We will be having a public viewing session at the SCC Observatory on Saturday, December 12, 2015, at 7:00 PM (weather permitting). The SCC Observatory is at the Sechelt Airport: entrance is at the gate at the top of Field Rd where you will see this sandwich board sign:
Check out our Observatory page for more information on the SCC Observatory. Please, no food or drinks and only use red light flashlights to preserve viewer’s night vision. No pets or laser pointers please: They are prohibited by Transport Canada regulations for this airfield. We will update this post on 12 December to advise whether the weather will permit us to open that night.
UPDATE 12 December, 11:30 AM: The forecast for tonight’s session is not looking promising at all. Clear Dark Sky showing overcast all evening, weather forecast calling for rain. Looks like we will be cancelling this evening’s session.
Astro Cafe will convene at Pier 17 in Davis Bay at 7:30 PM on Friday, 18 December, 2015. Public are welcome! We’ll have coffee and weather permitting will take our telescopes out to the south end of the seawall for public viewing.
Our Vice President, Mike Bradley, put his name forward as Observatory Director and this assignment has been approved by the Board of the SCC. Mike has put a lot of work into the observatory and is responsible for the design of the electronics for the mount and telescope. Mike has his own observatory in Roberts Creek and is an avid astrophotographer. Mike will be in charge of scheduling and maintenance for our SCC Observatory.
We will be teaching an introductory course on the use of our SCC Observatory at our meeting at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre at 7:30 PM on Friday, 11 December. People interested in becoming Qualified Operators of the SCC Observatory should attend this session. The Operations Manual for the SCC Observatory can be downloaded from the Observatory page of our web site.
On Friday David, Scott, and Charles went up to the observatory and finished installing the new “skirts” that close in the gap between the roof and roof rails. They also installed a drip edge at the bottom of the entrance door to keep rain off of the sill where it might seep inside. This significantly improved the warmth inside the building for the telescope.
Our new telescope cover has arrived and was installed this weekend by David and Michael. Unlike the previous cover, this one is insulated. They also installed a new custom heater box to maintain the temperature inside the cover to suppress dew formation. These changes have been incorporated into the Operational Manual, which you can download from the Observatory page of our website.
I took advantage of the clear skies yesterday to take an image of the large group of sunspots (AR2449) while it was still there. Unfortunately the group is very much smaller now than it was last week, but still made a nice image. Attached is a white light shot, taken in monochrome, then cropped and colourised. It was a stack of 300 images.
I decided to take the images from the observatory as the wide horizons make it possible to follow the sun at this time of year without worrying about it hiding behind trees, unlike at home in Roberts Creek!
David and Mike attended the SCC Observatory in the afternoon of 9 November and installed additional solar panels on the south side of the observatory to boost the charging capacity of our solar power system. Mike and Charles returned in the evening to continue the alignment process they started with the drift alignments they did on the 4th of November. By the end of the session every time we asked the telescope to point at an object in the sky using either the handset or the laptop, the chosen target was in the middle of the eyepiece every time.