As my term as centre president draws to a close, I thought I would look back at some of the noteworthy events from the past 2 years.
- Centre member Brenda Stuart provided the illustrations for the new edition of the RASC publication Explore the Universe Guide.
- We had longer seasons of the Summer Star Parties at the DAO in both 2017 and 2018. These started with Astronomy Day at the Royal BC Museum. The stat parties continued to be well attended.
- Centre member Terry Ryals volunteered his carpentry skills to build a security cabinet so we could install our new monitor in the portable where we hold Astro Café.
- Victoria High School proposed and launched an Astronomy 11 course.
- In partnership with Parks Canada, observing evenings were held at Fort Rodd Hill and Gulf Islands National Park.
- Members who had remained in Victoria hosted public eclipse viewing for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Many members travelled to the US to see the total eclipse.
- The centre purchased a new telescope for the VCO and sold the surplus equipment.
- In 2018, RASC celebrated its sesquicentennial with a number of special events, a commemorative Royal Canadian Mint coin, and a pair of commemorative stamps issued by Canada Post.
- Centre members Lauri Roche and Jim Hesser organized and coordinated a national contest in honour of the sesquicentennial called Imagining the Skies.
- The centenary of the Plaskett Telescope was celebrated on May 3, 2018 with the National Historic Site plaque unveiled.
- RASC members were invited to attend sessions at the Canadian Astronomical Society annual meeting held in Victoria during May 2018.
- Centre member Chris Gainor was elected National President at the 2018 General Assembly.
- Centre members David Lee, John McDonald, and Jim Hesser assisted with a second concert of the music of William Hershell. The event in November 2018 was supported by a grant from the RASC special projects fund.
- David Lee and Dan Posey offered a workshop on PixInsight to a group of astrophotography enthusiasts.
- Astro Café continues to be well attended and our monitor is well used.
- Centre members continue to volunteer countless hours for the schools program, Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair, and other outreach events.
I have enjoyed my term as president. It has been my honour to serve the centre and I thank all our members for their contributions. It has been a great experience to work with such an enthusiastic group of people and I look forward to my next role as past president.
A reminder that this month’s meeting is our Annual General Meeting that will take place on Saturday, November 17 at the Cedar Hill Golf Club with doors opening at 6 p.m. The evening starts with a dinner so if you have not booked a seat please do so by Sunday, November 11. The meal costs $40 and is a buffet with a pre-selected entrée. The entrée choices are chicken, salmon, steak, or vegetarian ravioli. If you wish to attend, send me your entrée selection at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please see below for more information. If you cannot attend the dinner, the speaker and meeting portion are open to everyone at no charge.
Due to exams at the University, our monthly meeting on Wednesday, December 12 will be held in the Engineering and Computer Science (ECS) building room 116. This is near the room where the June 2018 meeting was held.
A final note and a concern. Our centre is not alone in having issues finding members willing to put their names forward for the leadership positions. We rely on a group of members to coordinate activities, make decisions, and keep the centre running in accordance with the relevant regulations. Despite a membership over 270, nominations have not been forthcoming for the incoming centre executive and this is a major problem. The centre cannot run without the council members. If we do not have leaders the centre is not viable and we really must question if we can continue to exist. That would be a sad occurrence after a history of 104 years. So, this is a final appeal before the AGM. We do need some more nominees for people to lead the centre.