Astronomy Cafe – Nov 8, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Dr. Robert Thirsk speaker for Dec 13th – arranged by Jeff Pivnick
    • 20 minute Q&A after online presentation
  • Two Clusters from earlier this year – Dave Payne
    • Double Cluster – 3-6 million years old, so stars are blue
    • Caroline’s Rose in Cassiopeia – 1.6 billion years old, so stars are more red
    • Owl, Flying Bat, Squid Nebulae and Peiades are coming up
  • Women Astronomers – Marjie Welchframe
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Aurora – Abdur Anwar (from Blackfoot site) & Arnold Rivera (all-sky camera) & Ian Doktor (south Edmonton)
    • M1 Crab Nebula – Kent
    • Conjunction of Moon & Mercury on Nov 3rd – Jeff Robertson
  • Lauri Roche
    • Astro Compass from Elizabeth Griffin – Need someone who is interested to have a look at it, and decide what to do with it
    • Two FDAO Star Parties (start at 7PM): James Web Telescope events on Nov 20th (Matt Taylor and Chris Willet), Dec 18th (two more presenters)
  • Neural Networks – John McDonald
    • Starnet – neural network processing to remove stars – an aid in processing astrophotos
    • Neural network processing could stop future epidemics by identifying individuals that should be tested. Transmission could be reduced to near zero using this methodology.
    • Discussion about how neural networks learn.
  • Chris Gainor
    • Hubble Problem Update
      • Team has one of the instruments working
      • Signal synchronization issue
      • Bringing the other instruments online one by one
    • James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
      • Shroud on top of telescope has been cleared for launch
      • Dec 18th launch (4:30AM launch for us in Pacific Time Zone)
    • Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 – National Academy of Sciences – new priorities for astronomy, including a new, large 6m space telescope for the 2040s.
  • Next week’s Astro Cafe speaker: Emily Levesque – arranged by David Lee

Title: The Last Stargazers – a book by Dr. Emily Levesque

Emily Levesque
Emily Levesque

Description: A bird that mimicked a black hole. The astronomer that discovered microwave ovens. A telescope that got shot. The science of astronomy is filled with true stories (and tall tales) of the adventures and misadventures that accompany our exploration of the universe. Join Dr. Emily Levesque, author of the new popular science book The Last Stargazers, to take a behind-the-scenes tour of life as a professional astronomer. We’ll learn about some of the most powerful telescopes in the world, meet the people who run them, and explore the crucial role of human curiosity in the past, present, and future of scientific discovery.

Bio: Emily Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington. Her work explores how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. She has observed for upwards of fifty nights on many of the planet’s largest telescopes and flown over the Antarctic stratosphere in an experimental aircraft for her research. Her academic accolades include the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon Award, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, a 2019 Cottrell Scholar award, and the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii.

Astronomy Cafe – Nov 1, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Edmonton astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Comet 67P and Crab Nebula – Alister Ling
    • Pacman Nebula NGC 281 – Dennis Boucher
  • David Lee
    • Beginners’ SIG tomorrow night
    • EAA SIG Thursday night
    • Sky Brightness Survey
      • Group has met
      • Need to coordinate the SQM meters and volunteers
      • First readings are probably going to start in December
      • darksky.org – using a camera and SQM meter when taking measurements
      • Discussion about urban light pollution and LED streetlights
  • Astrophotos – Brock Johnston
  • Astrophotos using the Slooh telescopes within the last few weeks – Joe Carr
  • Laurie Roche
    • FDAO Oct 30th AGM & presentation – Lauri Roche
      • ALMA – Brenda Matthews
      • Plaskett mirror re-aluminizing process – a 4 minute time lapse video will be posted soon
    • Astro Compass (W.W. Boes) from Frank Younger’s estate is available to any interested member – contact Lauri
    • RASC National Public Outreach
      • Solar Eclipses group being formed for 2023 and 2024 events
      • Need a contact from each Centre
  • Astro Cafe for Nov 15th – there will be a guest speaker
  • Driving Mercedes EQC to hunt for aurora (northern Norway) – a video by Tesla Bjorn – Mike Webb
  • Sedun’s southern Arizona ranch will be sold and Garry’s two telescopes will be installed on the Saanich Peninsula next year – Garry Sedun
  • Hubble Telescope report – Chris Gainor
    • Back in Safe Mode again
    • Most of the space craft is operating normally, but it’s not operational
  • James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
    • Launching on Dec 18th, but takes two months to unfold and arrive at the final Lagrange L-2 location
    • Tomorrow’s JWST Event or NASA TV at 8AM
    • Discussion about using the Lagrange locations
    • See also the Canadian Space Agency

