President's Message - April 2010

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By John McDonald

Light Pollution Abatement (LPA) is our focus this year and it appears that we are far from alone in our attempts to tackle this very difficult issue. The May issue of Sky and Telescope has the theme "Bring Back the Night" and asks the question "can reverse light pollution". Kelly Beatty has a thoughtful article that gives some reasons for at least cautious optimism that a new mindset and new technology may help. If it is to succeed it needs the committed help of amateur astronomers and other nature lovers all over the world. If you are interested in helping consider joining the LPA group. Just send me a message indicating your area of interest.

On another potentially thorny topic, you may know that our parent body has raised our fees for RASC membership by $3 this year and will be raising it another $3 in 2011. I thought about the issue a lot over the last month and both Chris Gainor, our National Representative and I listened carefully to comments of our Victoria Centre members. Most accepted that it probably had to happen but worried about the impact on membership. That got me thinking about what we get for our fees. Apart from the obvious benefits that you know about, membership in an organization which has been and still is an important part of the astronomy scene in Canada, getting annual copies of the Observers Guide, and 6 issues of Sky News magazine each year are some tangible benefits.

It is important to remind ourselves that some benefits are less visible but even more crucial for our Centre. For example, the insurance that National provides makes it possible for us to hold star parties and public events including the Saturday evenings at the CU. Also, without that insurance our IYA activities would have been severely curtailed. For example, we would not have been able to do hold events in malls or other public venues and finding a venue for a star party venue would be next to impossible.

So, all things considered, when you renew you membership think about the fact that we need a healthy National organization to function as successfully as we do. That may ease the pain a bit.

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Last updated: January 29, 2014

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.

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