Astronomy Cafe – Nov 22, 2021

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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

Astronomy Cafe – Nov 15, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

The Last Stargazers – Dr. Emily M Levesque – intro by David Lee

A bird that mimicked a black hole. The astronomer that discovered microwave ovens. A telescope that got shot. The science of astronomy is filled with true stories (and tall tales) of the adventures and misadventures that accompany our exploration of the universe. Join Dr. Emily Levesque, author of the new popular science book The Last Stargazers, to take a behind-the-scenes tour of life as a professional astronomer. We’ll learn about some of the most powerful telescopes in the world, meet the people who run them, and explore the crucial role of human curiosity in the past, present, and future of scientific discovery.

Dr. Emily Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington. Her work explores how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. She has observed for upwards of fifty nights on many of the planet’s largest telescopes and flown over the Antarctic stratosphere in an experimental aircraft for her research. Her academic accolades include the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon Award, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a 2019 Cottrell Scholar Award, and the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii.

  • The Last Stargazers – recently published popular book
    • Subaru Telescope fault – first story in the book
    • Role models for professional astronomers
    • Interviewed her fellow astronomers for their stories, including Dr. Elizabeth Griffin from the DAO
    • McDonald Observatory – 107 inch telescope mirror that was shot at
    • Parkes Observatory – Mysterious radio bursts – paper authored by Petroff et al. 2015
    • Green Bank Observatory – radio noise from squirrel trackers
    • Laser Interferometer Gravitation-Wave Observatory (LIGO) – gravitational wave detection and thirsty ravens
    • SOFIA airborne telescope
    • High altitude balloons and rockets
    • Solar Eclipse observation from Svalgaard, Norway
    • South Pole Telescope
    • George Carruthers – inventor of the IR camera taken to the Moon on Apollo 16 mission
    • Manastash RIdge Observatory – UW grad student Doug Geisler’s observing log for May 18, 1980
    • Change of technology for data capture from photographic plates to CCD digital cameras
    • Vera C. Rubin Observatory – time series survey observations
    • Q&A
  • Edmonton astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • LBN 438 Nebula in Lacerta – Abdur Anwar
    • Nova Cass – Abdur Anwar
    • IC 410 in Auriga – Tom Owen
  • Lauri Roche
  • Lunar Eclipse – Nov 18-19
  • Global Star Party – starting at 4:00PM Nov 16th – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman and Lauri Roche will appear at about 4:30PM, DAO virtual tour (more interactive link & see the chat feed)
  • Dr. Robert Thirsk – Dec 13th – live online Astro Cafe event, but no recording will be made or posted

Astronomy Cafe – Nov 8, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Dr. Robert Thirsk speaker for Dec 13th – arranged by Jeff Pivnick
    • 20 minute Q&A after online presentation
  • Two Clusters from earlier this year – Dave Payne
    • Double Cluster – 3-6 million years old, so stars are blue
    • Caroline’s Rose in Cassiopeia – 1.6 billion years old, so stars are more red
    • Owl, Flying Bat, Squid Nebulae and Peiades are coming up
  • Women Astronomers – Marjie Welchframe
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Aurora – Abdur Anwar (from Blackfoot site) & Arnold Rivera (all-sky camera) & Ian Doktor (south Edmonton)
    • M1 Crab Nebula – Kent
    • Conjunction of Moon & Mercury on Nov 3rd – Jeff Robertson
  • Lauri Roche
    • Astro Compass from Elizabeth Griffin – Need someone who is interested to have a look at it, and decide what to do with it
    • Two FDAO Star Parties (start at 7PM): James Web Telescope events on Nov 20th (Matt Taylor and Chris Willet), Dec 18th (two more presenters)
  • Neural Networks – John McDonald
    • Starnet – neural network processing to remove stars – an aid in processing astrophotos
    • Neural network processing could stop future epidemics by identifying individuals that should be tested. Transmission could be reduced to near zero using this methodology.
    • Discussion about how neural networks learn.
  • Chris Gainor
    • Hubble Problem Update
      • Team has one of the instruments working
      • Signal synchronization issue
      • Bringing the other instruments online one by one
    • James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
      • Shroud on top of telescope has been cleared for launch
      • Dec 18th launch (4:30AM launch for us in Pacific Time Zone)
    • Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 – National Academy of Sciences – new priorities for astronomy, including a new, large 6m space telescope for the 2040s.
  • Next week’s Astro Cafe speaker: Emily Levesque – arranged by David Lee

Title: The Last Stargazers – a book by Dr. Emily Levesque

Emily Levesque
Emily Levesque

Description: A bird that mimicked a black hole. The astronomer that discovered microwave ovens. A telescope that got shot. The science of astronomy is filled with true stories (and tall tales) of the adventures and misadventures that accompany our exploration of the universe. Join Dr. Emily Levesque, author of the new popular science book The Last Stargazers, to take a behind-the-scenes tour of life as a professional astronomer. We’ll learn about some of the most powerful telescopes in the world, meet the people who run them, and explore the crucial role of human curiosity in the past, present, and future of scientific discovery.

