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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Rolf Meier 1953-2016

Ottawa Centre member ROLF MEIER passed away June 26 after a battle with cancer for several months. Rolf was born in Ottawa in 1953 and received his Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics from Carleton University in 1977. A skillful telescope maker and a frequent user of the Ottawa Centre’s Indian River Observatory, he was nominated for the Chant medal. He was known for his excellent astrophotos. On April 26, 1978, Rolf made headlines with the first telescopic discovery of a comet from a Canadian location. He discovered further cornets in 1979, 1980, and 1984, and his record was only surpassed in 1989 by David Levy.

Rolf was Chairman of the Ottawa Centre’s Observers’ Group, Editor of Astronotes for 12 years, National Council Rep and Ottawa Centre President. His 25 cm Newtonian reflector was installed at the Indian River Observatory in 1983 for use of members. A number of articles, displaying his wide-ranging interests, have included “Identifying a Meteorite”, “Recent Aurora Activity”, and “Solid State Photometer.”

Rolf is survived by his wife Linda, and son Matthew.


Ad amorem nocte caelum.

Dona nobis pacem.

Ego diligo in nocte caelum.


To love the night sky.

Grant us peace.

I love the night sky.

New Focusser and TV News

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David Thompson testing the new Antares focusser

On 25 June members of our club went up to the SCC Observatory for a viewing session and tested a new Antares focusser for the main optical tube. We were impressed with it.

Dodie Graham McKay, director and production manager for the BravoFACTUAL documentary we’re working on, dropped by to view the sky with us. Dodie and Charles Ennis, our president, have been working since 21 June on the production schedules and legal details for this Bravo documentary as well as final submissions for the Telus Optik project.


Dodie and Charles in the SCC Observatory

Public Viewing, SCC Observatory: 9 July

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

UPDATE, 7:30 AM, 9 July: It is pouring rain right now, but at present ClearDarkSky shows that we’ll have a clear window at 9 PM, so for now the plan is still to open the observatory tonight. I’ll be posting another update this afternoon.

UPDATE, 1500 hours, 9 July: Still looking good for opening the SCC Observatory tonight at 9 PM.

UPDATE, 18:30 hours, 9 July: Our member up at the airport is reporting 85-95% overcast at present, which doesn’t sound promising. Looks like we’re not going to be able to open the observatory tonight.

Astro Cafe: 15 July


Astro Cafe will convene at Pier 17 in Davis Bay at 8:30 PM on Friday, 15 July, 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

First Anniversary Party for the Observatory: 2 July


The ribbon is cut by our president, a representative from Swanson’s Ready Mix, and the two mayors on 27 June 2015.

Our SCC Observatory opened on the 27th of June last year. We’re planning a viewing session to celebrate the first anniversary of our first light on Saturday, July 2 (weather permitting). The observatory will open the gates at 9 PM (Sunset 9:12). BYO Telescope and refreshments.

UPDATE: 1 July 1800 hours- Wow. This morning before heading to Canada Day celebrations I checked the forecast for tomorrow and the sky charts and it looked good for an opening at the observatory for 2 July. When I came home in the afternoon and checked again I found that the forecast had dramatically changed: The forecast was now calling for rain in the evening on Saturday, 2 July and the ClearDarkSky chart showing overcast. What a difference a few hours can make! I will keep checking tomorrow and post another update closer to the event. If the forecast doesn’t change, it doesn’t look good for opening the observatory on the 2nd.

UPDATE 2 July 1000 hours:  The forecast has improved somewhat from yesterday. We’ll post later today around 1800 with another update on whether we’ll be opening tonight.

UPDATE 2 July 1800 hours: The forecast has gone back to predicting rain and as I write this the rain is bouncing off my skylights. ClearDarkSky is calling for overcast and Scott, our observer up near the airport confirms this. We will not be opening the observatory tonight.

Planet Viewing Star Party

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Mike Bradley and Deborah McWilliams checking out the image of Mars on the laptop as Mike takes photos for processing

Last night (4 June) 24 people of all ages attended our club’s “Last Call for Jupiter” Star Party for members at the SCC Observatory. It was a beautiful night, with just a trace of high cloud. There were 10 telescopes set up including the observatory’s 14 inch Celestron Edge HD. Later in the session our VP, Mike Bradley, hooked up his camera to the observatory’s telescope to capture images of the planets.

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People of all ages watch Mike take photos of Saturn

Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn were all prominent in the sky, with Mars making a close approach to Earth and Saturn at opposition.

We look forward to seeing the results of the photography session.

Charles Ennis, President

Last Call for Jupiter Viewing!


photo by Mike Bradley of Jupiter during the double shadow transit last month

As the nights get shorter and the Earth spins along, Jupiter sinks toward the western horizon… soon to be engulfed in the murk and turbulence of the atmosphere close to the horizon, (which unfortunately is where saturn and mars currently lay :-()… having said that its been a great show on Jupiter this past few months and using my C11 SCT with bino viewers has given me some of the best views of the planet I have ever had…. but as they say all good things come to an end… until next year that is =D> .

Jupiter is still nice and high in the early evening so with a little luck and some good seeing we should get some good views on Saturday.

I will be there with bino viewers in hand…. there might even be a

C11 or two on site…. for sure there will be a C8 😎

See you Saturday… gate time to be announced… i should be there 9ish.

Neil Sandy


NOTE: Mars (on a close approach to Earth) and Saturn will be up there also.

Charles Ennis, President