ups and downs in life, I always remember her being enthusiastic and positive. She did a lot for the Victoria Centre, including her current service as Librarian. I know we’ll all miss her. – Chris Gainor

I read about Diane’s passing on my lunch break at work, but now that I’m home, I’m still having difficulty coming to terms with it. All the superlatives being used to describe Diane are of course true, yet she is much more than the sum of those. Diane was instantly likeable. Her apetite for learning was exceeded only by her passion for sharing that knowledge. Her talent for her crafts; sewing, baking, music, and more were enjoyed by all who were fortunate enough to sample them. Her enthusasm and generosity were amazing. Our bike rides together were immensely enjoyable. She will be sorely missed by all who knew her. – Sherry Buttnor

Please add our names to the (I am sure) long list of friends of Diane, who will be sadly missed. She was a real force of positivity for Victoria Centre and a friend to all. RIP, Diane. Thanks for making a huge difference with your outreach and friendships. Jack and I will continue to wear our “Diane astro masks”♥️ with pride! – Alice & Jack Newton

Heartbreaking. I can’t fathom not seeing her again. – Deb Crawford

I am so sad to hear this. Diane was part of what made the observatory such a magical place to be. She will be so missed. – Jennine Gates

My condolences to Diane’s family. I was in shock when I first read your post. Her enthusiasm and kindness stand out for me. I can’t imagine a star party without her. I was one of the happy recipients of a star mask. It turns out that it is perfect as with so many of her creations. I will miss her a lot. – Ida von Schuckmann

We were shocked and deeply saddened hearing of Diane’s death. Her infectious enthusiasm for all things about the night sky was inspiring. With her beloved 8” Dob and original constellation blanket, as sky-guide, she enlivened any observing event, whether organized or impromptu. We remember in particular our sharing with her sessions at the Kingswood Camp with the Brownies and Girl Guides, separate years, and the challenge of finding objects through the small hole in the forest canopy and explaining their locations in constellations beautifully displayed on her blanket but largely blocked from view overhead by our restricted view of the sky. Her absence will be felt at all our events – Dorothy and Miles

2015 – Diane & friends beside the Shawnigan dome

Our tents were pitched side-by-side at the first RASC star party I attended in Metchosin, and Diane’s genuine and enthusiastic welcome then continues to inspire me to do the same with newcomers to astronomy activities. Also inspiring was her unique talent of using oversize binoculars without a tripod to take binocular observing to another level. Her spirit that we are all missing so much right now shines through in the many images people have shared, including in this chrome reflector on the exterior of the Shawnigan Lake Observatory in 2015. – JL MacGillivray

Just arrived home from the mainland, what a shock to find out, Diane Bell, has passed away. Diane and I go back a long time, I will always remember the wonderful conversations Diane and I had and enjoying watching her sketching some of the many wonders of the night. Sadly missed. – Jennifer Bigelow

Her knowledge, enthusiasm, energy, friendship and much, much more will be sorely missed–a huge loss all the people she touched. – Jim Hesser

She will be missed and leaves a wonderful legacy of her passion for astronomy. – David Lee

Diane was one of the Victoria RASC;s most active members and I always appreciated her enthusiasm and support. My deepest condolences to her family and friends on this indeed sad day. – James Di Francesco

This is such a shock and difficult to take in. What a huge loss. In many ways Diane has been the life blood of Victoria Centre. I am so sad. – John McDonald

Diane was a major part of our Centre and I was always impressed that she could remember where she was when she saw her favourite targets for the first time. Like her brother, who I believe died of a heart attack in his 50s, her’s was a life too short. She will be missed and will join those I remember on Remembrance Day. – Chris Purse

I am so very sorry to hear of Diane’s sudden passing. She has been such a solidity of presence and knowledge during my three years in RASC Victoria. The photo of her at the top of a ladder at Garry’s Arizona telescope is a favourite for me. Diane always had informative astronomical comments and a warm, open way of being with people. She will be tremedously missed. – Marjie Welchframe

Very sad and unexpected news! Lynn and I offer our condolences to her family and those who knew her! We recently met her at the 2018 GA in Calgary where we became friends. She was so delightful and genuine. Diane will be in our prayers and thoughts! – Stephen Beddingfield

How sad. Jane and I used to camp next to Diane every star party. She was such fun and had so much enthusiasm for astronomy. – Mark Hird-Rutter

I still cannot believe this sad news. Diane will be missed by many, for a variety of reasons. RIP Diane. – Patricia Buttnor

Shocked to hear of Diane’s passing…met Diane on the military base in Cold Lake Alta…..we we in grade school at Athabasca school….we became great friends..we were military brats and would joke and address each other as such..however growing up in the military has its drawbacks…we were stationed from base to base and lost track of each other…than I found a group on facebook called Cold Lake Brats and low and behold I found Diane again…we were now able to keep touch with each other there and on facebook..she was so warm and genuine…can’t believe she is gone now forever…rest in peace my dear friend….will miss you always my dear friend….wont be the same on facebook without you… – Debra Smith Nadeau

Astronomy Cafe – October 19, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the online meeting.

