Astronomy Cafe – March 14, 2022

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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

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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

Astronomy Cafe – Feb 28, 2022

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Meeting transcript video

  • Lisa Dang, PhD Student McGill – Marjie Welchframe (Women in Astronomy series)
    • 1st principal investigator to use JWST using MIRI (Mid-Infrared Instrument)
    • Hot Jupiters’ atmospheres gas giant exoplanets with very short orbital periods
  • Erin Gibbons presentation : Perseverance First Year on Mars – RASC Montreal Centre online – Jeff Pivnick
    • Erin is an Astrobiologist
    • Payload specialist for the Supercam remote sensing instrument aboard Perseverance
    • Search for life on Mars – primary mission
    • Ingenuity drone is being used to scout routes for the rover
    • Stromatolites on Mars
    • Perseverance landed on west side, inside of Jezero Crater – indications of flowing water
  • John McDonald
    • Changes at Ross Place – building a construction crane
    • Photo of the Orion Nebula and Lunar surface taken by the new Victoria Centre Observatory’s OGS telescope and QHY camera
  • Cosmic Generation – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • Youth astronomy group being formed
    • First meeting was Feb 13th
    • Next meeting is Mar 13th – sign up
    • Outreach and building members phase
    • Website, magazine and social media coming soon
    • Want to hold monthly webinars
  • OCCULTATION OF ZC2118 on 22 FEB 22 observation report – David Lee
    • High winds and very cold, so used light weight rigs – camera and lens, and small refractor for visual
    • Video of Alpha 1 & 2 Librae stars ingress and egress
    • Observing reports from Sid Sidhu, Nathan Hellner-Mestelman, Chris Purse and Randy Enkin
    • IOTA lists occultations and grazes
  • Lauri Roche
    • Artemis Mission Launch coming up – Canadian Space Agency is looking for promotion to the public by RASC. April 16th FDAO event is proposed with a speaker from CSA.
    • GA is online again this year – June 24-27
      • Virtual observing across the country on two evenings – solar observing from Victoria?
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Bi-marathons – Messier & running marathon in the same night
    • Andromeda Galaxy & Ha regions & Cepheid Variable VI – Abdur Anwar
  • Lunar Occultation – 2 photos 48 seconds apart – Mike Webb
  • Chris Gainor
    • James Webb Space Telescope Report
      • Pointing and focusing 18 mirrors progressing nicely
      • Now resolving a single star with completed image stacking
      • More work on focusing required
    • Artemis Mission – probably a May launch – Chris Gainor
      • Artemis 2 mission will take humans around the Moon
    • The Ukraine war will probably affect space launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Russia. Other space exploration may be affected. Discussion about International Space Station.
  • Bill Weir
    • Equatorial Poncet platform for the 20″ Truss Dobsonian built by Guy Walton is now working again
    • Will be used at the Centre of the Universe for public viewing when restrictions permit events
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Beginners SIG – tomorrow evening
    • EAA SIG – Thursday – discuss a National RASC public outreach initiative using EAA

Astronomy Cafe – Feb 14, 2022

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Transcript video of meeting

  • Announcements – Chris Purse
    • 2022 Observer’s Calendar – some available at $15 – contact Chris Purse or Lauri Roche
    • Astro Cafe In Person – Fairfield Gonzales Community Association
      • The portable we have been using is no longer available
      • Other rooms are available, so when we resume in-person meetings, we will be meeting in another room
      • The TV we installed will be moved to our new location
      • Monday is one of their busiest nights, so we may also move days
      • Feedback from members is welcome
  • Standing for election as Secretary – Jill Sinkwich intro
    • Now participating in RASC after 20 years of lurking
    • Interests in music and law, but also astronomy (observing certificates)
  • Quantum Gravity – Duane Weaver
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Andromeda Galaxy – Abdur Anwar tried to capture the integrated flux between the galaxies
    • A red rainbow with the Sun very low in the sky – John Wooly
  • Update on James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
    • First light shared before aligning the mirrors
    • News story about first light
    • One of the more prominent scientists for JWST at the Space Telescope Institute is a black Canadian named Jason Kallirai
  • Lauri Roche
    • 2022 Observer’s Calendars – $15 each – contact Lauri(roche.lauri@gmail.com)
    • FDAO Star Party this Saturday evening, Feb 19th – Intersection of Science and Art – Bob McDonald
    • FDAO wants to open for in-person events, starting on Astronomy Day, May 7th, but dependant on NRC and Federal pandemic rules
  • David Lee
    • Makers SIG – this Thursday
    • Lunar Occultation is coming up  – contact =David if interested (david@victoria.rasc.ca
  • Victoria Centre AGM – next Monday – Randy Enkin
    • Speaker: The Life and Times of the Sky Quality Meter – Doug Welch, Dean of Graduate Studies, and on the CFHT and TMT boards
    • Need a quorum, so if you can’t attend, contact our Secretary Barbara Lane (secretary@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Link to Zoom meeting sent to members by the Secretary
  • Astrophotos – Brock Johnson
  • Black History – event this Saturday, Feb 19th at 10AM PST – Bill Weir
    • 4 presenters
  • National Report – Lauri Roche
    • 2023 and 2024 eclipse events being planned
    • New NOVA modules available beginning of April – volunteer testers needed
    • 2022 GA being planned – contact Chris Gainor (cgainor@shaw.ca)

