Astronomy Cafe – May 30, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Telescopes – David Lee on behalf of Sid Sidhu
    • There are telescopes for loan to RASC VIctoria Centre members
    • Members who have spare eyepieces, please contact Sid, since we need more selection for loaners
  • Kitt Peak – David Lee
    • PixInsight workshop review
    • Kitt Peak is reopening, offering remote telescope images
    • OGS 12.5″ telescope, Paramount ME and 294MC OSC imaging camera – available for rent approximately US300/night for exclusive use
    • McMath Pierce Solar Telescope – now a public outreach facility, supporting Noirlab feeds
  • Brave New World – New Scientist – Ken Atkinson
    • TESS images – citizen science opportunities
    • zooinverse.org – see planet hunters
  • Astronomy Public Outreach – Randy Enkin
    • Island Star Party – last weekend in August at Bright Angel Park in southern Cowichan Valley – will be co-sponsored by Cowichan Valley Starfinders, RASC Victoria
    • Saanich Fair astronomy outreach – need volunteers
  • Meteor Storm Tonight – May 30, 2022 – Randy Enkin
    • Debris from Comet 73P/Schwassman-Wachmann 3, a Jupiter family comet
    • No observations after 1930, until 1979 again
    • Period: 6.5 years
    • In 1995 brightened 400x – Hubble Space Telescope imaged the pieces of the comet
    • In 2006 Spitzer Space Telescope imaged
    • 2022 apparition could be spectacular
    • How about observing this apparition? Cloud cover may be a factor.
  • Star Parties at the DAO/CU – Lauri Roche
    • June 4 – next star party
      • Need some volunteers with telescopes
      • Speaker: White Dwarfs – Simon Blouin
    • Last Star Party – thanks to Dave Payne and David Lee for working on the Celestrons, Sherry Buttnor operated the 16″, solar telescopes were operating early in the evening.
    • Centre of the Universe displays – many are disabled due to old age. Needs a refresh, but requires funding. Skilled volunteers would be very welcome.
  • RASC General Assembly – June 24, 2022 – Lauri Roche
    • Tickets are now available – $20 for members for 4 days
    • Lots of interesting speaker, workshops, social events, and AGM business meeting
    • For those of us who live in the Pacific Time Zone – runs between 9AM and 4PM
    • Some sessions will be recorded, to be viewed later
  • Last Astronomy Cafe 
    • Thanks to the volunteers who have hosted Astronomy Cafe
    • Need volunteers when Astro Cafe restarts in the Fall
    • Hybrid format is working – in-person and Zoom
    • Sep 12th – first Astro Cafe meeting
    • Alex Schmid laptop (from UVic), external speakers and microphone
  • Galactic Poster – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman 

Astronomy Cafe – May 16, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Special General Meeting for RASC Victoria Centre – Randy Enkin
    • Have a quorum of over 25 Victoria Centre members in attendance
    • Changes to ensure our bylaws are consistent with the national bylaws and BC Society’s Act requirements
    • Call for volunteers to work on more revisions to Victoria Centre bylaws over the next few months
  • Need volunteers for Astronomy Cafe – contact Randy Enkin
    • Zoom host – recording and posting the video transcripts online
    • Meeting host – tracks and runs the meetings
  • Star parties at Observatory Hill – Lauri Roche
    • May 21, Jun 4, 18 – hybrid party in-person and online on Zoom & Youtube
      • May 21 – Early Discoveries made by the Plaskett Telescope – Jim Nemec
    • Every Saturday night after the July 1st break for the summer
    • Volunteers needed: telescopes in the parking lot, RASC welcome table, Plaskett dome tour hosts, 16″ telescope operators, other roles – contact Lauri
    • Electronically-Assisted Astronomy – start planning to use at the Star Parties in future – contact Dave Lee
  • Nanaimo Astronomy – Janeane MacGillivray
    • Astronomy From Kitt Peak – David Lee presenting at upcoming meeting
    • RASC Victoria members are welcome – send an email
  • Total Lunar Eclipse reports from members – May 15/16, 2022
    • Cloudy photos from Saanich after being skunked at Cattle Point – David Lee
    • HDR smartphone photos through eyepiece, join observations from Cosmic Generation group – Nathan Hellmen-Mestleman
    • Lunar Crater transits & mare cookies – Randy Enkin
    • Cloudy photos from Sidney – Chris Gainor
    • Observed from Brentwood Bay while raining – Lauri Roche
    • Just a glimpse from Taylor Beach in Metchosin, but spotted ISS – Bill Weir
  • Plaskett Images – Dan Posey
    • Composite image of the images over last few years 
    • Whirlpool Galaxy, Whale Galaxy, Deer Link Group NGC 7331, Fireworks Galaxy NGC 6946, M100, M63 Blackeye, NGC 3718 Arp galaxy, Hickson 44
    • Plaskett nights are for enjoyment and a reward for RASC Victoria members and volunteers
    • Review of techniques to process Plaskett image data into nice images
  • Skynews magazine – Bruce Lane
    • Review of upcoming articles
    • Please send Total Lunar Eclipse observing reports to Bruce (Editor)
  • Black Holes – Randy Enkin
    • M87 Black Hole – April 22, 2019 – Event Horizon Telescope
    • Sagittarius A* Supermassive Black Hole – May 16, 2022 – BBC Science Focus article
    • Galactic nucleus observed by Karl Jansky in 1931 – published in Nature, 173, 985-987, 1954
    • Angular resolution problem solved by the Event Horizon Telescope
    • Motion analysis of objects and energy near the Event Horizon of a black hole
    • Lauri Roche’s “black hole” birthday gift