Lunar Lander – by Kevin Light & Kia Tully – a kayaker in front of the full Moon, taken from Mt. Douglas

Kevin is a friend of Ken Mallory. Presented by Chris Purse

Astrophotography by the Victoria Camera Club members – John McDonald

  • John introduced VCC members who participated in his astrophoto workshop, which was two sessions of 2 hours each
  • Mainly used camera and tripod for sky scape photos
  • How to find objects using planetarium software
  • Work flow for skyscapes, star trails and time lapse (video)
  • Software
  • Slideshow profiling VCC participants’ astronomical photo results

Harvest Moonrise over Edmonton – Luca Vanzella

20200929-1003 Harvest Moon Timescape

Black Holes and the 2020 Nobel Prizes – Randy Enkin

  • Roger Penrose – Black Hole formation and the general theory of relativity
  • Reinhard Genzel, Andrea Ghez – Supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy

TPO 16″ telescope repair status – Reg Dunkley

  • The Technical Committee recommended that the 16″ TPO not be replaced under warranty by OPT. Victoria Centre will instead get a store credit to purchase other astronomical gear.
  • This recommendation was accepted by Victoria Centre Council.
  • Access to the VCO – we can return to Observatory Hill with our Active Observers under limited group rules.

Mars sequential photos – John McDonald

Three views of Mars Opposition

Astronomy Cafe – August 24, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

Hawaiian Nights: A Personal Journey from Vancouver Island to Maunakea, with Cam Wipper

Don’t miss this interesting Zoom presentation at 4:00 PM PDT on Friday August 28th. Growing up in Nanaimo, Cam never imagined he would spend nearly a decade living in Hawai’i and working on Maunakea, the best place on Earth for astronomical observations.

In his talk, Cam will tell the story of how he found himself on Maunakea, from his days as a student at Vancouver Island University, to his first night up on the summit of Maunakea, nearly 14.000 feet (4200m) above sea level. This will include a brief history of astronomy in Hawaii, as well as an exploration of how a modern astronomical observatory conducts scientific observations. All will be told from the perspective of a telescope operator and scientific observer; a position Cam has held at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope since 2015. Click here to register.

Lagoon & Trifid Nebulae – Dan Posey

30.5 minutes (61x30s) of exposures captured from Metchosin. Each frame was captured at f 1.4 using a Sigma 105mm lens, and a Canon Ra at iso 640 off of an unguided iOptron Skyguider Pro – Messier 8 & 20 RGB – Dan Posey

Moon shadows on Jupiter – John McDonald

Three of 20 images of the shadows cast by Io and Ganymede on Jupiter during a double shadow event, one near the start, one in the middle and one at the end. Io can just be made out on the upper two images as a white spot between Ganymede’s shadow and Jupiter’s red spot. In the lower image Io has just left the planet’s disk and shows up clearly. Details Date 08-04-2020. 8″ Edge SCT on AVX mount. ZWO ASI120MM-S camera with filter wheel and TV Powermate barlow to give focal ration f/25. Captured 1000 frames in each of R,G and B filters for each color. The best 30% for each filter were stacked in Astrostakkert. Sharpened in Registax. Winjupos was used to derotate the R,G and B frames before combining to make RGB color images. Post processing in ACR and Photoshop. Time lapse movie

A Poetic Pelican by Doug MacDonald

A wonderful bird is the Pelican.
His beak can hold more than his belly can.
He can hold in his beak enough food for a week!
I’ll be darned if I know how the hellican.

Dixon Lanier Merritt
IC 5070 Pelican Nebula – Doug MacDonald

Shot this Aug. 9 – 13 with Bortle 6 skies. This bird lives in Cygnus, not too far from Deneb. I processed it in the SHO palette; it represents just over 8 hours of narrowband exposure with a 5″ refractor at f/5.5.

Final UVic Open House of the Summer is a Block Buster!

What happens when the largest objects in the Universe go face-to-face? Be sure to join UVic Phd Candidate Mallory Throp for this fascinating Zoom presentation that begins at 7:30PM on Wednesday August 26th. The zoom guest link (with password embedded) is: https://zoom.us/j/97173236268?pwd=V2hhYTAwVVY5cXl5eEFoOUxSYmZGdz09

Cosmic Collisions
Abstract: What happens when galaxies collide? Right now, the Andromeda Galaxy is hurtling towards us, on a direct collision course with our galaxy. Surely the Milky Way will not escaped unscathed? For almost a century astronomers have been trying to figure out what happens when galaxies clash, and from that investigation a harrowing tale of starvation, cannibalism, and complicated acronyms has arisen. With today’s massive telescopes and high-tech simulations, we can hope to understand what happens when the largest objects in the Universe go face-to-face. And perhaps we can predict how our galaxy will be changed for the better (or the worse)​

Robotic Telescope Editing Contest for August: M82 the Cigar Galaxy

Instead of being a spectator you can be a participant! Click on the link to find how you can get your hands of the raw data for this fascinating galaxy. https://skynews.ca/introducing-the-rasc-robotic-telescope-editing-contest/

Imagine: 8 Hours of LRGB data and 7.5 Hours of Hydrogen Alpha! Check it out and remember the contest is Only in Canada … Pity!