Astronomy Cafe – Oct 4, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Milky Way from Cattle Point – a photo showing no stars, just galaxies – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
  • Women in Astronomy – Marjie Welchframe
    • Isabel Williamson has an asteroid named after her
    • Dava Sobel also has an asteroid named after her
    • Profile of Dr. Kim Venn
      • UVic Astronomy & Physics professor
      • Specialist in stellar spectroscopy
      • Kim believes that very large telescopes will likely discover Earth version 2 or 3 or 4, which will greatly impact how we view ourselves
    • Dr. Michelle Kunimoto will present to us on Oct 18th about Exoplanets
  • Edmonton Centre astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Milky Way Halloween theme- Warren Findlay
    • Blackfoot dark sky area – Arnold Rivera
      • Comet 4P/Faye
      • Helix Nebula – NGC 7293 – Planetary Nebula
      • Veil Nebula – visual and photo through a 10″ Dobsonian telescope
  • Building an Astroberry Server– David Lee
    • Raspberry Pi 4 running Linux 
    • Supports the INDI – ecosystems for control and automation of astronomical devices
    • Installed PHD2
    • David just wants to implement auto-guiding
    • Runs the server through a remote desktop on his smartphone
  • Beginners SIG runs virtually tomorrow night – David Lee
  • Update from Chris Gainor 
    • Chris was interviewed by CTV News about William Shatner going into space aboard 
    • Russia is launching into space tomorrow morning
    • Chris is still waiting for his history of Hubble book to arrive
  • Sky Quality Map redo – Lauri Roche
    • Last map covering Greater Victoria (Sooke to Sidney) done in 2010
    • Victoria Centre should remeasure the data
    • We need a project leader
    • Canvas our members for interest and who has Unihedron Sky Quality Meters
  • Astronomy photos from Victoria Centre
    • Unusual Nebula NGC 6164 in Norma – observing the southern hemisphere using the Chile One Slooh telescope – Joe Carr
    • David Lee is seeking sources of data for his interest in Astrometry
    • Wizard Nebula NGC 7380 taken last Sunday night – Brock Johnston
  • Firefly Alpha rocket – photos of aborted launch from Vandenberg Air Base – Reg Dunkley

Astronomy Cafe – Sep 20, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Remembering Ed Maxfield – David Lee
  • Earth – Potentially Habitable Planet – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • Earth is pretty small…some comparisons with larger celestial objects
    • Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Alpha Centauri, the Sun, Sirius, Vega, Bellatrix, Pollux, Sagittarius A, Beta Centauri,  Arcturus, Aldebaran, Rigel, Deneb, Rho Cassiopeia, Betelgeuse.
    • Red Hyper-giants:  Uy Scuti, Stephenson 2-18
    • Supermassive Black Holes: Cygnus A, Messier 84, Hercules A
    • Primary ultra-massive Black Holes: Messier 87, OJ 287
    • Ton 618 – Hyper-luminous Quasar (13.1 billion Light Years away)
  • M33 – The Triangulum Galaxy – Reg Dunkley
    • Unusual rotation indicated Dark Matter (first proposed by Vera Rubin)
    • Part of the Local Group of galaxies
    • Since it’s so faint visually, Reg uses photos to observe this galaxy – a stack of over 6 hours of subframes
    • M33 in Hydrogen Alpha photo by Dan Meek, Calgary Centre
      • NGC 604 and 595 – knots of stellar activity – nebulae and star clusters
    • Dave Payne’s photos showing NGC 604 and 595
    • Dorothy has sketched M33 from a dark observing site
  • Photos by John McDonald
    • Deer Lick Group and Stefan’s Quintet – test photo from the two telescopes at the VCO
    • Comparing the distances of the objects – millions of Light Years away
    • Eta Carina nebula photo – newly processed using PixInsight – with and without stars, and original
    • UGC12127 – nearby cluster of galaxies suggested by Dorothy & Miles Paul
    • Starnet++ – a standalone app to remove stars suggested by Dave Payne
  • Edmonton Centre photos – Dave Robinson
    • NGC 1499 – California Nebula (2 orientations) by Tom Owen 
    • Jupiter sequence of photos – Abdur Anwar and Arnold Rivera
    • Saturn – Abdur Anwar and Arnold Rivera
    • Andromeda Galaxy taken with a simple, non-tracking setup using camera and lens – Alister Ling
  • Hubble deep field photo – Brock Johnston
  • SIGs – meeting online
    • Astrophotography – Wednesday
    • Makers – Thursday
  • Fall Fairfield – RASC Victoria will be at this FGCA public event in the field – Sunday at Noon – Randy Enkin to email a notice to members

