President's Message - April 2008

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by Joe Carr

Observatory Project

Bruno and his volunteers are finishing the building phase of the project. The power panel is installed and is live, however some wiring still needs to be done.  The automatic roof opener has been purchased, but not yet installed.  We are very close to moving into our new observatory! Informal discussions regarding the best telescope to purchase are underway, however no decisions will be made until we hear about the status of our grant application from the BC Gaming Commission.  Obviously a "yes" or "no" from BCGC will make a big difference to our budget for the coming year.  The Paramount ME and computer systems are being worked on by the newly-struck Technical Committee.  We continue to be under budget and on time for the Observatory Project, thanks to our dedicated group of volunteers.   Observatory Project


The highlight of March has to be the success of the Night Sky Viewing in Fairfield held March 17th 2008, 6:30 pm to 10:00 at the Garry Oak Room, Sir James Douglas School and in the playgrounds nearby. We staged this public event in cooperation with the Fairfield Community Association. There were inside activities: telescope and binocular equipment demonstrations, audiovisual presentations relating to the night sky, as well as night sky telescope viewing outside.  The weather didn't look promising in the late afternoon, but it cleared in time for this event! About 100 members of the public took this opportunity to enjoy the wonders of the night sky with telescopes provided by our members.

It won't be long before the star parties are upon us, so check out my President's Message for last month to read a handy listing, or refer to the Upcoming Events listing to be found in the April Skynews.

Simon Newcomb Award

"The Simon Newcomb Award is intended to encourage members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada to write on the topic of astronomy for the Society or the general public, and to recognize the best published works through an annual award."

I am very pleased to announce that Gary Seronik will be presented with the RASC Simon Newcomb Award at the upcoming General Meeting being held in Toronto in a few month's time.  Gary is a member of Victoria Centre and lives here, although his writing contributions to Sky & Telescope magazine probably make his name better known to most of us.  I would like to quote a few excerpts from the citation he will receive:

"Gary Seronik has authored numerous articles and books about astronomy since he began writing for Sky & Telescope� magazine in 1996. Gary has been a member of RASC since 1993, and is currently a member of Victoria Centre. An experienced observer and telescope maker, Gary joined the staff of S&T full-time as an associate editor in 1998. Astronomy has been a life-long passion for Gary � he began subscribing to S&T in 1973 when he was only 12 years old!

His knowledge of optics and equipment has served him well as editor of the magazine's Amateur Telescope Making department and as a frequent contributor to S&T Test Reports. Gary has also encouraged many amateur astronomers to write articles for publication. Victoria Centre members have had the benefit of his mentoring to improve their writing skills, and he has largely been responsible for giving them the confidence to publish their work. Gary has taken time out of his busy schedule to participate in many star parties.

Any issue of Sky & Telescope� magazine or his books contain many examples of Gary�s excellent style of writing, which popularizes amateur astronomy to an exceedingly large readership. Gary never fails to present amateur astronomy as an exciting and rewarding pastime and vocation, and he encourages others to do the same."

Congratulations Gary, from all members of Victoria Centre.


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