President’s Message – December 2016

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As this is my inaugural message as the centre president, I want to take this opportunity to thank past and current council members for their efforts to make the RASC Victoria Centre a successful and enjoyable organization. It is the people like you, sharing your love of astronomy, who have kept me involved since becoming a member. Compared to many of you, I am a relative newcomer to astronomy having joined RASC in 2010. I cannot believe how much I have learned and experienced in that time, but I have only scratched the surface of this limitless topic. Astronomy is one of the remaining human endeavours where both professionals and amateurs contribute to ongoing research and discovery due to the vastness of the universe.

Over the past few years, I have been the centre’s membership coordinator. It has been great to see the membership numbers growing. As was noted in a session presented at the General Assembly in 2015, a number of people across the country join RASC each year but do not renew their membership when it expires. Why is that? I am sure there are many reasons. I do invite members to let your council know how you think the Victoria Centre is doing. If you have ideas of other activities we might offer, I would welcome hearing from you. Ultimately, my advice to all members is to get involved in the Victoria Centre. Come out to the various activities and meetings as you are able. You will get much more out of your membership through participation.

In reflecting back on the past year, we have had a fascinating series of speakers, learned from each other about our own areas of expertise, spent quite a few evenings at the VCO, camped out for night sky viewing, and shared views of the sun and the night sky with scores of members of the public. We do a lot as a volunteer organization and thank you for making those events successful! We are planning to have a similar number of public events in 2017 so we will be looking for people to help out. Please consider putting your name forward as a volunteer.

In closing, I look forward to working with the new council to further the objectives of the RASC Victoria Centre and continue to make the centre an organization of which you are proud to be a member.

President’s Message November 2016

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Good grief. Anyone want to start an ark-building club? Learn scuba in the back yard? We can only hope November brings us better observing weather…it can’t get much worse than October. Somehow, we did manage a couple of VCO sessions, but other than that….yikes! At least we have the warmth, good food, and terrific companionship of the upcoming Annual General Meeting to look forward to on Sunday, November 27th. If you haven’t already done so, have a look here:
https://victoria.rasc.ca/2016-agm/
Our Centre AGMs are really quite special and a lot of fun, so please consider attending. Spouses/partners welcome, too! Just call or email Nelson with the number in your party and your entrée choice(s).

Also, just a reminder of our pizza party on -Saturday December 3rd, 6pm-10pm in the Garry Oak room, Fairfield Community Centre,1341 Thurlow Road, Victoria, as a way of saying thanks! for all your hard work as volunteers. If you’re a Vic Centre member and have volunteered at one of our events in the last two years, you’re invited. Spouses/partners, too!  Check it out: victoria.rasc.ca/pizza-party/
Please email me at popokinui@shaw.ca no later than Monday, November 28th if you’d like to attend. (also let me know if you have any food allergies and/or preferences) Let’s let our hair down, stuff our faces, and reminisce about all the fun we’ve had at the various Victoria Centre activities!

For other Centre activities and events coming up, just place your cursor over the Events tab on our website for a list.

                                                                                All Good Things.
For me, this final monthly president’s message is a bittersweet one. I don’t like long goodbyes: you, the members of RASC-Victoria, are an amazing, wonderful, and immensely talented group of people, and it has been my sincere honour and pleasure to have served as Centre president for the past two years. Thank you for that opportunity, and for all for the support you’ve given the Victoria Centre with your knowledge, enthusiasm, and hard work. My best wishes to the new Council; I know you will continue the Victoria Centre’s tradition of excellence in all things astronomical and educational.

Clear (and dry) skies.

Sherry.