Bio: Emily Levesque is an astronomy professor at the University of Washington. Her work explores how the most massive stars in the universe evolve and die. She has observed for upwards of fifty nights on many of the planet’s largest telescopes and flown over the Antarctic stratosphere in an experimental aircraft for her research. Her academic accolades include the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon Award, a 2017 Alfred P. Sloan fellowship, a 2019 Cottrell Scholar award, and the 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce Prize. She earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from MIT and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii.

Astronomy Cafe – Nov 1, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Edmonton astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Comet 67P and Crab Nebula – Alister Ling
    • Pacman Nebula NGC 281 – Dennis Boucher
  • David Lee
    • Beginners’ SIG tomorrow night
    • EAA SIG Thursday night
    • Sky Brightness Survey
      • Group has met
      • Need to coordinate the SQM meters and volunteers
      • First readings are probably going to start in December
      • darksky.org – using a camera and SQM meter when taking measurements
      • Discussion about urban light pollution and LED streetlights
  • Astrophotos – Brock Johnston
  • Astrophotos using the Slooh telescopes within the last few weeks – Joe Carr
  • Laurie Roche
    • FDAO Oct 30th AGM & presentation – Lauri Roche
      • ALMA – Brenda Matthews
      • Plaskett mirror re-aluminizing process – a 4 minute time lapse video will be posted soon
    • Astro Compass (W.W. Boes) from Frank Younger’s estate is available to any interested member – contact Lauri
    • RASC National Public Outreach
      • Solar Eclipses group being formed for 2023 and 2024 events
      • Need a contact from each Centre
  • Astro Cafe for Nov 15th – there will be a guest speaker
  • Driving Mercedes EQC to hunt for aurora (northern Norway) – a video by Tesla Bjorn – Mike Webb
  • Sedun’s southern Arizona ranch will be sold and Garry’s two telescopes will be installed on the Saanich Peninsula next year – Garry Sedun
  • Hubble Telescope report – Chris Gainor
    • Back in Safe Mode again
    • Most of the space craft is operating normally, but it’s not operational
  • James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
    • Launching on Dec 18th, but takes two months to unfold and arrive at the final Lagrange L-2 location
    • Tomorrow’s JWST Event or NASA TV at 8AM
    • Discussion about using the Lagrange locations
    • See also the Canadian Space Agency

Astronomy Cafe – Oct 18, 2021

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Transcript video of meeting

Dr. Michelle Kunimoto
Dr. Michelle Kunimoto

Dr. Michelle Kunimoto is a postdoctoral associate working on NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)mission. She leads the Quick Look Pipeline team at MIT which is dedicated to analyzing TESS data to discover and characterize exoplanets. As an undergraduate, her discoveries of four planet candidates landed her on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017. Michelle is BC born and raised and received both her undergraduate degree and her PhD at the University of British Columbia.

Finding Earth 2.0 – Dr. Michelle Kunimoto

Michelle spoke about how we find exoplanets, identify potentially “habitable” planets, about what she does as a researcher with NASA’s TESS mission, and how anyone can join the hunt for new planets.

