Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

UPCOMING EVENTS: Click on the Events below for more details

Monthly Meeting, December 8th, The club Xmas party (appetizer and desert potluck) and Astro gear swap or share event. All are welcome.

Public Viewing, Sat. December 9th is the next planned public opening at the observatory. Check this site for details close to date/time.

AstroCafe Join us for astronomy chat and refreshments at 7:30 at Starbucks (Tsain-ko shopping plaza) Sechelt. If it’s clear we’ll also do some viewing of the sky from the seawall at Davis Bay.

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November Monthly meeting

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is the world’s most powerful observatory for studying the universe at the long-wavelength millimeter and submillimeter range of light. It’s designed to spot some of the most distant, ancient galaxies ever seen, and to probe the areas around young stars for planets in the process of forming.Our November meeting will feature a talk by Doug Scott of the physics department of UBC about ALMA and his work with it.
The meeting time is 7:30PM at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre at 5714 Medusa St. in Sechelt. Hope to see you there.

Service Award for Bill Clark!

Club founder Bill Clark was presented with the RASC Meritorious Service Award by RASC Past President James Edgar at our AGM on Friday. From the starting group of 16 local astronomers the club has grown to 72 at present and is one of the more active centres in the ranks of the RASC today, a lot of the credit for this goes to Bill! Thanks Bill! Pictures by Daniel Sklazeski

Last chance to see AR2683

I took advantage of good seeing on October 5th to capture this image of AR2683 before it traveled over the solar horizon. The smaller sunspot is AR2682.

The image was taken with a PG Chameleon camera through a 2x Barlow and a Herschel Wedge on an ED80 scope, the image scale was 0.78 arcsecs/px.

AR2683

AR2683

Observatory Update

David is shown here putting the finishing touches to the cover he made to protect the roof opening/closing mechanism. It also keeps curious fingers from getting trapped.

The electrical system with its safety interlocks is fully functional now and moving the roof is done by pushing a button. Very smooth!

Mike

Solar Activity

Those of us who were at the Botanical Garden event on sunday got to share views of several enormous sunspots or groups. On Monday I decided to try to get some images of these spots. The image below is in Hydrogen alpha light and the sunspot group (AR 2674) is spread across the centre of the solar disc. The more interesting sunspot AR 2673 is the one with the prominent white features. I took the image a couple of hours after this spot had discharged a massive coronal mass ejection earthward – unfortunately I wasn’t imaging at the moment the ejection took place. This sunspot has already been responsible for at least 3 major solar flares including the biggest solar flare for a decade, an X9.

The magnified image reveals the currents seething and writhing in the plasma, driven by the suns’ magnetic fields.

Mike

Eclipse images

I have just created a page to showcase the images taken around last weeks Solar Eclipse. The new gallery includes images such as these from club member Ed Hanlon. They were taken with a DSLR through a simple refractor equipped with a solar filter. He popped the filter off at the moment of totality. They have been converted to monochrome for this montage. To see all the images please goto: Eclipse Images

 

 

 

And here is a great image of the “Diamond Ring”, this time in colour with some of the solar chromosphere visible on either side of the diamond.

Mike

The Eclipsomaniacs Return from Oregon

The great eclipse adventure is over, the Eclipsomaniacs are back from the U.S., and what an amazing experience!

About half of the Eclipsomaniacs went down in their own vehicles. Brian Lucas and his wife went down several days early to Madras, setting up in the back of an abandoned commercial premise. Neil Sandy went to the Oregon Star Party. Debra MacWilliam, Bruce and Grace Fryer, Bruce Woodburn, and Ed Hanlon went down Saturday the 19th to Ron Jackson’s place in Portland and spent the day touring Portland and getting to know their hosts.

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Brian Lucas’ view in Madras

I went down in the Coast Cable TV van early Sunday morning with Brittany Broderson and her cameras, Peter Holden, Mugette MacDonald, and Kenneth Lui (NC rep for Vancouver Centre). Kenneth said that the Vancouver Centre’s 200 members had discussed putting together a group effort to go to the totality as we did, but they apparently decided it was too much effort and abandoned the idea, so that is why we took him along with us.

