CANCELLED Speaker: Radio and Microwave Astronomy – Dr. Lisa Locke

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THIS MEETING HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER

We will reschedule Dr. Locke to speak at a future meeting.

February 8, 2017, 7:30PM, University of Victoria, Bob Wright Centre A104 – RASC Victoria Centre’s monthly meeting

Event info

Radio and Microwave Astronomy – History, Canadian Involvement, and Interesting Tidbits – Dr. Lisa Locke, NRC Herzberg

Dr. Lisa Locke
Dr. Lisa Locke

Radio astronomy started in the early 1930s as an electrical engineering project and it took many years for the optical astronomy community to include it under the gilded Astronomy umbrella. Early experimentalists had a field day with surplus World War II equipment and the increased world-wide collaboration between researchers. I will explain and guide through this history up to the present, contrasting the new radio astronomy with the classic well-understood optical ideas, highlighting Canada’s significant role in the growing field. Details on current instrumentation projects and observatories will also be presented.

Bio

Dr. Lisa Shannon Locke was born north of the 60th parallel in Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada and received the B.Sc (Alberta, 1997), M.Sc. (Cape Town, 2001) and PhD (Victoria, 2014) degrees all in electrical engineering specializing in low-noise microwave astronomy instrumentation.

As a student, she worked at the Canadian Space Agency, CalTech’s Owens Valley Observatory and at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV. After graduating, she spent five years as a receiver engineer at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico. Then in 2005 she joined the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Socorro, NM building cryogenic receivers for the expanded very large array (EVLA).

Her PhD degree was advised by Prof. Dr. Jens Bornemann and the late Dr. Stéphane Claude of NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, Victoria, BC. Her thesis investigated the design and construction of a K-band (18 – 26 GHz) coherent 5×5 phased array feed for use on large radio astronomy reflectors. She is currently employed with NRC Herzberg and leads a multi-disciplinary project to build a S/C-band (2.8 – 5.18 GHz) cryogenic phased array feed receiver system.

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

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

Pre-concert talk at 19:00

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Event info

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

 

John Blakeslee
John Blakeslee

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

Video of the presentation – Youtube

Bio:

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

2016 Award Recipients for Victoria Centre

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

All AGM Event photos

 

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

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

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

 

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

Special Certificate of Appreciation

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

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

Award of Excellence, Ernie Pfannenschmidt Award for Amateur Telescope Making

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

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

Award of Excellence in Astrophotography

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

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

Special Award of Excellence

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

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

The Newton / Ball Service Award

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

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

 

2016 Victoria Centre Council Nominations

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RASC Victoria Centre

Council (Board of Directors) Nominations 2017

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

Members at Large: Nominations:

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

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

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

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October 12, 2016, 7:30PM, University of Victoria, Bob Wright Centre A104 – RASC Victoria Centre’s monthly meeting

Event info

“Searching for Habitable Planets around our Closest Neighbors, the Alpha Centauri Triple Star System.” – Dr. Christian Marois, NRC Herzberg

Dr. Christian Marois
Dr. Christian Marois

The Alpha Centauri star system is ideal to search for habitable planets by various observing techniques due to its proximity and wide range of stellar masses. Following the recent discovery of an Earth-size planet candidate located inside the Proxima Centauri habitable zone, I will discuss this remarkable discovery and the planet’s potential to find life. I will also present our current project to discover similar planets around the two Sun-like pair located 15,000 AU from Proxima Centauri. The Alpha Centauri system is the prime target of the Breakthrough Starshot program, a project to send small quarter-size probes to take resolve images of these new worlds, and to prepare for Humanity’s first step into a new star system.

Bio: Dr Marois completed his Ph.D. at the Université de Montréal in 2004. The main topic of his thesis work was to understand the limits in exoplanet imaging and to design innovating observing strategies. After his thesis, he did postdoctoral researches at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Univ. of California Berkeley and NRC. In 2008, while at NRC, he led the team that took the first image of another planetary system (HR 8799) using the Keck and Gemini telescopes. He is currently pursuing his research at the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics where he is part of the Gemini Planet Imager campaign and developing instruments for imaging Earth-like planets at Gemini South and the TMT.

Presentation video

FOR SALE: Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way – Barnard, 1927

Posted by as Buy&Sell

RASC Victoria Centre is selling a rare antiquarian star atlas from our library:

Atlas of Selected Regions of the Milky Way – by Edward Emerson Barnard

Published by Carnegie Institution of Washington 1927
Part I – Photographs and Descriptions
Part II – Charts and Tables

This is a beautifully illustrated atlas of the Milky Way
featuring photographs hand-picked by Barnard

$10,000

 

Payment by bank draft or certified cheque payable to: RASC Victoria Centre.
Payment by personal cheque drawn on a US or Canadian bank is acceptable, but will cause delays.

Please contact our Librarian Michel Michaud (Email or call (250) 477-1414 if you are interested in purchasing this antiquarian two volume set.

 

Part I Photographs and Descriptions

Stardust: the cosmic seeds of life – Prof. Sun Kwok

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September 14, 2016, 7:30PM, University of Victoria, Bob Wright Centre A104 – RASC Victoria Centre’s monthly meeting

Event info

“Stardust: the cosmic seeds of life ” – Prof. Sun Kwok, Faculty of Science, The University of Hong Kong

 

 

Stardust: the cosmic seeds of life
Stardust: The Cosmic Seeds of Life

How did life originate on Earth? For over 50 years, scientists believed that life was the result of chemistry involving simple molecules such as methane and ammonia cooking in a primordial soup. Recent space observations have revealed that old stars are capable of making very complex organic compounds. The stars then ejected the organics and spread them all over the Milky Way Galaxy. There is evidence that these organic dust particles actually reached the early Solar System. Through bombardments by comets and asteroids, the early Earth inherited significant amounts of star dust. Was the development of life assisted by the arrival of these extraterrestrial materials? In this talk, we describe discoveries in astronomy and solar system science over the last 10 years that resulted in a new perspective on the origin of life.

