2014 General Assembly in Victoria

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President's Message - July 2008

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by Joe Carr

WorldWide TelescopeAs mentioned in my June President's message, I was recently interviewed by a local TV station about Virtual Observing using the WorldWide Telescope (WWT).  This new free online service offered by Microsoft Research includes a slick planetarium program and sky tours, and it also offers online collaboration tools to allow anyone with a web connection to show others what excites them about the cosmos.

At the recent national RASC Council meeting held in conjunction with the General Assembly in Toronto, Council endorsed an initiative to take advantage of this new technology.  RASC will host a WWT Community which will enable us to take astronomy to the public in new ways. If you browse the WorldWide Telescope website, you will see three Communities hosted by Astronomy magazine, Meade 4M, and Sky & Telescope magazine.  I have volunteered to coordinate this effort on behalf of RASC.  As I said to Peter Jedicke, the sponsor of this initiative, "We should be able to do that, and more!".  RASC produces so much content that we can use online: the Journal, Observer's Handbook, and Beginner's Observing Guide, to mention a few.  If we tap into the excellent photography our members from across the country are producing , and make use of other valuable resources produced by our Centres, the possible ways we can reach out to the public are virtually endless.  I think RASC members will also want to join this Community, since it will reflect their society back to them in forms they have yet to experience.

RASC members have a long-standing history of taking astronomy to the people, and I think WWT is an evolutionary step forward which will allow us to participate in a new online experience.  I think the public will find our Community to be both enjoyable and educational, and if we happen to sign up a few new members in the process, so much the better!

Speaking of taking astronomy to the people, the Technical Committee from the Observatory Project has put in extra effort to setup and configure our newly-purchased a Meade 14" SCT mounted on the Paramount ME in record time.  We still need to purchase a few accessories to complete the package, but the telescope is producing very nice astro-photographs, as the Test Images show.  The Victoria Centre Observatory is now operational - the Technical Committee members are hosting weekly observing sessions for Members Only  on  Wednesday evenings during the summer months from 9:00PM until 11:00PM.  Feel free to come up and try out our new observatory.  By all accounts, everyone is very impressed with the visual treats from our new gear.



2008 General Assembly Report - Chris Gainor is our national rep, and has written an interesting report of the highlights of the GA held at the end of June 2008.


Island Star Party - July 4 & 5, 2008 - our friends in the Cowichan Valley Star Finders are staging their annual star party at the Victoria Fish and Game Association property atop the Malahat.


RASCals Star Party - August 29-31, 2008 - our own annual star party also held at the Victoria Fish and Game Association property atop the Malahat.

If you are not already signed up to the RASCVic Email List (Members only), I would suggest you subscribe by sending me an email.  Don't miss out on late-breaking events and opportunities to observe with your fellow members that often happen over the summer months.


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Last updated: December 12, 2013

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