Global Hands On Astronomy Conference 2020

Local Astronomical Education evangelist Sid Sidhu is enjoying this online conference that is currently under way. Click the link to learn more about the conference program: https://handsonuniverse.org/ghou2020/programme/

Youtube videos of many of the presentations will be made available here: https://www.youtube.com/user/GTTPGHOU

Edmonton RASCals Focus on the Deep Sky: relayed by Dave Robinson

Elephant Trunk Nebula by Arnold Rivera. He had to do some colour correction due to filters used:
The star on the lower right is Herschel’s Garnet Star (Mu Cephei). It is a red supergiant – one of the largest stars known (it’s diameter is estimated to be larger than Saturn’s orbit). Equipment and details: Celestron RASA 8”Camera: ZWO ASI294 MC Pro (cooled to -16 C) 30s subs, 50 frames, 450 gain
Arnold Rivera August 22 Lobster Claw Nebula
The large nebula in the centre is Sharpless 2-157 (The Lobster Claw Nebula), is described as a “ring nebula surrounding a Wolf-Rayet star (WR157, SAO 20512, mag 9.58)”. To the right edge of this image is NGC 7635 (The Bubble Nebula). Towards the bottom of the image is the small but relatively bright nebula NGC 7538 (in Cepheus), “home to the largest yet discovered protostar (~ 300 times the size of the Solar System)”.
In addition, there is a tight grouping of bright stars located just below Sh2-157 – open cluster NGC 7510.
Equipment and details: Celestron RASA8, ZWO ASI 294MC Pro ( -16C) 30sec subs, 50 subs.
On August 23rd Arnold Rivera imaged the very faint and very large nebula Sharpless 2-129
(The Flying Bat Nebula)
Larry Wood from Caroline AB Aug 20. Above Bubble Nebula & M52 and Below M13
Alister Ling August 22
Channeling some E.E. Barnard last night at the microwave tower on the hill above the north shore of Pigeon Lake…. 70mm on full frame, and it is NOT Sagittarius or Scutum.

Press Briefing on Starlink and other mega-constellations

At 11AM on Tuesday August 25th the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and NSF’s NOIRLab will have a press briefing on the SATCON1 LEOsat mega-constellations workshop report. SATCON1 gathered astronomers, satellite operators, dark-sky advocates, policy makers, and other stakeholders to discuss, understand, and quantify the impacts of large satellite constellations on ground-based optical and infrared astronomical observations as well as on the human experience of the night sky. The briefing will be live-streamed on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/AASPressOffice)

Observing

Astronomy Cafe – July 27, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

Historical Comets

The Great Comets - 1680, 1682, 1744, 1811, 1835, 1842
The Great Comets – 1680, 1682, 1744, 1811, 1835, 1842

Members’ photos, sketches and observations of comets past, including some famous ones!

  • 2015 Lovejoy – Sherry Buttnor photo
  • Observing Highlights – website archive 1995-2013
    • 2013 – 2012 S1 (ISON) , 2013 R1 (Lovejoy), 2012 X1 (LINEAR), 2013 V3 (Nevski), 2P/Encke, Panstarrs (C2011/L4).
    • 2012 – 168P-Hergenrother, 2009 P1 Garradd
    • 2011 – Comet 2009 P1 Garradd
    • 2010 – Hartley, C/2009 R1 McNaught
    • 2009 – C/2007 N3 Lulin, Kushida 144P
    • 2008 – no comets observed
    • 2007 Jul-Dec – 8P/Tuttle, 17/P Holmes
    • 2007 Jan-Jun – Lovejoy C/2007 E2, McNaught C2006 P1
    • 2006 Jul-Dec – C/2006 M4 Swan
    • 2006 Jan-Jun – 73/P Schwassmann-Wachmann
    • 2005 – Temple, Machholz C/2004 Q2
    • 2004 Apr-Jun – C/2001 Q4 NEAT
    • 2003-2000 – no comets observed
    • 1999 Feb-Mar – Comet Linear
    • 1997 – Hale-Bopp – Sherry Buttnor photo, John McDonald photo, Lola wood block painting from Belize
    • 1996 – Hyakutake – Sherry Buttnor photo
  • Zenfolio comet collections
  • The Great Comets – Carpenter & Westley slide 14 (Wikipedia article)
    • 1680 – C/1680 V1, also called the Great Comet of 1680, Kirch’s Comet, and Newton’s Comet, has the distinction of being the first comet discovered by telescope
    • 1682 – Halley’s Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is the best-known of the short-period comets and is visible from Earth every 75–76 years.
    • 1744 – The Great Comet of 1744, whose official designation is C/1743 X1, and which is also known as Comet de Chéseaux or Comet Klinkenberg-Chéseaux, was a spectacular comet that was observed during 1743 and 1744
    • 1811 – The Great Comet of 1811, formally designated C/1811 F1, is a comet that was visible to the naked eye for around 260 days, a record it held until the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. In October 1811, at its brightest, it displayed an apparent magnitude of 0, with an easily visible coma.
    • 1835 – Halley’s Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is the best-known of the short-period comets and is visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Last apparition was in 1986, and the next apparition is in 2061.
    • 1843 – The Great Comet of 1843 formally designated C/1843 D1 and 1843 I, was a long-period comet which became very bright in March 1843 (it is also known as the Great March Comet)

