President's Message - June 2011

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June 2011

by Lauri Roche

Ahhh�. Can you feel the warmer weather seeping in through your bones? This past weekend there were actually two nights in a row that were clear and warmer than we have had in the last eight months. The proof that summer has arrived, if anyone needed it, was to see the deck in front of the Victoria Centre Observatory on Friday evening covered with telescopes so thick you practically had to turn sideways to walk on through and then, on Saturday, to engage with a large enthusiastic crowd up at the Centre of the Universe for night sky viewing. We are back in business! I hope you will be able to join in some time soon.

Random conversations heard on the observing nights:

Wow! ( a few of those)
The moon looks so close.
What are those bits on the side of the craters?
I thought Saturn would be bigger.
All I see is a fuzzy patch. (a few of those too)
It is so warm I haven�t even put on my jacket yet.
D*&^%m mosquitoes.
Where did they come from?
Come and look at this!
What a nice night.
Is it that late already?

What was so nice this weekend was that there were new observers and the �regulars�, there were mentors and students of the practise of observing who need mentoring (that would be me). There were people who wanted to know how to make something work, or to figure out what they were looking at or wanted to try out someone else�s eyepieces ( that also would be me�thanks Nelson) and there were always other people there to give advice, lend a piece of equipment and share in the discoveries. It is certainly one of the many pleasures of being part of our astronomical community.

If you have not thought about becoming an active observer at the VCO then now is the time. Every Friday night we have Members � in-Charge who facilitate the site. We have great equipment including our 14� telescope with all the bells and whistles for viewing and astrophotography and a fantastic 20� Dobsonian. You can bring your own telescope or just bring yourself. Just check in with Sherry Buttnor, our Second Vice President, for all the details about becoming an Active Observer.

Any member can come up to the Center of the Universe at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory on top of Little Saanich Mountain on Saturday evenings in the summer to help out with the public. You can bring a telescope or binoculars if you have them but, if not, just come on up and chat with people. Other public outreach observing opportunities in the summer are in Esquimalt for Buccaneer Days, The Strawberry Fair at Elk Lake, and the Saanich Fair. And, of course, I hope you will all come to Metchosin at the end of July for our Annual Rascals Star Party. (Read more about this in the newsletter and keep an eye out for details online - RASCals Star Party).

Above all, get out there some time this summer and take some time to look up. Be it on your own, or with a friend or neighbour, as a random sidewalk astronomy session, or with a crowd at the star party, take time to observe our skies. As one young observer last Saturday said, �This is really cool!�

Yes, �.it is.


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Last updated: January 29, 2014

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