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New focuser installed today

The new “Feather Touch” focuser that we have been after for some time was finally installed today. The focuser will provide a more precise control over the fine focusing of the telescope and will comfortably handle heavy eyepieces or even cameras. The focuser was purchased with part of the grant that we received from Rotary – thank you!.

Mike

Public Viewing at the Observatory: 12 May

2017-04-16 11.00.39_resizedOur observatory will be open at 8:30 PM on Saturday, 12 May (weather permitting) for public viewing. Check this website that afternoon for updates.

Dr. William Wall: 11 May 2018

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At 7:30 PM, 11 May 2018, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presents Dr. William Wall, whose topic is: Basic Properties of the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano.

The Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano is a world-class radio telescope and is the largest scientific project in Mexico. The LMT is technologically advanced, permitting it to observe the much of the universe, thereby expanding the frontiers of science. Using examples from everyday life, I will illustrate the impressive technological capabilities of the LMT.  I will also discuss the benefits transferred to industry by the scientific developments required by the LMT project.

 

Dr. William Wall was born in Canada. He received his B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, his M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia, his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He did his postdoctoral fellowship at NASA GSFC in Greenbelt, Maryland. He’s currently a researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico. His research

involves observational studies of the interstellar medium, using radio telescopes, including the LMT. He occasionally gives talks to the public about the LMT.

 

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Detecting neutrinos from core-collapse supernovae in our galaxy

Museum of Flight and LIGO

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On March 13 Night Lights co-host Bruce Fryer and I teamed up with Eastlink/Coast Cable crew Steve Sleep and Brittany Broderson and drove down to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle to capture some footage for the 4th season of our Centre’s Night Lights program. Ted Huetter, the museum’s public relations director, took us into the Space Shuttle Simulator that was used to train all Space Shuttle crews. You can still see boot marks on the sides from those crews practicing escapes from the cockpit hatches. We got footage of Saturn V engines, an Apollo capsule, a lunar ascent module, a lunar rover, and a Viking lander (the third in the series which was never launched). We got great footage inside the mid-deck and flight-deck of the simulator and lots of other shots in the cargo bay.

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Bruce Fryer standing beside a Rocketdyne F-1 engine. 5 of these massive engines sent the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo missions into space.

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Ted Huetter and Brittany Broderson checking out the mid-deck of the Space Shuttle. That ladder in the foreground goes up to the flight deck above. 

fH41UM4M_400x400The next day we went to LIGO Hanford where gravitational waves were measured for the first time in 2015. Amber Strunk, LIGO Education and Outreach Coordinator, met us at the lobby of the administration building where devices like the Weber Bar used in the past in attempts to detect these waves are displayed. We were allowed into the massive building housing the near infrared laser, the device that splits the beam to send it down the two 4-kilometer long tunnels, the interferometer and beam detector. Fortunately for us, this was a maintenance day where upgrades were being installed so workmen (and our crew) would be allowed into this secure area. This is an ultra clean area, so we had to put on booties, bouffant hair nets, and $700 laser safety glasses: The laser beam is infrared, so if it got loose in that dust free room you’d never see it before it blinded you. The vacuum in the tunnels that house the laser beams have fewer atoms per cubic meter than you’d find in outer space!

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Brittany filming Bruce interviewing Jeff, the man in charge of operations in the LIGO control room.

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Bruce, Brittany, Steve, and Charles all ready to go into the laser room with their safety goggles in place. All nerded up!

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Brittany getting “b-roll” while Amber Strunk describes the laser tunnel in the background to Steve and Bruce.

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Looking down one of the 4-kilometer long arms that house the laser beams at LIGO Hanford. That white rectangular structure you see in the distance is only the half-way house in this arm!

Charles Ennis, Past President

The March Sky and Moon Map from Bruce

Bruce has posted the slides from his March meeting presentation that includes the map of the moon with the “Explore the Universe Program”  craters shown. The viewing times for the Venus and Saturn slides have been fixed.

Click here to open the presentation:   180309 Sky this Month_

 

M45 Pleiades Cluster

Pleiades – M45, WO Megrez 120, Canon 60Da, 120 mins.

The M45 Pleiades Clusteris thought to contain around 500 stars spread across a sphere 14 light-years wide at a distance of 400 light-years. The cluster was called the “Seven Sisters” in mythology, and at least seven of the stars can be seen with the naked eye. At this time of year it well placed overhead for observing or imaging. I took advantage a very clear evening on Feb.11th to capture this image from Roberts Creek with a 120mm refractor and a modified DSLR. Combined exposure time was 120 mins.  Mike