Astronomy Cafe – Sep 13, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Astro Cafe is not going to in-person meetings until the health regulations relax – contact Chris Purse or Randy Enkin if you have thoughts on how to move forward
  • History of Women in Astronomy – Marjie Welchframe
    • Dr. Tanya Harrison – “professional Martian”, planetary scientist, science team for Mars rovers
  • Finding and Observing RS Oph – star-hopping to a recurrent variable star – David Lee
    • AAVSO variable star visual observing
    • Variable star RS Oph magnitude changes more radically than most other variables
    • How he visually observed the RS Oph variable star
    • AAVSO (digital) results
  • Astrophysics of RS Ophiuchus – Recurrent Variable Binary System – Randy Enkin
  • Roadtrip to Winnipeg – Nathan and Bryan Mestelman
    • Stayed at a cottage at a dark site near Lake Winnipeg – aurora borealis, Milky Way, Moon
    • Milky Way at Lake Louise aligned with the glacier
    • Bryan explained how his Nikon camera tracked the stars at Lake Louise
  • QED – The Strange Theory of Light and Matter – review of a book by Richard Feynman – Dave Payne
    • Quantum mechanics all the way through to fine arts
    • This book needs to be read several times!
    • Richard Feynman’s lecture series are available online at no cost, if you are a physics nerd
  • Edmonton Centre astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Stanger Hills – a new observing site
    • Milky Way by Alister Ling
    • Soul Nebula – Tom Owen
    • Pluto – Dennis Boucher

Astronomy Cafe – August 23, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

  • Mark Wheen at Pearson College wants to train some people to operate the 25″ telescope – members should contact Bill Weir if interested
  • Astrophotos from Victoria Centre members
    • Intro from John McDonald
    • Brock Johnston – online gallery
      • Using new ASI 2600 camera (one shot colour)
        • Cocoon Nebula
        • Fireworks Galaxy
        • Andromeda Galaxy – 3 nights
        • Deer Lick Group – SCT Celestron Edge 9.25″
        • Jupiter 
          • Using video from ASI120 OSC planetary imaging camera
          • De-rotated about 1 minute clips
        • Saturn
          • Using video from ASI120 OSC planetary imaging camera
          • Doesn’t need to be de-rotated
        • Processing of planets: PIP > WinJupos > AutoStakkert
      • Pick objects that are rising in the eastern sky, so there is time to image them
    • Dave Payne – online gallery
      • Rosette Nebula – taken 10 months ago
        • H2 cloud, UV radiation
        • Big – about 1 degree across
        • 127mm refractor, 660mm f/l
      • Tulip Nebula – Sharpless catalog
        • Smaller
        • CDK 12.5″ 2540mm f/l
        • H2 cloud
        • Note Cygnus X1 on left side of field of view, some purple clouds driven by the Black Hole’s accretion disk
      • Iris Nebula
        • Much closer than the other nebulae
        • Blue colour indicates that this is a reflection nebula
        • PAH – life can be formed when this is present
    • Dan Posey – online gallery
      • Rho Ophiuchus – short focal length – modified dSLR, camera lens & small tracker
      • Comet NEOWISE – modified dSLR, camera lens & small tracker
      • California Nebula – tri-band filter with Askar 108mm 600mm f/l
      • Uses Starnet – to subtract and add back the stars using neural net processing
      • M81, M82 –  Milky Way background structure revealed by doing some exotic processing technique
      • Eagle Nebula – imaging from a balcony downtown at 400mm using SBIG 8300 – compared with imaging from the VCO 16″ TPO RC computer
      • NGC 7318 interacting galaxy pair – imaging using the Plaskett telescope
      • RASC Victoria might have imaging time on the Plaskett in October, so send Dan any objects of interest (if you are on the Active Observers’ email list)
    • Garry Sedun – online gallery
      • XM2000 monochrome camera, 20″ Newtonian astrograph
        • Horsehead Nebula
        • M51 galaxies
      • Moravian 16200 imager, 20″ Newtonian astrograph
        • M82 galaxy revealing the jet –
        • Jellyfish Nebula – colour and monochrome wavelengths – star colours still need work
        • M81 galaxy and blue dwarf companion galaxy – two versions
    • John McDonald – online gallery
    • Discussion among the astro imagers on technique, optics, sites, conditions
  • Scientific Narrative – Ken Atkinson
    • Ventu Sky – interesting weather maps
    • Human genomes
    • Highly magnetized  and rapidly rotating white dwarf as small as the moon
    • Books
      • Birth of a Theorem – Cedric Villani
      • Cantor’s Dilemma – Carl Djerassi
      • Newton’s Darkness: Two Dramatic Views – Carl Djerassi
      • Berlin in lights – the diaries of Count Harry Kessler – mentions dining with the Einsteins and other famous people