Stardust: The Cosmic Seeds of Life” – 2013, Springer

References

Kwok, S. The Synthesis of Organic and Inorganic Compounds in Evolved Stars, Nature, 430, 985 (2004)
Kwok, S. and Zhang, Y. Mixed aromatic/aliphatic organic nanoparticles as carriers of unidentified infrared emission features, Nature, 479, 80 (2011)
Kwok, S. Complex organics in space: from Solar System to distant galaxies, A&A Rev., 24, 1-27 (2016)

About the speaker

Prof. Sun Kwok
Prof. Sun Kwok

Prof. Sun Kwok’s research areas are astrochemistry and stellar evolution. He is best known for his theory on the origin of planetary nebulae and the death of Sun-like stars. His recent research has been on the topic of the synthesis of complex organic compounds in the late stages of stellar evolution. He is the author of many books, including The Origin and Evolution of Planetary Nebulae (Cambridge, 2000), Cosmic Butterflies (Cambridge, 2001), Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium (University Science Books, 2007), Organic Matter in the Universe (Wiley, 2012), and Stardust: the cosmic seeds of life (Springer, 2013).

He has been a guest observer on many space missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Infrared Space Observatory. He currently serves as President of IAU International Astronomical Union (IAU), Commission on Astrobiology. Previously, he has served as the President of IAU Commission on Interstellar Matter (2012-2015) and chairman of IAU Planetary Nebulae Working Group (1994-2001).

 

SPEAKER: Exploring exoplanetary systems with the Gemini Planet Imager – Zach Draper

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June 8, 2016, 7:30PM, University of Victoria, Bob Wright Centre A104 – RASC Victoria Centre’s monthly meeting

Event info

“Exploring exoplanetary systems with the Gemini Planet Imager” – Zach Draper, UVic Astronomy

An accurate artist impression of the kind of planetary systems I'll be talking about
An accurate artist impression of the kind of planetary systems I’ll be talking about

The Gemini Planet Imager is an instrument designed to directly image exoplanets and circumstellar disks around nearby stars. Partially built here in Victoria, it is now conducting a 600 hour survey at the Gemini-South observatory in Chile. I will discuss how the instrument works and highlight some of its recent discoveries.

Bio: Zack Draper is a second year PhD student at the University of Victoria, where he also received his Masters in 2012. His focus of study are debris disks (collisionally active, asteroid belts) around other stars. He is also member of the Gemini Planet Imager Exoplanet Survey.

Astronomy Day 2016

Posted by as Events, Special Events

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Royal BC Museum present

International Astronomy Day

at the Royal BC Museum

Saturday, May 14, 2016 10AM to 4PM

Amazing Astronomical Activities for all Ages!

2016-IAD-MediaRelease (59k PDF)

Event Details


Stephen Courtin and his astro VW bus
Stephen Courtin and his astro VW bus

All Astronomy Day activities are FREE and available to the general public. Membership in RASC is not required.

Regular admission applies to Royal BC Museum and IMAX Theatre. A Beautiful Planet – an IMAX® 2D and 3D Experience – Take a Journey on the International Space Station! – starting at 11AM (every 2 hours).

Royal BC Museum – 10AM to 4PM

675 Belleville Street, Victoria

  • Interactive activities and displays both inside and outside
    • View the Sun safely through solar telescopes on the plaza
    • “Walk Among the Planets” display on the plaza
    • Telescope mirror grinding – inside
    • Astrophotography – inside
    • Historical displays – inside
    • Hands-on activities for the kids – inside
  • Lectures
    • 1PM – Death Stars in the Orion Nebula: Recent Observations of Planet Formation – Dr. Rita Mann
    • 2:30PM – Baby Galaxies in a Grown-up Universe – Maan Hani

Centre of the Universe and the Observatory – 7:30PM to 11PM

Observatory Hill, 5071 West Saanich Road, Saanich

  • Plaskett telescope tours
  • Observing through telescopes
  • Lectures
    • 8PM – Journey to the Edge of the Solar System. New Horizons: The First Mission to the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt – Ivar Arroway
    • 9PM – The Greatest Show on Earth: Solar Eclipses – Michael Webb
  • Only holders of (free) tickets will be admitted to this evening event!
  • Reserve your tickets (one week prior to the event) – sorry, all tickets are gone!


Press


 

What a day! Absolutely first-rate effort by RASC-Victoria members for a successful International Astronomy Day at the Royal BC Museum and Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.

Huge thanks to our incredible RASC volunteers, as well as those who generously donated their time and knowledge from NRC, FDAO, UVic, Pearson College, the Planetary Society, and our guest speakers Rita Mann, Maan Hani, Ivar Arroway and Michael Webb. Special thanks go to David Lee and Nelson Walker who arranged the volunteers and guest speakers, and made the whole event look amazing.

We had fun, and the public LOVED it.
Well done, and THANK YOU everyone!

Sherry Buttnor, President, RASC Victoria Centre

Congratulations and thanks to everyone from RASC, FDAO, Science Ventures, Planetary Society, NRC-HAA, and the RBCM who made two extraordinary events possible. The community commitment to engaging, quality outreach and to support of the work of the Herzberg staff at DAO is phenomenal. That we have come so far since CU closure is the result of sustained effort by so many people, for which my gratitude is boundless!

Jim Hesser, former Director of the DAO

Thanks to all the volunteers during the day and at night at the DAO who made it a very worthwhile day.

Lauri Roche, Past President, RASC Victoria Centre