Volunteer roster is now full for 2014 General Assembly!

Posted by as Special Events

The 2014 GA Organizing Committee wishes to thank all of those who have signed up to help at our June event. Our volunteer roster is now complete and all positions have been filled. We will be reaching out to all volunteers in the next few weeks with further details on your involvement.


Paul Schumacher and Mark Bohlman
Co-Chairs 2014 GA Committee

May 4, 2014

The 2014 General Assembly is coming up quickly in late June, and our organizing committee needs your help! Ideally, they would like to see every member of Victoria Centre contribute to the success of this event. Not only are we hosting our fellow astronomers from across Canada, we are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of Victoria Centre!

Job Descriptions – Additional Volunteers Needed (26 positions)

April 8, 2014


CHAIRPERSON COMMITTEE – Reports to Paul Schumacher and Mark Bohlman ( 6 positions open)

First Aid Personnel (2 needed)

  • Assists deals with any emergency that may come up (one present each day) and notifies UVic emergency services personnel of any incidents per UVic emergency protocol (June 26,27,28,29)

UVic Telescope Chaperones (1)

  • Works with UVic student  telescope  to meet, greet and chaperone delegates up to the Wright Centre rooftop and help/ participate in evening viewing at UVic rooftop scope for 3 nights during GA  9 p.m. to 11 p.m.(Fri. June 27, Sat. June 28, Sun, June 29)

Photographers / Videographers (3)

  • Members to record events of all GA activities (June 26,27,28,29) by day or by shift


HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE Reports to Deb Crawford (8 positions open)

Catering/Meals Quality Assurance Person ( 1 needed)

  • Liaison with UVic Catering on behalf of RASC during GA for seamless set-up and of all catering events including banquet. (June 26,27,28,29)

Meeting Room Quality Assurance Person (1 needed)

  • Liaison with UVic and RASC during GA to see that all meeting rooms (including banquet space) are set up correctly prior to room meeting/events and no issues arise during meetings/events. (June 26,27,28,29)

Tours Chaperones (4 needed)

  • Attends or drives to and from tour event and makes sure all tours during the GA go as planned without a hitch: Whale Watching, Butchart Gardens, Maritime Museum, Historic Tour (June 27,28,29)
  • Assists Deb with head counts, preplanning and vendor liaison
  • Coordinates with Transportation Committee for drivers where needed

Welcome BBQ VCO MICs (2 needed)

  • MIC’s during Open House part of welcome evening  BBQ- meet and greet delegates who would like to inspect the VCO facility (Thursday June 26th)


TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE – Reports to Charles Banville (10 positions open)

Drivers (10 needed)

  • Drives guests to and from airport, bus terminal, ferries(June 25,26,27,30) or DAO BBQ (June 26) or Tours. (June 27,28, 29)
  • Drivers will be reimbursed for their gas mileage for driving delegates to and from lodging to arrival/departure location and Tour pick-up drop-off points.


PAPERS  COMMITTEE– Reports to Lauri Roche (2 positions open)

Paper Session Timekeepers (2 needed)

  • Assists Lauri with timekeeping of paper session presenters during Saturday June 28th all day sessions.


Lunar Eclipse – April 14, 2014

Posted by as Special Events

A Total Lunar Eclipse will be visible in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on Monday, April 14-15, 2014 – EVENT CANCELLED

  • Penumbral Eclipse begins at 9:55 PM
  • Partial Eclipse begins  at 10:59 PM
  • Full Eclipse begins at 12:08 AM
  • Maximum Eclipse at 12:46 AM
  • Full Eclipse ends at 1:23 AM
  • Partial Eclipse ends at 2:32 AM
  • Penumbral Eclipse ends at 3:36 AM

RASC Victoria Centre: Lunar Eclipse 2008 Collection &emdash; Lunar Eclipse composite
Victoria Centre members and the public are welcome to observe this eclipse from the Cattle Point Urban Dark Sky Park in Oak Bay. This event lasts several hours, with the full eclipse phase lasting just over an hour. Please dress warmly, and come prepared with binoculars and portable seating.

What does a Lunar Eclipse look like? Please browse our online gallery for the 2008 Total Lunar Eclipse observed from Cattle Point.

This event is dependent on the weather. Rain or excessive cloud cover will result in cancellation. Please consult our Facebook event or Twitter feed for a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ before attending this event.

The Community Association of Oak Bay (CAOB) has teamed up with Oak Bay Kiwanis and the Cattle Point Star Park to enjoy viewing a full lunar eclipse. Here’s how: meet at teh Kiwanis Tea Room at Willows Beach Park (foot of Dalhousie St) at 10:00PM, April 14. Lots of parking. Walk along the beautiful Willows Beach esplanade up to Cattle Point (via stairs), where the Cattle Point Star Park’s astronomers will greet you and have their powerful telescopes focused on the full Moon as it goes through all the phases of this rare spectacle. We will then conduct a walk back to the Tea Room for a warm beverage and snack. Your option is to walk back to the Star Park around midnight (Full eclipse is at 12:08AM) or call it a night.