  • Are we alone? What would other life look like?
  • Assuming Earth-like conditions for life
    • Small, rocky, watery planet with an atmosphere
    • In the habitable zone around a host star
    • Stars that are similar to our Sun – “just right” and stable, long-lived
  • 30 years ago, the first exoplanets were discovered by Alex Wolszczan and Dale Frail
  • Gordon Walker actually discovered an exoplanet back in 1988 from Victoria, but not confirmed until 2002
  • How to detect an exoplanet
    • Pulsar
    • Doppler shift due to Stellar Wobble – radial velocity
    • Transit – the method Michelle uses in her work
    • Direct Imaging
    • Astrometry
    • others…
  • Kepler – NASA’s first exoplanet discovery mission 
    • Used the transit method from 2009 to 2013
    • 150,000+ stars observed for 4 years
    • Revolutionized exoplanet by discovering over half of all dis
    • K2 mission extended the discoveries to 2018
  • Tess – NASA mission started in 2018
    • Full sky coverage
    • Orbits around the Earth in a following, elliptical orbit
    • 27 days to a full year of observations for each object
    • Automated detection, then manual verification to avoid false positives
    • Michelle has discovered 1,600 candidate planets
    • Whole mission has confirmed 152 out of 3,285 candidate planets
    • A total of 4,531 exoplanets have been discovered (not just from the Tess mission)
    • Diversity of exoplanets is extensive
    • TRAPPIST-1 System
      • 7 exoplanets
      • 3 in habitable zone, and Earth-sized
      • James Web space telescope will examine this system in detail
    • 20 candidate exoplanets have been discovered that are Earth-sized and appear to possibly support life as we know it
    • Keppler-452b – most Earth-like exoplanet
    • Transmission spectroscopy – detect the characteristics of an exoplanet’s atmosphere
    • Habitable Exoplanet Observatory – a proposed space telescope that will perform direct imaging of exoplanets
    • How you can hunt for exoplanets
      • Anyone can access the data from the Mikulski Archive
      • Michelle found 4 candidate planets during a summer project
      • Planet Hunters TESS site – the public can help with this work – just visual pattern detection
      • Anyone can join the TESS vetting team and interact with the rest of the team
    • Upcoming missions
      • PLATO – 2026 mission
      • NRT – mid-2020s
    • Q&A

Members’ Reports

Victoria region Sky Quality Map - East
Victoria region Sky Quality Map – East
  • FDAO Star Party – Oct 30th AGM starting at 7:00PM and Brenda Matthews’ work at ALMA – Lauri Roche
  • Nerd Anomoly – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • Nathan’s cartoons to be published in Skynews magazine
    • Shared some of his cartoons
  • Randy Enkin
    • A rainy day at Fairfield Fall Fair!
    • Sunspotter demo
    • Aurora photo taken from Mt. Tolmie
    • Victoria Philharmonic Choir – Hayden’s Creation was performed to a small, live audience – shared an audio clip
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Aurora by Eric Klaszus’ mother, Abdur Anwar, and an all sky camera
    • Elephant Trunk dark nebula – Abdur Anwar
  • Light Pollution Survey – David Lee
    • Last light pollution survey – Sep & Oct 2010 (maps)
    • Over a dozen members have already volunteered to re-do the survey
    • Victoria Centre will borrow 3-4 SQM meters from National, and also use members’ own SQM meters
    • First week in November is first target time to conduct the survey
    • Perhaps take a wide angle photo of the sky at each location to record light source conditions – Dave Robinson
    • Last time it took 2 nights in September and again in October
    • Contact David if interested in participating

Astronomy Cafe – Oct 4, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Milky Way from Cattle Point – a photo showing no stars, just galaxies – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
  • Women in Astronomy – Marjie Welchframe
    • Isabel Williamson has an asteroid named after her
    • Dava Sobel also has an asteroid named after her
    • Profile of Dr. Kim Venn
      • UVic Astronomy & Physics professor
      • Specialist in stellar spectroscopy
      • Kim believes that very large telescopes will likely discover Earth version 2 or 3 or 4, which will greatly impact how we view ourselves
    • Dr. Michelle Kunimoto will present to us on Oct 18th about Exoplanets
  • Edmonton Centre astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Milky Way Halloween theme- Warren Findlay
    • Blackfoot dark sky area – Arnold Rivera
      • Comet 4P/Faye
      • Helix Nebula – NGC 7293 – Planetary Nebula
      • Veil Nebula – visual and photo through a 10″ Dobsonian telescope
  • Building an Astroberry Server– David Lee
    • Raspberry Pi 4 running Linux 
    • Supports the INDI – ecosystems for control and automation of astronomical devices
    • Installed PHD2
    • David just wants to implement auto-guiding
    • Runs the server through a remote desktop on his smartphone
  • Beginners SIG runs virtually tomorrow night – David Lee
  • Update from Chris Gainor 
    • Chris was interviewed by CTV News about William Shatner going into space aboard 
    • Russia is launching into space tomorrow morning
    • Chris is still waiting for his history of Hubble book to arrive
  • Sky Quality Map redo – Lauri Roche
    • Last map covering Greater Victoria (Sooke to Sidney) done in 2010
    • Victoria Centre should remeasure the data
    • We need a project leader
    • Canvas our members for interest and who has Unihedron Sky Quality Meters
  • Astronomy photos from Victoria Centre
    • Unusual Nebula NGC 6164 in Norma – observing the southern hemisphere using the Chile One Slooh telescope – Joe Carr
    • David Lee is seeking sources of data for his interest in Astrometry
    • Wizard Nebula NGC 7380 taken last Sunday night – Brock Johnston
  • Firefly Alpha rocket – photos of aborted launch from Vandenberg Air Base – Reg Dunkley