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 31, 2022

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Delivery of Calendars & Handbooks – Lauri Roche & Chris Gainor
    • Delivery of RASC 2022 Calendars for Victoria Centre should happen tomorrow
    • 4 members present still don’t have their Observers Handbooks – Duane Weaver, Brock Johnston, Bill Weir
    • The last Board meeting was dedicated to getting the delivery issues resolved
  • Pastel Paintings of the planets – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • Jupiter – from Juno mission image
    • Earth and the Moon from space
    • Saturn in monochrome
    • Mars – Olympus Mons and Valles Marineris juxtaposed
    • Discussion about artistic technique
  • Cordillera Mountains & Mare Oriental lunar features – Randy Enkin
  • A Lunar Alpine Quest – Reg Dunkley
    • Original presentation to Victoria Centre on Nov 6, 2017 
    • Dorothy Paul – sketch of lunar mountains from the 2017 Solar Eclipse
    • Reg took a photo of the same area at  the 2017 Solar Eclipse and measured the height of one of the mountains on the Moon and the height of the solar chromosphere
    • Identified the particular mountain using Solar Eclipse Maestro software and some trigonometry from Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter (LRO)
    • Schluter Crater is likely the candidate for the gap in the corona imaged by Reg
    • Brock Johnston showed a photo of the partial eclipse featuring similar “bumps” in the partial eclipse line
  • Edmonton astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • JWST telescope in a star field time lapse imaged by Anwar Abdur
    • Jan 28, 2022 text observing report from Luca Vanzella – Orion & Auriga and NGCs in Cancer, Gemini, Monoceros
  • SIG meetings – David Lee
  • James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) – Chris Gainor
  • Victoria Centre AGM – Randy Enkin
    • Monday, Feb 21st – starting at 7PM online
    • Keynote Speaker: Life and Times of the Sky Quality Meter – Doug Welch

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 24, 2020

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Video transcript of meeting

  • JWST Report – Chris Gainor
    • Spacecraft now in orbit around L2
    • Telescope commissioning is now starting over the next six months
    • Cooling the onboard instruments is critical
  • Discussion about Black and White photography
    • B&W Gallery by John McDonald
    • Processing techniques converting digital colour images to black and white
  • Methods of Observing and Scientific Illustration
    • Photography – digital and analogue
    • Sketching – perhaps a new SIG?
    • Painting – watercolours
    • Observing vs art
  • Astrophotos – Brock Johnston
  • Missing RASC 2022 calendars – Chris Gainor
    • Shipping issues discussed at the national level
    • Calendars are now considered missing, so they will be reshipped
  • Recent and future astronomy presentations
    • Charles Ennis talk about cross-cultural asterisms to the FDAO Star Party last Saturday
    • Chinese Giant Solar Telescope – Les Welch
      • Ring design solar 1.8m telescope – 2010
      • Paul Hickson at UBC is working on this instrument
    • Speakers covering new subjects – Dave Payne to coordinate either a new SIG or ongoing discussion at Astro Cafe
  • FDAO Report – Lauri Roche
    • Calvin, Lauri and Sid are still doing outreach online to schools
    • Made 12 online sessions to Grade 10 classes over the last 2 weeks
    • Did an in-person session with Kindergarten and Grade 1 students once last week
    • NSERC grants haven’t been granted to FDAO as well as other deserving organizations
  • Pearson College Report – Bill Weir
    • International students are still in lockdown
    • Canadian students were sent home
    • College management is very nervous about their operation

