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.
Time: 7:15 pm to 10:45 pm
Dates begin with International Astronomy Day on April 27th . Here are all the dates:
- April 27th
- May 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th
- June 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th
- July 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th
- August 3rd, 10th, 17th and 24th
- September 7th
Saturday Star Parties at the DAO run every Saturday evening from April 27th to September 7th To enhance your experience please note the following venues before you arrive. Activities are broken up into seven main areas,
- Lecture Hall – This season 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 8:30 p.m. and some though not all repeat in the evening.
- Plaskett Dome – The dome is a heritage site, and not to be missed. Tours are approximately 30-45 minutes long and start at 7:45 p.m. (30 min) Two other tours start at 8:45 p.m. (45 min) and 9:30 p.m. (45 min). Special Kids Tour 8:15 p.m. (30 min)
- 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!
- 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 on many of the Saturday nights.
- 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.
- 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. Kid friendly programming is available in this same area. FIRST Robotics BC will be in attendance several times during the summer.
- 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. This year the displays will be enhanced with the addition of new kiosks that will feature Knowledge Network’s Space Suite series and other programming. Stay tuned for their debut.
Saturday Star Parties at the DAO 2019 Presentations
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 – 8:45 p.m. “Meet the Telescope” Tour – Plaskett Dome
8:45 – 9:30 p.m. Children’s Activities – Information Area
- Make and Take Craft Tables
- Family Scavenger Hunt
- IPad Interactives
- Night Sky Viewing
April 27th 2019 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:30pm
Science & Storytelling: How discoveries of new worlds help tell stories of family – Elizabeth Tasker and Ria Voros
Ria and Elizabeth seem to be authors of a very different type: Ria is a “Young Adult” novelist, while Elizabeth writes popular science. The first part of this talk will tackle a crucial question: why are they presenting together? The two authors will discuss how they came to work together unexpectedly through Ria’s novel. Ria will then explain the process and research for her novel, The Centre of the Universe and how the use of space metaphors help explain relationships between the characters. Elizabeth will then cast a scientific eye over these same metaphors, before moving on to talk in more depth about her own research and book, The Planet Factory.
Elizabeth Tasker is an Astrophysicist at the Institute for Space and Astronautical Science at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Her forthcoming popular science book is “The Planet Factory”, on planet formation and exoplanets. The updated paperback edition comes out in Canada late April. https://tinyurl.com/ya32gxld
Ria Voros is a local Young Adult novelist whose forthcoming book is coincidentally titled “The Centre of the Universe”. In this story 17 year old Grace’s mother is missing. Grace is obsessed with exoplanets and she meets Elizabeth a few times in the book. https://tinyurl.com/yap2rtaq
May 4th 2019 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:15pm
Why Astronomy? – Reg Dunkley President, Victoria Centre RASC
I will describe early influences that captivated my interest in Astronomy and examine the activities and appeal that makes this subject so compelling to the Amateur community. The merits of visual observing and photography will be debated and techniques to image planets will be briefly demonstrated. Astro images captured by Victoria Centre members will be showcased and some of recent and remarkable developments will be discussed.
Reg Dunkley’s visit to the DAO at the age of 10 captured his imagination. He has had a life long fascination with Astronomy and after retiring as a Meteorologist he now has the time and the technology to explore the Universe.
May 11th 2019 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:15pm
Introduction to the Night Sky – David Lee
The night sky can be a bewildering maze of disconnected dots, flashing streaks of light and predictable events that appear just like clockwork. But most of all it is filled with mystery and beauty. Come and learn what’s up in the sky and how best to view it.
David Lee is an avid photographer who over 20 years ago turned his camera upwards to the sky capturing astronomical images of the solar system and beyond. Through the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada he has been an advocate of astronomy and the sciences through its public outreach programs. After retiring from the Information Technology sector he is becoming even more of a tourist of the night sky.
May 18th 2019 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:15pm
Observing with Binoculars – Chris Purse
Using binoculars is a good way to get started in looking at the night sky in more detail. The talk with cover some observing hints and targets that work well for binoculars.
Chris started his professional life as a teacher. He was later an educational administrator and currently a business analyst. He has been a member of RASC since 2010. He is the Victoria Centre’s current past president and membership coordinator.
May 25th 2019 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:30pm
History of the Hubble Space Telescope – Dr. Chris Gainor
President, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 29 years ago in 1990. After overcoming problems caused by a defective main mirror, Hubble has made discoveries that have revolutionized our view of the universe we live in. This talk will cover the history of Hubble based on a book the speaker is writing.
Chris Gainor is a historian specializing in the history of space flight and aeronautics. He has five published books and is currently writing a history of the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. He is President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.