Astronomy Cafe – Sep 20, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Remembering Ed Maxfield – David Lee
  • Earth – Potentially Habitable Planet – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • Earth is pretty small…some comparisons with larger celestial objects
    • Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter, Alpha Centauri, the Sun, Sirius, Vega, Bellatrix, Pollux, Sagittarius A, Beta Centauri,  Arcturus, Aldebaran, Rigel, Deneb, Rho Cassiopeia, Betelgeuse.
    • Red Hyper-giants:  Uy Scuti, Stephenson 2-18
    • Supermassive Black Holes: Cygnus A, Messier 84, Hercules A
    • Primary ultra-massive Black Holes: Messier 87, OJ 287
    • Ton 618 – Hyper-luminous Quasar (13.1 billion Light Years away)
  • M33 – The Triangulum Galaxy – Reg Dunkley
    • Unusual rotation indicated Dark Matter (first proposed by Vera Rubin)
    • Part of the Local Group of galaxies
    • Since it’s so faint visually, Reg uses photos to observe this galaxy – a stack of over 6 hours of subframes
    • M33 in Hydrogen Alpha photo by Dan Meek, Calgary Centre
      • NGC 604 and 595 – knots of stellar activity – nebulae and star clusters
    • Dave Payne’s photos showing NGC 604 and 595
    • Dorothy has sketched M33 from a dark observing site
  • Photos by John McDonald
    • Deer Lick Group and Stefan’s Quintet – test photo from the two telescopes at the VCO
    • Comparing the distances of the objects – millions of Light Years away
    • Eta Carina nebula photo – newly processed using PixInsight – with and without stars, and original
    • UGC12127 – nearby cluster of galaxies suggested by Dorothy & Miles Paul
    • Starnet++ – a standalone app to remove stars suggested by Dave Payne
  • Edmonton Centre photos – Dave Robinson
    • NGC 1499 – California Nebula (2 orientations) by Tom Owen 
    • Jupiter sequence of photos – Abdur Anwar and Arnold Rivera
    • Saturn – Abdur Anwar and Arnold Rivera
    • Andromeda Galaxy taken with a simple, non-tracking setup using camera and lens – Alister Ling
  • Hubble deep field photo – Brock Johnston
  • SIGs – meeting online
    • Astrophotography – Wednesday
    • Makers – Thursday
  • Fall Fairfield – RASC Victoria will be at this FGCA public event in the field – Sunday at Noon – Randy Enkin to email a notice to members

Astronomy Cafe – Sep 13, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Astro Cafe is not going to in-person meetings until the health regulations relax – contact Chris Purse or Randy Enkin if you have thoughts on how to move forward
  • History of Women in Astronomy – Marjie Welchframe
    • Dr. Tanya Harrison – “professional Martian”, planetary scientist, science team for Mars rovers
  • Finding and Observing RS Oph – star-hopping to a recurrent variable star – David Lee
    • AAVSO variable star visual observing
    • Variable star RS Oph magnitude changes more radically than most other variables
    • How he visually observed the RS Oph variable star
    • AAVSO (digital) results
  • Astrophysics of RS Ophiuchus – Recurrent Variable Binary System – Randy Enkin
  • Roadtrip to Winnipeg – Nathan and Bryan Mestelman
    • Stayed at a cottage at a dark site near Lake Winnipeg – aurora borealis, Milky Way, Moon
    • Milky Way at Lake Louise aligned with the glacier
    • Bryan explained how his Nikon camera tracked the stars at Lake Louise
  • QED – The Strange Theory of Light and Matter – review of a book by Richard Feynman – Dave Payne
    • Quantum mechanics all the way through to fine arts
    • This book needs to be read several times!
    • Richard Feynman’s lecture series are available online at no cost, if you are a physics nerd
  • Edmonton Centre astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Stanger Hills – a new observing site
    • Milky Way by Alister Ling
    • Soul Nebula – Tom Owen
    • Pluto – Dennis Boucher