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 10, 2022

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Lunar sketching & movie review – Randy Enkin
    • Randy’s Lunar “scissors” sketch, compared with Mike Nash and Bill Weir photos of the same area
    • “Don’t Look Up” popular movie on Netflix
      • Amy Mainzer was the science advisor for the movie, and is also the Principal Investigator for NEOWISE. So the science was quite accurately portrayed in the movie.
      • Observation of Mars and Jupiter in 1802 – Piazzi discovered Ceres instead of a new planet, and Carl Friedrich Gauss computed the orbit of the asteroid
      • Measuring the Earth – Gauss and von Humbolt
      • JPL Horizons System (Solar System Dynamics) – solar system ephemeris computation system
      • Mark Boslough movie review – don’t read before watching the movie!
      • Brian Cox’s commentary about Don’t Look Up
  • Astrophotos from Edmonton Centre – Dave Robinson
    • Antimatter and Dark Matter cartoon
    • Michael Jäger (@Komet123Jager) photo of comet C/2021 A1 Leonard from Skygems Observatories in Nambia
    • Article explains why comet heads are green, but their tails are not green
    • Ursa Major and snow carving of a bear – Warren Findlay
  • UVic construction & Sunspots – Alex Schmid
    • UVic Construction photos – An update on two new buildings – residence, lecture halls, dining areas
    • Recent Sunspots – a-focal through eyepiece using a 5″ Newtonian telescope with solar filter
  • James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) – Chris Gainor
    • Launched on Ariane 5 – Dec 25, 2021
    • Journey from Earth to L2 Lagrange Point – deploying the telescope components
    • Final position at L2 – arrives Jan 23, 2022 (approximately)
    • First images should be released June, 2022
    • Discussion about single points of failure for the mission
    • JWST Control Subsystems
  • RASC National 2022 calendars – Lauri Roche
    • Our orders are on their way, but have still not arrived in Victoria
  • Victoria Centre Observatory Upgrade – Reg Dunkley
    • QHY 600 mono camera is now attached to the OGS 12.5″ telescope
    • New USB3 connection in place
    • Telescopes rebalanced for the new gear
    • Lots of snow still on the ground around our observatory
  • Our Astro Cafe speaker on Jan 24th will be Dr. Tanya Harrison, “a professional Martian”
  • FDAO Star Party – Jan 22nd – Lauri Roche
    • World Asterisms Project – Charles Ennis, 1st VP for RASC National
  • AGM – election – Chris Purse
    • Council openings are available – contact Reg Dunkley (Past President) if any member wishes to stand for Vice President, Secretary (or any other position) on Victoria Centre’s Council

Astronomy Cafe – Dec 20, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Updates – Chris Gainor
    • James Webb Space Telescope – launch on Dec 24th 4:20AM – NASA TV & Youtube live streaming
    • Parker Solar Probe – 5 min video from NASA
    • RASC Board of Directors reportNational office moved last week to College Street in central Toronto
      • RASC Centre orders for bulk 2022 Calendars – 7 centres have received their boxes, but delivery to BC centres may be delayed further
      • Observing certificates sent out today
  • Astrophotos – Ken McGill
    • Orion Nebula – ZWO 1600MC, ASI Air Live View
    • Andromeda Galaxy – Oct 30th 
    • Pleiades
  • My Astronomy Sketch of the Year 2021 – Dorothy Paul
    • Observed Nov 28-Dec 1, 2021 from the west side of Eureka Valley (NW corner of Death Valley National park)
    • Remote, dark (Mag 6.5) and cold (-5ºC)!
    • Sky Critters – Canis Major, Hydra, Leo, Ursa Major – sketched from memory, like being in a theatre
    • They had Dorothy’s Dobsonian telescope with them, but didn’t end up using it 
  • Astrophotos – Brian Barber
    • Full Moon – using a NexYZ for mounting a smartphone, PIP software to centre & size, AutoStakkert software to stack the photos
  • Building the MCD Observatory – Michel Michaud
    • Presentation to Club d’astronomie de Rimouski
    • Started July 26
    • 14′ long 4×4 timbers and special smaller door
    • Built cases over the exposed rails to protect from rain and ice
    • Paramount MX to arrive in Feb
    • Celestron Edge HD 14″ – March – Summer 2022
    • First projects
      • Photometry
      • Asteroids
    • Restarting his Pleiades project when the 14″ scope arrives
    • Currently using his Meade LX-55 mount and a 66mm refractor
  • Report on astronomy activities – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • NerdAnomaly – online cartoons
    • Learning sketching at school
    • Casual public outreach – telescope setup on the sidewalk outside the house
  • Report on astronomy activities – David Lee
    • Pivoting to maintain community – formed Victoria Centre’s SIGs
    • Personal study – astrophotography, observing, space exploration
    • VCO Technical team – work to be ready when we can open to members again
    • FDAO – collaborations with UVic – Dave Payne, Mike Nash, Dan Posey, Brock Johnston
    • Variable Star Observing – completed 3 AAVSO certificates
    • Australian sketching workshop – Dorothy Paul

Victoria Centre needs a new Vice-President and Secretary for 2022 – to stand for election, please contact Randy Enkin or Reg Dunkley

