Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

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Monthly Archives: September 2015

Solar Activtity

Mike 2015-9-28

Our past president Michael Bradley (who took the photo above) reports:

“For anyone with access to a Solar telescope, now is a good time to take a look at some very nice sunspots. The largest one at present is AR2422 and it is growing rapidly day by day. NASA tells us that this group has a ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that already harbors sufficient energy for an M-class solar flare, and it continues to grow. I took this image on Saturday 26th September using an 80mm ED refractor with a Herschel Wedge. The camera was a PGR Chameleon and this image represents 315 images stacked with Registax 6 and coloured.”

NOTE: Neil Sandy reported today ( 30 September) that there is major flare activity occurring.

Charles, SCC RASC President

Total Lunar Eclipse Viewing Session a Success

Mike and David powering up the telescope

Mike and David powering up the telescope

Last night’s lunar eclipse generated a LOT of interest in our Centre. Yesterday (Sunday, 27 September) 215 people visited our web site and viewed 536 web pages, a record. When I checked the site this morning (28 September) at 0930 hours we had already broken that record: 268 people visiting to make 540 views so far. When I checked the site Sunday morning we had about 8600 total views for 2015. Now we are at 9700 and still climbing. Most of the views were our home page and posts about the eclipse, as well as information on our Centre. I fielded several phone calls during the day from citizens looking for information on the eclipse.

We opened the observatory at 18:30 and a crowd soon developed. Coast Cable showed up to video tape the event, tour the observatory, and interview several people. We had about 100 visitors and several members set up their telescopes. We collected $54.25 in the donations jar. When the stars came out we had people lining up to see binary stars, star clusters, nebulas and galaxies while we waited for the eclipsed moon to rise above the trees on the east side of the airfield. Once it topped the trees we turned the big scope onto the moon, which was by that time starting to come out of the penumbral phase.

The crowd finally thinned out and by 22:30 we had shut down the observatory for the evening.

Observatory Roof Retraction System Test: Success!

Mike checking out the end pulley of the roof retraction system.

Mike checking out the end pulley of the roof retraction system.

Roof retraction system ready for testing

Roof retraction system ready for testing

Adrian, Mike, Scott and Charles attended at the observatory on 26 September and installed the roof retraction system for our SCC Observatory. This consists of a winch that draws the roof back and forth. The system worked wonderfully, but we need to put extra bolts in the hold down claws the cable mounts to as there is a lot of torque on them and install a stronger cable than the 1/8″ aircraft cable we used for the test.

During the test the local wildlife had an observer by the observatory: a rabbit who seemed unconcerned by our presence which we named “Lepus” (after the constellation) and made our unofficial mascot.

Rabbit observer "Lepus"

Rabbit observer “Lepus”

Dr. Patrick Cote: 9 October 2015

dr patrick Cote

Our Speaker for 9 October 2015 at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa St, Sechelt, will be Dr. Patrick Cote of the National Research Council, Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Centre, Victoria, BC. His topic will be: "Skies Wide Open: Canadian Plans for Wide-Field Astronomical Facilities in the Coming Decade."

"Many of the most pressing open questions in astronomy -- ranging from the nature of Dark Energy to the origin of the Milky Way --- require precise observations of faint sources scattered over the ultra-wide fields. For this reason, a number of wide-field telescopes are now being developed by the international astronomical community. Most of these facilities are expected to see "first light" in the 2020s.

"Canada, which has a proud history in wide-field astronomy, is keeping pace through participation in several of these projects. In addition, the Canadian astronomical community has, for several years, been developing plans for its own wide-field facilities. In this talk, I describe two exciting projects that are under active investigation in Canada. The first is the Mauna Kea Spectroscopic Explorer (MSE), a proposed 10m telescope that would be devoted exclusively to wide-field spectroscopy at optical and infrared wavelengths -- the largest and most powerful facility of its kind ever devised. The second project, CASTOR, is a proposed wide-field space telescope that would rival NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in image quality, but cover a field of view roughly two hundred times larger. ”

Admittance is by donation.

Telescope Cover Donated

past resident Mike Bradley examining our new telescope cover

past resident Mike Bradley examining our new telescope cover

Thanks to Harout Makarian from Vancouver Telescopes for donating a thermal telescope cover for our observatory’s telescope and pier! Mike and Charles tested it out Friday, 4 September.