President’s Message October 2016

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Two thousand, four hundred fifteen. 2415. That’s the grand total for our Summer Saturday Star Parties at the DAO. Despite clouds and rain, 194 visitors came out to our final star party at he DAO on September 24th, raising the total to 2415. That’s an amazing number. Given that it was cloudy and showery for the first five or six Saturday star parties, and the final one, it’s a testament to the knowledge and enthusiasm of you amazing Victoria Centre members offer the public, that visitors would come up to the DAO at all during inclement weather. But come they did, rain or shine, 2415 of them.
Once again, congratulations and a heartfelt THANK YOU to all the volunteers who made this work. Well done!
Remember the pizza party I mentioned? Probably not…it was a year ago or more. Well, it’s on! As a thank you for all the long hours and hard work you’ve put in at various events, we’re inviting all Victoria Centre members (and your spouses) to a party. If you volunteered at one or more RASC events in the last couple of years, you’re invited!
-Saturday December 3rd.
-6pm-10pm
-Garry Oak room, Fairfield Community Centre,1341 Thurlow Road, Victoria.
This will be a pizza party, our regular monthly meeting for December, and a Members Night combined. We’d like at least two or three members to come and show off their skills: astrophotography, research projects, telescope making, crafts….anything astronomy-related that you’d like to share with the group.
I will post this party as a separate event on our website front page. Please email me directly if you plan to attend (and if you’re bringing your spouse), and if you’d like to present something as part of Members Night. It’ll be fun!

The President and Secretary of the newly-minted RASC Yukon Centre will be visiting Victoria October 7th through 10th. Anthony Gucciardo (President) and his wife Catheryne Lord (Secretary) would like to meet us, and have a tour of the VCO. Depending on the weather; if it’s cloudy/raining, we will meet them and show them around the VCO Saturday afternoon. If it’s clear out, I’ve invited them to join in when the VCO is in action Saturday evening (Oct 8th). All Active Observers are welcome to come out and meet them. I’ll send an email with details when I know what the weather is doing that day.

Observing plans with the UVic 32” telescope are ongoing. I’ve had to write a new proposal to the telescope committee asking for telescope time. I’ve asked for the second Friday of each month as before, but we may have to be flexible regarding which evenings we’re allotted. I’ll let you know.

Some sad news: life Member Dr. Edward Robert Walker has passed away in June. A long-time Member, the Victoria Centre meant a great deal to him, and he will be missed. Sincere condolences to his family from all of us at RASC-Victoria Centre.

Some upcoming events:
-RASCals of Cattle Point. Bruce Lane’s terrific observing meetup begins Friday October 7th at 7:30pm (weather permitting). Check our website and watch for emails for upcoming Cattle Point sessions.

RASCals of Cattle Point

-October monthly general meeting. Wednesday October 12th, 7:30pm, room A104 in the Bob Wright Building at UVic. October’s guest speaker is Dr. Christian Marois:
“Searching for Habitable Planets around our Closest Neighbors, the Alpha Centauri Triple Star System.” How awesome is that!?

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

-Astronomy Cafe. Every Monday, 7:30pm, in the annex behind Fairfield Community Centre. Informal, informative, great company! Everyone welcome…members and non-members.

Astro Café

-Annual General Meeting. Sunday, November 27th, 6pm to 10pm. Watch for emails announcing the AGM, and details will be posted to the Victoria Centre website on or about October 15th. Just a reminder that we are returning to the Cedar Hill Golf Course; it’s a great room, with a terrific menu.

Let’s all keep our fingers crossed for better weather, so we can get out there enjoy some great Autumn observing!

Clear skies,
Sherry.

President’s Message September 2016

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Welcome to September! Goodness…is it just me, or did summer go by really quickly?! Maybe it’s because we had such a great time at the DAO and our other public events? In spite of some pretty sketchy weather early on, our Summer Saturday Star Parties at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory were very popular once again. So popular, in fact, that we even had a problem with someone scalping our tickets. LOL…you know your efforts are successful when that happens! We even had a visit from the Lieutenant Governor of BC, the Honourable Judith Guichon. She was so impressed by our programs, she stayed over an hour longer than scheduled and pledged to return with her grandchildren. How about that?
Another major summer event was our annual RASCals Star Party in Metchosin. The first evening was absolutely stunning: clear and warm; the kind of evening we dream about all winter. The second evening was less impressive, with wind all afternoon replaced by clouds in the evening. In spite of that, over 70 people attended with many camping out the whole weekend.
And wrapping up our major public events, the Saanich Fair. Our booth at the Fair is always a hit with fairgoers.
Here are some attendance numbers for you:
International Astronomy Day: 626 (daytime)
Saturday “star parties” at the DAO: 2221.
RASCals Star Party: 73.
Saanich Fair: ~1450.
Huge thanks to everyone who volunteered for these events!! You’re amazing. Very special thanks to David Lee and Nelson Walker for their hard work arranging and scheduling guest speakers and volunteers for the DAO evenings, and Lauri Roche for organizing the Saanich Fair weekend. Many thanks also to our friends at Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, and Science Venture. Well done!
Here are links to some great photos of these events, taken by our members:

DAO Summer Star Parties: http://rascvic.zenfolio.com/p109973364
RASCals Star Party: http://rascvic.zenfolio.com/rascals2016

Saanich Fair: http://rascvic.zenfolio.com/p717179212

Just because those are over doesn’t mean the fun is over. We’re busy gearing up for all of our great regular activities for the rest of the year: regular monthly meetings and Council meetings at UVic with some terrific guest speakers, Astronomy Cafe with its laid-back atmosphere and great discussion topics, Cattle Point and UVic observing sessions (both scheduled to resume in October), and our Annual General Meeting on November 27th. Here’s a schedule of upcoming events:
Council meeting: Sept 7, 7:30pm. (4th floor astronomy lounge, Elliott building, UVic) Everyone welcome.
General meeting Sept 14, 7:30pm: Professor Sun Kwok, guest speaker. (room A104, Bob Wright building, UVic) Everyone welcome.
Astro cafe Sept 12th. 7:30pm. Fairfield Community Centre (annex behind main building) Everyone welcome.
DAO STAR PARTY Sept 24….one last encore event! 7:30pm-11:00pm at the DAO.
UVic observing: TBA October
Cattle Point observing: TBA October
Annual General Meeting: Sunday November 27th, 6:00pm, Cedar Hill Golf Course.

More details on our Annual General Meeting to come shortly, including the menu and guest speaker. Our AGM also includes the election of our Executive and Board of Directors. If you would like to run for a position, please let our Past President know! pastpres@victoria.rasc.ca.
Remember: to keep up to date with Victoria Centre happenings, just go to our website at victoria.rasc.ca.

I see we have several new members to the Victoria Centre. Welcome!! I hope we can help you with whatever your astronomical interests are. Always feel free to join in in any of our activities and meetings, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you need anything at all. We’re here for you.

With Autumn approaching, often with some of the best observing conditions of the year, I hope you will join us at any of our scheduled activities, or just get out there and enjoy the night sky!

Clear skies,
Sherry.

President’s Message June 2016

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June! It started off more like Juneuary, but as I write this, it’s full-on summer heat outside, and
the first clear Saturday evening for our summer star parties at the DAO since we opened.
Despite the first three Saturdays being clouded out, we still had more than one hundred visitors
join us at the DAO for our terrific indoor activities. Nice! That’s due entirely to the efforts of
volunteers from RASC-Victoria, and also FDAO, and UVic-Science Venture, and our guest
speakers.
I take a break from writing this report, and head off to the DAO; it was wonderful! Warm, clear,
evening, lots of visitors, and of course RASC members to wow them with their enthusiasm and
knowledge. We needed a night like that! It also gave us our first real test of our new EventBrite
ticketing system and gate procedures, which worked as planned. Let’s hope the rest of the
series goes as well. We have an incredible lineup of guest speakers this summer, so if you
can’t help out as a RASC volunteer, tell your friends and family and come on up as a visitor!
http://victoria.rasc.ca/summer-star-parties-2016-dao/
One more Saturday evening on the hill before we take a break for two weeks, due to the lack of
darkness in the evening. This is where I’d really like to see a return to Standard Time all year;
most people like the lingering light in the evening, but it’s a bane to astronomers, and especially
for public outreach events. Also, for the same reason, most of our scheduled events for RASC
members are -or will soon be- on hiatus for the summer.
Of course, one highlight of the year is the RASCals Star Party, which will be on the weekend or
August 26-28 this year, and again will be held on the cricket field behind the district offices here
in Metchosin. I’m pleased to report Maan Hani and Dr. Rita Mann will be reprising their
presentations at the star party, and we will also have our usual activities and door prizes. There
is never a fee to attend, and you can camp on the field all weekend, or drop in as you wish.
Our Victoria Centre member Dr Chris Gainor reports that at the recent RASC National General
Assembly, Dr. Alan Batten (past President of the Victoria Centre, past President of RASC
National, former director of the DAO, and many, many other professional accomplishments) was
proclaimed a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Warmest congratulations to
Dr. Batten for this well-deserved honour!
This is my final monthly message until September. It’s been quite a year so far, marked by
frustrating weather, amazing public outreach (in spite of the frustrating weather!), terrific
meetings and guest speakers. Thank you all so much for all you do for RASC-Victoria and
astronomy in Victoria, and I wish you all a gentle summer filled with clear, sparkling skies.
Sherry.