Astronomy Cafe – Aug 30, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Local professional astronomer Frank Younger died at 80 years old – Jim Hesser
    • zoom service on Friday Sept 3 at 3:00PM (zoom Passcode: Frank)
  • RASC Exploring Exoplanets course – Aug 4 – Sep 1 – David Lee
    • Using the RASC robotic telescope and CCD camera to measure changes in brightness
    • Differential photometry generates a transit light curve from occultation
    • Using AstroImageJ software for data processing
    • Report results to AAVSO’s Exoplanet Watch program
  • Editing NASA Raw Data – Mars Perseverance and Junocam – David Lee
    • Presentation by Pete Williamson engaging UK youth in processing NASA data
  • Solar photos
    • Solar disk yesterday using a white light filter – Joe Carr
    • Calcium-K and Ha revealed many surface features – Arnold Rivera (Edmonton)
  • Openings, a time lapse of a Hibiscus blooming – by John McDonald
  • Observing as Galileo did – Bill Weir
    • Using Victoria Centre’s replica Galileo telescope to observe with
    • Specs: 26mm aperture, 1000mm f/l = f/37
    • Sketching Jupiter’s moons using the telescope
    • Will also observe Saturn and Venus
    • Telescope is very difficult to point and use effectively
  • Photos inspired by the Explore the Moon program – Brian Barber
    • Photos of the Moon taken through a Dobsonian telescope with 25mm, 7.4mm and 10mm eyepieces
    • Some optical illusion showing a bear shape on the Lunar surface
  • Next Monday is Labour Day, so no Astro Cafe
  • Current health orders preclude us from restarting in-person meetings. We had planned to restart Astronomy Cafe for mid-September at the Fairfield site, but Victoria Centre has rented the space, so we will keep members posted when the situation improves.

Astronomy Cafe – August 23, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

  • Mark Wheen at Pearson College wants to train some people to operate the 25″ telescope – members should contact Bill Weir if interested
  • Astrophotos from Victoria Centre members
    • Intro from John McDonald
    • Brock Johnston – online gallery
      • Using new ASI 2600 camera (one shot colour)
        • Cocoon Nebula
        • Fireworks Galaxy
        • Andromeda Galaxy – 3 nights
        • Deer Lick Group – SCT Celestron Edge 9.25″
        • Jupiter 
          • Using video from ASI120 OSC planetary imaging camera
          • De-rotated about 1 minute clips
        • Saturn
          • Using video from ASI120 OSC planetary imaging camera
          • Doesn’t need to be de-rotated
        • Processing of planets: PIP > WinJupos > AutoStakkert
      • Pick objects that are rising in the eastern sky, so there is time to image them
    • Dave Payne – online gallery
      • Rosette Nebula – taken 10 months ago
        • H2 cloud, UV radiation
        • Big – about 1 degree across
        • 127mm refractor, 660mm f/l
      • Tulip Nebula – Sharpless catalog
        • Smaller
        • CDK 12.5″ 2540mm f/l
        • H2 cloud
        • Note Cygnus X1 on left side of field of view, some purple clouds driven by the Black Hole’s accretion disk
      • Iris Nebula
        • Much closer than the other nebulae
        • Blue colour indicates that this is a reflection nebula
        • PAH – life can be formed when this is present
    • Dan Posey – online gallery
      • Rho Ophiuchus – short focal length – modified dSLR, camera lens & small tracker
      • Comet NEOWISE – modified dSLR, camera lens & small tracker
      • California Nebula – tri-band filter with Askar 108mm 600mm f/l
      • Uses Starnet – to subtract and add back the stars using neural net processing
      • M81, M82 –  Milky Way background structure revealed by doing some exotic processing technique
      • Eagle Nebula – imaging from a balcony downtown at 400mm using SBIG 8300 – compared with imaging from the VCO 16″ TPO RC computer
      • NGC 7318 interacting galaxy pair – imaging using the Plaskett telescope
      • RASC Victoria might have imaging time on the Plaskett in October, so send Dan any objects of interest (if you are on the Active Observers’ email list)
    • Garry Sedun – online gallery
      • XM2000 monochrome camera, 20″ Newtonian astrograph
        • Horsehead Nebula
        • M51 galaxies
      • Moravian 16200 imager, 20″ Newtonian astrograph
        • M82 galaxy revealing the jet –
        • Jellyfish Nebula – colour and monochrome wavelengths – star colours still need work
        • M81 galaxy and blue dwarf companion galaxy – two versions
    • John McDonald – online gallery
    • Discussion among the astro imagers on technique, optics, sites, conditions
  • Scientific Narrative – Ken Atkinson
    • Ventu Sky – interesting weather maps
    • Human genomes
    • Highly magnetized  and rapidly rotating white dwarf as small as the moon
    • Books
      • Birth of a Theorem – Cedric Villani
      • Cantor’s Dilemma – Carl Djerassi
      • Newton’s Darkness: Two Dramatic Views – Carl Djerassi
      • Berlin in lights – the diaries of Count Harry Kessler – mentions dining with the Einsteins and other famous people