The First FDAO Virtual Star Party: 7PM August 1st

You are invited to the inaugural Virtual Star Party hosted by Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. David Balam, Plaskett telescope operator and Near Earth Object specialist will deliver a presentation on comets. For more information and hyperlinks to the Zoom meeting please click on the following:

https://myemail.constantcontact.com/Invitation—Virtual-Saturday-Night-from-the-Centre-of-the-Universe.html?soid=1132744782935&aid=Kn9A2Z3_-74

Canadian Comet Sleuth David Levy: Webinar 4PM Thursday July 30th

The Canadian Comet Sleuth David Levy, author and comet hunter
Comet NEOWISE has been the sensation of our July skies, the first naked-eye comet for the Northern Hemisphere in ages. David Levy knows all about comets that snag the spotlight. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which broke apart in July 1992 and collided with Jupiter in July 1994, garnered the “Canadian comet sleuth” media attention around the world, including the headline on the very first cover of SkyNews 25 years ago.
Join The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Jenna Hinds and SkyNews’ Allendria Brunjes as they sit down with Levy in the next Speaker Series, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 30.
Levy has discovered 22 comets, given innumerable lectures and written countless articles and more than 30 books — including an autobiography, A Nightwatchman’s Journey. There’s an asteroid named in his honour, and his awards include the Chant Medal of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
Click this link to register for this Webinar

Dr Gordon Walker speaks at the Wednesday UVic Open House

You are invited to the UVic Open House which starts at 7:30PM on Wednesday July 29th. The zoom guest link (with password embedded) is:
https://zoom.us/j/97173236268?pwd=V2hhYTAwVVY5cXl5eEFoOUxSYmZGdz09

Dr. Gordon Walker will deliver a presentation entitled “Falling Through Space”

Observing

Astronomy Cafe – July 20, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

While Waiting for Neowise by Dan Posey

North America Nebula region
This is a 6 minute test (12x30s) of the North America Nebula with a light pollution filter from Mt. Tolmie. Shot with my Sigma 105 at f2 and my Canon Ra at iso 640

Comet Neowise: An Urban Challenge by John McDonald

Comet Neowise captured from my 8th floor patio in Ross Place. 2020-07-13 Canon Ra with 24-105mm at lens at fl of 105mm on Skytracker mount. Single exposure at f/4 for 3.2s at ISO 640.
Stack of 10 subs cropped from a full frame showing detail of Comet Neowise captured from my 8th floor patio in Ross Place. 2020-07-13 Canon Ra with 24-70mm lens on Skytracker mount. Combination of 10 frames taken at f/4 for 3.2s at ISO 640. Processed in ACR and Photoshop. Comet was aligned and stars and combined with stars from a single image.
From FaceBook by By Ian Terris with thanks from Marnie Essery
Comet Neowise reflecting over Thetis Lake.

UVic Astronomy Open House 7:30PM Wednesday

The zoom guest link (with password embedded) is:
https://zoom.us/j/97173236268?pwd=V2hhYTAwVVY5cXl5eEFoOUxSYmZGdz09

Bigger, better, faster: how changes in technology drive astronomy data collection by Nat Comeau

Abstract: There are roughly five variables of interest in observational astronomy: where the object was (sky position), what it looked like (spatial resolution), when it was seen (observation time), how bright it was (brightness), and what colour of light it was (spectral resolution). In this talk I’ll give an overview of how enhancements in technology have driven how precisely we can measure these five variables, and how increasing this precision unlocks wonders that were previously invisible to us. From the first naked eye measurements of the planets, to automated networks of telescopes working hand in hand with gravitational wave observatories, I will describe how far we’ve come in astronomy data collection and how much more there is to do​.

Observing

Astronomy Cafe – July 13, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video

Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3

RASC Victoria members’ photos of Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3

More Victoria RASCal images and sketches of Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3

Bill Weir sketched Comet Neowise from Taylor Beach, Metchosin on the evening of July 12th.
Comet Neowise C/2020 F3 above the glare of Oak Bay Marina at 11:15PM on July 12th by Reg Dunkley
Non tracked 55 mm lens on Canon T3i. 5 Sec at ISO 3200
From Bamberton: Nathan writes: My dad got a picture with his Pentax K1 with a Macro 1:2.8 100mm (weather resistant) lens, with a 20 second exposure, an F5.6, and ISO 800, mounted on with an Astro tracer.
From the top of Mount Douglas on July 12th by Remi Odense
From Majestic Park on July 12th by Remi Odense
Lauri Roche captured Neowise this morning about 12:15 am. Lauri writes: I didn’t have to go far: the balcony of my townhouse. Struggling with aperture, ISO, focussing and an old camera but at least it’s there.
Comet C/2020 F3 Dawn July 13 2020
David Lee writes: I was determined to see if I could see more detail in the comet this morning so I brought the Star Adventurer tracker with me. As with most of my imaging adventures something goes wrong. This morning I tried a different mounting not realizing my orientation of the camera would be limited. Usually not a problem when your subject is isolated with no landscape. So my composition is a bit crooked. With this exposure the stars are peaking through and the second tail is more apparent.
Camera: Nikon Z6 Lens: Nikkor 24-70/4 set at 70mm Sensor ISO: 4000
Exposure: 13 seconds at f/4 Processing: Adobe Photoshop CC Tracking: Skywatcher Star Adventurer
Dorothy Paul captured this image 3:30AM on July 12th from the bench at Hollydene Park at the east end of Arbutus Cove.
Dorothy Paul sketched Neowise at 3:30AM on July 12th from the bench at Hollydene Park at the east end of Arbutus Cove
Dorothy and Miles Paul walked down to Hollydene Park an hour earlier this morning than yesterday. The comet was even better positioned than yesterday for viewing from the bench at the end of the path, overlooking Haro Strait.

