Learn about the second industrial revolution as Karun Thanjavur demonstrates the amazing power of artificial intelligence. The future is here today!
Abstract: Artificial intelligence (AI), specially Deep (Machine) Learning applications are already ubiquitous in everyday use, and have been called the second industrial revolution. Deep Learning algorithms, called Neural Networks, thrive on Big Data, the happy ‘problem’ we now face of enormous amounts of data available in astronomy and in almost all fields of human endeavour. Piggybacked on the impressive recent advances in high performance computing, neural networks are trained on these available large datasets to then perform a variety of human-like tasks, such as realtime decision making, identifying subtle patterns in the data, forecasting, making recommendations based on experience, and so on. In this presentation I aim to provide an overview of this rapidly burgeoning field, explain in simple terms the construction and working of a neural net, and illustrate these principles with a few examples drawn from literature and from my own research.
How to Talk to a Science Denier:
Jim Hesser attended a recent UVic Physics colloquium by Dr. Lee McIntyre (Boston U.) was on the topic, “How to Talk to a Science Denier: What I learned at the Flat Earth Convention”.
Jim reports that the key take away message was that the best way he’s found to help a science denier is through real conversation that leads to building a relationship of trust between the denier and the scientists; once there is trust, the stage is set for the denier to look at alternate views and evidence the scientist provides. People interested in the science denial challenge might enjoy exploring this presentation.
David Lee’s First Light With Borg 55FL and ASI183MC
David writes: For those who can’t wait for the winter objects and you’re willing to stay up late you can catch objects like the Orion Nebula. This was also first imaging light for the Borg 55FL and the ASI183MC.
Imaging Camera: ZWO ASI183MC
Imaging Optics: Borg 55FL f/3.6 Astrograph
Filtration: Hutech Night Glow IDAS NGS1
Tracking Mount: Astrotrac
Exposure: 50 light frames of 30 seconds for a total exposure of 25 minutes
Processing: Pixinsight Core Version 1.8 and Adobe Photoshop CC 2021
Not all members of the Victoria Centre have been receiving this valuable email which provides information on weekly RASC online offerings such as the Explore the Universe and some regional Zoom presentations. To subscribe to this interesting message click here.
Impressive Images of Mars from Edmonton RASCal Abdur Anwar
Abdur Anwar dusted off his old Celestron 8 inch Schmidt Cassegrain Telescope and put it to good use using a lucky imaging technique to capture some amazing images of Mars. On August 25th Abdur experimented with the program WinJupos which can remove the blurring effect caused by rotation. Check out the before and after images below.
Speaking of Mars check out this 4K video
The video in this link displays a collection of high resolution images taken on a number of Martian space missions. It is 12 minutes well spent.
Hawaiian Nights: A Personal Journey from Vancouver Island to Maunakea, with Cam Wipper
Don’t miss this interesting Zoom presentation at 4:00 PM PDT on Friday August 28th. Growing up in Nanaimo, Cam never imagined he would spend nearly a decade living in Hawai’i and working on Maunakea, the best place on Earth for astronomical observations.
In his talk, Cam will tell the story of how he found himself on Maunakea, from his days as a student at Vancouver Island University, to his first night up on the summit of Maunakea, nearly 14.000 feet (4200m) above sea level. This will include a brief history of astronomy in Hawaii, as well as an exploration of how a modern astronomical observatory conducts scientific observations. All will be told from the perspective of a telescope operator and scientific observer; a position Cam has held at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope since 2015. Click here to register.
Lagoon & Trifid Nebulae – Dan Posey
Moon shadows on Jupiter – John McDonald
A Poetic Pelican by Doug MacDonald
A wonderful bird is the Pelican. His beak can hold more than his belly can. He can hold in his beak enough food for a week! I’ll be darned if I know how the hellican.