Astronomy Cafe – Aug 16, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

Location, Location, Location (Plaskett history) – Dennis Crabtree, NRC Herzberg

  • John Stanley Plaskett – took lots of photos
  • Site testing for proposed 72″ telescope used a Cooke 4.5″ equatorially-mounted telescope, mainly operated by W.E. Harper
  • Plaskett’s 1913 tour to Medicine Hat, Penticton, Victoria (for possible observing sites), then the USA before returning to Ottawa
  • Victoria site on Observatory Hill was the obvious choice after site testing
  • Q&A
    • Plaskett’s photos were “lost from memory” – Dennis discovered them in the archives
    • Plaskett hired Edward Fleming as a photographer for the observatory site construction
    • 1 arc second seeing at the Victoria site seems too good to be true – site testing today is done over years, not weeks. See Harper’s paper for the site testing report.
    • Plaskett 72″ mirror was replaced in the 1980s with modern glass
    • High resolution scans of glass plates and negatives are impressive
  • Dennis wants to present these historic photos to the world – archival site

  • Astronomy Cafe – Sep 13 meeting – first in-person Astronomy Cafe in Fairfield
  • Perseid Meteor Shower on Aug 12th – Sid Sidhu
    • All-sky camera – 2 composite photos covering 2 hours each
    • July 13th – sporadic meteor
    • Feb 23rd – another sporadic meteor with gas plasma visible
    • Discussion about meteor trains, fireballs and bolides
  • Jupiter & Perseid photos – Randy Enkin
    • Double transit of Jupiter’s moons with their shadows merging – Christopher Go
    • Perseid Meteor shower photos of note from the Internet
  • Edmonton photos – Dave Robinson
    • Noctilucent clouds – Alister Ling
  • Cave Nebula photos by Dave Payne – processed and presented by John McDonald
  • Events – Lauri Roche
  • Progress on Andromeda Galaxy mosaic – Dave Payne

Astronomy Cafe – August 9, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of meeting

  • Randy Enkin
    • Mars Retrograde – July 7, 2020 to Jan 27, 2021 at 7-day intervals from the Phillipines
    • Meteor shower in real time from Mauna Kea, Hawaii
    • ISS Synchronized Swimming Program and other space Olympics
    • Announcements
      • UVic Observatory Open House – game show this Wednesday evening
      • Fall Fairfield – Sept 26th – volunteers needed for astronomy display
  • Perseid Meteor Shower info – John McDonald
    • Perseids peak next week – 100/hour
    • Caused by debris from a comet or asteroid
    • Meteoroid (small rock in space) becomes a Meteor when it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. A Meteorite is a Meteor that survives the descent to the surface of the Earth.
    • How to photograph a meteor shower
    • Small Solar System Bodies – asteroids, comets and meteoroids
    • Q&A
    • Personal observations of meteor showers
  • AstrophotosDave Payne
    • Cave Nebula
    • Mosaic of the Andromeda Nebula – work in progress
  • AstrophotosBrock Johnston
    • Sadr region
    • Cocoon Nebula
    • Andromeda Nebula
    • Fireworks Galaxy
    • Used a new OSC camera for the last two photos – ZWO ASI2600MC Pro
  • Ophiuchus Nova outburst – David Lee
  • Astrophotos from Edmonton Centre – John McDonald (for Dave Robinson)
    • Jupiter & 3 moons
    • ISS transit across the Sun
  • Nathan observed Ganymede and Europa crossing paths last night
  • Diane Bell’s Memorial – Lauri Roche
    • August 15th – 1-2PM at BC Aviation Museum
    • Diane’s brother Gord to conduct a short tour of the museum afterward
  • FDAO Star Party – next is an astrophotography star party on August 21st