President’s Message, May 2016

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Off we go! After months of planning, we’re good to go on Saturday May 14th for International Astronomy Day, with public activities at the Royal BC Museum during the day, and our first of thirteen Saturday evening “star parties” at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory that evening.
I want to offer my heartfelt thank you to all the amazing Victoria Centre members who have stepped up once again to volunteer their time at the upcoming events. The public loves what you do, and I deeply appreciate the contributions of each and every one of you. In particular, special thanks go to David Lee (guest speakers and scheduling), Chris Gainor (media relations), Nelson Walker (volunteers and scheduling), Matt Watson and Joe Carr (EventBrite), Matt Watson/Stocksy and Lauri Roche (posters), and Jim Hesser, who is always ready to help us navigate the complexities of working with the NRC/DAO side of things. And speaking of the NRC and DAO, none of this would be possible without the generous assistance of staff on the Hill: Kevin Farris, David Bohlender, Clyde Donnelly, Marilyn Bell, Dave Balam, and Dennis Crabtree. Many thanks also to Kim Gough (RBCM),  Saunders Subaru (posters), and every Victoria Centre member who supports us with their memberships..
THANK YOU, everyone. Let’s have a great summer sharing the universe!

Recently, the Vancouver Island Science Fair was held at UVic, In addition to our guest speaker, we have a special treat for members attending our May monthly meeting (Weds, May 11, UVic): two of the deserving award-winners will be in attendance:

Ines Khouider  Grade 7 St. Margaret’s School   ” Light Pollution: What’s the Solution?”
        Ines’s project was second overall in the Intermediate Division and she also won prizes from the PARC Systems and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC

Nathan Harlan  Grade 6 Home Learner   “Cosmic Ballistics: Trebuchets in Space!”
        Nathan also received a prize from our very own Quarky Science.

They will be set up at the front of our meeting room A104 at 7:00pm. Please come early and congratulate these amazing students!

TRANSIT of MERCURY: don’t forget, Mercury will transit the Sun this coming Monday, May 9th. Unfortunately, the transit will be well underway at sunrise, but several Victoria Centre members will be setting up atop Mt. Tolmie in the pre-dawn hours to observe this transit. All are welcome to join them for this interesting astronomical event.

In other Centre news, Sid Sidhu and Lauri Roche run our school outreach program; Sid reports they have visited local schools 50 times since September, with one more to go, and have shared astronomy with almost 1000 students. Well done!

And just a reminder of our next UVic on Friday, May 13, weather permitting. These sessions are open to all Victoria Centre members, not just VCO Active Observers. The Spring sky is a cornucopia of galaxies; watch for our email notice, and join us!

We welcome new members! If you’re not a Victoria Centre member and would like to be a part of all this fun, or just have a love of astronomy, please join us! Just contact Chris (VP2@victoria.rasc.ca) or myself (president@victoria.rasc.ca) and we will show you how.

Thanks again, everyone, and clear skies!

Sherry.