Field guide to the total lunar eclipse of April 14 – 15, 2014 from Michael Zeiler on Vimeo.

This simulation gives you a preview of where and when you can see the first total lunar eclipse of 2014. This eclipse is especially well placed for North and South America and will be an unforgettable sight. During the total phase the Moon will turn a coppery-red, so make plans for comfortable viewing and photography.

For more maps and information on eclipses past, present, and future, visit www.eclipse-maps.com, follow @eclipsemaps on Twitter, and Like Eclipsemaps on Facebook.

More information on this eclipse from Mr. Eclipse

Interactive Google map of this eclipse


Messier Marathon 2014

Posted by as Observing Highlights, Special Events

The Messier Marathon from Victoria was a bust this year.  Both March 28 and 29 were cloudy, so it was called off.

Our member Elizabeth van Akker spends her winters in New Mexico, and had much better luck:

Hello, all, from sunny New Mexico. My friend Lesa and I successfully completed the Messier Marathon. The weather was great, the skies dark. We especially enjoyed watching the summer Milky Way rising in the early morning. From here, all of Scorpio is visible, and Sagitarius is glorious. The most difficult part was the beginning, 77, 74, 33, 31, 32, 110 were low in the west and only just visible. We are delighted with our results!

Elizabeth van Akker.

Early bird registration for the 2014 General Assembly

Posted by as Special Events

Register for the GA today!Join the RASC Victoria Centre as we host the 2014 GA from June 26 – June 29.

Register before midnight on April 10th, 2014 and take advantage of the $130.00 early bird registration fee.

The 2014 GA registration fee increases to $145.00 as of April 11th, 2014.

Don’t forget to select your meals while you are in the registration site, so you can join your fellow RASC members from across the country. It is especially important that you register for the GA Banquet and the BBQ on Observatory Hill! Be sure to order a commemorative golf shirt and embroidered hat while you are in the GA site.

Register Now!

Astronomy Day – May 3, 2014

Posted by as Special Events

Time/Location: Saturday, May 3, 10am-4pm at the Royal BC Museum, and 8pm-11pm at Observatory Hill

Event Poster (4.9Mb PDF)

It was wonderful to see so many enjoy themselves!

In spite of the cloudy weather during the day and evening, the Victoria Centre’s International Astronomy Day celebration was a huge success. The total count this year was: 700 attending during the day at the Museum and 212 attending during the evening. These numbers would have been much higher if the weather had cooperated. Oh well, may be next year!

Our sincere thanks go to all the volunteers for their contribution to make this year’s IAD celebration an enjoyable experience for everyone. This year we were very fortunate to be back at the Royal BC Museum. It is a good site to attract a large public audience. Many thanks go to the Museum staff for their cheerful cooperation.

Royal BC Museum – 10am-4pm

  • Solar viewing (weather permitting)
  • Solar System model – walk among the planets on the plaza outside
  • Ask an astronomer – ask those astronomy questions you always wondered about
  • General information table – RASC Victoria Centre
  • Science Venture – interactive science exhibits from UVic students
  • Astrophotography display and information – learn how to use your camera to take night sky photos
  • Pearson College science exhibits – interactive and innovative science for kids of all ages
  • Telescope making table – learn how to grind a mirror to make your own telescope at home
  • Children’s Activity table – hands-on crafts, planet making, etc.
  • Static displays
    • Antique brass telescope from the CU museum
    • Other telescopes
  • Video media displays – 3D video displays, desktop planetarium, images from space missions
  • The physics of Angry Birds
  • Bad Science


  • 11AM – Mars Explorations – Chris Gainor, Canadian space author
  • 2PM – Worlds Without End – James Di Francesco – The recent discoveries of hundreds of planets by NASA’s Kepler satellite observatory have profound implications about the proliferation of planets within our Galaxy.  Namely, the latest statistics show that the number of planets in the Galaxy is likely larger than the number of stars.  Also, every star in the sky likely has at least one “Earth-like” mass planet.  James will summarize the most recent discoveries made by the Kepler team, and highlight the prospects of further discoveries by Canadians with the new Gemini Planet Imager.
  • Galileo might even make an appearance!

Observatory Hill – 8pm-11pm

Return to Observatory Hill

On International Astronomy Day, Saturday, May 3rd the RASC and the NRC Herzberg invites everyone back up onto Observatory Hill where the Centre of the Universe displays and the historic Plaskett Telescope will be re-opened for night sky public viewing.