Useful Comet Websites

The following websites are a rich source of information about visible comets including Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3. Check them out:

The Sky Live https://theskylive.com/comets

Comet Chasing has excellent finder charts: https://cometchasing.skyhound.com

Computer Science in Astronomy: A UVic Open House Webinar

You are invited to attend the Wednesday UVic Open House which starts at 7:30PM. This week student Sarah Clapoff is talking about the important role of comp sci in astronomy. The zoom guest link (with password embedded) is:
https://zoom.us/j/97173236268?pwd=V2hhYTAwVVY5cXl5eEFoOUxSYmZGdz09

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Observing

Astronomy Cafe – June 29, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the whole 1-hour meeting.


More Lunar Photos from Mike Nash

Two more beautiful lunar images from Mike. Check them out and zoom in!

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-rsJ3pkb/0/c0e69a9c/O/i-rsJ3pkb.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/photos/i-QmJGhnz/0/2d67596c/O/i-QmJGhnz.jpg

Balcony Astronomy from Edmonton – Abdur Anwar

Edmonton RASCal Abdur Anwar writes: I was able to see Jupiter, Saturn and Mars from the balcony on Wednesday and got some test images in preparation for summer. Mars is supposed to get pretty high up this year by October. Now is a good time to practise. Also got the blue snowball nebula.
I used a grey tube C8 at f10, ASI1600MM camera and an EQ6R mount.
Saturn
Mars
Blue Snowball Nebula

June 21st Annular Eclipse of the Sun from India

Time lapses by Neelam and Ajay Talwar and family in an amazingly complicated setup in the midday heat – note the giant fans! They did a wonderful job of capturing Bailey’s Beads peeking through the lunar craters and mountains along the thin rim of sunlight at the edge of the Moon at mid-eclipse.

Noctilucent clouds from Osoyoos – Debra Ceravolo

Debra’s comments on her Facebook page: “Many people like me have never seen noctilucent clouds and here I have seen and photographed four different events this month. The frequency of these special iridescent clouds is increasing due to climate change. Noctilucent clouds or NLCs form way out in the mesosphere at the edge of cold space. Meteor ‘smoke’ lingers there and ice crystals form around that. The solar minimum causes the thermosphere/mesosphere to be even colder and terrestrial activity affects how water vapour gets up there. So it’s water vapours and extreme cold that form NLCs. This photo was taken the evening of June 27th from my home in southern BC.”

Noctilucent clouds from Osoyoos – Debra Ceravolo

Here is my time lapse video of another display on the morning of June 22.

Recording Astronomical Observations – Joe Carr

Joe reviews how he records his observations by using a combination of an observing log, photos, diagrams, and he also shares how he stays motivated and shares his observations online.

Example screens showing Joe's observations recorded in Evernote
Example screens showing Joe’s observations recorded in Evernote

Planet Nine or Planet Nein? – Reg Dunkley

On 23 June former NRC/DAO Plaskett Fellow Samantha Lawler gave a public outreach lecture from her new Regina home entitled, “Planet Nine or Planet Nein?” She radiates enthusiasm for studying the outer solar system and includes some excellent graphics to help her audience gain new understanding in an enjoyable fashion. Here is UR’s message with links; if you watch the video I’m sure Samantha and UR would be grateful to receive your feedback via the form they provide:

“We hope you enjoyed “Planet Nine or Planet Nein?” with Dr. Samantha Lawler. A few links and attachments follow:
1) Please complete this survey – we would like to hear your feedback.
2) Please click on this link to view the recording of the presentation.
3) Attached are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the slide deck of Dr. Lawler’s presentation
Again, thank you for your interest in the University of Regina’s Research with Impact!”

Observing – Chris Purse

Astronomy Cafe – June 15, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Sketching by Victoria Centre Members

Kuiper belt talk at the Wednesday Night UVic Astronomy Open House at 7:30 PM

The zoom guest link (with password embedded) is:
https://zoom.us/j/97173236268?pwd=V2hhYTAwVVY5cXl5eEFoOUxSYmZGdz09
Meeting ID: 971 7323 6268 Password: 554555​

Using New Horizons Probe for Parallax

The distance between the Earth and New Horizons offers a very long baseline that facilitates parallax measurements. Check out the interesting article here.

