The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (FDAO) and RASC Victoria Centre will be hosting nineteen Saturday evenings at the DAO, featuring guest speakers, solar and nighttime observing with telescopes provided by RASC Victoria Centre volunteers, tours of the historic Plaskett telescope, and more! Rain or shine, we will have something for everyone to experience.
Dates begin with International Astronomy Day on April 29th. Here are all the dates:
- May 6th, 13th, 20th, and 27th
- June 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th
- July 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th
- August 5th, 12th, 19th, and 26th
- September 16th and 23rd
PLEASE NOTE: due to the extreme traffic congestion in previous years, admission is now by ticket ONLY. Tickets are FREE and will be available during the week preceding each Saturday evening from our EventBrite site: http://daostarparties.eventbrite.ca
See you there!
Summer Star Parties at the DAO run every Saturday evening from April 29th to September 23rd with some exceptions as noted in the schedule above. To enhance your experience please note the following venues before you arrive. Activities are broken up in to seven main areas,
- Lecture Hall – This summer we have a full slate of topical presentations from the astronomy community which includes researchers, authors and passionate amateurs. There are possibilities of surprise guest speakers. Come early most presentations start at 8 p.m. and some though not all repeat in the evening.
- Plaskett Dome – The dome is a heritage site, and not to be missed. Tours are approximately 45 minutes long and start at 7:45 p.m. Two other tours start at 8:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m.
- Planetarium – Planetarium shows run 6 times during the evening and are approximately 30 minutes in length. Come inside and learn about the constellations, and even a little sky lore!
- 16” Telescope – This research-grade telescope was originally located on Mt Kobau near Osoyoos for site testing towards potentially building an observatory there. It was then moved here to the DAO, and then from another area on the DAO property to this site when the Centre of the Universe building was constructed in the early 1990s. It is now available for viewing “live” through an eyepiece. The telescope is open subject to weather conditions most of the evening.
- RASC Member Telescopes – Royal Astronomical Society of Canada members have been long standing participants at Saturdays nights at the DAO for nearly 100 years. Weather permitting, members will take you on a telescopic tour of the evening sky.
- Information Area – There are volunteers available to help you with your evening visit and if you’re interested they can let you know how you can get involved in astronomy activities in Victoria. Look for kid friendly displays from Science Ventures in this same area.
- Interpretive Centre Displays – The displays from the former interpretive centre show Canada’s role in astronomy and contain a number of historical artifacts of interest.
Summer Star Parties at the DAO 2017 Presentations
May 27th, 2017 – KEPLER/K2 Observations of Old Variable Stars – Dr. James Nemec
8 – 9 p.m.
Abstract: From 2009 to 2013 NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope observed a single region of the sky at 1- and 30-minute intervals, its primary goal being to discover planets around other stars. When a second reaction wheel failed in 2013 the mission was thought by most people to have ended; however, with some clever engineering the telescope was brought back to life, renamed the K2 Mission, and is used by astronomers around the world to discover exoplanets and to do asteroseismology while observing many different kinds of stars in the Ecliptic Plane. Dr. James Nemec will discuss Kepler and K2 observations of some of the oldest known stars in our Galaxy.
Bio: Dr. Nemec has been teaching the Astronomy courses at Camosun College since 1997. He began his Astronomy career at UVic and the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. His PhD is from the University of Washington (Seattle), and prior to coming to Camosun College he was a member of the Astronomy Departments at Caltech (Pasadena), UBC, Washington State University, and the University of Washington.
June 3rd , 2017 – History of the Hubble Space Telescope – Dr. Chris Gainor
8 – 9 p.m.
Abstract: The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 27 years ago in 1990. After overcoming problems caused by a defective main mirror, Hubble has made discoveries that have revolutionized our view of the universe we live in. This talk will cover the history of Hubble based on a book the speaker is writing.
Bio: Chris Gainor is a historian specializing in the history of space flight and aeronautics. He has four published books and is currently writing a history of the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. He is also First Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
June 10th, 2017 – An Astrophotography Primer – David Lee and the UVIC Astrophotography Club
8 – 9 p.m.
Abstract: We have an amazing amount of astrophotography talent in Victoria. Tonight we will go over some of the basics of modern amateur astrophotography and reveal how we use digital SLRs to take images of the night sky. There will be plenty of time to look at equipment and field questions.
Bio: David Lee is an amateur astronomer who has supported public outreach for astronomy and the sciences for over two decades. He is also an avid photographer who has found himself becoming more and more a tourist of the night sky.
The UVIC Astrophotography Club is a proud group of artists, explorers, scientists, nerds and philosophers who often sacrifice sleep, sanity and ignorance for spectacular photographs and amazing adventures.
June 17th, 2017 – Jupiter and the Juno Mission – Reg Dunkley
8 – 9 p.m.
Abstract: Jupiter, the largest planet in the Solar System, will occupy a prominent position in the night sky in June. After providing an overview of the planet, this talk will focus on the Juno satellite which is currently orbiting Jupiter. This sophisticated spacecraft is uniquely positioned to probe the Jovian atmosphere. Uncertainty about it’s propulsion system, however, has placed the mission in jeopardy. Hear all about this drama and marvel at the close up imagery that has already been captured by this satellite.
Bio: Reg Dunkley is a meteorologist whose pursuit of all things astronomical is adding much joy to his retirement. He is vice president of the Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and is the editor of the local newsletter SkyNews.
June 24th, 2017 – Dark Matter: Small scales, Big problems – Kyle Oman
8 – 9 p.m.
Abstract: There are several lines of evidence pointing to the existence of an as yet elusive dark matter which is more abundant in the Universe on average than the ordinary stuff of gas, stars and planets. Despite the ongoing difficulty in identifying the dark matter particle, the cold dark matter cosmological theory has been remarkably successful in describing the large scale structure of the Universe. The biggest current challenges to this theory appear at the scale of dwarf galaxies. How can we measure a substance we cannot see? What can a handful of puny nearby galaxies tell us about the Universe as a whole? These are the questions I’m tackling with the help of the cutting-edge APOSTLE cosmological simulation suite and observations taken on the Very Large Array in New Mexico.
Bio: Kyle Oman is a PhD candidate at the University of Victoria. He has worked on topics in theoretical extragalactic astronomy ranging from the smallest dwarf galaxies to the largest galaxy clusters. He completed his BSc and MSc at the University of Waterloo.