Opening of the Hill is from 8 pm to 11 pm. Please wear warm clothing as it can be cool and windy in the evening. Parking is very limited so please follow all the directions of the Commissionaires for access.

Schedule of activities:

8:00 pm Gates open to visitors

8:00 to 10:45 pm Displays open in the Center of the Universe exhibit area

8:00 to 10:45 pm Telescope viewing with the RASC – parking lot

8:15 pm Welcome ceremonies – Center of the Universe Auditorium

8:30 pm Pubic Talk: Dr. Rita Mann “Death Stars in the Orion Nebula: Recent Observations into Planet Formation” – CU Auditorium

8:30 to 10:30 pm: Tours of the Observatory and Night Sky Viewing with the Plasket Telescope facilitated by Dr. David Bohlender

9:15 pm Public Talk: Dr. Michele Bannister “The Hidden Oceans of Icy Moons” – CU Auditorium

10:45 pm Closing of exhibits, telescopes and night sky viewing

11:00 pm Departure off the hill

Please join us as we celebrate the RASC’s 100th Anniversary in 2014. Thank you to the NRC/Herzberg for permitting us to put on this special evening program with them and we hope that we will be able to have more open Saturday night sky viewing in the summer. For more information please contact: Lauri Roche by email.


Island Star Party – update on site improvements

Posted by as Special Events

Thinking forward to the August 22/23/24 Island Star Party.

I dropped in to Bright Angel Park the other afternoon and ran in to a CVRD park fellow there. (Graham).

We spoke for a few minutes about the work that is proceeding at that park and specifically about the field setup. Graham indicated that he was trying to leave as much space between the new field and the forested area “as possible” and he showed me the basic layout in the pegging on the field. I asked that they extend the buffer all the way back to the corner that previously had the baseball diamond backboard. Graham said that should be possible. Vehicle access to the field will be via a gate beside the playground (very near where we held our talks)

At present there is a new parking lot on the edge of the road approximately where we in past years put motor-homes and trailers. This lot is to accommodates the kids playground that will be installed right there, (about where our observing field was located.

The new sports field looks like it will work well as a foot traffic only observing area with vehicle parking along the forest edge. As well we should be able to use the roadside parking lot for larger vehicle if it turns out we can not accommodate them on the grass.

The lower parking lot is now gone and a bathroom is being built in its location, this facility will be ready for our star party. YES no more pit toilets. The former “upper parking lot” has been improved to take more cars.

All in all it is looking very good for the park and the Star Party.


Brian Robilliard

Volunteers needed for 2014 General Assembly!

Posted by as Special Events

The 2014 General Assembly is coming up quickly in late June, and our organising committee needs your help! Ideally, they would like to see every member of Victoria Centre contribute to the success of this event. Not only are we hosting our fellow astronomers from across Canada, we are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of Victoria Centre!

Job Descriptions – Additional Volunteers Needed (50 positions)

February 10, 2014


CHAIRPERSON COMMITTEE – Reports to Paul Schumacher and Mark Bohlman ( 10 positions open)

IT Chair (1 needed)

  • Identifies A/V needs, equipment and sourcing for all GA events (mostly UVic Sourcing)
  • Manages IT needs and infrastructure during all GA events

Music Night Coordinator ( 1 needed) Co-Coordinator Dr. Jim Hesser

  • solicits talent -coordinates venue requirements with Felicitas Pub
  • coordinates drink coupons to go in Goody bags
  • keeps liaison with talent, makes sure ready to go
  • deals with unexpected issues

First Aid Personnel (3 needed)

  • deals with any emergency that may come up (one on-call each day)

Signage / Umbrella Guru (1)

  • Arranges for design, production and installation of directional signage during event on campus, at airport
  • Arranges for umbrellas during rain days

UVic Telescope Liaison (1)

  • Works with Russ Robb to set up and manage evening viewing at UVic rooftop scope during GA

Photographers / Videographers (3)

  • Members to record events of all GA activities


REGISTRATION COMMITTEE– Reports to John McDonald, Chris Purse and Reg Dunkley (2 positions open)

Lodging Coordinator (1 needed)

  • Liaison with UVic for all lodging issues prior to and during event- rooms lists, room assignment issues

Collateral Coordinator (1 needed)

  • Responsible for Production and Distribution of Nametags, vouchers and distribution of registration packets/info books (working with Reg)


FINANCE COMMITTEE Reports to Nelson Walker (1 position open)

Assistant Controller (1 needed)

  • Back up to Nelson, assists with record keeping and money handling during GA


HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE Reports to Deb Crawford (14 positions open)

Check–in Desk Personnel (6 needed)

  • Greets arrivals at Cadboro Commons desk location
  • Souvenir sales and distribution