Brittany had been told by her TV colleagues that she might have all sorts of problems at the U.S. border, and we’d been hearing news accounts predicting horrible traffic on the way down to Portland. Neither turned out to be the case. The officer at the border smiled and wished us a good trip, and the traffic on the way to Portland on Sunday was normal Sunday traffic.

Ron and Karla Jackson did a stellar job of taking care of us all. The Saturday arrivals pitched in and had dinner ready for the second wave when we arrived. They’d also made lunches for the entire crew for Monday. After dinner, we all had a meeting to discuss the next morning’s events. Ron had all of the necessary information queued up on Karla’s computer, and distributed maps and walkie talkies. We got a few hours sleep.

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Eclipsomaniacs planning session in Portland the evening before the eclipse

Monday morning Bruce Woodburn headed out the door at 2 AM to try to make it to Madras. He told us later:

I left Beaverton at 0200 and promptly got lost in downtown Portland. Once back on the freeway towards The Dalles I made good time with zero traffic. I stopped in The Dalles for a Logger’s Breakfast then continued with zero traffic towards Madras… Over the next few hours I was joined by a dozen others, many from Canada, including a young fellow who had driven by himself from Calgary with a homemade binocular solarscope. He has Astronomy Society potential.

Temp: 78F. Toilet facilities unlimited. Sky clear. No clouds, haze or smoke. View through the Astro binos was excellent. The corona extended way beyond the field of the binos.

The drive home was reasonable through Oregon and no trouble at all through Washington… Great trip !!!!

Ed Hanlon got out the door a half hour after Bruce W. Ed elected to take his camera equipment a mile away from the rest of us in Madrona Park in Monmouth where he ended up with another group of astrophotographers and got some fabulous pictures.

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Astrophotographers in Madrona Park

The rest of us in Portland were on the road at 4 AM. Again, traffic volume was normal Monday morning traffic. We arrived at Main St. Park and found lots of parking. The skies were absolutely clear. We set up solar scopes and went to the coffee shop across the street to get caffeinated. The park filled up with people from all around the world who were amazed and pleased to find our Eclipsomaniacs from the RASC there to help them view the skies. We had people from all over the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Asia there. Monmouth city volunteers were handing out solar glasses, so everyone had some. Quite a number of serious photographers set up cameras and there was one other person with a telescope (8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain). Brittany set up one video camera with solar filter facing the Sun and captured the entire eclipse sequence. The other TV camera she used to interview people and record the reactions of the crowd.

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Crowds in Main St Park

Hundreds of people viewed the skies through our solar scopes, which we had tracking the Sun as soon as it cleared the trees on the horizon. As the penumbra arrived, someone remarked that they wished they could take a picture. I saw that they had a cell phone and showed them how to take one at the eyepiece of my hydrogen alpha scope. Soon scores of people were coming to take photos at the eyepiece.

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People in Main St Park viewing the sun with Charles’ Coronado PST

The eclipse was breathtaking. The atmosphere of the crowd was electric. As the totality approached the light went platinum: it was like being in a black and white movie. Then the sky went dark, the temperature dropped and a chill wind blew through. Sunset appeared all around us and night above. Venus shone brightly and a glorious silvery corona surrounded the Sun. The crowd went wild. Unbelievable!

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After the eclipse ended, the Eclipsomaniacs all packed up and prepared to head home. Those of us in the TV van headed towards I5, while Ron and Karla tried 99W. Where it had taken us an hour to get to Monmouth from Portland that morning, it took us 5 ½ hours to get back. 6 ½ hour after that, we’d only made it as far as Renton, WA, and we got hotel rooms for the night. In the morning, we started north to the border. We dropped Kenneth off in Vancouver about 3 PM, and we finally made it back to the Sunshine Coast about 7 PM.

I am already getting thank you e mails from the crowd.

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