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Astro Cafe: 19 April

20181014_213155_resizedOur astronomers meet on the third Friday of the month for Astro Cafe: This month (19 April) it is at 6:30 PM at Tim Hortons in Sechelt. If the skies are clear after we have coffee and discussion, we take our telescopes down to the seawall in Davis Bay for public viewing. The forecast is looking promising at present. There is a full Moon which will interfere with deep sky viewing. Everyone welcome!

Public Viewing: Saturday, 20 April

IMG_1010We’re planning to open the SCC Observatory on Saturday, 20 April, as the forecasts are for clear skies. We’re only a day past the full moon, which isn’t ideal for deep sky viewing, but there’s all sorts of other things to look at. Gates open at 8:30 PM. We’ll update on this page on the day at 4 PM.

UPDATE, 4 pm: There are a few wisps of high cloud up there, but it is looking pretty good. We’re opening tonight!

Speaker for April 12: Alan Dyer

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At 7:30 PM, 2019 April 12, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presents the renowned astrophotographer Alan Dyer, whose topic will be “Chasing the Northern Lights”. Alan will recount his tales of chasing the aurora in Canada and Norway, with many images and movies of the Northern Lights, including of the infamous “Steve” aurora.

Alan Dyer is co-author with Terence Dickinson of The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide, and most recently of ebooks on astrophotography. He is a contributing editor to SkyNews and Sky & Telescope magazines, and a contributor to the annual RASC Observer’s Handbook. His photos and videos have appeared on, National Geographic, CBSNews, and more. The asteroid #78434 is named in his honour.

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Speaker for 8 March: Eric Lanoix

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At 7:30 PM, 2019 March 8, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presents Eric Lanoix ( Eric is passionate about finding simple and intuitive solutions to complex problems. For the better part of two decades, he worked with the Canadian Space Agency and with NASA contractors on human space exploration. He contributed to the development of several spacecraft in the areas of systems engineering, trajectory analysis, and robotic capture. He also supported a number of space missions from Mission Control Houston. To date, the spacecraft he focused on (HTV, Cargo Dragon) have completed 21 successful re-supply missions for the International Space Station. More recently, Eric also worked on the development of the Crew Dragon. Later this year, this spacecraft will become the first American vehicle since the Space Shuttle to carry humans to space.

An avid life-long learner of science, finance, and history, Eric holds a master’s degree in engineering (McGill), another in finance (Simon Fraser University), as well as the Financial Risk Manager (FRM) certification. Eric is now based in the Lower Mainland and leads a team of specialists in charge of quantitative risk management at a local banking institution.

In their free time, Eric and his wife Natalie enjoy hiking among rivers and mountains, travelling, and dancing Argentine tango.

As a specialist in the area of orbital rendezvous and capture, Eric looks forward to sharing the history and future of this essential but little-known spaceflight operation with the RASC.

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Flaming star Nebula (IC405)

The Flaming Star Nebula is an emission and reflection nebula in the constellation Auriga, part of a molecular cloud illuminated by the “runaway” star AE Aurigae. This bright star is a transient visitor to this region, ejected from the Orion Nebula by the collision of two binary star groups. Ultraviolet radiation from the star ionizes and excites hydrogen gas glows to glow red. A smaller region closer to the star shines blue, due to the dust reflecting the starlight. (nebula description from “The 100 Best Astrophotography Targets”)

Image taken on Feb.5th from Roberts Creek, with a 120mm Megrez and a DSLR camera. Sky conditions were q good with an SQM of 20 but humidity was high at >75%.

Total Lunar Eclipse: 2019 January 20

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Eclipse from 2015: photo by Brian Kelso

We will be opening our SCC Observatory at 18:30 hours on the evening of 20/21 January 2019, to view the total lunar eclipse. This eclipse will be visible in all of North America. The weather forecast is favourable: We’ll update this post in the afternoon on the 20th.

UPDATE, 20 January, 3 PM: Skies looking good! Observatory will be open at 6:30 PM.


Starts 6:36 pm PST

Partial Starts 7:33 pm PST

Total Starts 8:41 pm PST

Maximum 9:12 pm PST

Total Ends 9:43 pm PST

Partial Ends 10:50 pm PST

Ends 11:48 pm PST

The RASC’s Youth Coordinator Jenna Hinds has produced a YouTube video with a few simple demos and explanations of lunar eclipses:

Clear skies!

Charles Ennis, Past President


Our Christmas Comet

Finally the clouds were gone and we were able to view the comet 46P Wirtanen last night. Club members viewed it from the observatory and I took the opportunity to photograph it from home.

46P/Wirtanen is a small short-period comet with a current orbital period of 5.4 years. It is currently about 12 million kms from earth. I wasn’t able to see the comet by eye but was easy to see in binoculars or the scope of course.

The image here was taken with a Canon 60Da on a 120 mm Megrez refractor, it is a stack of 3 sets of 5 frames at 30,60 and 90 seconds with flats and dark flats applied. Mike