Dixon Lanier Merritt
Shot this Aug. 9 – 13 with Bortle 6 skies. This bird lives in Cygnus, not too far from Deneb. I processed it in the SHO palette; it represents just over 8 hours of narrowband exposure with a 5″ refractor at f/5.5.
Final UVic Open House of the Summer is a Block Buster!
Cosmic Collisions Abstract: What happens when galaxies collide? Right now, the Andromeda Galaxy is hurtling towards us, on a direct collision course with our galaxy. Surely the Milky Way will not escaped unscathed? For almost a century astronomers have been trying to figure out what happens when galaxies clash, and from that investigation a harrowing tale of starvation, cannibalism, and complicated acronyms has arisen. With today’s massive telescopes and high-tech simulations, we can hope to understand what happens when the largest objects in the Universe go face-to-face. And perhaps we can predict how our galaxy will be changed for the better (or the worse)
Robotic Telescope Editing Contest for August: M82 the Cigar Galaxy
Edmonton RASCals Focus on the Deep Sky: relayed by Dave Robinson
Press Briefing on Starlink and other mega-constellations
At 11AM on Tuesday August 25th the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and NSF’s NOIRLab will have a press briefing on the SATCON1 LEOsat mega-constellations workshop report. SATCON1 gathered astronomers, satellite operators, dark-sky advocates, policy makers, and other stakeholders to discuss, understand, and quantify the impacts of large satellite constellations on ground-based optical and infrared astronomical observations as well as on the human experience of the night sky. The briefing will be live-streamed on the AAS Press Office YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/AASPressOffice)
Edmonton RASCal Abdur Anwar Captured the Cacoon and Bubble on August 9th
Abdur writes: Finally had a clear night last week and I spent most of my imaging time on the Cacoon Nebula (IC 5146) and the Bubble nebula. I got about 2 hours of data on the Cacoon and about 1.5 hours on the Bubble nebula using an ASI1600mm and an 8″ reflector. Really happy with how they turned out 🙂
Equipment and capture details for each target in order: ASI1600MM Pro ZWO LRGBHa filters Ha: 12 mins (Cacoon) / 27 mins (Bubble nebula) RGB: 20 mins each / 10 mins each L: 60mins / 30 mins Scope: 8″ f3.9 reflector Mount: EQ6R Pro
Dan writes: “Thanks to Bill kindly hosting last night, as the conditions at Pearson provided that opportunity I have been waiting for. The result isn’t perfect but that just means I’ll need to revisit in the future; I know where I need to be to take a longer stab at this target next year. This is 48.5 minutes (97x30s) using my Sigma 105 at f1.4 and my Canon Ra at iso 640.”
Title: Peering Into the Darkness with the JCMT: Witnessing the Birth of Stars
The birth of stars remains shrouded in mystery. Stars form inside thick puddles of gas and dust located primarily along the spiral arms of the Galaxy. Astronomers use infrared and radio telescopes to peer into and through these murky puddles to witness the birth of stars. For over 25 years the JCMT has been leading investigations to uncover the formation of stars in the Galaxy. In collaboration with the Spitzer Space Telescope, the Herschel Space Observatory, and the ALMA Observatory in Chile, the JCMT has transformed our understanding of stellar birth. Join me on an adventure to uncover nearby stellar nurseries.
David Lee captured the conjunction of the Moon and Mars on August 8th together with a wonderful foreground shot taken from Rithet Bog.
Some Great Planetary Detail
Lucky Imaging of Planets and the Moon
If you want to learn how to capture wonderful images like the above perhaps you should attend the following webinar!
Tuesday, August 11th – 7:00pm ADT / 6:00pm EDT / 3:00PM PDT Nova East 2020 – Lucky Imaging: Astrophotography of the Moon and Planets Lucky imaging is a technique used to capture high resolution images of the Moon and planets. It involves taking as many images as possible, often several thousand, with a high-speed “video” camera and using specialized software to identify and stack only the sharpest images. The talk, presented by David Hoskin, will cover the equipment, software and processing workflow used in lucky imaging.
