Astronomy Cafe – April 19, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

  • Galaxy hunting with just a camera (no telescope) – John McDonald
    • Photo of Leo the Lion Constellation taken with a 50mm lens from Cattle Point
    • 88 minutes of exposure, used a blur filter for some of the exposures
    • Leo Triplet – obvious
    • Leo 1 Group
    • NGC 2903 – barred galaxy
    • Asteroid Vesta – movement between 11th and 13th
    • Hickson Group in neck of Leo – Bill Weir
    • Dwarf galaxy near Regulus
  • Daguerre crater – Randy Enkin
    • Photo of Sun & sunspots – Fizeau & Foucault at Paris Observatory on April 2, 1845 
    • Dial-A-Moon – NASA – annotated lunar photo
    • Mike Nash’s photo captured Daguerre crater on the 16th
  • Favourable weather for observing – Reg Dunkley
    • University of Washington
      • IR loop
      • GOES satellite images – every 5 minutes
      • North Pole view of the 500 millibar layer – mid-point of atmosphere – shows an Omega block (giving us very stable air)
      • By this Saturday, we are getting a Cold Low, causing unstable air and cloud cover
  • Edmonton RASC members’ photos – Dave Robinson
    • NGC 2403 galaxy in Camelopardalis – Arnold Rivera
    • Aurora and old shed – Warren Findlay
    • M51 Whirlpool Galaxy and galaxy cluster, quasar (mag 20) – Abdur Anwar
  • Nu Virginis occulted by the Moon on Friday – David Lee
    • Given poor weather forecast, we are unlikely to be able to observe
    • IOTA site has occultation predictions
    • Grazing occultations are quite interesting, showing the lunar mountains, but this isn’t a grazing event
    • QHYCCD GPS Sync Timer module – can be used with existing cameras using a NTP time server (GPS)
  • Discussion about imaging – David Lee, Brock Johnston
  • Amateur Astronomer certificate received by Marjie from Kalamazoo
  • Moon At Noon – RASC program – Lauri Roche & Chris Purse
    • Lauri sketched the Moon using her 8″ SCT

Astronomy Cafe – April 12, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting video transcript

  • Galactic-scale Gas Wave in the Solar Neighbourhood – The Radcliffe Wave – João Alves et al – presented by Dorothy Paul
    • Studied molecular clouds from Gaia data
    • Calculated exact distances to star clouds and their 3D shapes
    • Redefined our Local Arm of the Milky Way
    • Radcliffe College > Harvard College/university (history)
      • Cecelia Payne – 
        • She moved from Cambridge to Radcliffe to Harvard
        • Shapely published her Stellar Atmospheres – hydrogen is the major component of the Universe
        • 1957 first female full professor at Harvard
        • What Stars Are Made Of – her life – by Donovan Moore
    • João Alves, the lead behind the Gaia study revealed “At Radcliffe, an exhibit of a quilt of stars by Anna Von Mertins honouring Henrietta Leavitt…” opened his eyes to wider consideration of the data.
    • What is the origin of the Radcliffe Wave?
    • How stable is it and are there similar structures in other spiral galaxies?
    • A Galactic-scale gas wave in the Solar Neighbourhood – João Alves et al – PDF
  • Photos from Edmonton RASC – Dave Robinson
    • Lunar Transit of the ISS on March 27th – compiled from video by Arnold Rivera
    • Leo Triplet – Abdur Anwar – reprocessed to show colour
    • T-Rex shape in the Moon  – Abdur Anwar
    • Veil Nebula stereo image from Hubble – by Murray Paulson – https://esahubble.org/images/heic1520d/
    • M101 galaxy – Tom Owen
  • Jukka-Pekka Metsavainio’s Milky Way Mosaic – Randy Enkin
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Makers – this Thursday – Jim Cliffe
    • Astrophotography – John McDonald
    • EAA – extra meetings, and some good results – David Lee
    • Beginners – virtual telescope walk (show-and-tell) – David Lee
  • Occultation of star (nu Virginis) by Moon on 23rd 11:10PM local time – David Lee will present more info next week at Astro Cafe
  • Annular Eclipse from Northern Ontario – June 10, 2021 – Brendon Roy, Thunder Bay may broadcast from the centreline if possible