Total Lunar Eclipse – May 15/16, 2022

Posted by as Observing Highlights

On Sunday, May 15th, 2022, we will be able to view a total eclipse of the Moon (weather permitting) from Southern Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. The Moon will be in full eclipse after rising from the southeastern horizon, remaining fully eclipsed for about an hour before transitioning into a partial phase as it climbs in altitude and moves to the south. The Lunar Eclipse will end just before midnight.

Enlarge this video to view details for the Lunar Eclipse timing and phases. Depiction of this particular Lunar Eclipse is as viewed from Victoria – generated by Starry Night Pro Plus 8 and captured using Snagit 2022.

This is a perfect opportunity to visually observe this beautiful celestial event, and possibly capture some photographs from a location with an unobstructed view to the east and south.

Total Eclipse Begins8:29PM
Moon Rises8:42PM – probably visible 10-15 mins later
Greatest Eclipse9:12PM
Total Eclipse Ends9:54PM
Partial Eclipse Ends11:51PM
Above Eclipse times are for Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) for the west coast of North America, and are calculated from UT as presented in the Observers Handbook 2022, pages 127-131.
Lunar Eclipse diagram – NASA

What’s Happening

A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Moon. During a lunar eclipse the Moon’s position traverses the Earth’s shadow. The Moon’s first contact with the Earth’s shadow is at the outer band of the shadow called the penumbra. The light falling on the Moon is progressively blocked until at the moment of total eclipse the Moon is completely in the darkest central area of the Earth’s shadow called the umbra. At the point of total eclipse the process starts to reverse itself until the Moon is totally out of the Earth’s shadow.


Glossary

  • limb – the outer edge of the Moon
  • penumbra – the outer band of the Earth’s shadow
  • umbra – the darker central area of the Earth’s shadow
  • partial eclipse – the Moon is positioned within the penumbra
  • total eclipse – the Moon is positioned totally within the umbra

Observing Tips

What do you need?

Everything from your eyes, binoculars and telescope are suitable. Bear in mind this is a long process, so dress warmly and bring a chair if you want to be comfortable.

Find yourself a location that has a clear horizon view to the east and south especially if you wish to view the early fully-eclipsed stage. Observing from a hill will help you spot the rising Moon earlier than if you observe from lower elevations or sea level.

Keep a log of what you see and note the time. Pay attention to how much of the light on the moon is obscured and if there are any colouration changes. During the total eclipse the Moon will take on a deep orange-red colour. The colour of the Moon is a function of contaminants in the atmosphere and varies from year to year.

A good observing project for this long-lasting eclipse will be to observe the craters on the Moon as the eclipse progresses. Craters will be immersed and emerge from the Earth’s shadow on the Moon at times specified in the Observers Handbook 2022, page 131.

2019 Total Lunar Eclipse from Victoria – composite photo by Joe Carr

Photographic Tips

Equipment

Any camera with the capability of setting shutter speeds and aperture settings manually will do fine. The ability to use interchangeable lenses will be an advantage for more detailed images of the Moon. For the darker parts of the eclipse, eg. totality you should use a tripod support for best results. If you have access to a telescope you can try capturing the event using prime focus techniques through the telescope optics.

