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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Assisting with Bobcat Research

IMG_1410aBack in February 2015 while waiting for our observatory work crew to show up at gate 2 at the Sechelt Airport I heard a sound behind me and turned around to see a bobcat a short distance away. A short time later another one came out to join the first. I stood in the doorway of my car and got a number of photos with my I Phone. They trotted off up the road before the rest of the crew arrived.

Yesterday the Coast Reporter ran an article advising how MSc Candidate TJ Gooliaff, a Biologist in Training (BIT) at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, was looking for photos of bobcats for a study he was doing to determine their populations. I sent these off yesterday afternoon and he sent me a thank you note this morning. If any of the rest of you have photos (which don’t have to be great photography), please share them to further this worthy cause.

tj.gooliaff@ubc.ca

604-701-8041

Clear Skies, Charles Ennis

IMG_1414a

Observatory Update: February 2015

photo 3This last weekend the tracking scope was added to our SCC Observatory’s 14 inch Celestron telescope. Mike Bradley (seen here) and David Thompson were up on Saturday the 20th and on Monday the 22nd re-balancing the telescope, correcting alignments, and adjusting the dew shield.

Planning TV Shows

dodie

Dodie Graham-McKay explaining the Bravo concept

This weekend Dodie Graham-McKay flew out from her home base in Winnipeg to brainstorm with our members at my home, hang out with our members at Astro Cafe, visit the observatory, and spend many hours writing proposals and concepts for our BravoFactual TV project with me. Thanks to all of the members who participated: Your input was invaluable. We came up with a well polished project outline, visual reference, budget and technical reference for the application, which is to be submitted Thursday, 25 February. The jury will be examining this and all the other applications for three months: We should have news about whether we’ve been accepted at the end of May.

Charles Ennis, President

Public Viewing, SCC Observatory: 12 March 2016

We will be having a public viewing session at the SCC Observatory on Saturday, March 12, 2016, 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:

IMG_1901 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 13 February to advise whether the weather will permit us to open that night.

UPDATE 12 March 7:30 AM: The Clear Dark Sky chart is not showing a hopeful forecast for viewing this evening. We’ll keep an eye on it during the day, but it isn’t looking hopeful for opening the observatory at present.

UPDATE 6 PM: forecasting 60% chance of showers with thunderstorms. Small window of visibility at 9 or so, but not long enough to warrant taking a risk. No viewing tonight. However, forecast for Astro Cafe on 18 March looking good at this time.

Astro Cafe: 18 March, 2016

astro-cafe

Astro Cafe

Astro Cafe will convene at Pier 17 in Davis Bay at 7:30 PM on Friday, 18 March, 2016. 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.

Extremely Large Telescopes

paul hickson

At 7:30 PM, 11 March 2016, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, Dr. Paul Hickson will do a presentation on Extremely Large Telescopes. Paul Hickson is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia. He obtained a BSc in Physics from the University of Alberta in 1971, and a PhD in Astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology in 1976. Dr. Hickson has research interests in several areas of extragalactic astronomy, including galaxies, clusters of galaxies, active galactic nuclei and cosmology. He also spends time developing new astronomical instruments, such as liquid-mirror telescopes, robotic telescopes, and instruments to measure atmospheric turbulence. He currently serves as Co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Thirty Meter Telescope and was Project Scientist for its adaptive optics system.

In the coming decade three next-generation optical-infrared telescopes are expected to see first light. The Giant Magellan Telescope, the Thirty Meter Telescope and the European Extremely-Large Telescope will be the world’s largest, with apertures ranging from 22 to 39 metres. Employing advanced adaptive-optics systems and a suite of sophisticated instruments, these telescopes will have as much as four times the resolution, 16 times the light gathering power, and more than 200 times the sensitivity of today’s largest telescopes. Dr. Hickson will provide an overview of the key scientific programs that are driving these projects, and the technologies that make them possible.

Admission is free, donations gratefully accepted.

Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina

catalinaComet US10 Catalina was discovered on October 31st, 2013 during the routine Catalina Sky Survey sweeping the sky for comets and asteroids. Originally it was Mag 18 object but brightened considerably, last week it was at Mag 7.8 mag and visible in binoculars. While comets are notoriously hard to predict, Catalina is expected to fade rapidly now.
I imaged the comet on Feb 8th from Roberts Creek with a Megrez 120mm, Canon 60Da, it is a stack of 17 x 2 minute exposures at 1600 ISO with darks, flats and dark flats applied using Deep Sky Stacker. The comet was in Camelopardis at the time of the image at a DEC of about 74◦, just below Polaris. Time is running out to see Catalina, so grab the binoculars on the next clear night and look north!