Edmonton RASCal Mark Zalik – captured this remarkable sequence on August 4th which closely resembles hummingbirds. All Edmonton content kindly relayed by Dave Robinson. Mark writes: Wonderful NLC display tonight! Nice arrays of billows formed way down near the horizon, where the twilight imparted a beautiful cinnamon colour on the NLC. A bit earlier in the display, the clouds formed an ethereal hummingbird.
1680 – C/1680 V1, also called the Great Comet of 1680, Kirch’s Comet, and Newton’s Comet, has the distinction of being the first comet discovered by telescope
1682 – Halley’s Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is the best-known of the short-period comets and is visible from Earth every 75–76 years.
1744 – The Great Comet of 1744, whose official designation is C/1743 X1, and which is also known as Comet de Chéseaux or Comet Klinkenberg-Chéseaux, was a spectacular comet that was observed during 1743 and 1744
1811 – The Great Comet of 1811, formally designated C/1811 F1, is a comet that was visible to the naked eye for around 260 days, a record it held until the appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp in 1997. In October 1811, at its brightest, it displayed an apparent magnitude of 0, with an easily visible coma.
1835 – Halley’s Comet or Comet Halley, officially designated 1P/Halley, is the best-known of the short-period comets and is visible from Earth every 75–76 years. Last apparition was in 1986, and the next apparition is in 2061.
1843 – The Great Comet of 1843 formally designated C/1843 D1 and 1843 I, was a long-period comet which became very bright in March 1843 (it is also known as the Great March Comet)
The First FDAO Virtual Star Party: 7PM August 1st
You are invited to the inaugural Virtual Star Party hosted by Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory. David Balam, Plaskett telescope operator and Near Earth Object specialist will deliver a presentation on comets. For more information and hyperlinks to the Zoom meeting please click on the following:
Canadian Comet Sleuth David Levy: Webinar 4PM Thursday July 30th
The Canadian Comet SleuthDavid Levy, author and comet hunter Comet NEOWISE has been the sensation of our July skies, the first naked-eye comet for the Northern Hemisphere in ages. David Levy knows all about comets that snag the spotlight. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, which broke apart in July 1992 and collided with Jupiter in July 1994, garnered the “Canadian comet sleuth” media attention around the world, including the headline on the very first cover of SkyNews 25 years ago. Join The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Jenna Hinds and SkyNews’ Allendria Brunjes as they sit down with Levy in the next Speaker Series, at 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 30. Levy has discovered 22 comets, given innumerable lectures and written countless articles and more than 30 books — including an autobiography, A Nightwatchman’s Journey. There’s an asteroid named in his honour, and his awards include the Chant Medal of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Click this link to register for this Webinar
Dr Gordon Walker speaks at the Wednesday UVic Open House
Bigger, better, faster: how changes in technology drive astronomy data collection by Nat Comeau
Abstract: There are roughly five variables of interest in observational astronomy: where the object was (sky position), what it looked like (spatial resolution), when it was seen (observation time), how bright it was (brightness), and what colour of light it was (spectral resolution). In this talk I’ll give an overview of how enhancements in technology have driven how precisely we can measure these five variables, and how increasing this precision unlocks wonders that were previously invisible to us. From the first naked eye measurements of the planets, to automated networks of telescopes working hand in hand with gravitational wave observatories, I will describe how far we’ve come in astronomy data collection and how much more there is to do.
Could Creamsicles overtake Viva Puffs to become the favourite Astro Cafe summer treat? Penumbral Eclipse July 4. 2020 Billed as a subtle eclipse the penumbral shadow is subtle. What David didn’t expect was the orange ball that emerged from the horizon. A nice creamsicle colour! Camera: Nikon Z6 with FTZ adapter Lens: Nikkor 300/4 AFS with 1.4 x TC Effective 420mm cropped. Sensor ISO: 1600. Exposure: 1/100 sec at f/5.6 Processing: Adobe Photoshop CC 2020
Martian Citizen Science: Zoom Webinar at 11AM Tuesday
Meg Schwamb (Queen’s University Belfast) will be speaking about “Exploring Mars with 150,000 Earthlings.”
