Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

RASC Victoria Centre wordmark

Victoria Centre is part of the national Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, which is dedicated to bringing information about astronomy to the general public.

Advanced Search



September 2003

Chris Gainor

The summer of Mars has lived up to its promise, and then some. Although clouds marred the night of August 26, when Mars made its closest passage to Earth, the next night was magnificent.

Sid Sidhu should be congratulated for his initiative in organizing the Mars public viewing event at Cattle Point in Oak Bay. He deserves even more kudos for having the foresight to know that the evening of August 27 would be clear, unlike the night before. Sid, you've done it again!

When I arrived at the south parking lot at Cattle Point that evening, a large crowd was awaiting a telescope. I set up immediately, and people looked at Mars through my scope without a break for more than two hours.

I gave scores of people a brief glimpse of the Red Planet. Some people told me they waited more than an hour for their look, and most were incredibly grateful for the chance at even a short moment's glimpse of Mars.

Many other Victoria Centre members had their telescopes at the north parking lot of Cattle Point that evening too, and they report similar experiences. Those who arrived well in advance of nightfall to set up their scopes were greeted by crowds of people anxious to see our celestial neighbour.

When the crowds subsided and I was able to spend some time of my own at the eyepiece, I was impressed with the view of Mars' polar cap and some of its surface features. These features showed up better that night than they had even the weekend before. The seeing was excellent.

Out of the thousands of people who turned up at Cattle Point and on other nights at the DAO, I'm sure some will join our ranks. And many others read or heard about us in the media. RASCals from every part of Canada also took out their scopes for public events and reported similar levels of public interest.

All summer we had generally clear skies, and we were amply rewarded with many excellent looks at the Red Planet. The Mars observing season for me began at the highly successful Cowichan Valley Star Party in late July, and it will continue beyond our own Star Party the weekend of September 20.

If you haven�t had a look, get out your scope or join a fellow member for a look at Mars. The Star Party will provide excellent opportunities to see Mars and many other objects. Remember, opportunities like this summer's Mars opposition come along only every few thousand years!

� 2010 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre
All text and images are Copyright their respective owners
Victoria Centre adheres to our National Privacy Policy
Website: - Contact us -
Victoria Centre Council
RASC Victoria Centre does not endorse nor is responsible for the content of external websites. External links will open in a new window.
Last updated: February 26, 2010

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is dedicated to the promotion of astronomy and its related sciences; we espouse the scientific method, and support dissemination of discoveries and theories based on that well-tested method.

Welcome to our website!
We would very much appreciate your feedback to
Victoria Centre Council

We are on Facebook

Web hosting & email services donated by
JoeTourist InfoSystems