Astronomy Cafe – July 26, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • The Heart of the Crab Nebula – Reg Dunkley
    • M1 sketched by Philip Teece
    • Images by Reg, John McDonald, Garry Sedun, and other members
    • Image and 3D model from CFHT – SITELLE spectrograph
    • Various analysis of the nebula and how this Supernova and pulsar shockwave nebula is changing size and shape
    • Discussion of Fast Fourier Transforms – used in audio processing, CHIME data beam forming, and other endeavors
    • Spectacular ‘Honeycomb Heart’ Revealed in Iconic Stellar Explosion – Martin, Milisavlievic, Drissen, et al
  • FDAO Star Party – Aug 7th – Lauri Roche
  • Diane Bell Memorial at the Aviation Museum – Aug 15 at 1PM – Lauri Roche
    • Presentation of Diane’s Service Award to her family
    • Tour of the museum by Gord Bell, Diane’s brother
  • The Centaurus A (NGC 5128) Black Hole – Randy Enkin
    • In the southern sky
    • History of the discovery of Centaurus A galaxy
    • Radio, X-ray and visible emissions, along with a jet of high speed particles being emitted – a baby quasar
    • Event Horizon Telescope – April 2017 observations just published
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Astrophotography – this Wed
    • Beginners – next Tues
    • EAA – next Thu
  • Observatory Construction on Day 1 – Michel Michaud
    • Staked out his backyard in Saint-Anaclet, Quebec
    • Sonotube – at least 5′ deep
    • Rented a Kobota digger
    • Hit rock at 4′
    • Getting construction advice from Bruno Quenneville, Charles Banville, and others
    • Proposed equipment: Paramount MX+, Celestron Edge 14″, Star Sharp 94 Triplet
    • Discussion about some observatory construction details

Astronomy Cafe – July 19, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • ISS Transits of the Moon – Randy Enkin
    • Enkins Daily Moon on Facebook
    • Lunar Eclipse and Solar Eclipse with ISS transiting – Thierry Legault
    • ISS Transit Finder
    • Photo of the ISS and Mars – by Tom Glenn
  • Hubble status – Chris Gainor
    • Hubble HST Computer Problem is solved with the swap to the backup Control Unit/Science Data Formatter
    • First images from rebooted Hubble
    • Operating on 3 out of 6 gyros
    • James Webb and Kepler space telescopes discussed
  • FDAO Star Party – Lauri Roche
    • Solar observing early at 7:30PM – David Lee & Sid Sidhu
    • 8-11PM this Saturday – history of the Plaskett telescope by Dan Posey
    • Scott Wilkinson and Dennis Crabtree – narrator and Ask An Astronomer
    • Event info
  • RASC National – Lauri Roche
    • RASC Robotic telescope demo of acquiring exoplanet data – Samantha Hewitt and Jenna Hinds -Wed nights starting in August –  more info
    • Aug 29th – EPO Astrophotography processing workshop for data from the Mars Perseverance mission – info pending
  • Diane Bell Tribute – planned for Aug 15th, Sunday afternoon at the Aviation Museum – tour by Gord Bell
  • UVic Observatory Open House this Wednesday evening – David Lee
  • NOVA – New Observers of Visual Astronomy program – Lauri Roche
    • Modules are being revamped so it is both virtual and in-person
    • Being done over about four months
  • Edmonton photo – noctilucent clouds – presented by Dave Robinson
  • Victoria Centre photos
    • Venus & Mars conjunction – Mike Webb
    • Solar prominences & surface features – John McDonald
    • Test photos using the new telescopes at Victoria Centre observatory – John McDonald
  • Observing Planets
    • Planets in good positions at 3AM
    • Visual observing of planets at more civilized hours coming up in a few weeks’ time
  • Moon observers – Lauri Roche
    • Completing the RASC Lunar Observing programs
    • Lunar atlases that are useful for finding features
  • The Last Stargazers a book by Emily Levesque – David Lee
  • Resuming in-person meetings discussed
    • Astronomy Cafe in Fairfield – likely to resume mid-September in hybrid form (online & in-person)
    • Monthly meetings at UVic – no plans in place yet
    • Annual picnic at Pearson College observatory – possibly late August, depending on Bill Weir’s schedule

Astronomy Cafe – July 12, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

Mike Nash and Randy Enkin hosted a special Lunar Session,  joined by special guests Brian Day and Gary Varney.

Brian is deputy staff scientist at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. He manages data visualization and analysis projects supporting missions including Artemis. He was Education/Public Outreach lead for the LCROSS and LADEE lunar missions and has participated in various Mars analog field studies.