Planet Four (http://www.planetfour.org) and Planet Four: Terrains (http://terrains.planetfour.org) are citizen science projects mining Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) images to explore how the south pole of Mars is sculpted by the never-ending cycle of freezing and thawing of exposed carbon dioxide ice. In the summer, carbon dioxide jets loft dust and dirt through cracks in the thawing carbon dioxide ice sheet to the surface where winds blow the material into the hundreds of thousands of dark fans observed from orbit. Planet Four enlists over 136,000 volunteers to map the sizes, shapes, and orientations of these fans in high resolution images. Planet Four is creating an unprecedented wind map of the south pole of Mars in order to probe how the Martian climate changes over time and is impacted year to year by dust storms and other global-scale events. Planet Four: Terrains, aims to study the distribution of the jet process across the south pole and identify new targets of interest for MRO. Over 12,000 people have helped identify the channels and pits (dubbed araneiforms) carved during the jet formation process. In this talk, I’ll give an overview of Planet Four and Planet Four: Terrains and present the latest results from these projects.
Astronomy Poem inspires Mystery Novel: from Marjie Welchframe
“Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too truly to be feaful of the night.”
From poem The Old Astronomer Sarah Williams/S.A.D.I. English poet/novelist, 1868
Novelist Ian Rankin titled his Inspector Rebus novel Set in Darkness after these lines. The poem is written from the perspective of an aged astronomer on his deathbed bidding his student to continue his humble research. The lines have been chosen by a number of professional and amateur astronomers as their epitaphs. Entire poem: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Twilight_Hours_(1868)/The_Old_Astronomer
Time lapses by Neelam and Ajay Talwar and family in an amazingly complicated setup in the midday heat – note the giant fans! They did a wonderful job of capturing Bailey’s Beads peeking through the lunar craters and mountains along the thin rim of sunlight at the edge of the Moon at mid-eclipse.
Noctilucent clouds from Osoyoos – Debra Ceravolo
Debra’s comments on her Facebook page: “Many people like me have never seen noctilucent clouds and here I have seen and photographed four different events this month. The frequency of these special iridescent clouds is increasing due to climate change. Noctilucent clouds or NLCs form way out in the mesosphere at the edge of cold space. Meteor ‘smoke’ lingers there and ice crystals form around that. The solar minimum causes the thermosphere/mesosphere to be even colder and terrestrial activity affects how water vapour gets up there. So it’s water vapours and extreme cold that form NLCs. This photo was taken the evening of June 27th from my home in southern BC.”
Here is my time lapse video of another display on the morning of June 22.
Recording Astronomical Observations – Joe Carr
Joe reviews how he records his observations by using a combination of an observing log, photos, diagrams, and he also shares how he stays motivated and shares his observations online.
On 23 June former NRC/DAO Plaskett Fellow Samantha Lawler gave a public outreach lecture from her new Regina home entitled, “Planet Nine or Planet Nein?” She radiates enthusiasm for studying the outer solar system and includes some excellent graphics to help her audience gain new understanding in an enjoyable fashion. Here is UR’s message with links; if you watch the video I’m sure Samantha and UR would be grateful to receive your feedback via the form they provide:
“We hope you enjoyed “Planet Nine or Planet Nein?” with Dr. Samantha Lawler. A few links and attachments follow: 1) Please complete this survey – we would like to hear your feedback. 2) Please click on this link to view the recording of the presentation. 3) Attached are Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of the slide deck of Dr. Lawler’s presentation Again, thank you for your interest in the University of Regina’s Research with Impact!”