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President's Message - Feb 2004

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February 2004

Chris Gainor

The Victoria Centre Council is dealing with many important issues that relate to our great past, and more importantly to our future.

At our most recent council meeting, we officially named Bill Almond our Centre Historian and accepted his proposal to celebrate our Centre's 90th anniversary at our March members' meeting.

For our future, council decided to proceed with plans to expand our outreach efforts by purchasing imaging and projection equipment to better show the wonders of the universe to our members and to the general public.

Council is also working on some important questions that certainly interest many members, and we want to have your input. Our Honourary President, George Ball, is generously offering his astronomical equipment to the Centre, and we are in the process of looking at this equipment and deciding how best to use it.

Much of George's astronomical equipment is attached to a permanent mount in his observatory. If we are to use this equipment, we will have to move it to another permanent site.

While council is considering storing this astronomical equipment for a time, we need to have some discussions about a permanent observation site for the centre. Two possibilities are to locate these telescopes at the DAO or at Pearson College, but these two locations have downsides as well as upsides.

Many members have talked about setting up a new observing site wholly owned or controlled by the centre. If we are to have such a site, we have several important issues to deal with.

First is the question of purchasing a site. If we take this route, we will have to raise money, and that will involve a major commitment of time and effort by many members. Choosing a site involves many thorny questions including price, convenience of access, and the quality of sky in the area.

Then there are questions such as site security, and the management of observatory construction and operation. These will involve ongoing commitments of time and work by members. And solutions will require a strong measure of good will, because the answers to these questions will not please everyone.

We will keep members in touch with our decisions about George's astronomical equipment. All members of council want to hear whether or not you believe that this is the time to begin work on a new centre observatory, or whether we should consider other alternatives.

90th Anniversary

On March 6, the Victoria Centre will be 90 years old. Council has decided that our regular March meeting on March 10 will honour this milestone with a special lecture by our centre  historian, Bill Almond. As well, we will have cake and coffee in the meeting room to celebrate this anniversary.

Bill is a past president of our Centre who is writing the history of the Victoria Centre. Last fall, he was the recipient of the Newton-Ball Award for his service to this Centre.

The Victoria Centre held its founding meeting on March 6, 1914, and the following month, the national council of the RASC welcomed the new centre to the fold.

We urge all members to join us at this anniversary meeting. We are extending a special invitation to the staff of the DAO and the faculty and students of the UVic Physics and Astronomy Department.


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Last updated: December 12, 2013

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