Astronomy Cafe – March 29, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting transcript video

  • Announcements – Chris Purse
    • No Astro Cafe next week – Easter weekend
    • The Moon At Noon observing program – hosted by RASC National
  • Nathan
    • Combined 6 photos taken at each phase of the Moon
    • “Lines connecting the stars” – really dark skies of the ancients!
    • Water rockets – project for science fair
      • 100 metres maximum height reached
      • project involves balancing the amount of water and air for maximum height
        • 500ml was optimal for his configuration – 1:14 ratio
        • leaking bottles, lost red fins, air pump broke, lost the altimeter
        • Used a launcher with a remote switch and an air pump
  • The dates of Passover and Easter – Randy Enkin
    • Jewish calendar is lunar
    • Passover – 15th day of Nissan, starting on the first new moon of spring
    • Easter – 1st Sunday after Full Moon on or after March 21st (vernal equinox)
    • Saanich First Nation’s calendar
  • Amateur Astronomy Courses – Marjie Welchframe
    • Marjie completed all five courses – now available on youtube (see linked article)
    • My Introduction to Astronomy – paid course starting on April 6th by Richard Bell
    • Kalamazoo Astronomical Society
  • Edmonton astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Propellor Nebula – Arnold Rivera
    • Leo Trio – Abdur Anwar
    • Coronal Aurora – Lucas and Abdur
    • Solar Halo – Alister Ling
  • International Astronomy Day  – Lauri Roche
    • Sat, May 15th – webinar from Victoria being planned, featuring:
      • Live solar viewing
      • Astrophotos
      • Planetarium show
      • Live from CU deck
  • Finding Novas – Brock Johnston
    • Captured the current supernova in Cassiopeia
    • Used ASIair Pro to find
    • Used Deep Sky Stacker & Gimp for processing
    • Sky & Telescope article
  • Lunar Occultation – David Lee
  • Black Holes get more interesting – John McDonald
    • Scientific American special publication: Black Holes – the extreme science of the universe’s most mysterious phenomena – available at Bolen Books or online
    • Gravity waves from collisions
    • Black holes may be primordial, so not all black holes may be caused by supernova
  • Moon phase photo series – John McDonald
    • Sketch of Bailly crater on the 26th – Randy
    • Lunar video sequence from last August – Brock

Amateur Astronomy Courses!

Posted by as Reviews

by Marjie Welchframe, 2nd VP, RASC Victoria

Planets orbiting the Sun

Kalamazoo Astronomical Society, Kalamazoo, MI offered a free, five-part Introduction to Amateur Astronomy online course in February and March this year.  The course was a splendid set of lectures presented by host Richard Bell.  With degrees in Physics and Mathematics plus a life-passion for Astronomy, Richard was the perfect individual to share his years of knowledge and experience with the over 900 people from around the world who attended this exciting series!

What did I learn?  Tons!  A history of the universe, what’s up in the night sky, all about binoculars and telescopes, and an overview of astrophotography.  I had had previous exposure to some information in these discourses, while other material was entirely new.  The content of these lectures is dense enough to revisit over and over.

Richard Bell has given course participants permission to share his 5 lectures.  I highly recommend them!

As well, Richard Bell has an upcoming paid course My Introduction to Astronomy which begins on April 6 and extends over a period of 11 wks.  It’s Part 1 of the course I took with much more detail.  There is a syllabus for anyone interested.  One can take the exams, or not! 