Settings

Today’s digital cameras are very sensitive to light reflected by the Moon. Use ISO 400 to ISO 800 and a long telephoto lens or zoom setting. Smartphones and point-and-shoot digital cameras will not produce rewarding photos of the eclipsed Moon, but can be useful for taking panoramic shots of your surroundings which include the eclipsed Moon.

Technique for smartphone cameras

Smartphone cameras typically do not support manual settings, so using them to capture a lunar eclipse will be less rewarding than using more capable cameras. That said, smartphone cameras can be held up to a telescope eyepiece to capture an image of the Moon. Aligning the tiny lens to the eyepiece can be tricky, however there are platforms made to clamp onto an eyepiece barrel which will hold smartphones steady enough to take acceptable photos of the Moon, including the eclipsed Moon.

Technique for interchangeable lens cameras

The simplest eclipse pictures can be taken with manual settings on your camera and a normal lens, preferably supported by a tripod. For best results use a cable release to minimize vibration. Images taken in this fashion result in a small lunar image. This is why it is preferable to use a telephoto lens to photograph the Moon.

For a full frame camera try a 200mm lens or even better, a 500mm lens or higher. You may also use teleconverters to increase magnification, these typically come in 1.4x and 2x strengths. Their downside is they reduce the effective aperture of your optical system. A 1.4x teleconverter will decrease your effective exposure by 1 stop, a 2x teleconverter will decrease your effective exposure by 2 stops. Work out your effective aperture of your optical system ahead of time so you don’t have to think about it on the night of the eclipse.

Note for the smaller sub-full frame sensors of some digital cameras you gain an extra advantage as the focal length of the lens is effectively magnified by a factor. For example a Nikon DX body your 200mm lens would be effectively 300mm.

  • APS-C Nikon DX, Pentax : 1.5x
  • APS-C Canon EF-S : 1.6x
  • Four Thirds : 2x

Example:

 Focal Length ApertureEffective Focal Length
with 2x teleconvertor
Effective Aperture
with 2x teleconvertor
 180mm 2.8 360mm 5.6
 480mm 6.8 960mm 13.6

To achieve any higher magnification than what is stated above you will have to use a telescope at prime focus. For this your manual camera does need to have the capability of using interchangeable lenses. For prime focus you will use the telescope optics as your interchangeable lens. To attach your camera to your telescope you will need two things a T-adapter that fits your camera and a telescope camera adapter that fits your telescope.

The telescope camera adapter is designed to fit in the focusing tube of your telescope and is threaded to accept the T-adapter of your camera. With the magnification involved with telescopic optics it is likely that you will need to use a tracking mount. Preferably the mount should be able to track at lunar speed as opposed to sidereal but if the shutter speeds chosen are shorter than 1 or 2 minutes this is not critical.

Exposure times are the next consideration. The following exposure times are based on a medium ISO setting and an effective aperture that would be common with a long telephoto and teleconverter combination. Exposures may vary with your equipment based on ISO speed and effective aperture. The Danjon Lunar Eclipse Luminosity Scale has been included to provide better guesstimates for totality.

Exposure Times: based on ISO 400
Full Moon1/500 second at f/16
1st Contact1/250 second at f/16 see note 1.
2nd Contact1 second at f/16 see note 2.
Totality
*see table below
L = 4 : 4 seconds at f16  L = 3: 15 seconds at f16  L = 2: 1 minute at f16  L = 1: 4 minutes at f16
3rd Contact1 second at f/16 see note 2.
4th Contact1/250 second at f/16 see note 1.
* Danjon Lunar Eclipse Luminosity Scale
 L = 1dark eclipse; lunar surface details distinguishable only with difficultly
 L = 2deep red or rust coloured eclipse; central part of the umbra dark but outer rim relatively bright
 L = 3brick-red eclipse; usually with a brighter (frequently yellow) rim to the umbra
 L = 4very bright copper-red or orange eclipse, with a bluish, very bright umbral rim

Note 1. 1st and 4th contact times given for the partial phases are biased for the light part of the Moon. Remember you are dealing with vastly different exposures between the light and dark parts of the Moon during eclipse. The bias of about 1 stop minus avoids overexposure of the dominant bright area of the Moon.