Astronomy Cafe – Sept 27, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Women Astronomers – Marjie Welchframe
    • Dr. Michelle Kunimoto, age 27, lives in Vancouver
    • Works (post doc) for MIT’s NASA Mission Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)
  • Jan 2020 Lunar Eclipse photos – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • The Shadow of the Earth composite photo of all eclipse phases
  • Report – Randy Enkin
    • Jon Willis is selling his Celestron NexStar 6SE telescope & accessories for $1,000
    • Fairfield Fair – Sid, Dorothy, Reg and Randy represented RASC Victoria at Fairfield on a rainy Sunday – 120 attendees
    • Mike Nash’s photo compared with Randy’s sketch of the Moon
  • Events – Jim Hesser
    • 100 Hours of Astronomy – IAU event coming up this weekend
    • Harvard Radcliffe Institute virtual events – gravitational waves, AI, planetary systems
  • Edmonton Centre photos – Dave Robinson
    • Moonrise video and photo sequence over Edmonton – Alister Ling
    • California Nebula (reprocessed) – Tom Owen
  • Building an Astroberry Server – David Lee
    • Using it for auto-tracking, uses a smartphone to control it
    • Writing instructions for others to make one
    • Astroberry Server software is on Github – runs on a Raspberry Pi 4 board using an INDI driver
  • NASA Observe the Moon – Oct 16 event – Brian Barber
  • North America Nebula (reprocessed 2009 photo) – John McDonald
  • SIRIL astronomy software – recommended by Brock Johnson for any computer platform
  • James Web Space Telescope – launching on Dec 18th, on it’s way by ship to Guyana for launch aboard an Ariane rocket – Chris Gainor

Astronomy Cafe – August 23, 2021

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Transcript video of the meeting

  • Mark Wheen at Pearson College wants to train some people to operate the 25″ telescope – members should contact Bill Weir if interested
  • Astrophotos from Victoria Centre members
    • Intro from John McDonald
    • Brock Johnston – online gallery
      • Using new ASI 2600 camera (one shot colour)
        • Cocoon Nebula
        • Fireworks Galaxy
        • Andromeda Galaxy – 3 nights
        • Deer Lick Group – SCT Celestron Edge 9.25″
        • Jupiter 
          • Using video from ASI120 OSC planetary imaging camera
          • De-rotated about 1 minute clips
        • Saturn
          • Using video from ASI120 OSC planetary imaging camera
          • Doesn’t need to be de-rotated
        • Processing of planets: PIP > WinJupos > AutoStakkert
      • Pick objects that are rising in the eastern sky, so there is time to image them
    • Dave Payne – online gallery
      • Rosette Nebula – taken 10 months ago
        • H2 cloud, UV radiation
        • Big – about 1 degree across
        • 127mm refractor, 660mm f/l
      • Tulip Nebula – Sharpless catalog
        • Smaller
        • CDK 12.5″ 2540mm f/l
        • H2 cloud
        • Note Cygnus X1 on left side of field of view, some purple clouds driven by the Black Hole’s accretion disk
      • Iris Nebula
        • Much closer than the other nebulae
        • Blue colour indicates that this is a reflection nebula
        • PAH – life can be formed when this is present
    • Dan Posey – online gallery
      • Rho Ophiuchus – short focal length – modified dSLR, camera lens & small tracker
      • Comet NEOWISE – modified dSLR, camera lens & small tracker
      • California Nebula – tri-band filter with Askar 108mm 600mm f/l
      • Uses Starnet – to subtract and add back the stars using neural net processing
      • M81, M82 –  Milky Way background structure revealed by doing some exotic processing technique
      • Eagle Nebula – imaging from a balcony downtown at 400mm using SBIG 8300 – compared with imaging from the VCO 16″ TPO RC computer
      • NGC 7318 interacting galaxy pair – imaging using the Plaskett telescope
      • RASC Victoria might have imaging time on the Plaskett in October, so send Dan any objects of interest (if you are on the Active Observers’ email list)
    • Garry Sedun – online gallery
      • XM2000 monochrome camera, 20″ Newtonian astrograph
        • Horsehead Nebula
        • M51 galaxies
      • Moravian 16200 imager, 20″ Newtonian astrograph
        • M82 galaxy revealing the jet –
        • Jellyfish Nebula – colour and monochrome wavelengths – star colours still need work
        • M81 galaxy and blue dwarf companion galaxy – two versions
    • John McDonald – online gallery
    • Discussion among the astro imagers on technique, optics, sites, conditions
  • Scientific Narrative – Ken Atkinson
    • Ventu Sky – interesting weather maps
    • Human genomes
    • Highly magnetized  and rapidly rotating white dwarf as small as the moon
    • Books
      • Birth of a Theorem – Cedric Villani
      • Cantor’s Dilemma – Carl Djerassi
      • Newton’s Darkness: Two Dramatic Views – Carl Djerassi
      • Berlin in lights – the diaries of Count Harry Kessler – mentions dining with the Einsteins and other famous people