Gary is an amateur astronomer, planetary astrophotographer, creator of Amateur Astronomy Selenology Project on Facebook, owner/operator Varney Observatory in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and works as Telescope Technician at OPT. Online photo gallery

  • Intro – Randy Enkin
    • Clavius photos by Mike Nash & Gary Varney
    • Amateur Astronomy Selenology Project – review of the Lunar 100
    • Gary Varney and Brian Day intros
  • Lunar Imaging – Gary Varney
    • Lunar Processing Overview video
      • AutoStakkert demo
      • Registax – demo of wavlet sharpening
      • Photoshop – demo of finishing the image
    • Filters
      • Green – helps with ghosting
      • IR650 or IR742 – improvements over standard seeing
    • Completing the Lunar 100 photographically – Gary’s current mission
  • NASA’s Lunar Tools & Missions – Brian Day
    • Mare Crisium – Horseshoe Crater is a breached cinder cone
    • NASA buying commercial “rides” – Firefly Aerospace
    • Moon Trek – online tool for analyzing lunar data from missions
      • GIS for the Moon
      • Generate an STL file for a 3D print of the lunar surface features
      • Draw a path – QR code to flythrough using generic Google goggles on a smartphone 
      • Fly-to features
      • Data layers – helps to interpret the surface features
      • Also displays data from other solar system objects
    • Viper mission to the Moon – rover in 2023
      • Prospecting for water-ice
      • Want amateur photos of the mission area on the south pole
    • Missions to other areas of the Moon
    • 2 landings per year coming up soon
  • Q&A to Brian and Gary
    • US-based teachers can borrow lunar samples for the classroom
    • Touchable Moon rock (fallen to Earth) can be made available
    • Dial-a-Moon – online tool for finding lunar features
  • Lunar imaging – Mike Nash
    • Mostly using a big refractor 
    • 7″ or 8″ Mak for higher resolution
    • Filters – uses various, depending on conditions
    • Daytime lunar imaging is working well
  • Lunar poem by Bruce McCurdy – read by Peter Jedicke
  • Variable Star observing – David Lee
  • Edmonton astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Pumpkin Moon rising over Edmonton – Alister Ling & Luca Vanzella
    • Etruscan vase or omega effect with the Sun setting or rising over the ocean – query by Peter Geldart from Ottawa Centre
    • Jupiter and moon time lapse video – Abdur Anwar
  • Other photo sharing
    • Mars, Venus &  Crescent Moon – Brian Day
    • Venus &  Crescent Moon – Logan Grauer, Alec Lee
    • Ha image of  solar prominences, the Sun & ISS – Brian Day
    • Comet NEOWISE  C/2020 F3 – a tribute video by Debra Ceravolo 
    • Jupiter, moons and shadows – Gary Varney

Astronomy Cafe – July 5, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting transcript video

  • Intro – Chris Purse
    • Next week’s Astro Cafe – Lunar session – Randy Enkin & Mike Nash
    • Photos of the July 4th fireworks from Lopez Island by Randy Enkin
  • Astrophotography of the Year 2021 – Royal Observatory, Greenwich – a short list by Barbara Lane
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Moonsweep – rising Moon over Edmonton time lapse – Luca Vanzella & Alister Ling
    • Solar images – Abdur Anwar using a solar filter and C8
    • Solar sunspot sketches – Berta Beltran
    • All sky display of noctilucent clouds time lapse – Murray Paulson
  • Dave Payne’s M57 image data reprocessed – John McDonald
  • SIGs – David Lee
  • Hubble – David Lee & Chris Gainor
    • Uses 386-based processors, upgraded to 486
    • Video on Hubble current status – an explanation of what’s happening
    • Discussion about Hubble systems and updates
  • Henrietta Leavitt Memorial Horizon Watch – July 4th, 2021 – Reg Dunkley
    • Lopez Island fireworks display
    • 28 kms away eastward
    • 5 members setup at Cattle Point
    • Sequence of photos of fireworks
  • Victoria Centre Observatory report – Reg Dunkley
    • Work party getting the two new telescopes operational
    • Refining the pointing accuracy of the Paramount ME with the new telescopes now mounted
    • Discussion about removal of existing Takahashi focuser so Feathertouch focuser can be mounted and used
    • Servicing the Paramount gearing
  • DASCH: Digital Access to a Sky Century – Harvard’s photographic plate collection
  • UVic Observatory Open House – this Wednesday – history of astronomy – zoom info provided in the chat