PS- when you’re talking to people about the Summer Star Parties at the DAO, please remind them that they need FREE tickets for admission this year.
www.summerstarparties.eventbrite.ca

President’s message April 2016

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Finally some nice weather! I hope you’ve been able to get out there and observe. I had a bunch of astrophotography targets lined up for when (or if!) we had a run of clear weather, but it was so lovely out the past few nights all, I could do was roll out a Dob and just do some good old-fashioned stargazing. It was wonderful.
And it isn’t just me. I’m happy to report that we have had several terrific observing sessions at our own Victoria Centre Observatory (VCO), too. It’s been a long and cloudy winter…we deserve some clear skies!

For our members -new and otherwise- who want to join us at the VCO, you have to be registered as an “Active Observer”. Just shoot me an email, and I’ll tell you how. The VCO is a very cool facility, and we’re fortunate to have it. I encourage you to join us there!

I’m also happy to report that plans for International Astronomy Day on May 14th are coming together nicely, thanks to Nelson Walker and David Lee, who have been working hard at getting volunteers and guest speakers together. Thank you, David and Nelson. You have no idea how much I appreciate you taking on these tasks! Many thanks also to Kim Gough at RBCM for her assistance with IAD.

We also have reached an agreement with the National Research Council and Dominion Astrophysical Observatory to run our summer Saturday public “star parties” for thirteen Saturday evenings, beginning on IAD, May 14. One major change this year will be the requirement for all visitors to have a free EventBrite ticket to get in. For the past couple of years, our summer public star parties at the DAO have been so tremendously popular (and with amazing volunteers like you, how could they not be?) that we have experienced traffic chaos at the main gate. So many visitors show up that traffic at the gate and on W.Saanich Rd has been uncontrollable. So this year, we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that a ticketing system for entry is necessary.

So…if you are talking to friends, family, or the public, please mention they will need a free EventBrite ticket to get in. Our awesome tech guy Matt Watson (or one of our awesome tech guys) is putting the EventBrite site together. Details to come.

And I’m similarly pleased to report that the District of Metchosin has finally approved our request to use their cricket field for our RASCals Star Party again this year. So that’s officially a go for August 26-28.

Lots of happy stuff to report this month! And here are some other great things we have on that you won’t want to miss:
UVic observing session: Friday April 8, 7:45pm. All Victoria Centre members welcome.
Cattle Point observing session: date TBA. All are welcome.
April’s monthly general meeting: Wednesday April 13, 7:30pm ROOM ELL167.  Dr Helen Kirk will be speaking about “watching the birth of stars with the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope and Herschel Space Telescope”. Sounds amazing!  (room ELL167 is in the smaller building directly behind the Elliott Building. That’s the building where we go for coffee and cookies after each monthly meeting. Go through the Elliott lobby and out the far doors to get to ELL167)
And just a reminder that we are still selling raffle tickets, the prize is a very cool Meade ETS-LX 6″ SCT telescope on a LightSwitch goto mount with some accessories. See Sid, and buy lots! The draw is at out June monthly meeting.

Clear skies!
Sherry.

President’s Message March 2016

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Rain rain, go away……good grief, will it ever stop? Sure would be nice to see some interstellar photons again, wouldn’t it?

Fortunately, the Victoria Centre has within it’s membership many volunteers who are very good at indoor activities. Take Lauri Roche and Sid Sidhu, for example. These two dedicated RASCals have gone into our local schools 48 times in the last few months, and educated some 1800 students. These involve classroom talks, and night sky viewing. Pretty amazing! And they have more planned. And what about Bruce Lane, our capable Treasurer? He organized and facilitated a very successful Hobby Show at Westshore Town Centre Mall in February, where we had 843 visitors stop by our display. Thanks, everyone, and well done!
Next major event is International Astronomy Day, on May 14th. Nelson Walker is taking the lead on the daytime segment at the Royal British Columbia Museum, then we continue on to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory for the evening portion. Hope you can volunteer a few hours at one of these. The evening portion also kicks off our immensely popular Summer Saturdays at the DAO. More below.

