Cool Edmonton Morning and Other Images from Prairie RASCals
New 130 mm Refractor Placed On VCO Mount
Dan Posey and Matt Watson attached the Takahashi TOA 130 S refractor to the tube of the OGS 12.5 Inch RC reflector. They are now balanced on the Paramount ME Mount at the VCO. Funding has been approved to purchase components to attach existing Feather Touch focuser to the refractor as well as a focal reducer that will allow it to function in both f/7.7 and f/5.4 modes.
FDAO Virtual Star Party – 7 PM Saturday January 23rd
The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory are inviting you to their virtual star party which begins at 7PM on Saturday, January 23rd.
Pan-STARRS Observer, Thomas Lowe will deliver an interesting presentation entitled:
PAN-STARRS – A MAUI MARVEL
The PANoramic Survey Telescope And Rapid Response System is a world class facility on the summit of Haleakala that has made significant contributions to the field of astronomy. The Pan-STARRS project consists of two 2m-class wide field telescopes each equipped with giga-pixel CCD cameras. The observing strategy is optimized to search the sky for transient objects. PS1 has been collecting science data since 2010 and PS2 was commissioned in the spring of 2018. This talk will highlight some of its scientific achievements.
Click this Zoom Link to join the party. If you get prompted for a password, it’s May061918
Victoria Centre is forming Special Interest Groups
THIS JUST IN! Due, in large part to the initiative of Victoria Centre RASCal David Lee, the Victoria Centre is planning to establish a number of Special Interest Groups. Click this link to learn more.
New Refractor Arrives at Victoria Centre Observatory
The Victoria Centre acquired a beautiful Takahashi TAO 130 S refractor on Monday. This 130 mm F7.7 refractor has a focal length of 1000 mm. The apochromatic triplet objective is made of extra low dispersion FPL52 and FPL53 O’Hara glass which minimizes chromatic aberration. This scope will be attached to the tube of the 12.5 Inch F8.6 OGS Richey Chretien reflector that is installed on the robust Paramount ME mount.
Victoria Centre RASCal and Port Alberni resident Mike Krempotic is the previous owner of this refractor. It is in mint condition and Mike kindly drove down from Port Alberni on Monday morning and delivered it to the VCO. Due to COVID restrictions it may take a while for this scope to be fully commissioned but it will be an exciting addition to the VCO.
While on site, Mike, an enthusiastic owner of Obsession Dobsonian reflectors, inspected our 20 Inch Obsession, made some adjustments and provided a number of valuable suggestions to improve the performance of this scope. We will be installing Argo Navis setting circles to this reflector soon which promises to allow celestial objects to be located quickly and accurately.
BC Yukon Science Virtual Science Fair Looking for Judges
Every year, science fairs offer thousands of students in BC and Yukon the opportunity to develop original scientific research, innovative projects and 21st century learning skills. Students who develop science fair projects enjoy project-based learning that extends science beyond the classroom and encourages curiosity about topics of personal interest. The finalists of our provincial/territorial science fairs receive awards, scholarships and recognition for their achievements. Finalist status is also a prerequisite for competition at the Canada-Wide Science Fair. Judging is the highlight of the science fair experience for many students. Students love the opportunity to exchange ideas with specialists in their field. In return, most judges find talking with science fair participants to be a very positive experience. The energy, enthusiasm and inspiration students bring to their projects is contagious. In the midst of COVID-19, the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair is joining other science fairs across BC and Yukon in a fully virtual science fair. This is to ensure that every student across our province and territory has an opportunity to compete safely in a science fair this year.
As a judge of the 2021 BC/Yukon Virtual Science Fair, we ask that you:
· Register for judging by the deadline of Monday, February 15
Registration information includes contact details and questions about experience, qualifications, preferences (age categories, topics of interest), and availability, and should take approximately 5 minutes to complete.
Judge Me By My Size, Do You? Tales of the littlest galaxies that could – Dr. Matt Taylor
Matt Taylor, a post doc at Herzberg Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics, presented some of the latest research on Dwarf Galaxies, as well as his own personal story of how he made a career with astronomy.
History of Hubble Telescope Just Released
Victoria Centre RASCal, Dr. Chris Gainor, has just released his much anticipated book “NOT YET IMAGINED – a study of Hubble Space Telescope Operations”. While not yet available in bound copy it can be downloaded free of charge. In addition to a fascinating history, this is a beautiful volume containing many interesting and stunning images.
Introduction to Amateur Astronomy lecture series begins on January 23rd.
The Kalamazoo Astronomical Society is holding a five part introductory course on amateur astronomy via Zoom. This is the eight time that this course has been held but it is the first time that it has been offered online. The initial lecture will begin at 10AM PST on Saturday January 23rd. Learn more about this free course and register. Society president Richard Bell says people from all over the globe have registered so it may be wise to sign up early if you are interested.
