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.

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 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. In this talk, Dr. Venn will discuss 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 Streamed 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
Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!
Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!

President’s Message – April 2021

Posted by as President's Message

I love the variety of categories in the Amateur Astronomy community. Most of us will be interested in several and passionate in a few. I’m just listing the following from the top of my head and I would appreciate your input.

Randy Enkin using a sextant

We can categorize by equipment: naked eye, binocular, wide-field camera, telescopes, and a few who adventure outside visible light to study radio waves. Telescopes range in aperture, focal length, geometry, optical quality; plus mount style, motors, and automation.

How about by target: the constellations, the sun, the moon, the planets, binary stars, and the deep space objects – nebulas, clusters, and galaxies. There are also the ephemera: meteors, auroras, and the occasional comets. There are also the more predictable events such as eclipses, conjunctions, and occultations.

Some people simply observe, while others record notes, sketch, or photograph. Astrophotography has quite a range, from single shot, to stacking, to long exposures with specific filters.

There are some specific studies, such as variable star photometry, spectrography, or plotting annual parallax. My 31-year- long time series of lunar phases and my recent addition of measuring changes in the lunar diameter would fit here.

And then there are the arm-chair categories – too many to be exhaustive: studies in stellar evolution, planetary evolution, exoplanets and exobiology, galactic evolution, astronomy across the entire electromagnetic spectrum and now gravity waves, black holes, and cosmology. Space travel and technology is a huge category on its own. I have a particular interest in the history of astronomy – how we got to understand things so distant and complex with simpler equipment and theory.

I know members of our community interested in every single one of these categories! And it makes me rejoice that we are together at all our different levels and complementary interests and skills.

Look Up,

Randy Enkin Email

President’s Message – March 2021

Posted by as President's Message

The RASC Victoria Centre welcomed me 3 years ago. I was asked to give a talk about my moon observations at the Astrocafe, and then I became a regular. Now you have given me the opportunity and challenge to be this community’s president.

Ten-year-old Randy projecting the solar eclipse in Hamilton, Ontario, 1970-07-10. (Photo credit, Eleanor Enkin)
Ten-year-old Randy projecting the solar eclipse in Hamilton, Ontario, 1970-07-10. (Photo credit, Eleanor Enkin)

Astronomy has been a big part of my life since I was 8 years old, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. While my friends wanted to become astronauts, my attention was on the people on the ground who were so enthusiastic about the science, and I decided I would become an astronomer. The path one walks in life is seldom a straight line, and mine brought me to earth science. I am a research scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada, studying the physical properties of rocks and sediments. But I have always dabbled in astronomy.

Fifty-six-year-old Randy projecting the solar eclipse in Victoria B.C., 2017-08-21. (Photo credit, Randy Enkin)
Fifty-six-year-old Randy projecting the solar eclipse in Victoria B.C., 2017-08-21. (Photo credit, Randy Enkin)

I have learned during the last three years that the amateur astronomy community comprises people with a wide range of interests, skills, and levels, but with a common passion to enjoy and share the sky. I have been involved with many volunteer organizations, and my impression is that the RASC Victoria Centre has an extremely high level of volunteerism and mutual support. During my tenure as president, I hope to help nurture this spirit, and support our ongoing inreach and outreach efforts within the broader Victoria Astronomy community. I look forward to getting to know more of you and learn what aspects of astronomy bring you joy and fulfilment.

It is fun to see the various ways astronomy-buffs sign off their letters. “Clear Skies” is wonderful. My predecessor liked “Usable Skies”. My sign-off comes from a note my sister has posted over her computer to remind her to get away from it as often as possible. I like the many meanings these two words hold for us:

Look Up

Randy Enkin

Astronomy Cafe

Posted by as Meetings

Astro Cafe Logo

Astronomy Cafe is normally held every Monday evening in Fairfield, Victoria, BC, Canada except during summer months or when the Monday falls on a statutory holiday. During the Spring of 2020, in-person meetings were suspended in favour of meeting online in order to comply with British Columbia’s provincial health directives to minimize risk for contracting the coronavirus COVID-19.

You are invited to share content for upcoming online meetings via our President Randy Enkin (president@victoria.rasc.ca). We will post your submitted content to our website and present it to members at the next online meeting, which still happens every Monday evening at 7:30PM. Of course, you are welcome to log in and present your content personally! Links to our online meetings are emailed to RASC Victoria Centre members a day or two ahead of time, so please join us!