Meanwhile, though, we have our normally scheduled observing events for our members, all weather dependant:
-RASCals at Cattle Point on March 4th. Bruce Lane’s popular observing get-together at Victoria’s own Urban Dark-Sky park.
-UVic observing on March 11th. Another popular RASCals event. Observing on the 32” telescope is amazing!
-Messier Marathon on March 12th at the Victoria Centre Observatory. A long but fun observing run: try to see all 110 Messier objects in one night. Many have tried, few have succeeded! Contact Michel Michaud if you’d like to participate: VP@victoria.rasc.ca
And don’t forget our weekly Astronomy Cafe, every Monday in Fairfield. John, Reg, and Chris are your hosts for a fun, informal evening, often with great guest speakers. Astro Cafe is a great way for newcomers to RASC or astronomy to meet us! victoria.rasc.ca/events/astro-cafe/

Our monthly meeting is on Wednesday March 9th, 7:30pm, in room B150 in the Bob Wright building. This is a change from our regular room A104. B150 is in the same building, but on the far side of the main lobby. March’s guest speaker is Dr. James DiFrancesco, who whose presentation is:
“The Secret Sits: What’s in Our Galactic Centre?”” James will discuss recent observations of the very centre of the Milky Way galaxy.  At ~8 kpc from the Sun, the Central Parsec is filled thousands of stars, but also most interestingly a supermassive black hole named Sagittarius A.
James is a Victoria Centre member, and a professional astronomer at the DAO. His talks are very popular, so don’t miss it!

As mentioned above, The evening portion of IAD also kicks off our Summer Saturdays at the DAO. Plans are well underway to hold 13 Saturday evening public openings this year, but without as many breaks as last year, which was a little confusing to the public. I will provide more details as they are worked out between RASC, NRC/DAO, and FDAO. And speaking of FDAO (Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory), here is an update on their progress, kindly provided by Chair Ben Dorman. RASC and FDAO will be the main collaborators on upcoming events at the DAO:

1) FDAO’s fundraiser at the Bateman Centre last November “Science and Culture in the Inner Harbour” was sold out and raised just over $5000. The money from this and the Indiegogo Fundraiser [August-Oct], which  raised an additional $3400, is being put towards a pilot programme for schools which is being actively worked on, plus enabling administration for the society. (As an aside, our AGM at which we will present financial reports is to be held before the end of our first year of operation, which is the beginning of June). It is expected that the school programme to start in a  very limited fashion either later in the spring or [more likely] in the fall.
2) FDAO’s current membership list has 183 names including family members.
3) FDAO held an event for members of FDAO and RASC on 2016 Feb 13 at DAO, including [unfortunately] cloudy skies, but a great presentation from NRC astronomer JJ Kavelaars.
4) FDAO is shortly to conclude an agreement with NRC which is a ‘License to Occupy’ both the Centre of the Universe Building and the Plaskett Dome – naturally, for public science outreach purposes. The net effect of this for RASC is intended to be no extra paperwork and hopefully some of the administrative load for Saturday nights being taken on in future by FDAO. RASC will continue to determine Saturday night dates and programming as for the last few years.
Current state is that an agreement approved by NRC in Ottawa has been reviewed by FDAO and NRC/DAO and is awaiting final revisions. We expect to sign the agreement sometime in March.
5)   FDAO has been working on other potential public tours with cruise line operators. For 2016 this programme will be limited to a few [possibly only one] selected dates.
6) FDAO is shortly going to start a program to attract volunteers for various roles on the Hill. This will ultimately assist with guides on public tours and possibly also on Saturday nights as required/requested.

Lots of great stuff coming up at RASC-Victoria! I hope you will join in as a volunteer, or a participant. See you out there!

Clear skies,
Sherry.

president@victoria.rasc.ca

President’s Message February 2016

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Writer’s block! Gosh…I’ve been wracking my (admittedly tiny) brain for days, trying to come up with a positive message. I was hoping to report that we had good crowds at Cattle Point, a great turnout at the UVic observatory, great times at the VCO, that Comet Catalina looked amazing…but I only recall all the crummy weather and cancelled observing sessions lately. I can’t remember such a dismal period as this last few weeks. Even my cats have their paws crossed for better weather; they know mommy’s getting grumpy!
Still lots to look forward to, though! Have a look:
Hobby Show: Feb 6, 7, 8 at Westshore Town Centre mall.
Monthly meeting: Feb 10 (see below)
UVic observing: Feb 12. We will be visiting Orion and the area.

