Astronomy Cafe – May 3, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of meeting

  • New RASC national membership site is now live – reset your password! – Chris Purse
  • Explore The Universe certificate – presented by Randy Enkin to Chris Purse
    • Chris reviews all the national observing programs, and how he completed the ETU
    • Double Stars program is now live, and can be done even from light-polluted locations – Blair Stunder
    • There is no time limit on completing any of the certificates
    • Goto mounts and setting circles can be used in addition to finding objects using traditional star-hopping
  • International Astronomy Day – May 15th 7PM-11PM – online event by FDAO
    • Registration required – free
    • Plaskett history
    • Fossils in Our Galaxy – presentation by Kim Venn
    • Astrophotography display with VOX Humana audio
    • Ask An Astronomer 
    • Planetarium show
    • Tour of the UVic telescope
    • EAA group to show
    • Live streaming from the Plaskett – weather dependant
  • Coronado 90mm solar telescope acquired by the FDAO to use for public outreach
  • Edmonton RASC photos – Dave Robinson
    • Solar prominences in Ha – Abdur Anwar
    • Moonset on April 24th over Edmonton – Alister Ling
    • Solar Ha 80mm Lunt – Arnold Rivera
    • Moonset at Sunrise over Edmonton – time lapse movie by Alister Ling
  • Possible Undiscovered Planets in our Solar System – Astronomy XKCD comic – Randy Enkin
    • Based on recent Planet 9 WISE research
    • Logarithmic distance scale
    • Amended comic with more facts and embellishments
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Getting Started in Astronomy – Tue evening
    • EAA & UVic students – Wed evening rehearsal for upcoming Astronomy Day
    • EAA – Thu evening
    • Makers – info sent by Jim Cliffe to email list
  • End of a series of low tides – tied to the Moon – Dave Robinson
    • High Spring tides are following later this month
    • Total Lunar Eclipse coincides with this month’s Full Moon
  • Variable Star observing – David Lee
    • Target yet to be picked, but probably a rapid period variable first
    • Can use imagers or visual observing
    • Basic methodology: measuring a comparison star against the target variable star brightness

Astronomy Cafe – April 26, 2020

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

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

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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

Astronomy Cafe – March 22, 2021

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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

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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

Astronomy Cafe – Monday March 8th 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe, Meetings

Video transcript of the meeting

Virtual Messier Marathon: Saturday March 13th

Mount Lemmon Sky Centre near Tucson Arizona is hosting a Virtual Messier Marathon starting at 5PM PST on Saturday March 13th. Learn more

Hear all about Cosmic Dust at UVic Observatory Open House Wednesday March 10th

You are invited to a UVic Observatory Open House Zoom Presentation by Dr. Gordon Walker at 7:30 PM PST on Wednesday March 10th. Join the Zoom Session

Astronomy Cafe – March 1st 2021

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Transcript video of the meeting

The Invisible Universe: A Perimeter Institute Webcast 4PM PST March 3rd

The Perimeter Institute is offering a webcast by Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, Professor of Astronomy and Physics, Yale University. To learn more click this link.

Steward Observatory Newsletter March 2021

Check out this link to view the rich offerings of the Steward Observatory Newsletter!

Some Award Winning Victoria Centre RASCals

Awards were announced at the Victoria Centre Annual General Meeting on February 22nd. Because the meeting was held by Zoom these patient RASCals did not actually receive their certificates until Monday March 1st. Photos of three of the recipients are included. Awards were also delivered to Dave Robinson and Joe Carr but delivery man Past President Reg Dunkley was too busy chatting and forgot to snap their photos. Because Dan Posey was hard at work, his Astro-Imaging award will be delivered at a later date. Congratulations to all!

Alec Lee displays his 2020 Award of Excellence in Astrophotography for his wonderful photo of Comet Neowise complete with a Reflection in Thetis Lake
Chris Gainor, wearing a special Hubble Telescope mask, displays his certificate of Recognition for his contribution to the history of astronomy and space technology by authoring Not Yet Imagined: A Study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations
Chris Purse holds his coveted Newton Ball Award for Distinguished Service to the Victoria Centre RASC

Virtual Tour of SLOOH Observatories at 7:30 PM PDT on Wednesday March 3rd

Karun Thanjuvar, host of the UVic Observatory Open House writes: I am really excited to let you know that this week at the UVic observatory open house, Wed 7:30-9pm, the Chief Astronomical Officer, Paul Cox, of the SLOOH observatories will give a virtual tour and demo with live sky viewing using their seven robotic telescopes in Canary Islands and Chile. Come learn about SLOOH and all its capabilities to explore space.
Wed, 7:30-9pm, UVic observatory open house
Please join on UVic Zoom:
https://uvic.zoom.us/j/93596786035?pwd=SytMSzRlZERrdjFTM0V4bytNTWtoZz09
Meeting ID: 935 9678 6035
Password: 566494

Learn more about SLOOH here.

Annual General Meeting – Feb 22, 2021

Posted by as Meetings

Video transcript of AGM

RASC Victoria Center AGM at 7:30PM Monday Feb 22nd

One Sky Many Astronomies: Talk at 3PM, Tuesday March 2nd

Indigenous star lore expert Wilfred Buck will give a public (virtual) talk sponsored by the UVic Astronomy Research Centre. This is a free public talk intended for an audience at all levels. Date: Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021 Time: 3:00 pm PST Registration: Free, but please register in advance:

https://uvic.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_pYskIDWHTrazq-4c09vDbQ

“Every culture in the Northern Hemisphere saw the same sky at night, and they all have their own constellations, mythologies, and teachings,” says Wilfred Buck. Furthermore, “star stories are part of our belief system. Knowledge of the stars is found in many aspects of our culture including storytelling, symbolism, and religious traditions”.

We are fortunate to have Wilfred Buck joining us to discuss astronomy and the deep knowledge that First Nations people have about the sky. In First Nations communities, each star is part of a story, sometimes many stories, which convey cultural traditions and knowledge. In this seminar, Wilfred will discuss his research into the astronomical knowledge of the Ininewuk, Lakota, and Anishinaabe Peoples.

About the Speaker: Wilfred Buck is a former science facilitator at the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre and an Indigenous star lore expert, known as “the star guy”. Wilfred was co-curator of an exhibit featuring constellations of Canada’s indigenous cultures at Ottawa’s Canada Science and Technology Museum (2018), and he served as a storyteller and content expert in the 22-minute film “Legends of the Northern Sky,” shown at Telus World of Science in Edmonton (2019). He is author of Tipiskawi Kisik: Night Sky Star Stories and I Have Lived Four Lives, and can be contacted at https://acakwuskwun.com/