Note 2. 2nd and 3rd contact times given for the partial phases are biased for the dark part of the Moon. The bias of about 1 stop plus is a good strategy for negative film not quite so good for slides and digital capture given they don’t tolerate overexposure well.

The exposure times are only recommendations. Remember the cardinal rule about photography … bracket. Always try exposures plus and minus your chosen exposure. This gives you a better chance at getting usable results. Let’s all hope for clear weather. If you have any questions please send email to David Lee at davidflee7331@gmail.com.


David Lee – original text
Joe Carr – updated for 2022
Brenda Stuart – illustrations


More information:

Astronomy Cafe – May 9, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting video transcript

  • Astronomy Day thank you’s to volunteers – Lauri Roche & David Lee
    • The in-person interaction was an engaging experience 
    • The younger volunteers were a real delight
    • Sidewalk astronomy from the museum plaza, with very good weather
    • History of Astronomy Day at the Royal BC Museum – Sid Sidhu
    • UVic, Camosun, Victoria High School, Shawnigan Lake School was a good collaboration
    • Galileo Moments
      • Daytime at the RBCM: more than 800 – 231 outside, 654 inside
      • Evening on Observatory Hill: 29 volunteers and more than 100 members of the public
    • A lessons learned meeting with leads – David Lee
    • Publicity worked pretty well – Chris Gainor
    • Hubble history book will be available at Astronomy Cafe next week – Chris Gainor
    • Public lectures – about 40 attendees for each of 4 presentations – Randy Enkin
    • Video recording for lunar observing national feed – David Lee recorded Randy Enkin and Bill Weir
    • Attendance compared with previous Astronomy Days? 
      • Despite a shorter day at RBCM, attendance was very good
      • Previous attendance was between 1,700-2,000 at our bigger events
    • A high quality experience for attendees and children’s activities front-and-centre was a good idea – Jim Hesser
    • Met some interesting people who were very interested in astronomy – Dave Payne
    • Offered to help people to make use of their telescopes – Dave Robinson
    • Astronomy Day – event info and photo gallery
  • M33 Triangulum Galaxy image – Randy Enkin & John McDonald
    • HII star formation region
    • Compared with Barnard’s Loop shock wave (10º)
    • Bubble is the form the shock wave takes caused by multiple stars
    • M33 is a floculant galaxy – clumping of hydrogen material
    • What is a “typical” galaxy? – Dorothy Paul
    • April 2017 Skynews article (PDF) – Orion’s Aura – Orion Eridanis Super Bubble – Reg Dunkley
  • James Webb Space Telescope progress report – Chris Gainor’
    • Image sharpness check completed for all instruments
    • Instrument Modes Check Off – happening next
    • Images will likely start in June or July
    • Diffraction spikes in the images – causes?
    • Difference fields of view for each camera/sensor
  • Special General Meeting at May 16th Astronomy Cafe – Randy Enkin
    • Need a quorum of 25 Victoria Centre members in attendance
    • Changes to ensure our bylaws consistent with the national bylaws
    • Our Secretary Jill Sinkwich is finding several parts of Victoria Centre bylaws that will need to be changed
    • Proposed changes are already sent out to members
  • Need volunteers for Astronomy Cafe – Randy Enkin
    • Zoom host – recording and posting the video transcripts online
    • Meeting host – tracks and runs the meetings
  • Star parties at Observatory Hill – Lauri Roche
    • May 21, Jun 4, 18
    • Every Saturday night after the July 1st break for the summer
    • Volunteers needed: telescopes in the parking lot, RASC welcome table, Plaskett dome tour hosts, 16″ telescope operators, other roles
    • Electronically-Assisted Astronomy – start planning to use at the Star Parties in future – contact Dave Lee
  • National General Assembly – June 24-27 (online) – Lauri Roche
    • Speakers, co-current sessions, virtual field trips
    • AGM
    • Seeking submissions from members to give half hour talks about their passion – submit form by May 15th – contact Lauri

Astronomy Day 2022 – Victoria

Posted by as Special Events

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Royal BC Museum present

International Astronomy Day

at the Royal BC Museum, virtual online, and Observatory Hill, Victoria, BC, Canada

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Amazing Astronomical Activities for all Ages!

