Astronomy Day 2016 – Victoria, BC, Canada

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

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)

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
  • Lectures and movies
  • Kids activities

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

Observatory Hill, 5071 West Saanich Road, Saanich

  • Lectures, telescope tours, observing through telescopes
  • 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!


Time & Location: 1:00-2:00pm – Royal BC Museum

Title and Speaker: Death Stars in the Orion Nebula: Recent Observations of Planet Formation – Dr. Rita Mann

Abstract: Dr. Mann’s research interests lie in understanding planet formation. Her PhD work focused on submillimeter wavelength interferometric observations of protoplanetary disks in the Orion Nebula Cluster with the Submillimeter Array (SMA). These observations were aimed towards understanding the fundamental properties of protoplanetary disks and the potential to form planets in the most common birthplace of stars: a hostile, massive star forming region.

Bio: Dr. Rita Kaur Mann is a researcher at NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics in Victoria. She was an undergraduate student at the University of Victoria where she received her Honours BSc in Physics and Astronomy. She went on to the University of Hawaii where she received both her MSc and PhD in astronomy. With the Plaskett Fellowship she returned to Victoria to NRC Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Time & Location: 2:30-3:30pm – Royal BC Museum

Title and Speaker: Baby Galaxies in a Grown-up Universe – Maan Hani

Abstract: Galaxies are some of the largest structures in our Universe. They are massive collections of stars, gas, and dark matter. The galaxy we live in is the Milky Way, and in our backyard lives the Andromeda galaxy along with many dwarf galaxies. However, the universe has a lot more to offer. There are millions of galaxies, of all sizes and shapes, in the universe. In this talk, I will share with you how galaxies are formed and how they live their long, yet exciting, lives.

Bio: Maan H. Hani received a Bachelor of Science with honours in Astrophysics in 2013 from Saint Mary’s University (SMU), and then continued at SMU to complete a Masters in Science in Astronomy in 2015. He is currently working on his PhD in astronomy with Prof. Sara Ellison at the University of Victoria. Maan is particularly interested in understanding the big picture of how galaxies form, evolve, and interact with each other and their environment. His past research has focused on modelling star formation and black holes in galaxy simulations. Both, star formation and black hole activity, are thought to be closely tied to galaxy evolution making proper models of such processes essential to our understanding of how galaxies evolve.

Time & Location: 8:00-9:00pm – Centre of the Universe

Title and Speaker: Journey to the Edge of the Solar System. New Horizons: The First Mission to the Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt – Ivar Arroway

Abstract: The Kuiper Belt is a vast region at the edge of our Solar System, beyond the orbit of Neptune, containing a vast reservoir of icy bodies, ranging from a few metres to hundreds of kilometres in size. In this talk, I am going to talk about the New Horizons mission which helps us understand the worlds at the edge of our solar system including the Pluto-Charon system which belong to ice-dwarfs and answer basic questions about the surface properties, geology and atmosphere on these bodies. A close-up look at these worlds from the spacecraft’s eyes tells an amazing history about the origins of our solar system.

Bio: Ivar Arroway is a PhD student at the Physics and Astronomy Department at the University of Victoria. In his PhD thesis he has been involved in the New Horizons Post-Pluto FlyBy project supervised by Dr. JJ Kavelaars at the National Research Council of Canada, Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics, Victoria. Generally, he is working on Trans Neptunian Objects or the so called Kuiper Belt Objects – KBOs.

Time & Location: 9:00-10:00pm – Centre of the Universe

Title and Speaker: The Greatest Show on Earth – Michael Webb

Abstract: Total Solar Eclipses are a natural phenomenon that occur when the moon passes between the Sun and the Earth casting a narrow shadow that rushes across parts of the planet plunging inhabitants along its path into a deep twilight accompanied by the wondrous appearance of the sun’s gossamer corona, planets rarely seen in daytime and a host of effects affecting animal behaviour, temperature and wind. Colour, clouds, weather and behaviour are all affected for periods of time ranging from a few seconds to 7 minutes. This presentation examines the conditions required to line up the sun, earth and moon. It discusses differences between eclipses and why experiencing a partial solar eclipse even covering 98% of the sun is NOTHING compared with the visceral experience of “TOTALITY”.

Bio: Michael Webb is a retired geologist who along with his wife and a varied group of similarly enthusiastic Umbraphiles, attend as many total eclipses as they can afford. Michael has seen seven in his lifetime including six in the last 11 years. This excuse to travel drew them to the South Pacific, Libya, China (twice), Fiji, and Indonesia as recently as March 2016. Among Umbraphiles, seven total eclipses just barely gets you into the experienced category. He hopes to engender sufficient enthusiasm for this phenomena that many Vancouver Islanders will travel to the USA to experience the great American Eclipse of August 21 2017.

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