Astronomy Café will resume on Monday, January 10, 2022

Astronomy Cafe – Dec 6, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

  • Review next week’s presentation by Dr. Robert Thirsk – Chris Purse
    • Connection to meeting will be through a waiting room
    • Jeff Pivnick will host
    • Link for this meeting will be unique, and emailed to all RASC Victoria members
    • Maximum of 100 attendees
  • Total Solar Eclipse from Antarctica – Joe Carr
  • Astro Compass – Randy Enkin & Peter Kabel
    • Frank Younger’s estate donated the Compass Astro to Victoria Centre
    • Used in aircraft when they are flying a long way north, where the magnetic field isn’t reliable
    • “It’s a sundial in reverse”
    • Need to know your position and time, sighting on a celestial object with known Right Ascension & Declination. North will be indicated accurate to within about 1º.
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Photo of Comet C/2001 A1 Leonard near M3 cluster – Arnold Rivera
    • Sketch of Comet C/2001 A1 Leonard with observing narrative – Berta Beltran
    • Rosette Nebula photo – Arnold Rivera
  • Chris Gainor
    • James Web Space Telescope update
      • Completed fuelling operations for the JWST itself
      • To be mounted onto the Ariane 5 rocket next
      • Dec 22nd launch date
      • Launch website
    • Not Yet Imagined – Chris’ new book about Hubble Space Telescope’s history. Book should be available for sale in awhile through RASC’s e-store and FDAO’s e-store locally. Electronic versions from NASA
  • Comet C/2001 A1 Leonard – observing report by David Lee
    • Observed and photographed through some clear spots over the last few days
    • Poor conditions for photography, but managed to get a good wide field image of the comet using a dSLR and tracking mount
    • Virtual Telescope broadcast – tomorrow 8PM PST
  • Lauri Roche
    • 2022 RASC Calendars
      • Send any more requests for calendars to Lauri
      • Should be $16 each
    • FDAO e-store – astronomy and space themed fun items available for sale. Free local delivery or shipped by mail (extra cost).

Astronomy Cafe – Nov 22, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Astrophotography SIG – intro by John McDonald
    • Special Interest Group meets on the 4th Wednesday of each month
    • Challenge project – processing the recent Plaskett data
    • Martin Gisborne – a short journey to astrophotography
      • Professional photographer – worldwide
      • Telescope shop tempted Martin while he lived in Paris
      • Lived close to the Ames Research Centre and Orion Telescopes in the Bay Area of California – more temptations and motivation
      • Review of his astronomy equipment acquisitions, processing software and apps
      • Refined his methodology over the last few years since moving to Canada
      • Reviewed early astrophotos and how they are progressing
      • The Deep-Sky Imaging Primer – Charles Bracken series of books
      • His Heart and Soul Nebula photo featured on the RASC Journal 
      • Pandemic supply chain issues a challenge to new amateur astronomers to acquire equipment
      • Photo show: Pleiades (M45), Triangulum Galaxy (M33), Heart Nebula (IC 1805), Hercules Cluster (M13), Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, Comet Atlas C/2019 Y4, Comet NEOWISE, California Nebula, Bubble Nebula, Flaming Star Nebula widefield, Iris Nebula, Moon with Mars nearby, M81 Bode’s Galaxy & M82 Cigar Galaxy 6-hour exposure.
      • He is fascinated by the history of photography being used for astronomy
      • Instagram page
      • Photo gallery
    • Joe Carr – Southern Sky Celestial Objects
      • Observing and photographing celestial objects from the southern hemisphere
      • How far south to go: Costa Rica, Atacama Desert in Chile, Namibia or Botswana in southern Africa, Australia, New Zealand
      • Photo show: Small and Large Magellanic Cloud galaxies, 47 Tucanae and Omega Centauri globular clusters, Tarantula Nebula, Jewel Box open cluster, Crux and Carina constellations, Eta Carinae Nebula
      • Southern Sky time lapse video from Atacama Lodge, San Pedro de Atacama by Jerry Black
      • Advice on observing and photographing from the souther hemisphere – some challenges for “northerners”.
    • Alec Lee
    • Brock Johnston
    • John McDonald
      • Reprocessing previous astrophotos
      • Milky Way from Cave Creek in the mountains of southern Arizona
      • Witch Head Nebula
      • Closeup of the Moon – Gassendi Crater from the Victoria Centre
      • Uranus and Neptune
      • Photo gallery
  • Lauri Roche
    • RASC 2022 Calendars – signup for a copy – contact Lauri
    • RASC workbooks and almanacs also available
    • Native skywatcher planispheres
    • FDAO Star Party last Saturday – thanks to our members who helped
    • James Web Star Party 2 on Dec 18th – Dr. Madeline Marshall, Dr. Wes Fraser
  • Alberta Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Lunar Eclipse series – Alistair Ling
  • Chris Gainor
    • James Web Space Telescope – launch delayed until Dec 22nd
    • Restoring Hubble Space Telescope to full operation – another instrument is working
  • Lunar Sketch – Randy Enkin
    • Presenting to Nanaimo Astronomy Group this Thursday
    • A new sketch of Petavius and other nearby craters on the terminator of a Waning Gibbous phase