Astronomy Cafe – August 9, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of meeting

  • Randy Enkin
    • Mars Retrograde – July 7, 2020 to Jan 27, 2021 at 7-day intervals from the Phillipines
    • Meteor shower in real time from Mauna Kea, Hawaii
    • ISS Synchronized Swimming Program and other space Olympics
    • Announcements
      • UVic Observatory Open House – game show this Wednesday evening
      • Fall Fairfield – Sept 26th – volunteers needed for astronomy display
  • Perseid Meteor Shower info – John McDonald
    • Perseids peak next week – 100/hour
    • Caused by debris from a comet or asteroid
    • Meteoroid (small rock in space) becomes a Meteor when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. A Meteorite is a Meteor that survives the descent to the surface of the Earth.
    • How to photograph a meteor shower
    • Small Solar System Bodies – asteroids, comets and meteoroids
    • Q&A
    • Personal observations of meteor showers
  • AstrophotosDave Payne
    • Cave Nebula
    • Mosaic of the Andromeda Nebula – work in progress
  • AstrophotosBrock Johnston
    • Sadr region
    • Cocoon Nebula
    • Andromeda Nebula
    • Fireworks Galaxy
    • Used a new OSC camera for the last two photos – ZWO ASI2600MC Pro
  • Ophiuchus Nova outburst – David Lee
  • Astrophotos from Edmonton Centre – John McDonald (for Dave Robinson)
    • Jupiter & 3 moons
    • ISS transit across the Sun
  • Nathan observed Ganymede and Europa crossing paths last night
  • Diane Bell’s Memorial – Lauri Roche
    • August 15th – 1-2PM at BC Aviation Museum
    • Diane’s brother Gord to conduct a short tour of the museum afterward
  • FDAO Star Party – next is an astrophotography star party on August 21st

Astronomy Cafe – July 26, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • The Heart of the Crab Nebula – Reg Dunkley
    • M1 sketched by Philip Teece
    • Images by Reg, John McDonald, Garry Sedun, and other members
    • Image and 3D model from CFHT – SITELLE spectrograph
    • Various analysis of the nebula and how this Supernova and pulsar shockwave nebula is changing size and shape
    • Discussion of Fast Fourier Transforms – used in audio processing, CHIME data beam forming, and other endeavors
    • Spectacular ‘Honeycomb Heart’ Revealed in Iconic Stellar Explosion – Martin, Milisavlievic, Drissen, et al
  • FDAO Star Party – Aug 7th – Lauri Roche
  • Diane Bell Memorial at the Aviation Museum – Aug 15 at 1PM – Lauri Roche
    • Presentation of Diane’s Service Award to her family
    • Tour of the museum by Gord Bell, Diane’s brother
  • The Centaurus A (NGC 5128) Black Hole – Randy Enkin
    • In the southern sky
    • History of the discovery of Centaurus A galaxy
    • Radio, X-ray and visible emissions, along with a jet of high speed particles being emitted – a baby quasar
    • Event Horizon Telescope – April 2017 observations just published
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Astrophotography – this Wed
    • Beginners – next Tues
    • EAA – next Thu
  • Observatory Construction on Day 1 – Michel Michaud
    • Staked out his backyard in Saint-Anaclet, Quebec
    • Sonotube – at least 5′ deep
    • Rented a Kobota digger
    • Hit rock at 4′
    • Getting construction advice from Bruno Quenneville, Charles Banville, and others
    • Proposed equipment: Paramount MX+, Celestron Edge 14″, Star Sharp 94 Triplet
    • Discussion about some observatory construction details