Astronomy Cafe – Aug 16, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

Location, Location, Location (Plaskett history) – Dennis Crabtree, NRC Herzberg

  • John Stanley Plaskett – took lots of photos
  • Site testing for proposed 72″ telescope used a Cooke 4.5″ equatorially-mounted telescope, mainly operated by W.E. Harper
  • Plaskett’s 1913 tour to Medicine Hat, Penticton, Victoria (for possible observing sites), then the USA before returning to Ottawa
  • Victoria site on Observatory Hill was the obvious choice after site testing
  • Q&A
    • Plaskett’s photos were “lost from memory” – Dennis discovered them in the archives
    • Plaskett hired Edward Fleming as a photographer for the observatory site construction
    • 1 arc second seeing at the Victoria site seems too good to be true – site testing today is done over years, not weeks. See Harper’s paper for the site testing report.
    • Plaskett 72″ mirror was replaced in the 1980s with modern glass
    • High resolution scans of glass plates and negatives are impressive
  • Dennis wants to present these historic photos to the world – archival site

  • Astronomy Cafe – Sep 13 meeting – first in-person Astronomy Cafe in Fairfield
  • Perseid Meteor Shower on Aug 12th – Sid Sidhu
    • All-sky camera – 2 composite photos covering 2 hours each
    • July 13th – sporadic meteor
    • Feb 23rd – another sporadic meteor with gas plasma visible
    • Discussion about meteor trains, fireballs and bolides
  • Jupiter & Perseid photos – Randy Enkin
    • Double transit of Jupiter’s moons with their shadows merging – Christopher Go
    • Perseid Meteor shower photos of note from the Internet
  • Edmonton photos – Dave Robinson
    • Noctilucent clouds – Alister Ling
  • Cave Nebula photos by Dave Payne – processed and presented by John McDonald
  • Events – Lauri Roche
  • Progress on Andromeda Galaxy mosaic – Dave Payne

President’s Message – July 2021

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Do we ever get tired of the view?

I recently picked up my niece from the airport. When we got our first sight of the Olympic Mountains towering over the Juan de Fuca Strait, she asked if people in Victoria ever get tired of the view. I don’t think so.

Similarly, I observe that amateur astronomers just don’t get tired of looking up. The beauty takes our breath away. There is a joy in learning the constellations and getting competent at star hopping. There is the awe in learning more about the processes that produce the spots and fuzz-balls in the night sky. I never tire of improving my knowledge of the craters and mountains on the Moon, but often I just wander about the Moon in my eyepiece, appreciating the view. We keep improving our equipment, trying to see that little bit of extra detail. Why? For the joy and sense of accomplishment.

At the Astro Cafe this week, we hosted two distinguished selenologists. Gary Varney, from Florida, is a renowned lunar astrophotographer who waxed eloquent about the details he loves to watch at the terminator – the line that separates day from night on the Moon. Brian Day, from California, leads a program at NASA that presents map and data portals, available for free on the Internet, of the planets and moons. Brian told us that he enjoys ending his day by flying around over the Moon with Moon Trek, enjoying the view and trying to figure out how features were formed.

We had dinner guests this week, and I got to show them the young (27 hour old) moon through the 8 inch Dob I’m borrowing from the club (Nelson Walker’s old telescope). One guest had never seen the craters on the moon and got wonderfully excited. Do I ever get tired of the view? Not at all. It feels as fresh and exciting as when I first saw the craters when I was 8 years old.

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