  • November 9, 2020
    • Monthly meeting – announcements & reports – Reg Dunkley & others
    • Four Decades Beneath the Shadow of the Moon – Jay Anderson
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page – John McDonald’s M27 wide field photo, public lecture on cosmology discoveries, review of RASC National bulletin – Reg Dunkley
    • Mars rotation sequence over a month (4 hours at a time) – Nathan
    • Lunar sketch – Randy Enkin
  • November 2, 2020
    • 2021 Observers Calendars sales – Chris Purse
    • Victoria Centre AGM and elections are coming up early in Feb 2021 – Chris Purse
    • Explore the Universe observing program now posted online
    • Work at the Victoria Centre Observatory (VCO) – Plan B – John McDonald
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page – Reg Dunkley
      • Startup of the VCO & proposed new Maritime Museum & possible planetarium in Langford
      • Victoria Centre monthly meeting next Wed – Eclipse presentation by Jay Anderson
      • UVic Open House – “Messy Stellar Siblings” – online presentation this Wed
      • CHIME presentation from UofT – see bulletin from National
    • Astrophotos from Edmonton – Dave Robinson
    • Small Refractor Imaging & Electronically Assisted Astronomy – David Lee
    • UVic Physics Colloquium – this Wed – Jim Hesser
  • October 26, 2020
    • History of Hubble book published – Chris Gainor
    • Meteor sighting from the BC Mainland – Chris Purse
    • Plans for development of new Maritime Museum & possible planetarium in Langford – Chris Gainor
    • Discussion about surveillance satellites – Garry Sedun & Chris Gainor
    • Small Refractor Imaging – David Lee
    • Victoria By-election – Alex Schmid is running
    • Edmonton imagery by Luca Vanzella – Dave Robinson
    • New focuser for our loaner telescope at the VCO – Reg Dunkley
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page, National events, weather forecast – Reg Dunkley
    • Two astro images from members – M45 by Doug MacDonald & Dumbell Nebula by Brock Johnston – Joe Carr
    • Buying and selling astronomy gear for sale – Chris Purse & Joe Carr
  • October 19, 2020
    • Kevin Light & Kia Tully’s photo of a kayaker in front of the full Moon, taken from Mt. Douglas
    • Astrophotography by the Victoria Camera Club members who participated in John McDonald’s astrophoto workshop
    • Harvest Moonrise over Edmonton – Luca Vanzella
    • Black Holes and the 2020 Nobel Prizes – Randy Enkin
    • TPO 16″ telescope repair status & observatory access update – Reg Dunkley
    • Mars sequential photos – John McDonald
  • October 5, 2020
    • Sunset Azimuth Sweep – Luca Vanzella
    • Review of Astro Cafe web page for this week – Reg Dunkley
      • Mars detailed image – John McDonald
      • Mars – Abdur Anwar, Edmonton Centre
      • Unquiet Slumbers Aurora video from Alastair Ling, Edmonton
      • Two astronomy presentation alerts from Jim Hesser – gravitational waves, asteroid sample return JAXA mission
      • Electronically-assisted astronomy (EAA) – David Lee
    • FDAO Star Party & AGM – Lauri Roche
  • September 28, 2020
    • Report from the VCO by Reg Dunkley
    • Perseverance Mars Mission UofA webinar – Chris Herd, presenter – presented by Dave Robinson
    • Mars & Uranus with moons – Abdur Anwar’s photos from Edmonton – presented by Dave Robinson
    • 12.5″ RC telescope installation – a slideshow by Joe Carr
    • Astro Cafe web page review – Reg Dunkley
      • Astrobiology – a UVic Open House presentation by James di Francesco
      • Baby Planets to Black Holes (ALMA & New Horizon telescope) – lecture to Engineering Society by Dr. Schieven
      • The Quantum Physicist as Causal Detective
      • What’s happening at the RASC
    • Observe the Moon Night – Randy Enkin
    • APOD Equinox composite photo over Edmonton by Luca Vanzella – presented by Chris Purse
  • September 21, 2020
    • Overall Winners 2020 – Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year competition – presented by Barbara Lane
    • Return to the VCO – Reg Dunkley
    • Time lapse video of the work party at the VCO today – Joe Carr
    • VCO operating procedure Q&A – all
    • Summer Solstice to Autumnal Equinox – Randy Enkin
    • Astro Cafe web page review – Reg Dunkley
      • FDAO Virtual Star Party
      • UVic Observatory Open House
      • Astro Imagers from Edmonton
      • Indigenous Astronomy 
  • September 14, 2020
    • Dr. Phil Groff, Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
  • Used Newtonian telescope purchase, re-configuration and collimation – Randy Enkin
  • Sketching Lunar trenches using NASA Scientific Visualization – Randy Enkin
  • An upcoming astrophotography workshop to Victoria Camera Club (Sep 15 & 29) – a trial run using zoom – John McDonald
  • Comet Imaging – journey of discovery – Garry Sedun
  • Equipment purchases – small astrograph, new mount & Lunar Observing – David Lee
  • Astro Cafe web page review – Reg Dunkley
    • Sketch of fading Comet Neowise by Bill Weir
    • What’s happening at the RASC? – how to register and a review
    • Impressive Images of Mars using Winjupos software – from Edmonton RASCal Abdur Anwar
