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

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

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 – Feb 7, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of meeting

  • IAU Small Bodies Nomenclature – Chris Purse
    • Asteroid (10109) Sidhu – 1992  KQ – discovered by Eleanor F. Helin
    • Sid Sidhu was nominated by President Chris Purse back in 2018
    • Quite a few Victoria Centre members are already honoured, along with other RASC members 
    • Sid joined RASC in 1985
  • The Transformative Journey of HD 93521 (Doug Gies, et. al) – Randy Enkin
    • Rapid rotating star between Leo Minor and Ursa Major
    • Blue star 40,000 times more luminous as the Sun, Spectral Type O
    • Only 5 million years old, and burning out rapidly
    • First spectra was published by Plaskett & Pearce in 1931
    • Actually 39 million years old, but nuclear clock was reset 5 million years ago
    • Discussion about black holes, stellar dust, and star formation and evolution
  • Lunar Occultation – David Lee (david@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Zubelnelgenubi double star occulted by the Moon on Feb 22, 2022
    • Published times for various locations
    • Altitude of 20º and Azimuth 135-180º from Victoria
    • Prepare ahead of time
    • David can help anyone interested in observing or photographing this event
  • Update on Victoria Centre Observatory – Reg Dunkley
    • 20″ Obsession Dob telescope – visual observing
      • Digital setting circles to be installed
    • 12″ Dob telescope – visual observing
    • Takahashi TOA – visual and photography configurations
    • 12.5″ OGS RC – photography with a new 61 Mpix cooled camera, filters LRGB & narrowband
      • First light of the Moon – photo taken last night
    • Paramount mount still needs some service, but it’s working
    • COVID-19 Regulations – 4 members at the VCO, and 2 more members at the Plaskett parking lot. Active Observers should attest to being fully vaccinated to President Randy Enkin (president@victoria.rasc.ca) and cc to Chris Purse (membership@victoria.rasc.ca)
    • Member-In-Charge (MIC) – 2 spaces available for new volunteers. Training will be provided.
  • Update on James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
    • Last week, instruments turned on
    • First light on sensors
    • Calibrating the mirror segments is proceeding
  • History of Hubble – Chris Gainor
    • Chris will be receiving copies of the book
    • Requests can be sent to the Hubble Information Center – info-center@hq.nasa.gov
  • Observers Handbook 2022 – free one available from Joe Carr (web@victoria.rasc.ca
  • SIGs – David Lee (david@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Makers SIG meeting online this Thursday
  • Victoria Centre’s AGM – Feb 21, 2022 starting at 7:00PM PST
    • 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 – proxies are good if you can’t attend – send to any member in good standing who will attend, or Barbara Lane secretary@victoria.rasc.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

Posted by as Astro Cafe

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 17, 2022

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Transcript video of the meeting

Meeting notes

  • A Woman of Astronomy – Marji Welchframe
    • Urania, Muse of Astronomy
    • Seal of the RASC – “Quo Ducit Urania” (i.e. where Urania leads, we follow)
    • Urania is 1 of 9 Muses of the Arts in Greek Mythology
    • Uranometria star atlas by Johann Bayer (1603) – published and sold by Sky & Telescope (Willman Bell section)
  • Early computer memories
    • LGP-30 tube-based computer used at the University of Alberta in Edmonton by John McDonald in 1958
    • Reminisces from various members about early computers, calculators, slide rules, and other computing devices and programming languages they used decades ago.
  • Lunar Puzzles – Randy Enkin
    • 100-piece from NASA
    • 1000+ piece from Cobble Hill
    • 1000 piece from Four Point
    • 3-D printed Moon puzzle – Randy and his daughter assembled it
  • Reports  from Lauri Roche
    • 2022 RASC Calendars have still not arrived
    • Sky Cultures of the World: RASC World Asterisms Program – Charles Ennis, 1st VP with RASC National – FDAO Star Party – this Sat, Jan 22nd 7-9PM – available on Zoom and Youtube
    • Eclipses for 2023 and 2024 – Education & Public Outreach Committee task force headed by Randy Attwood. Thousands of eclipse glasses will be available and sent to RASC Centres. Members can participate on the committee – contact Lauri.
  • JWST Update – Chris Gainor
    • Mirror Segment Deployment Tracker – activating the actuators behind the mirror segments
    • JWST enters a halo orbit around L2 position this Sunday, Jan 23rd
  • Astro Cafe next week – Jan 24, 2022
    • Dr. Tanya Harrison, “a professional Martian” – our Astro Cafe speaker next week
    • David Lee will be hosting
  • Scarlett Caterpillar Club – a parasitic fungus Bill Weir found near the observatory at Pearson College

Extras

  • NASA 3D Resources – 3D models of equipment, models of celestial and solar system objects, space missions (like JWST). Various media for download: fly-throughs, interactive visualizations, 3D printer files, stereo images.

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 10, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

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

President’s Message – Dec 2021

Posted by as President's Message

Ah 2021. What a strange trip around the Sun! I am writing this letter on the day of the winter solstice. There is a waning gibbous moon shining high in the east, when I go to bed, and it is high in the west to greet me in the morning. I take great solace in watching and thinking about the dependable motion of the Earth through the Universe, while so much of life and news this year has left me feeling unsettled.

Randy Enkin using his sextant
Randy Enkin using his sextant

Nearly as dependable as the astronomical objects has been you, our astronomical community. I am so pleased when I see the 30 or 40 of us gather each Monday evening at our virtual Astro Café. We are an appreciative and supportive community. Look at all the different skill sets and experiences that get shared every week. And look at those beautiful photos and sketches that we have created. I particularly wish to mention the personal observatories (I know of 3!) that are getting designed and built by members of our centre, as well as the fantastic work by our technical committee in upgrading the Victoria Centre Observatory.

Our group has motivated me to try new astro-projects – whether observing sunspots with a solar telescope borrowed from the Centre (thanks to the capable curation of our telescope collection by Sid Sidhu), or star hopping to those faint fuzzies that you deep space observers like. And I love the expressions of appreciation when I show off my lunar sketches to our crowd.

Do remember that our community survives on the strength of our volunteerism. We have a specific requirement this year for a new secretary and a new vice president. Don’t feel you aren’t up to the job! I still feel like a newbie in the role of president, but there is no shortage of good council from the many past executives who continue to be active. Come join us on the inside, and you will feel even more affection for the Centre.

I wish us all a fruitful and fulfilling new year, with many clear skies.

Look Up,
Randy Enkin, President@Victoria.RASC.ca