And longer term: International Astronomy Day (May 14th) is also confirmed as the start of our Summer Saturdays at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. Still lots of details to work out, but the dates this year are:
May 14, 21, 28. June 4, 11. July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30. August 6, 13, 20.
I know I can count on our faithful volunteers to bring telescopes for parking lot duty, but we also need:
-two or three people to train in, and operate the indoor planetarium (it’s fun!)
-one or two people to train on, and operate the Plaskett telescope as a backup to Dave Balam.
-two or three people to give talks in the Plaskett dome.
Please contact me asap is you’re interested in any of these cool opportunities!

In other news: I’ve started an email list for the total solar eclipse in August 2017. At January’s meeting and at Astro Cafe, an interest sheet was passed around, and enough interest was shown to make it feasible to put together some sort of expedition to central Oregon for Victoria Centre members. If you missed the interest sheet but want to join in, please email me at:  popokinui@shaw.ca
I may make a Facebook group for this purpose as well, so stay tuned.
For our February monthly meeting on the both, we are excited to have Sebastien Lavoie as our guest speaker:
How to Build a Universe.
Our representation of the Universe has evolved throughout the ages. From the first men to Ptolemy, we have always tried to understand the skies. Modern astronomers have access to tools that their ancestors did not even dream of. This lead to multiple big and small revolutions in our understanding of the Universe in the last centuries. We retrace some of these moments that shaped our knowledge of the Universe.
Don’t miss it!

Clear (hopefully) skies!
Sherry.

President’s Message January 2016

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Happy New Year!
I hope 2016 will be very kind to you all, bringing health, happiness, and clear skies! We have plenty of great events in the planning stage right now; these include:
-Hobby Show: February 6, 7, and 8. This is one of the big events for the Victoria Centre; we get lots of exposure and interest (in both astronomy in general, and RASC in particular), and we also get to sell lots of Sid’s raffle tickets, which brings in significant revenue for us.Bruce Lane is coordinating this event at Westshore Town Centre Mall, so please consider volunteering some time when he calls you.
-International Astronomy Day: May 14. A worldwide event in which we participate each year, and one which is very popular with our visitors. Nelson Walker is coordinating IAD this year, likely at the Royal BC Museum during the day, and the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory the same evening. We would appreciate your help with either daytime, or evening segments (or both!).
-RASCals Star Party in Metchosin. August 26, 27, 28. I’ve just confirmed the star party field is available to us for our annual star party on this weekend, so mark it on your calendar. The slim, waning crescent moon will not be a huge issue this year, rising around 1:30am and not bright enough to hamper observing and astrophotography. Guest speakers and prizes yet to be determined, but the Star Party is always fun!
Don’t forget our other activities. Visit our website www.victoria.rasc.ca and hover your mouse over the “Events” tab for a list. One event not listed is our increasingly-popular observing sessions on the UVic 32” telescope, held on the second Friday of each month.
Have you seen Comet Calalina (C/2013-US10) yet? If not, a great finder chart can be found here:
http://www.skyandtelescope.com/wp-content/uploads/Web_Dec15_Catalina.pdf
I’m trying to get some time on the UVic telescope for us to have a good look before it’s gone for ever.
Here’s another once-in-a-lifetime event for many of us: the August 21st 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. Over multiple meetings recently, Council has been discussing whether there is sufficient interest in trying to organize a 2017 eclipse viewing opportunity for Centre members. Joe Carr presents informative background on accessing the eclipse, which is relatively easy for those of us living in the Pacific NW to do on our own.   At our January 13 general meeting, we will take a poll to ascertain interest in a coordinated Victoria Centre effort.  If you would be interested and unable to attend, please contact me directly.  Ultimately, such an effort will depend upon  someone volunteering to lead the effort.
Lots of fun in store for 2016 and beyond!

Clear skies,
Sherry.