RASCals national email list – members can subscribe
Local observing sites – a Google Map maintained by Jim Cliffe
The next Astro Cafe will be held Jan 11, 2021
Winter Storm And The Great Conjunction
The trailing edge of an active Pacific frontal system will move inland early Monday evening. The Environment Canada Astronomy Cloud Forecast predicts that skies in the Victoria area will clear by 8PM. This will be too late to enjoy the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn which will be best viewed near the western horizon around 5:30 PM PDT on Monday. You might want to have your grab and go scope at the ready just in case the front moves faster than anticipated. Then join us at the Astro Cafe Zoom Meeting at 7:30PM where we can weep or rejoice.
At 5:30 PM on Monday December 21st Jupiter will be 9 degrees above the horizon in the west. The angular separation of Jupiter and Saturn is 6 arc minutes 26 arc seconds … the closest it has been since 1623! Check it out!
Not Quite so Great Conjunction: Sunday December 20th
In case the weather is unfavourable on Monday evening you might want to give Sunday evening try. At 5:30 PM PST on Sunday December 20th, Jupiter is 9 deg 32 minutes above the horizon and the angular separation between Jupiter and Saturn is 7 arc minutes 43 arc seconds. Jupiter is only 1 arc minute 17 arc seconds closer to Saturn on Monday night than Sunday night which is only two Jupiter diameters closer!
SPEAKER: The Age and Parent Body of the Quadrantid meteoroid stream – Dr. Abedin Abedin, a postdoctoral fellow from NRC Herzberg
Abedin Abedin will share his research on meteoroid streams … the swarm of particles left in the wake of comets and near earth asteroids that cause meteor showers. This presentation is just in time to kindle enthusiasm for the Geminids. This is the strongest meteor shower of the year and will peak on the 13th of December.
Interesting Presentations Recommended by Jim Hesser …
Presentation on the Perseverance Rover
Jim Hesser writes: I highly recommend this recorded talk by Dr. Farah Alibay on NASA’s Perseverance rover (scheduled to land on Mars on 18 Feb. 2021). She is an excellent communicator who enriches the engineering story with many human interest elements. While anyone interested in planetary exploration would likely find it interesting, about fifteen minutes before the end of the recording she’s asked a question about what barriers she faced on her way to a great job at the Jet Propulsion Labooratory. Her answer will encourage and inspire any young person (particularly girls) to persevere in following their dreams.
“Mars 2020: The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Ottawa Centre in conjunction with the RASC Montréal Centre is excited to invite you to learn all about the Engineering of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission and the Perseverance Rover during a webinar by Montreal-born Dr. Farah Alibay. Dr. Alibay is a flight system engineer on the team that will “drive” the rover on Mars, having prior experience with 2 other Mars missions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Dr. Alibay possesses an undergraduate and master’s degree from the University of Cambridge in the U.K., and a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, all in Aerospace Engineering. We are pleased to co-host this exciting Zoom Webinar with the RASC Montréal Centre and the RASC NextGen Committee.”
The search for life as we don’t know it … a 30 minute conversation
Earth is the only place in the Universe where we know life definitely exists. But does that mean life, if it exists elsewhere, will always thrive in Earth-like conditions, with our particular set of chemicals, temperatures, and pressures?
On December 3rd, Heather Graham, a fellow in CIFAR’s Earth 4D: Subsurface Science & Exploration program and research associate at NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre, introduced her unique approach to the search for extraterrestrial life. She starts from the assumption that life in the universe need not have much in common with life on Earth, and looks for agnostic biosignatures that may help us find life that is different from the life we know on Earth. To watch, go to https://www.cifar.ca/virtual-talks. After registration you can view the conversation with her.
Solar Eclipses: Science and the Spectacle on December 14th
Meteor Shower Expert is Guest Speaker at the Astro Cafe on Monday December 7th.
The Geminids are usually the strongest meteor shower and this year they peak around the 13th of December which is a new moon. So if skies cooperate, conditions could be ideal for savouring this shower. In anticipation this event we have arranged for Abedin Abedin, a postdoctoral fellow at NRC Herzberg to share his research on meteoroid streams, the swarm of particles left in the wake of comets and near earth asteroids that cause meteor showers.
Title: “The age and parent body of the Quadrantids meteoroid stream”
Abstract: The Earth intersects the orbit of Quadrantids meteoroid stream every year around January 3-4, giving raise to the Quadrantid meteor shower. The Quadrantids are among the strongest meteor showers with Zenithal Hourly Rate ZHR~110-130. The Quadrantids are unique among other meteor showers: It has very short duration of just a few days with even narrower core activity which has a Full Width of Half Maximum (FWHM)~0.6 days – a strong proxy of a very young meteor shower. Secondly, the meteoroid stream has been linked to the Near-Earth Object 2003 EH1, – a body of asteroidal appearance. Meteoroid streams are generally associated with comets and to a lesser degree with asteroids, which raises an interesting question if 2003 EH1 is the nucleus of a dormant or recently extinct comet. Here, I will present on how we trace a meteoroid stream to a proposed parent body and how we determine the age of Quadrantids, which appears to be as young as 200 years. Furthermore, the Quadrantids have also been linked to comet 96P/Machholz, which gives rise to 7 additional meteor showers. I will also discuss the relationship between the Quadrantids, 2003 EH1 and comet 96P.