Press Release – contact Randy Enkin, President (email)

2022 Astronomy Day in Victoria
2022 Astronomy Day in Victoriaposter (88Mb PDF) & poster suitable for printing (3Mb PDF)

Telescope at Astronomy Day 2017

Royal BC Museum – 10AM to 3PMevent

675 Belleville Street, Victoria

  • Interactive activities outside on the plaza
    • View the Sun safely through solar telescopes (weather permitting)
  • Interactive activities inside in Clifford Carl Hall (Museum main level)
    • Telescope show-and-tell – try out telescopes and ask questions
    • Astrophotography – take photos of the night sky with your own camera and see our members’ work
    • Children’s astro crafts – kids make their own astronomy and space souvenirs
    • Ask an Astronomer – find answers to those questions about astronomy and space you always wanted to ask
    • Responsible Lighting – get pointers on how to reduce your own light pollution, and feel better for it

Public Lectures in Newcombe Auditorium

  • 10:30AM – Tracking the Moon for 30 Years – Randy Enkin, President, RASC Victoria Centre
  • 11:30AM – Observing the birth of planets in the universe – Ruobing Dong, Physics & Astronomy, University of Victoria
  • 12:30PM – Cosmic Collisions and the Fate of the Milky Way – Mallory Thorp, Physics & Astronomy, University of Victoria
  • 1:30PM – Demystifying Machine Learning – Karun Thanjavur, Physics & Astronomy, University of Victoria

Please Note:

  • All Astronomy Day activities are FREE and available to the general public. Membership in RASC is not required.
  • Regular admission applies to the Royal BC Museum exhibits and IMAX Theatre.
  • A concise handout for beginners: Interested In Astronomy?
  • After visiting our Astronomy Day in Victoria event, please let us know what you thought – survey – thanks!
  • We host public events with measures in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection. Please do not come if you are sick or have been recently exposed to someone with COVID-19. We strongly recommend wearing masks while inside buildings with crowds. Wearing masks in public indoor settings is not required by BC public health. Wearing a mask is a personal choice.

Asteroid Hunters – IMAX Theatre (admission applies)

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (Star Wars), Asteroid Hunters ventures into deep space for a fascinating look at asteroids, their cosmic origins and the potential threat they pose to our world.

Written and produced by Phil Groves, produced by Jini Durr and directed by W.D. Hogan, Asteroid Hunters introduces asteroid scientists – the best line of defense between Earth and an asteroid’s destructive path – and reveals the cutting-edge tools and techniques they use to detect and track asteroids, and the technology that may one day protect our planet. The effects of an asteroid impact could be catastrophic and while the current probability of an event in our lifetime is low, the potential consequences make the study of asteroids an incredibly important area of scientific research. Witness the latest in planetary defense and how science, ingenuity and determination combine to explore the world’s most preventable natural disaster.

Asteroid Hunters has a run time of 38 minutes and is presented by IMAX here in Victoria in association with Huahuang Pictures.


Shooting for the Moon – 4-6:30PM – cross-Canada RASC webinar

The party begins at 4 pm PDT on Zoom with a pre-recorded talk and a live Q&A with Canadian Astronaut David Saint-Jacques from the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium in Montreal! Following the Q&A, at 5 pm PDT, we will start our National Livestream on both Zoom and Youtube, featuring live views of the Moon from across Canada (including Victoria), RASC Member’s moon content, and more! Register here


Centre of the Universe and the Observatory – 7:30PM to 11PM

The Hon. Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor looking through Chuck Filnesss' telescope

Observatory Hill, 5071 West Saanich Road, Saanich

Reserve Your Tickets (free) – only ticket holders will be admitted to this evening event. (Daytime events at the Museum do not require tickets!)

  • Plaskett telescope tours
  • Observing through telescopes
  • Presentation – 8:30PM & 9:30PM – The Hubble Space Telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope – Dr. Chris Gainor
    • Summary: The stories of the two largest space telescopes: The Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched in 1990 and is still operating after 32 years, and the James Webb Space Telescope, which is about to begin operations in space after its launch last December 25.
    • Biography: Christopher Gainor is a historian of technology specializing in space exploration and aeronautics. He has written four books on the history of space exploration and two on Cold War history. His most recent book is a history of Hubble Space Telescope operations published by NASA. Gainor is editor of Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly. From 2018 to 2020, he was President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and he is a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society. Gainor holds a Ph.D. in the history of technology from the University of Alberta, and has worked as a history instructor at the University of Victoria and the Royal Military College of Canada.