CANadian Virtual Astronomy Seminar Series (CANVAS)

The next talk in the CANVAS series will be given Paul Weigert of Western on Monday June 22 at 11:00 PDT. Dr. Weigert’s talk is titled ‘ Interstellar asteroids and comets: what are they and where do they come from?’

Visit the CANVAS webpagehttp://astroherzberg.org/canvas/ – for the schedule of talks, a link to the YouTube channel, and links to the recorded talks and upcoming talks.

The Zoom link for Monday’s talk is – https://zoom.us/j/97943735055?pwd=alhsVC9vdUVTUHBoenZKRzFleGVxdz09

Noctilucent clouds from Edmonton – Alistair Ling

Daytime Lunar Photo from Mike Nash

During this cloudy interlude RASCals have had to resort to desperate measures to capture Astro objects. Despite multiple layers of cloud and a rising Sun, Mike managed to get a remarkable amount of detail in this image taken at 9AM on Sunday June 14th. He writes: “The filter works well enough, but not perfect – on screen the sky is grey rather than a completely visible light-blocking black. Alignment points (for stacking software) needed to be set at a much higher brightness than I would normally do.” Check it out

Observing

Astronomy Cafe – June 8, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

A new sunspot!

There is a new sunspot on the Sun after three months of being spotless! Both Bill Weir and Joe Carr captured this apparition. More info on SpaceWeather.com for June 6, 2020.

Solar H-Alpha & White Light – June 5/20 – Bill Weir sketches & outreach photos
Sun with Sunspot & clouds – June 6, 2020 – Joe Carr photo

Golden Week of Webinars in Astrophysics 2020

The link for registration is www.astro.uc.cl
Note the time is for Chile time zone which is the same as Central Time

Photos from Edmonton

Thanks to Dave Robinson for forwarding these photos.

Moon set over Edmonton by Larry Wood - June 5th about 5am -ISO 100, 300 mm, 1/60 second
Moon set over Edmonton by Larry Wood – June 5th about 5am -ISO 100, 300 mm, 1/60 second
Noctilucent clouds on the morning of June 4th - a follow up to what Alister Ling talked about last week.
Noctilucent clouds on the morning of June 4th – a follow up to what Alister Ling talked about last week.
Alister with one of his patented moonset shots from Friday - the view from Kinnaird Park.
Alister with one of his patented moonset shots from Friday – “The view from Kinnaird Park, birds chirping, geese honking, lilac bushes perfuming the damp coolness. So much to image lately! It will take a while to process the time slice, time-lapse, valley fog time-lapse. How do you like your Mead/Honey Moon? Pale, yellow, peach, amber?”

Undulating fog in the river valley – a time-lapse captured by Alister. The movie really shows the bulk motions that are not visible to the eye. Sped up 100X. Definitely on the meteorology side of things, but the Moon is in the movie at the start!

Masked Men Make Off with VCO Telescope

On June 4th, vigilant lunar astrophotographer Mike Nash captures RASCals in the act as they conduct top secret mission to ship Victoria Centre Observatory scope to a telescope spa in the Los Angeles area.

Two Masked RASCals Surveying Victoria Centre Observatory Scope
RASCals Furtively Stow TPO 16 Inch RC Telescope in Crate.
The Crate Securely Lashed in Getaway Vehicle … Rumoured to Belong to Mike Nash
Crate Last Seen Passing Southbound Through Richmond BC

Venus setting behind the Chiricahua Mountains from Portal, Arizona

On May 28, 2020, I shot a video of the crescent Venus setting behind the Chiricahua Mountains. This was just 6 days before Venus passed between Earth and the Sun (i.e., inferior conjunction). Shot from Bifrost Observatory, 8-inch Meade LX200, Sony A6000. Fred Espenak (Mr. Eclipse)

Planet Venus setting on 2020 May 28 from Fred Espenak on Vimeo.

Observing

Astronomy Cafe

Posted by as Meetings

Astro Cafe Logo

Astronomy Cafe is normally held every Monday evening in Fairfield, Victoria, BC, Canada except during summer months or when the Monday falls on a statutory holiday. During the Spring of 2020, in-person meetings were suspended in favour of meeting online in order to comply with British Columbia’s provincial health directives to minimize risk for contracting the coronavirus COVID-19.

You are invited to share content for upcoming online meetings via our President Reg Dunkley (president@victoria.rasc.ca). We will post your submitted content to our website and present it to members at the next online meeting, which still happens every Monday evening at 7:30PM. Of course, you are welcome to log in and present your content personally! Links to our online meetings are emailed to RASC Victoria Centre members a day or two ahead of time, so please join us!

