Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

Sechelt Airport Re-Opening Event

Update on Harry’s Observing

Harry’s new battery charger

Harry Andinda, our young friend in Uganda who we’ve been helping out, just wrote to confirm that he’d received the battery charger and rechargeable batteries that we sent him for the telescope we sent him earlier. You can check out an earlier story on this here: Harry has now downloaded the latest version of Stellarium and used that to plan his last observing session, during which he viewed his first shadow transit of Jupiter: Io was passing in front of Jupiter casting its shadow on the planet’s surface.


Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, we’ve been meeting virtually on Zoom for over a year and all activity at our observatory was put on hold as it was too risky to share eyepieces. However, things are looking promising for a reopening of the observatory as more people are vaccinated and restrictions lifted.

Meanwhile the Sechelt Airport has been lengthening their runway, and this has changed how we will access the observatory. For more on this including directions and a map, see our Observatory page.

Between 10 AM and Noon on Saturday, 24 July, the Sechelt Airport will have a public event to celebrate the completion of the runway extension and we’ve been invited to participate as this will mark a reopening of our observatory access. For this event access will be through the main airport gate off Hilltop Rd: You won’t have to use the new route to the observatory. Our astronomers will be there with solar scopes to view sunspots and flares and with handouts on the new observatory access. We can take people to tour the observatory as well. Masks are requested and social distancing will be observed. We will be using projections to display the sun so that use of eyepieces won’t be necessary.

Harry’s Sky

Harry Andinda, in Kabale, Uganda, whom you met in our YouTube interview in May has been busy observing using the telescope we sent him in December 2020. Harry tells us he has been observing Venus and its phases. On June 14 Harry had what he calls a “globular cluster marathon”, observing 4 globular clusters consecutively: M92, M80, M4 and M5. Harry loves that part of the sky around Sagittarius and Scorpius, which for him at this time of year is almost overhead at 1 am. So do I: There are a lot of things to see in that area. Harry’s got a better view of these than we do here on the Sunshine Coast of BC as for us they are close to the horizon, so we’re looking through 3 times as much atmosphere.

Harry at the eyepiece with a friend looking on

Harry was also observing Omega Centauri, the largest known globular cluster in our galaxy. He says it made him “hungry for globular clusters.” I wish I could see that, but I’m too far north!

He also found the Ring Nebula in Lyra, which is a favorite of mine. I’m encouraging him to try for the Dumbbell Nebula, Messier 27. It is nearby.

He tells me he is now hunting down Messier 31, the Andromeda galaxy. He missed it the other day because it rises very late.

On 16 June he sent me videos of him observing the moon shot using his phone camera. It’s hard to hold the camera steady by hand to take shots like this: He’s done quite well. Check out the details on YouTube here.

Some images of the planets I have taken over the past year from Sechelt using my 8″ Celestron SCT. They were stacked and then processed using wavelet decomposition.

Very welcome solar prominences!

I captured a few small prominences and an active region (2827) in H alpha last Thursday (June 1st). Atmospheric conditions were very good even though is was high noon. Images were taken with a PGI 1.3MP monochrome Chameleon on Lunt 60mm scope and then stacking 250 FITS images in AS3. This is a composite of 2 stacks, one prom, one surface. It’s nice to see the proms back again. Michael

Sunspot AR2824

This is a view of the sun in hydrogen alpha showing AR2824 taken on May 25. Also visible are a couple of loop prominences.

Sunspot AR2824

I took a look at the AR2824 sunspot today. Appearances can be deceptive, this small, peaceful looking sunspot is actually the one that has been so active recently, unleashing a sequence of solar flares unlike anything we’ve seen in years. In only 24 hours, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded 10 C-flares and 2 M-flares. The region was still active yesterday and made for an interesting sight in both Ha and white light. In the images the umbra and penumbra are clear with evidence of a light bridge and with lots of pores in the solar surface of the region. Get your solar scopes out and have a look while we have the chance – who knows, it may flare again.

Image was taken in Roberts Creek at 1300 May 22 with PGI Chameleon, Herschel Wedge, ED80, stacked with AS3.


Explore the Universe Challenge: Summer Targets

At 7:00 PM, 2021 June 11, online on Zoom, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presented the Explore the Universe Challenge. Sunshine Coast Member Charles Ennis introduced the RASC’s Explore the Universe Program and taught viewers how to find the objects in the Summer viewing portion of the program. Later this year Charles will come back on Zoom to teach the Fall and Winter segments. You can check out the YouTube video here. Here is the PDF:

The RASC Explore the Universe program (awarded since 2002) is aimed at the novice visual astronomer. Those who complete the program may apply for a certificate and pin—this is open to all, RASC members and non-members alike. This program will:

  • Stimulate an interest in observational astronomy.
  • Introduce good observing practices and techniques.
  • Provide an introduction to all aspects of visual astronomy including stars and constellations, lunar, Solar System, deep sky, double stars, and some optional activities, including variable stars.
  • One of the special features of this program is that it can be completed entirely using binoculars and the unaided eye. 

NOTE: If you choose to use a telescope, automatic (GoTo) functions are not to be used.

A choice of objects is provided so that you can start the program at any time of the year and easily complete the requirements in three to six months time.

Want to get started? Download the Explore the Universe program requirements and start your observing program today! All you need to do is find half of the 110 objects on the program list.

Téléchargez le programme Explorez l’Univers en français et débutez vos observations dès aujourd’hui.

If you are looking for a guide to getting started, consider purchasing the Explore the Universe Guide (2nd Edition) in the RASC store.

Speaker for May 2021: Ray Kostaschuk

On Zoom at 7 PM (Pacific) on Friday, 2021 May 14, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presents Ray Kostaschuk, a geoscientist specializing in sedimentary processes in rivers, lakes and estuaries. He was a Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph for 25 years. He is currently an Adjunct Professor in the School of Environmental Science at SFU where he works with Professor Jeremy Venditti and graduate students on sedimentation in the Fraser River. His topic will be: Rivers of the Solar System

A river is a channel system constructed by naturally flowing liquids moving towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. Rivers create diverse drainage patterns and a stunning variety of erosional and depositional landforms that provide important clues to the climate and geological framework of the landscape. Active rivers flow on Earth and Titan and ancient rivers are common on Mars and Venus. Rivers on the rocky planets are created by water flowing over rock or sediment but on Titan the rivers consist of liquid hydrocarbons eroding a crust of water ice.  

You can view this presentation here:

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