Astronomy Day 2022 photo gallery

Press Coverage

Astronomy Cafe – Apr 11, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

Chris Boar is a self professed Apollo program space nerd, having met 12 Apollo astronauts including 4 moonwalkers. This presentation is about his visit to Johnson Space Center in Houston back in November 2019, interspersed with tales of meeting the Apollo Astronauts. Chris attended the JSC Level 9 VIP tour, which includes visits to NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab, where current astronauts train for spacewalks. Also visiting “Building 9” containing mockups of the International Space Station, Soyuz, and SpaceX hardware. And finally visiting the current ISS Mission Control Center, and personal highlight of the tour for Chris, stepping inside the recently restored historic Apollo Mission Control room, a designated US National historic landmark.

Chris Boar – Apollo Mission Control room

Chris Boar is the President of the Nanaimo Astronomy Society and an avid Apollo space nerd along with being a keen astrophotographer. Chris is a full time professional photographer living in Nanaimo shooting weddings and real estate. 

  • 2019 visit to Johnson Space Center in Houston
    • VIP Level 9 Tour – 4-5 hours
    • Lunar Exploration Module (LEM)
    • Neutral Buoyancy Lab
    • Met Micheal Collins: Gemini 10, Apollo 11
    • ISS Mission Control
    • Saturn V rocket with F1 engines
    • Apollo 8 mission
    • Jim Lovell – Gemini 7, 12, Apollo 8, 13
    • Space Vehicle Mockup building – ISS, SpaceX, Soyuz
    • Apollo 9 mission
    • Alan Bean, Apollo 12 LMP, Skylab II
  • 2016 Spacefest
    • Restored historic Apollo Mission Control room – all original and working consoles
    • Apollo 13 mission – Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, Jack Swigert
    • Apollo 15 mission – Dave Scott, LEM
    • Apollo 16 mission 
    • Apollo 17 mission – Gene Cernan, the last man on the Moon
  • Q&A

Members’ Reports

  • Edmonton Astrophotography – Dave Robinson
    • M81, M82, NGC 2976, NGC 3077, other galaxies – Arnold Rivera
    • M64 – Tom Owen
  • Astronomy Day – May 7th – David Lee
    • Royal BC Museum – 10AM – 3PM
      • Most activity areas will resume with this in-person public event
      • Speakers in the Newcombe Auditorium
    • Cross-Canada Lunar/Artemis Webinar – RASC National – midday
      • Live feed from Victoria weather permitting
      • Static video of lunar observing needs to be created as a backup in case of poor weather – contact David Lee
    • Public event – DAO on Observatory Hill – evening
  • Volunteers List – Marjie Welchframe
    • Need more volunteers for various events Victoria Centre participates in
    • Have about 25 volunteers already
    • Telescope clinic for new observers – Dave Robinson
  • Artemis Lunar Star Party – April 16 7-9PM – Lauri Roche
    • Co-hosted by RASC and FDAO
    • Ask a selenophile – Randy Enkin
    • Speaker – Chris Gainor
  • Astronomy books to give away – contact Bill Weir
    • Large star atlas, and more
  • Astronomy & space exploration books – recommended by Martin Gisborne
    • Fundamentals – Then Keys to Reality – Frank Wilczek
    • Black Hole Survival Guide – Janna Levin
    • A Man On The Moon – Andrew Chaikin
    • Moon Dust – Andrew Smith
    • Carrying The Fire – Michael Collins
    • The Last Man on the Moon – Gene Cernan
    • Apollo 13 – Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger
  • Henri Van Bentum death – Lauri Roche, Jim Hesser
    • Natasha – Henri’s wife, assisted Victoria Centre with International Year of Astronomy 2009
    • Letter of condolence to be sent to Natasha on behalf of Victoria Centre
  • Astronomy Cafe – TV to be installed tomorrow in our new room at FGCA – Chris Purse
  • No Astronomy Cafe next week due to the Easter weekend – see everyone on April 25th

Astronomy Cafe – Apr 4, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting transcript video

