Summer Star Parties at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory 2017

Posted by as Special Events

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:

See you there!

Site Line Work Only

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,

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

Summer Saturdays’ Children’s Programmes

7:45 – 8:00 p.m. “Out of this World” Interactive Presentation – Auditorium

8:00 – 8:15 p.m. “Stories in the Skies” – Planetarium

8:15 – 8:30 p.m. “Meet the Telescope” Tour – Plaskett Dome

8:30 -10:00 p.m. Children’s Activities – Information Area

  • Make and Take Craft Tables
  • Family Scavenger Hunt
  • IPad Interactives
  • Night Sky Viewing


Summer Star Party Presentations are over for 2017. Many thanks to all the presenters. Same time next year!

The Newly Discovered Trappist-1 System & the Quest to Finding Habitable Planets Dr. Christian Marois
A Photographic Tour of the Night Sky Dr. John Macdonald
Introduction to the Night Sky David Lee
How to Choose your First Telescope David Lee and RASC Victoria Centre
Telescope Clinic Jim Stilburn
KEPLER/K2 Observations of Old Variable Stars Dr. James Nemec
History of the Hubble Telescope Dr. Chris Gainor
An Astrophotography Primer David Lee and the UVIC Astrophotography Club (Nic Annau)
Jupiter and the Juno Mission Reg Dunkley
Sketching Astronomical Objects David Lee and Dr. Dorothy Paul
Peering through Nature’s Telescope – Gravitational Lensing as a Window into the Distant Universe Karun Thanjavur
Journey to the Edge of the Solar System Dr. JJ Kavelaars
Discovery of Gravitational Lenses with the Hubble Space Telescope Dr. Kavan Ratnatunga
The Greatest Show on Earth Michael Webb
Falling through space Dr. Gordon Walker
Opening New Eyes on the Cosmos Dr. Luc Simard
Big data, little data, or (Help!) no data Dr. Elizabeth Griffin
Gas Falling Into Black Holes: A Surprising Discovery Dr. Patrick Hall
A Star Is Born: Unveiling the Turbulent Birth of Stars Dr. Doug Johnstone
Knowledge Network Space Suite II and Trailer for Space Suite III Two Story Productions Inc.
Planet 9 or Planet Nein? Discoveries in the Distant Reaches of the Solar System Dr. Samantha Lawther (presented by Dr. JJ Kavelaars)
In the Realm of the Galaxies Dr. James Di Francesco
Knowledge Network Space Suite II Two Story Productions Inc.
Searching for Cold Things in Chile: Why ALMA Matters Dr. Gerald Schieven


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