Biography: Abedin Abedin writes: I obtained my master’s degree in 2006 from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria. I then worked at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences for three years. In 2011 I started my PhD degree at the University of Western Ontario, London ON. I worked on determining the age of eight meteoroid streams, associated with comet 96P/Machholz. I completed my degree in September 2016. Since Aug. 2018, I’ve been a postdoctoral fellow at Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics at NRC, working on collisional probabilities and dust production rates in the trans-Neptunian Region.
Tales of the littlest galaxies that could … at UVic Observatory Open House Wednesday December 2nd
You are invited to a Zoom presentation at the UVic Observatory Open House at 7:30PM on Wednesday December 2nd. Dr. Matt Taylor a post doc at Herzberg Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics will discuss the important role that Dwarf Galaxies play. Entitled “Judge Me By My Size, Do You? Tales of the littlest galaxies that could.” this sounds like it will be entertaining as well as informative. Join the Zoom Meeting
Canadian France Hawaii Telescope Virtual Tour at UVic Observatory Open House
At 7:30PM on Wednesday November 25th, Cam Wipper, Remote Observer, at the CFHT will give us a virtual tour of the observatory and the telescope, as well as the start of night time observing operations from their control room. He will then give an overview of how a modern observatory conducts science operations, followed by his personal story from Nanaimo to the CFHT. If time permits, he will also present a brief history of Mauna Kea Astronomy from a geological and human perspective.
NAS Board member Bill Weller (retired astronomer and astronomy Prof) had been following (on Facebook) Pranvera and the Astronomy Outreach of Kosovo group she founded, and we’re grateful she accepted our invitation to present.
I’m grateful too for the wide-ranging and heartfelt tributes RASC Victoria members shared about Diane Bell at last week’s Astrocafe, and this invitation is made for that reason in fellowship with your group.
Janeane MacGillivray, Director-at-Large, Nanaimo Astronomy Society
UVic Observatory Open House – Lisa Wells, CFHT Remote Observer, talks about Supernovae
You are invited to a Zoom presentation by Lisa Wells at 7:30 PM on Wednesday November 18th 2020. In addition to talking about her research interest in Supernovae, Lisa will describe how she remotely uses the Canadian France Hawaii Telescope.
The talk will explain the current thinking of the star classes producing these bright events, why a star dies in such a spectacular way, and give insights into their classification and naming scheme. Next you will learn about the first of the major searches and how that led to the Nobel Prize.
The Research Legacy of the Lowell Observatory: Monday November 23rd at 5:30 PM PST
You are invited to a presentation on The Research Legacy of Lowell Observatory Presented by Klaus Brasch Sponsored by RASC History Committee Abstract: Percival Lowell founded his observatory in 1894 and commissioned the famed firm of Alvan Clark & Sons, to build a 24-in aperture refracting telescope among the largest in private hands at the time. Clark himself deemed it as one of his best. Both Lowell and his great refractor soon gained notoriety with reports of putative canals on Mars, allegedly the work of a dying civilization to channel water from the planet’s poles to its desert equatorial regions. Amid all the ensuing controversy, the Observatory’s many other scientific achievements are not as widely known as they should. This talk will review some of those and also current research and educational efforts at this historic institution. Bio: Klaus Brasch is a retired biomedical scientist and a volunteer at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. Born in Germany, his family emigrated to Canada in 1953, where Klaus got hooked on astronomy in his teens, joined the Montreal Center of the RASC in 1958 and has been an avid amateur ever since. He earned his BSc at Concordia and Ph.D. at Carleton University, before joining the biology faculty at Queen’s University in Kingston. In 1990 he joined California State University, where he served as department chair, dean of science and director of campus research. Klaus has translated popular French astronomy books into English, lectured widely on topics ranging from life in the universe to astrophotography and published articles in Astronomy, Sky & Telescope, Sky News, JRASC and elsewhere. Asteroid 25226 Brasch, was recently named for him by Lowell Observatory.
The Iris Nebula and Dust Clouds of Cepheus by Dan Posey
Your Invited to the FDAO Virtual Star Party 7:30 PM Saturday Nov 21st
SELENOPHILE OR LUNATIC? THIRTY YEARS OF OBSERVING AND LOVING THE MOON
Randy Enkin avidly followed the Apollo missions from when he was 8 years old, and had decided he would grow up to be an astronomer. With life’s turns, he ended up being an Earth Scientist working for the Geological Survey of Canada. But the moon always attracted his attention and he is now more than 30 years into a lunar observation time series. For 6 years, Randy has been posting an artistic image of the moon every day on