Catering/Meals Coordinator ( 1 needed)

  • Liaison with UVic Catering to confirm meal counts, coffee breaks all scheduled meals run smoothly

Meeting Room Coordinator (1 needed)

  • Liaison with UVic to see that all rooms are correctly booked and no issues arise during GA

Tours Coordinators (2 needed)

  • Makes sure all tours go as scheduled- Whale Watching, Butchart, Maritime Museum, Shopping Tour, Historic Tour
  • Assists Deb with head counts and preplanning and vendor liaison
  • Coordinates with Transportation Committee for drivers where needed

Welcome BBQ Helpers (4 needed)

  • Help with planning set-up and liaison for outside catered meal at DAO
  • Help with running BBQ during event


TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE – Reports to Charles Banville (21 positions open)

Transportation Assistant (1 needed)

  • Back-up to Charles to help with planning, bookings, driver coordination, outside transport providers if needed

Drivers (20 needed)

  • to drive guests to and from airport, bus terminal, ferries, DAO, tours
  • drivers will be reimbursed for their gas mileage for driving delegates to and from lodging to arrival/departure location and from to RASC organized events/tours


A/V SERVICES COMMITTEE – Reports to TBD Chairperson (2 positions open)

A/V Coordinators (2 needed)

  • back-up to TBD Chairperson
  • assists with A/V needs list, special music tracks, additional A/V requests, UVic Liaison


Werner X sightings for 2014

Posted by as Special Events, Uncategorized

The Lunar X (also known as the Werner X) is a clair-obscur effect in which light and shadow creates the appearance of a letter ‘X’ on the rim of the Blanchinus, La Caille and Purbach craters.

The X is visible only for a few hours before the first quarter. To find the X look along the lunar terminator, the line between dark and light, start at about the middle and follow it slightly south. Near to the X, the Lunar V is also visible, formed by Ukert crater and several other small craters.

Lunar X visibility in 2014

Jan 8 2014 16:12 UT
Feb7 2014 06:46 UT
Mar 8 2014 20:19 UT
Apr 7 2014 08:38 UT
May 6 2014 19:56 UT
Jun 5 2014 06:36 UT
Jul 4 2014 17:11 UT
Aug 3 2014 04:11 UT
Sep 1 2014 15:59 UT
Oct 1 2014 04:51 UT
Oct 30 2014 18:45 UT
Nov 29 2014 09:25 UT
Dec 29 2014 00:21 UT

Introduction to Astrophotography course

Posted by as Special Events

Instructor: W John McDonald
Course #116990 $70
Program Guide (pdf)
3 Tuesdays, 7-9pm Apr 8-22, 2014

Photographing the night sky can be a rewarding pastime. As a result of improvements in
off-the-shelf cameras, amateurs can produce images that sometimes rival those done by
professional astronomers. The course will include instruction on camera types and
settings for various astronomical subjects. It will focus on subjects accessible with a
camera and tripod but will also include the opportunity to take images through a telescope.
If you have a camera that has manual settings please bring it to class. If you plan to
purchase one feel free to wait until the discussion of camera properties in the first class.

Monterey Recreation Centre • 1442 Monterey Avenue • 250‑370‑7300

2014 GA Call for Papers Notice

Posted by as Special Events

It’s time again for the Call for Papers for the Annual General Assembly of the RASC.  Since Victoria Centre is the host for the GA in June of this year, our organizing committee would like to see our local membership well-represented in our paper sessions.  The papers can be about some observational research you may be involved with, the photographs of a trip you’ve taken, or perhaps related to an outreach activity.  Have you done some historical research, worked on a new educational program or have a unique point of view on an astronomical topic?  We are looking for presentations that represent a wide variety of topics generally related to astronomy and would love to have you involved.

Our paper presentations will be held on Saturday, June 28 and will be, as in the past few years, 15 to 20 minutes in length.  They are one of the showcases of the Annual General Assembly and are eagerly anticipated by the delegates. I hope you will consider a proposal.

On Sunday, June 29 we will be having an afternoon forum that has as its theme the RASC’s intentions for programs and initiatives for UNESCO International Year of Light, 2015.   

An International Year of Light will allow the universality of light and the variety of its applications to be appreciated via many and varied themes covering broad areas of interest, supported by cross-cutting themes addressing essential issues to be included in all activities.

The four main themes will be Light in Science, Technology, Nature and Culture with the cross-cutting themes of Sustainability and Development, Education, History and Young People.

You may wish to refer to the website (pdf) for more information and details.

Please send your intentions to present for either the Saturday Paper Sessions or the Sunday IYL 2015 forum to the Call For Papers webpage. Deadline is April 15th, 2014.

If you have an questions please contact 

Chris Purse Email