Astronomy Cafe – May 17, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

VIdeo frame of ISS taken through an 8" Dobsonian by Nathan
VIdeo frame of ISS taken through an 8″ Dobsonian by Nathan
  • ISS photo – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • Used a iPhone mount using a 30-min video slow motion through a 5mm  eyepiece, 2.5x Barlow and 8″ Dob (1,200mm f/l), so about 600x magnification, 2-3 arc secs 
  • Astronomy Day on May 15th – Randy Enkin & Lauri Roche
    • We were so fortunate to have a clear sky for this online event
    • Reviewed all the presenters and thanked everyone
  • Spectroscopy – Tom Field
    • Intro by David Lee
    • 70-80% of astronomical research is done with spectroscopy
    • Rspec-Astro.com – spectroscopy software for amateur astronomers
    • Bunsen invented his burner to burn elements to see their component spectra
    • Emission and absorption lines in spectrum
    • “The Computers” Annie Jump Cannon – they created categories for spectral plate analysis
    • Equipment to use for capturing spectrum
      • Star Analyser Grating – US$195
      • Other adapters and gear available
      • A slit instead of a grating, which yields more resolution, but costs more and requires better technique
    • Compared spectra of 8 different stars – Torsten Hansen
    • Doing science
      • Graph the results
      • Spectroscopy is more immune to light pollution than traditional astrophotography, so urban observing works
      • Wolf-Rayet stars (WR140) – shows this late-stage star with carbon-rich spectra
      • Spectra can be measured of: planets, comets, meteors, the Sun, Supernova, stars
      • Measuring Doppler Shift, or is it red/blue shift?
      • Extended objects like nebulae need a slit instead of a grating
      • Black Hole? no, but the accretion disk emits light
      • Calculating red shift
    • Spectroscopy can reinforce other observational skills
    • Distance between sensor and grating needs to be precisely setup
    • Emission versus absorption lines
    • Can use other grating, since RSpec can calibrate to other grating resolutions. RSpec grating uses 100 lines/mm which is easy to use, and yields brighter spectra.
    • Calibrate on a known star, then study other objects

Notices

  • There is no Astro Cafe next Monday due to the Victoria Day holiday. The next Astro Cafe is scheduled for May 31st.
  • If anyone would like to lead a citizen science group, please contact David Lee
  • Total Lunar Eclipse is coming up on May 26th

Astronomy Day 2021

Posted by as Special Events

A celebration of International Astronomy Day in Victoria, BC, Canada was held on May 15, 2021 as a virtual online event, sponsored by the Friends of the DAO and RASC Victoria Centre. Hundreds of people attended this live-streamed 4-hour event through both Zoom and Youtube.

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!
Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!

The program lineup

  • Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) Virtual Tour
  • Live Solar Viewing from the DAO with David Lee, Sid Sidhu & Chris Purse
  • Guest Presentation – “Fossils in our Galaxy” by Dr. Kim Venn, a specialist at UVic in observational stellar spectroscopy, and the chemo-dynamical analysis of stars in the Galaxy and its nearby dwarf satellites. Stars contain a fossil record of the chemistry of the Universe at the time and place where they were born. Stars formed early in the universe contain very low amounts of elements heavier than Helium, and astronomers call these stars ‘metal-poor’. They are the fossils of ancient star formation in the galaxy. By studying the most metal-poor of these stars, we can read that fossil record to learn about the origin of the elements and formation of the Galaxy. Dr. Venn discussed the recent results on the metal-poor galaxy, including newly discovered streams in the halo, very metal-poor stars found in the Galactic Centre, and metal-poor stars in the Galactic disk that orbit in the opposite direction.
  • University of Victoria Telescope Tour with Karun Thanjavur
  • Ask an Astronomer (or two) with Jason Beaman and Nathan Hellner-Mestelman, hosted by Amy Archer
  • Astrophotography Gallery with Marjie Welchframe, David Lee and friends featuring music from Vox Humana, Jeff Enns (composer)
  • Planetaruim Show from the CU – Draco & Hercules – Aaron Bannister & the constellation blanket
  • Live Stream from the Plaskett Telescope, the Centre of the Universe (CU) and other locations featuring David Lee, Dan Posey, Dave Payne, and Brock Johnston – the RASC Electronic Assisted Astronomy Group and hosted by Ruhee Janmohamed