  • November 9, 2020
    • Monthly meeting – announcements & reports – Reg Dunkley & others
    • Four Decades Beneath the Shadow of the Moon – Jay Anderson
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page – John McDonald’s M27 wide field photo, public lecture on cosmology discoveries, review of RASC National bulletin – Reg Dunkley
    • Mars rotation sequence over a month (4 hours at a time) – Nathan
    • Lunar sketch – Randy Enkin
  • November 2, 2020
    • 2021 Observers Calendars sales – Chris Purse
    • Victoria Centre AGM and elections are coming up early in Feb 2021 – Chris Purse
    • Explore the Universe observing program now posted online
    • Work at the Victoria Centre Observatory (VCO) – Plan B – John McDonald
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page – Reg Dunkley
      • Startup of the VCO & proposed new Maritime Museum & possible planetarium in Langford
      • Victoria Centre monthly meeting next Wed – Eclipse presentation by Jay Anderson
      • UVic Open House – “Messy Stellar Siblings” – online presentation this Wed
      • CHIME presentation from UofT – see bulletin from National
    • Astrophotos from Edmonton – Dave Robinson
    • Small Refractor Imaging & Electronically Assisted Astronomy – David Lee
    • UVic Physics Colloquium – this Wed – Jim Hesser
  • October 26, 2020
    • History of Hubble book published – Chris Gainor
    • Meteor sighting from the BC Mainland – Chris Purse
    • Plans for development of new Maritime Museum & possible planetarium in Langford – Chris Gainor
    • Discussion about surveillance satellites – Garry Sedun & Chris Gainor
    • Small Refractor Imaging – David Lee
    • Victoria By-election – Alex Schmid is running
    • Edmonton imagery by Luca Vanzella – Dave Robinson
    • New focuser for our loaner telescope at the VCO – Reg Dunkley
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page, National events, weather forecast – Reg Dunkley
    • Two astro images from members – M45 by Doug MacDonald & Dumbell Nebula by Brock Johnston – Joe Carr
    • Buying and selling astronomy gear for sale – Chris Purse & Joe Carr
  • October 19, 2020
    • Kevin Light & Kia Tully’s photo of a kayaker in front of the full Moon, taken from Mt. Douglas
    • Astrophotography by the Victoria Camera Club members who participated in John McDonald’s astrophoto workshop
    • Harvest Moonrise over Edmonton – Luca Vanzella
    • Black Holes and the 2020 Nobel Prizes – Randy Enkin
    • TPO 16″ telescope repair status & observatory access update – Reg Dunkley
    • Mars sequential photos – John McDonald
  • October 5, 2020
    • Sunset Azimuth Sweep – Luca Vanzella
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page for this week – Reg Dunkley
      • Mars detailed image – John McDonald
      • Mars – Abdur Anwar, Edmonton Centre
      • Unquiet Slumbers Aurora video from Alastair Ling, Edmonton
      • Two astronomy presentation alerts from Jim Hesser – gravitational waves, asteroid sample return JAXA mission
      • Electronically-assisted astronomy (EAA) – David Lee
    • FDAO Star Party & AGM – Lauri Roche
  • September 28, 2020
    • Report from the VCO by Reg Dunkley
    • Perseverance Mars Mission UofA webinar – Chris Herd, presenter – presented by Dave Robinson
    • Mars & Uranus with moons – Abdur Anwar’s photos from Edmonton – presented by Dave Robinson
    • 12.5″ RC telescope installation – a slideshow by Joe Carr
    • Astro Cafe web page review – Reg Dunkley
      • Astrobiology – a UVic Open House presentation by James di Francesco
      • Baby Planets to Black Holes (ALMA & New Horizon telescope) – lecture to Engineering Society by Dr. Schieven
      • The Quantum Physicist as Causal Detective
      • What’s happening at the RASC
    • Observe the Moon Night – Randy Enkin
    • APOD Equinox composite photo over Edmonton by Luca Vanzella – presented by Chris Purse
  • September 21, 2020
    • Overall Winners 2020 – Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition – presented by Barbara Lane
    • Return to the VCO – Reg Dunkley
    • Time lapse video of the work party at the VCO today – Joe Carr
    • VCO operating procedure Q&A – all
    • Summer Solstice to Autumnal Equinox – Randy Enkin
    • Astro Cafe web page review – Reg Dunkley
      • FDAO Virtual Star Party
      • UVic Observatory Open House
      • Astro Imagers from Edmonton
      • Indigenous Astronomy 
  • September 14, 2020
    • Dr. Phil Groff, Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
  • Used Newtonian telescope purchase, re-configuration and collimation – Randy Enkin
  • Sketching Lunar trenches using NASA Scientific Visualization – Randy Enkin
  • An upcoming astrophotography workshop to Victoria Camera Club (Sep 15 & 29) – a trial run using zoom – John McDonald
  • Comet Imaging – journey of discovery – Garry Sedun
  • Equipment purchases – small astrograph, new mount & Lunar Observing – David Lee
  • Astro Cafe web page review – Reg Dunkley
    • Sketch of fading Comet Neowise by Bill Weir
    • What’s happening at the RASC? – how to register and a review
    • Impressive Images of Mars using Winjupos software – from Edmonton RASCal Abdur Anwar
