Solar observing from the plaza on Astronomy Day 2024
Chris Gainor
Chris Gainor

Spring this year will always be remembered for the total solar eclipse of April 8 and the great auroral display of May 10-11. Even though those memorable events have been followed June observing conditions best characterized as mixed, there are still plenty of astronomical activities to talk about.

At the top of the list is International Astronomy Day, which returned to the Royal BC Museum during the long weekend on Saturday May 18. Astronomy Day is the Victoria Centre’s biggest public outreach event of the year, and our volunteers put on a great show that was enjoyed by more than a thousand members of the public. 

In spite of weather predictions of clouds and rain, the Sun was visible most of the day through our telescopes set up in front of the RBCM, and the many displays and activities inside the Clifford Carl Hall at the RBCM drew many families from around Greater Victoria. Many thanks to the RCBM, our volunteer team headed by Randy Enkin, and the Victoria Times Colonist, which publicized the event.

In the evening, the action shifted to the Centre of the Universe at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. The clouds of the late afternoon parted as twilight gave way to darkness, and visitors were treated to tours of the Plaskett Telescope and views of celestial objects. 

It was a great start to our summer! 

Photo collage - Astronomy Day 2024
Astronomy Day 2024 – photo gallery

While our monthly meetings and Astronomy Cafes are taking breaks for June, July and August, we are moving into Saturday nights at the Centre of the University with public outreach activities and excellent speakers throughout the summer. Please join us and the Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory for Saturday night observing sessions, which are listed at 

The 2024 Island Star Party will take place the nights of Friday August 9 and Saturday August 10 on the Saanich Peninsula in the grounds of St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, at 7921 St. Stephens Road, off Mount Newton Cross Rd.  Gates open at 2 p.m. on Friday. There will be plenty of observers with telescopes and other activities for astronomers and interested members of the public. Details are available at our website.

The Saanich Fair on Labour Day weekend marks the traditional conclusion for summer in Greater Victoria, and the Victoria Centre will be part of it. Please consider joining our volunteers at our booth at this great annual fair. 

After the Saanich Fair, the Pleiades, Orion and other features of our fall skies will return, along with Astronomy Cafes on Mondays and our monthly meetings at the University of Victoria. See you soon!

President’s Message – July 2024
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