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Monthly Archives: May 2016

Bravo Said Yes!


You may recall that last February Dodie Graham-McKay and I submitted a proposal to the Bravo Network for a 15 minute documentary with the working title “Starry Nights”. Bravo contacted us two days ago to give us the green light! The announcement was posted on Real Screen here. In the next few weeks Dodie will be coming out to work on this with me as well as to fine tune the final proposal for the other project for Telus Optik.

Clear Skies!

Charles Ennis, SCC President

Public Viewing: 11 June 2016

We will be having a public viewing session at the SCC Observatory on Saturday, June 11, 2016, at 9:00 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 11 June to advise whether the weather will permit us to open that night.

UPDATE: 1500 hours. Clear Dark Sky showing some clear skies around sunset but transparency is listed as below average and seeing as average. Overnight forecast is for cloudy with showers. Not looking promising for an observatory opening tonight.

Astro Cafe: 17 June 2016


Astro Cafe will convene at Pier 17 in Davis Bay at 8:30 PM on Friday, 17 June, 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

Speaker for June: Dr. Jim Hesser


Dr. Jim Hesser

At 7:30 PM, 10 June 2016, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, our speaker will be Dr. James Hesser, FRASC. Dr. Hesser was the RASC’s Honorary President (2009-2013) and former Director of the NRC Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO). Dr. Hesser is past president of the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) and of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Dr. Hesser is past vice-president of the American Astronomical Society. He is recipient of numerous awards, including, most recently, the RASC’s Qilak Award for his “outstanding contribution to public appreciation and understanding of Astronomy” and is a Fellow of the RASC. He was one of the first to receive the prestigious Michael Smith award, given by NSERC Canada to recognize those who inspire through the promotion of science to the general public. Dr. Hesser was the first recipient of the Newton-Ball Award, Victoria Centre’s own service award (2001). Dr. Hesser has been awarded the National Research Council’s W. G. Schneider Medal for his inspiring decades-long contribution to the pursuit of excellence in Canadian government astronomy, both as a productive researcher, and as the Director of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory for nearly three decades (1986-2014). The award also recognizes Jim’s committed advocacy of astronomy as a integral part of our broader cultural life, both here and abroad.

Dr. Hesser’s topic will be: “Centenary-eve Reflections on the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory’s Role in the Development of Canadian Astronomical Excellence”


The Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Saanich: 98 years old!

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Contact Information:

Check out the Sunshine Coast RASC site at: for contact and schedule information.

Sunshine Coast RASC President Charles Ennis:

e mail: cuhulain@

phone 778-458-2666

2016 General Assembly: 19 – 23 May in London

I attended the 2016 General Assembly of the RASC between 19 – 23 May, which this year was held in conjunction with the 2016 AstroCats trade show in London, Ontario, at Fanshawe College.


National Council meeting at the 2016 GA

As the new National Secretary, I had many meetings to attend, including several national board meetings, including an election of officers, two national advisory council meetings, the Annual General Meeting, and the annual awards banquet. I spent many hours meeting members from RASC Centres across Canada outside of these formal meetings to discuss issues important to the society and share ideas. I was particularly impressed with this year’s National Council meeting, which involved break out sessions to work on the new Strategic Plan. Everyone who participated commented on what a great session that was. The results are being forwarded to the strategic plan task force who will present a draft strategic plan for 2017 – 2019 at the next national council meeting this coming October.

The first new publication published by the RASC since they created the RASC Calendar was my book Building a Small Observatory, which was on sale for the first time at the AstroCats trade show. Sales were brisk and we just about sold out the books brought to the show. The list of prizes donated by the various astronomical vendors at the show was extremely impressive, and many attendees left with telescopes, cameras, software, and other prizes.


Building a Small Observatory was published in time for the 2016 GA and is now available on the RASC web site


The RASC booth at the 2016 AstroCats show

I had a chance to meet Canadian astronaut Jeremy Hansen, who came to visit us at the RASC booth.


CSA astronaut Jeremy Hansen with RASC National Secretary Charles Ennis

The next General Assembly will be held in Ottawa on the weekend of Canada Day, which marks the 150th anniversary of Canada as well as the Ottawa Centre. I hope that some of our members will go with me to this event. We’re looking for a national representative for our centre and the RASC will pay 80% of the cost of registration, accomodations, and travel. If you’re interested, please contact me.

Charles Ennis, National Secretary and SCC President




Science Odyssey and International Astronomy Day


visitor viewing the Mercury transit from the deck of the SCC Observatory 9 May

Yesterday was International Astronomy Day and the second to last day of Science Odyssey, which runs from 6 – 15 May. We had 5 viewing sessions at our SCC Observatory including a double shadow transit of Jupiter and the transit of Mercury. We had Steve Mairs from U Vic come to speak to us about star formation. Steve visited the SCC Observatory last night for our viewing session for Astronomy Day and spent about an hour chatting with youth who came to view the Moon and Jupiter. Although last night was less than ideal viewing conditions we still got some viewing done and had 17 people show up to view the skies.

Coyote Science Returns


I spent 6 hours at Dreamberry Studios in Roberts Creek on the set of APTN’s Coyote Science show helping them film the green screen segments for the beginnings and ends of the various episodes. We were helping them back in March when we posted this story. The director required telescopes and astronomical equipment for the set which we provided. Later some of the crew came up to the SCC Observatory to take a look.


setting up the ‘green screen’ set which will allow the producers to insert live animations and video into the background later

photo 2

Getting the actor playing the part of Coyote into costume