  • Super PupZ kids’ series – David Lee
    • Netflix series shot on southern Vancouver Island, including the Plaskett observatory
    • Dave Balum an advisor for the series
  • Astronomy Day – May 7th – David Lee
    • Our first in-person event for the last couple of years is being planned
    • Day event at the Royal BC Museum – public welcome, inside and outside
      • Welcome desk
      • Telescopes Show and Tell
      • Astrophotography
      • Children’s Astro Crafts
      • Responsible Lighting
      • Planetarium
      • Solar Observing from the plaza outside
      • Ask an Astronomer
      • Speakers in the Newcombe
      • Friends of the DAO
      • NRC/DAO
      • University of Victoria
      • Science Venture
    • Cross-Canada RASC National virtual event – Victoria to contribute
    • Evening event on Observatory Hill (pending NRC approval for public event)
    • Volunteers are welcome – contact David Lee (email) or Lauri Roche (email)
  • SIGs – David Lee
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Solar Sunspots in both Ha & white light – Arnold Rivera
    • Future presentation to Astro Cafe on solar activity and features – Chris Purse
  • Aurora – Randy Enkin
    • Alex Taalman aurora photos from March 30th – pending display
    • Sunspotter viewer
    • Sunspot frequency and historical observations
    • Space Weather Essentials – Sun and Earth
    • How Aurora happens
    • Aurora: Mysteries of the Northern Lights – Robert L. Lysak (Youtube)
    • Aurora stories from members
  • Astronomy Cafe – Joe Carr
    • Astro Cafe mugs for sale for $15 – contact Joe (email)
    • History of Astronomy Cafe – David Lee
    • New room for Astro Cafe will be used for in-person meetings within a few weeks
    • Need volunteers for both hosting the meeting and the Zoom session – contact Randy Enkin (email) or Chris Purse (email)
  • Astrophotos – Martin Gisborne
    • Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights – Dr. Melanie Windridge – Amazon
    • Saving the Starry Night – Patrizia A. Caraveo – Springer
    • Astrophotos – Martin’s gallery
      • Hercules Cluster M13
      • NGC 4565 – edge-on galaxy, and other galaxies
      • M106 galaxy
      • ISS streak
      • Widefield view of many galaxies in Markarian Chain region
      • IC405 nebula
      • M101 Whirlpool Galaxy
      • M42 Orion Nebula – reprocessed 2019 image and recent 2022 versions
      • M81 & M82
      • M81 galaxy
    • Selling his Celestron CGEM mount soon

President’s Message – Mar 2022

Posted by as President's Message

What is it that links our community together? Every year, we recognize a few members of the Victoria Centre and present them awards of appreciation and excellence. We announced the recipients at the Annual General Meeting. I had the pleasure last week of driving around Victoria handing out their framed certificates. I enjoyed seeing these stellar members of our community in their home settings. It is one of the great privileges of being president. Everyone was proud and delighted, and often surprised at the recognition. We are far greater than the sum of our parts. These members have gone an extra length to make our community stronger and more active. Thank-you!

Awardees (clockwise from top left): John McDonald, Chris Purse, Alec Lee, Bruce Lane, Barbara Lane, Cameron Burton.

We have a wide range of backgrounds and interests. We spend our time with a variety of aspects spanning the range of amateur astronomy. I particularly like the feeling of connection with people around the world and throughout time. Some are interested to produce the best image of an astronomical object. Some are keen to know their way around the constellations.

There is a huge hunger for astronomical knowledge out there in the bigger public. This was made very clear this last week with front page articles and television features about our friend and astro- buddy Sid Sidhu; on the occasion of having an asteroid named after him. Sid has been central to our public outreach and society in- reach activities over a period of decades!

What is it that links our community together is that the wonders of the sky fill us with awe and with pleasure.

Look Up,
Randy Enkin (email)