Astronomy Cafe – March 22, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

VIdeo transcript of meeting

Brief notes & links

  • GSNST: A Sky Survey to Search for Transients Unsing an Array of Robotic Telescopes – Malhar Kendurkar, President of Prince George Centre – FDAO Star Party at the DAO this Saturday, March 27th 7:00PM
  • Antikythera Mechanism – APOD showed a photo and it is also highlighted in a Nature magazine article – Ken Atkinson
  • MAIN SPEAKER: Allendria Brunjes, Skynews Editor-in-Chief. Allendria has been a journalist for 15 years, living in Ontario, and joined Skynews a year and a half ago.
    • Next May/June issue focuses on public outreach, with help from Janeane and focusing on BC and Hawaii
    • Some of the changes to the back end of the magazine over last 1.5 years include: subscriber management tools, marketing, new printer, branding, website and social media.
    • Financial and editorial changes made last year highlighted by Chris Gainor
    • New art and design – Isabelle Santiago
    • New writers, editors: Chris Vaughan, Blake Nancarrow, Ivan Semaniak, Elizabeth Howell, Alan Dyer, Nicole Mortillaro, and others
    • Biggest challenges and rewards discussed
  • Sky This Week – review by Randy Enkin
  • One Sky, Many Astronomies by Indigenous star lore expert Wilfred Buck – repeat presentation on March 26th online at UVic
  • There is an occultation on April 23rd and if interested in photometry, contact David Lee

Astronomy Cafe – March 15, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

Presentations and discussion

  • International Women scientists – Ken Atkinson
    • Oral histories/interviews at the National Science Foundation website – Vera Rubin & Helen Hogg
    • Amalie Emmy Noether – showed mathematically the conservation of energy – Theoretical Minimum
    • Augusta Ada King – ADA computer language, worked with Charles Babbage as the first computer programmer
    • Mary Somerville – first female member of the RAS same time as Caroline Herschel. Wrote translation of La Place’s book The Mechanism of the Heavens into English.
    • Alexander von Humboldt – brilliant lecturer at the university he founded in 1812. Took magnetometer measurements in his worldwide travels. His books are free on Google Books.
    • Ken’s Women In Science presentation with media and links – PDF (837 kb)
  • Stars in Motion – Randy Enkin
    • 2012 Don Petit photo from the ISS – star trails around the axis of the Space Station
  • The Sky This Week – Randy Enkin
    • This Week’s Sky from Skynews
    • March Equinox – the Vernal Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere – equal day and night
    • Lunar X visible on March 20th, but it’s a bit early for Victoria at 6:30PM
    • Vesta asteroid can be observed with binoculars over the next few days – Bill Weir
  • First Steps of Perseverance rover on Mars – Reg Dunkley
    • Proposed route for the mission
    • High resolution photos
  • AAVSO – Reg Dunkley
    • Comparing CCD and CMOS Sensors –  Arne Henden
    • K2 Rotation Rates in Young Clusters – Dr. Luisa Rebull
    • Good starter program for amateurs to get started measuring variable stars
  • Slooh – David Lee
    • Acquiring southern hemisphere images
    • Quests – active learning programs
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Makers SIG is kicking off this week
    • Other SIGs are enjoyable and motivating
  • Antikythera Mechanism – Garry Sedun
    • An ancient Greek hand-powered orrery mechanism
    • Experts finally figured out how it works and have a digital model of it
  • Skynews Managing Editor Allendria Brunjes will present at next week’s at Astro Cafe

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


BELL, Diane Eleanor March 7, 1953 – November 9, 2020 – Obituary in the Times Colonist


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

I have been a pen friend of Diane’s for some 32 years and have stayed with her in Victoria during a holiday there and attended with her one of your evenings. Diane visited us in Australia several times and stayed with us. I felt quite saddened to hear this news and felt a deep sense of loss of someone I had come to know very well and yet saw so little of her. In spite of that she had a large impact upon our life and we all felt at home right from the start when she contacted us through friend to see if we could provide accommodation for her in Brisbane during Expo 88 which were able to do. Our friendship began almost immediately we met on her arrival here in Brisbane.

Please convey our condolences to any who knew her well if opportunity rises. I will miss her correspondence but am well satisfied that she has been a part of our life’s journey and we will remember her fondly and with love. I am sure she will be missed by all members of the RASC, the work of which she was justly proud. – Rev. Bruce Worthington

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