    • Mars in 4K (Part 2) – youtube video – ElderFox Documentaries
    • Dan’s image of the North America nebula (NGC 7000) – using dual narrow-band filter
    • Sep 8th – Victoria Centre Council meeting
    • Sep 14th Phil Groth presentation – send questions
    • Membership is declining both nationally and locally – lowest in 5 years
  • FDAO “Equinox to Solstice” – 4 public outreach sessions and Virtual tour for Observatory Hill is coming along – Lauri Roche
  • August 24, 2020
    • Perspective 209 seconds video – Marji Welchframe
    • M31 Andromeda Galaxy from Nanoose Bay and 2,000th Moon milestone on Enkin’s Daily Moon on Facebook – Randy Enkin
    • Review of tonight’s Astro Cafe web page – Reg Dunkley
      • A Poetic Pelican photo by Doug MacDonald
      • Lagoon & Trifid Nebulae photo by Dan Posey
      • Cosmic Collisions – final UVic Open House – Mallory Thorpe
      • RASC Robotic Telescope Editing Contest for August – M82 data processing
      • Speaker Series – Hawaiian Nights
      • Edmonton RASCals deep sky imaging
      • Press briefing on Starlink
    • Observing Comet NEOWISE & Campbell’s Hydrogen Star – Bill Weir at Pearson College Godin-Newton Observatory
    • Moon shadows on Jupiter by John McDonald
  • August 17, 2020
    • Astronomy Cafe zoom passwords – Joe Carr
    • Jupiter shadow transits – sequential frames – John McDonald
    • Perseid meteor shower photos from his allsky camera – Sid Sidhu
    • Mars, the Moon & Venus this past week – David Lee
    • Question about observing meteors low to the horizon – Dorothy Paul
    • Review of tonight’s Astro Cafe web page – Reg Dunkley
  • August 10, 2020
    • Mars and the Moon – David Lee
    • Colour Filters for lunar observing – Randy Enkin
    • How human sight works – yellow filters for lunar observing and seeing colour when observing nebula – Dorothy Paul
    • Space Educator’s Institute -3-day online conference – Lauri Roche & David Lee
    • Perseid meteor shower and other observing hints – Chris Purse
    • RASC National for Perseids observing group – Discord chat service being used – Bill Weir
  • July 27, 2020
    • Historical Comets – members’ photos, sketches and observations of comets past, including some famous ones!
    • Falling Through Space” – Dr. Gordon Walker – UVic presentation
    • First FDAO Virtual Star Party – featuring Dave Balam
    • Canadian Comet Sleuth David Levy: Webinar
  • July 20, 2020
    • North America Nebula – image by Dan Posey
    • Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 – images from John Mcdonald, Randy Enkin & others
    • Bigger, better, faster: how changes in technology drive astronomy data collection by Nat Comeau – UVic Astronomy Open House
    • Observing – links to resources
  • July 13, 2020
    • Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 – images and sketches from Victoria Centre members
    • Useful comet websites
    • Computer Science in Astronomy: A UVic Open House Webinar
    • Observing
  • July 6, 2020
    • Noctilucent clouds from Edmonton – Alistair Ling
    • Penumbral Eclipse – July 4th – Doug Hardy, David Lee, Dorothy Paul, Randy Enkin
    • Martian Citizen Science – webinar notice
    • Astronomy Poem inspires Mystery Novel – The Old Astronomer by Sarah Williams – Marjie Welchframe
    • Lunar photos – Alex Schmid & John McDonald
  • June 29, 2020
    • More Lunar Photos from Mike Nash
    • Balcony Astronomy from Edmonton – Abdur Anwar
    • June 21st Annular Eclipse of the Sun from India – Time lapses by Neelam and Ajay Talwar
    • Noctilucent clouds from Osoyoos – Debra Ceravolo
    • Recording Astronomical Observations – Joe Carr
    • “Planet Nine or Planet Nein?” with Dr. Samantha Lawler – presented by Reg Dunkley
    • Observing and review of the RASC National youtube channel – Chris Purse
  • June 22, 2020
    • More Noctilucent Cloud Sightings from Edmonton’s Alister Ling
    • Telescope Price Fixing Legal Dispute – presented by Chris Purse
    • Christopher Go Planetary Imaging Tutorials
    • Geomagnetic Measurements Project – Nathan & other members
  • June 15, 2020
    • Sketching by Victoria Centre Members – Phillip Teece’s historical sketches, Diane Bell, Dorothy Paul
    • Noctilucent clouds from Edmonton – Alistair Ling
    • Daytime Lunar Photo from Mike Nash
    • Observing – review of the coming week’s opportunities from Skynews and Sky & Telescope magazines
  • June 8, 2020
    • First sunspot in 3 months! – Bill Weir’s sketches & public outreach photos and Joe Carr’s photo
    • Photos from Edmonton – Alistair Ling’s and Larry Wood’s Moonset and Noctilucent cloud photos, and Alistair’s setting Venus and drifting fog time lapse videos
    • Masked Men Make Off with VCO Telescope – Reg Dunkley, Dave Robinson, Dan Posey and Mike Nash remove and pack up the 16″ TPO RC telescope
    • Venus setting behind the Chiricahua Mountains – Fred Espenak (Mr. Eclipse) captures a beautiful crescent-phased Venus setting in a time lapse video from southern Arizona
    • Observing – review of the coming week’s opportunities from Skynews and Sky & Telescope magazines

Virtual Astro Cafe – March to June 1st, 2020

Astro Cafe Presentations Archive – 2014-2019

Astronomy Cafe event photos