    • Mars in 4K (Part 2) – youtube video – ElderFox Documentaries
    • Dan’s image of the North America nebula (NGC 7000) – using dual narrow-band filter
    • Sep 8th – Victoria Centre Council meeting
    • Sep 14th Phil Groth presentation – send questions
    • Membership is declining both nationally and locally – lowest in 5 years
  • FDAO “Equinox to Solstice” – 4 public outreach sessions and Virtual tour for Observatory Hill is coming along – Lauri Roche
  • August 24, 2020
    • Perspective 209 seconds video – Marji Welchframe
    • M31 Andromeda Galaxy from Nanoose Bay and 2,000th Moon milestone on Enkin’s Daily Moon on Facebook – Randy Enkin
    • Review of tonight’s Astro Cafe web page – Reg Dunkley
      • A Poetic Pelican photo by Doug MacDonald
      • Lagoon & Trifid Nebulae photo by Dan Posey
      • Cosmic Collisions – final UVic Open House – Mallory Thorpe
      • RASC Robotic Telescope Editing Contest for August – M82 data processing
      • Speaker Series – Hawaiian Nights
      • Edmonton RASCals deep sky imaging
      • Press briefing on Starlink
    • Observing Comet NEOWISE & Campbell’s Hydrogen Star – Bill Weir at Pearson College Godin-Newton Observatory
    • Moon shadows on Jupiter by John McDonald
  • August 17, 2020
    • Astronomy Cafe zoom passwords – Joe Carr
    • Jupiter shadow transits – sequential frames – John McDonald
    • Perseid meteor shower photos from his allsky camera – Sid Sidhu
    • Mars, the Moon & Venus this past week – David Lee
    • Question about observing meteors low to the horizon – Dorothy Paul
    • Review of tonight’s Astro Cafe web page – Reg Dunkley
  • August 10, 2020
    • Mars and the Moon – David Lee
    • Colour Filters for lunar observing – Randy Enkin
    • How human sight works – yellow filters for lunar observing and seeing colour when observing nebula – Dorothy Paul
    • Space Educator’s Institute -3-day online conference – Lauri Roche & David Lee
    • Perseid meteor shower and other observing hints – Chris Purse
    • RASC National for Perseids observing group – Discord chat service being used – Bill Weir
  • July 27, 2020
    • Historical Comets – members’ photos, sketches and observations of comets past, including some famous ones!
    • Falling Through Space” – Dr. Gordon Walker – UVic presentation
    • First FDAO Virtual Star Party – featuring Dave Balam
    • Canadian Comet Sleuth David Levy: Webinar
  • July 20, 2020
    • North America Nebula – image by Dan Posey
    • Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 – images from John Mcdonald, Randy Enkin & others
    • Bigger, better, faster: how changes in technology drive astronomy data collection by Nat Comeau – UVic Astronomy Open House
    • Observing – links to resources
  • July 13, 2020
    • Comet NEOWISE C/2020 F3 – images and sketches from Victoria Centre members
    • Useful comet websites
    • Computer Science in Astronomy: A UVic Open House Webinar
    • Observing
  • July 6, 2020
    • Noctilucent clouds from Edmonton – Alistair Ling
    • Penumbral Eclipse – July 4th – Doug Hardy, David Lee, Dorothy Paul, Randy Enkin
    • Martian Citizen Science – webinar notice
    • Astronomy Poem inspires Mystery Novel – The Old Astronomer by Sarah Williams – Marjie Welchframe
    • Lunar photos – Alex Schmid & John McDonald
  • June 29, 2020
    • More Lunar Photos from Mike Nash
    • Balcony Astronomy from Edmonton – Abdur Anwar
    • June 21st Annular Eclipse of the Sun from India – Time lapses by Neelam and Ajay Talwar
    • Noctilucent clouds from Osoyoos – Debra Ceravolo
    • Recording Astronomical Observations – Joe Carr
    • “Planet Nine or Planet Nein?” with Dr. Samantha Lawler – presented by Reg Dunkley
    • Observing and review of the RASC National youtube channel – Chris Purse
  • June 22, 2020
    • More Noctilucent Cloud Sightings from Edmonton’s Alister Ling
    • Telescope Price Fixing Legal Dispute – presented by Chris Purse
    • Christopher Go Planetary Imaging Tutorials
    • Geomagnetic Measurements Project – Nathan & other members
  • June 15, 2020
    • Sketching by Victoria Centre Members – Phillip Teece’s historical sketches, Diane Bell, Dorothy Paul
    • Noctilucent clouds from Edmonton – Alistair Ling
    • Daytime Lunar Photo from Mike Nash
    • Observing – review of the coming week’s opportunities from Skynews and Sky & Telescope magazines
  • June 8, 2020
    • First sunspot in 3 months! – Bill Weir’s sketches & public outreach photos and Joe Carr’s photo
    • Photos from Edmonton – Alistair Ling’s and Larry Wood’s Moonset and Noctilucent cloud photos, and Alistair’s setting Venus and drifting fog time lapse videos
    • Masked Men Make Off with VCO Telescope – Reg Dunkley, Dave Robinson, Dan Posey and Mike Nash remove and pack up the 16″ TPO RC telescope
    • Venus setting behind the Chiricahua Mountains – Fred Espenak (Mr. Eclipse) captures a beautiful crescent-phased Venus setting in a time lapse video from southern Arizona
    • Observing – review of the coming week’s opportunities from Skynews and Sky & Telescope magazines

Virtual Astro Cafe – March to June 1st, 2020

Astro Cafe Presentations Archive – 2014-2019

Astronomy Cafe event photos