Astronomy Cafe – March 14, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • A printed copy of the Hubble history book “Not Yet Imagined: A Study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations” written by Chris Gainor can be requested from NASA by email for no cost. Kindle, ePub and PDF electronic versions are also available for free download.
  • Locating Endurance– Randy Enkin
    • Shackleton’s exploration ship Endurance in Antarctica has been located on March 5, 2022
    • Crew manned a lifeboat from Elephant Island to South Georgia and all crew were eventually rescued
    • Review of navigation in that era
    • Refer to: On the Location of Shackleton’s Vessel Endurance by Lars Bergman and Robin G. Stuart, published in  the Journal of Navigation: 29 July 2021 
    • Endurance had 24 chronometers!
    • Chronometers were referenced to occultations that happened along the route at the time
    • Ship was found 6.4 km south of the original reported position of the sinking
    • The just-completed National Geographic mission was privately funded – about $20 million
    • The Perfectionists by Simon Winchester – describes Harrison’s chronometers – Martin Gisborne
  • Report on construction of new 32″ telescope for Edmonton Centre by Roman – Dave Robinson
  • Astrophoto of NGC 2264 Cone Nebula in RGB – Brock Johnston
    • May use narrowband next time to tease out more detail
  • FDAO Star Parties – Lauri Roche
    • March 19th 7-9PM presentation “Direct Imaging of Exoplanets” – Garima Singh, NRC/HIA
      • Zoom link will be sent out to RASC members
    • April 16th – 2 presentations
      • ARTEMIS mission – speaker from Canadian Space Agency
      • Plaskett’s Star by Dennis Crabtree
  • May 7th – Astronomy Day national events – Lauri Roche
    • Launch of Chris Gainor’s book “Not Yet Imagined: A Study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations” on the Hubble History
  • Astrophotos – Martin Gisborne
    • Rosette Nebula – with and without star reduction – Nikon D850 dSLR
    • Flame & Horsehead Nebula
    • M51 galaxy – first attempt using his new big telescope
    • M81 galaxy – small refractor photo from last year
    • M101 galaxy
    • Astronomy book reviews
  • Cone Nebula and Plaskett’s star location – David Lee & Randy Enkin
  • Two photos from the RASC Plaskett night (Mar 5th) processed and posted by Dan Posey – presented by Joe Carr
  • Painting of a tiny Arctic plant by Marjie Welchframe
  • Fr. Lucien Kemble – Roman Catholic Franciscan priest well-known as a visual observer from Alberta and Saskatchewan. Kemble’s Cascade, chain of stars in the northern sky. Photo by Charles Banville – Bill Weir
  • Speaker for Mar 21 Astro Cafe: Deborah Lokhorst will be speaking about the Dragonfly Telephoto Array 

Astronomy Cafe – March 7, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe, Uncategorized

Meeting video transcript

  • Intro – Chris Purse
    • Upcoming speakers
    • Working on hosting Astro Cafe in-person at the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association facilities
    • Welcome to new members
    • Garry Sedun, new VP
    • Dave Payne, new VP2
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Orion Nebula, Virgo Galaxy Cluster and other galaxies – Tom Owen
  • Recent Astrophotos – Brock Johnston
    • M78 reflection and dark nebula east of Horsehead
    • M106 galaxy and satellite galaxies
    • Horsehead & Orion Nebulae widefield, starless version
    • Brock’s online gallery
  • Comet 19/P Borrelly is passing by the California Nebula (chart) – March 23-27 – Bill Weir
  • Recent Astrophotos – Dan Posey
    • From recent Plaskett Photography 12-hour session for RASC Victoria Centre members – Horsehead Nebula, more later (data available from Dan through Astrophotography SIG)
    • M81, M82 – VCO Takahashi & Canon Ra
    • Dan’s downtown deck – telescope & CCD
      • Horsehead Nebula, Lagoon Nebula, Swan Nebula – starless versions
      • Thor’s Helmut Nebula
      • Dan’s online gallery
  • Horsehead Nebula – best astrophoto using Garry Sedun’s astro gear
  • Recent Astrophotos – Martin Gisborne
    • Markarian’s Chain of galaxies – 80mm refractor and Nikon D850 unmodified dSLR
    • Rosette Nebula
    • Horsehead & Flame Nebulae with Iridium flare
    • Flaming Star Nebula IC 405 using 8″ SCT
  • Chris Gainor
    • No news with JWST mission
    • We are probably coming to the end of Russian collaboration with the ISS due to the Ukraine war
  • Congratulations to Sid Sidhu on local press coverage for his recent IAU asteroid naming
  • FDAO – Lauri Roche
    • March 19th Star Party
    • April 16th – Artemis Mission speaker
    • May 7th Astronomy Day – may open the Centre of the Universe for a public event
  • Interest in Citizen Science group? – contact David Lee (david@victoria.rasc.ca
  • Any interest in staging a Messier Marathon? – Chris Purse (membership@victoria.rasc.ca
  • The Last Stargazers book by Emily Levesque – recommended by Martin Gisborne and others