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Astronomy in the Park: Saturday, 11 August 2018

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After a two-year absence, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC is bringing the popular Astronomy in the Park program back to Porpoise Bay Provincial Park in Sechelt on Saturday, 11 August from 1 to 11:30 p.m. There will be club telescopes, an information booth with membership information, displays and astronomy related giveaways.

The first “star” of the day will be the sun, and with the club’s safe solar telescopes, participants will be able to look for fiery prominences and sun-spots. Club members will be on hand with telescopes all afternoon and into the night to answer questions and show off the wonders of our universe.

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Perseid meteor shower (source: NASA)

Bill Burnyeat, formerly of the MacMillan Planetarium, will be doing a presentation in the park amphitheatre at dusk. Afterwards our astronomers will have their telescopes in the park picnic area for viewing Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and countless other celestial objects while overhead the Perseid meteor shower takes place. With clear skies and a new moon, participants should be able to see constellations, star clusters and nebulae. It’s the best show on earth and it’s absolutely free.

Remember to bring a flashlight with a red light to preserve night vision.

The Festival is a family event open to the public, organized by volunteers, and made possible by Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. Please respect all park rules. Weather permitting. Also check our website: www.coastastronomy.ca

NOTE: Our observatory will not be open on this evening as all of our volunteers will be committed at this event.

Heavenly Wonders at GPAG

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NGC 7023

From July 12 to August 12 the Gibsons Public Art Gallery will be presenting a collection of photos, Heavenly Wonders- Astrophotography by Erwin Diener. We invite you to be moved and challenged by the profound beauty and vastness of cosmic space while reflecting on the human experience. This meet and greet event is scheduled for Saturday July 21, 1 pm – 4 pm. Members of the Sunshine Coast Centre will be present to interpret the photos and show the public views of the sky with telescopes.

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Two Speakers for February 2018

At 7:30 PM, 9 March 2018, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presents Vancouver Centre President Leigh Cummings, who will be doing a presentation on Mars Exploration.

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Service Award for Bill Clark!

Club founder Bill Clark was presented with the RASC Meritorious Service Award by RASC Past President James Edgar at our AGM on Friday. From the starting group of 16 local astronomers the club has grown to 72 at present and is one of the more active centres in the ranks of the RASC today, a lot of the credit for this goes to Bill! Thanks Bill! Pictures by Daniel Sklazeski

The Eclipsomaniacs Return from Oregon

The great eclipse adventure is over, the Eclipsomaniacs are back from the U.S., and what an amazing experience!

About half of the Eclipsomaniacs went down in their own vehicles. Brian Lucas and his wife went down several days early to Madras, setting up in the back of an abandoned commercial premise. Neil Sandy went to the Oregon Star Party. Debra MacWilliam, Bruce and Grace Fryer, Bruce Woodburn, and Ed Hanlon went down Saturday the 19th to Ron Jackson’s place in Portland and spent the day touring Portland and getting to know their hosts.

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Brian Lucas’ view in Madras

I went down in the Coast Cable TV van early Sunday morning with Brittany Broderson and her cameras, Peter Holden, Mugette MacDonald, and Kenneth Lui (NC rep for Vancouver Centre). Kenneth said that the Vancouver Centre’s 200 members had discussed putting together a group effort to go to the totality as we did, but they apparently decided it was too much effort and abandoned the idea, so that is why we took him along with us.

Brittany had been told by her TV colleagues that she might have all sorts of problems at the U.S. border, and we’d been hearing news accounts predicting horrible traffic on the way down to Portland. Neither turned out to be the case. The officer at the border smiled and wished us a good trip, and the traffic on the way to Portland on Sunday was normal Sunday traffic.

Ron and Karla Jackson did a stellar job of taking care of us all. The Saturday arrivals pitched in and had dinner ready for the second wave when we arrived. They’d also made lunches for the entire crew for Monday. After dinner, we all had a meeting to discuss the next morning’s events. Ron had all of the necessary information queued up on Karla’s computer, and distributed maps and walkie talkies. We got a few hours sleep.

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Eclipsomaniacs planning session in Portland the evening before the eclipse

Monday morning Bruce Woodburn headed out the door at 2 AM to try to make it to Madras. He told us later:

I left Beaverton at 0200 and promptly got lost in downtown Portland. Once back on the freeway towards The Dalles I made good time with zero traffic. I stopped in The Dalles for a Logger’s Breakfast then continued with zero traffic towards Madras… Over the next few hours I was joined by a dozen others, many from Canada, including a young fellow who had driven by himself from Calgary with a homemade binocular solarscope. He has Astronomy Society potential.

Temp: 78F. Toilet facilities unlimited. Sky clear. No clouds, haze or smoke. View through the Astro binos was excellent. The corona extended way beyond the field of the binos.

The drive home was reasonable through Oregon and no trouble at all through Washington… Great trip !!!!

Ed Hanlon got out the door a half hour after Bruce W. Ed elected to take his camera equipment a mile away from the rest of us in Madrona Park in Monmouth where he ended up with another group of astrophotographers and got some fabulous pictures.

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Astrophotographers in Madrona Park

The rest of us in Portland were on the road at 4 AM. Again, traffic volume was normal Monday morning traffic. We arrived at Main St. Park and found lots of parking. The skies were absolutely clear. We set up solar scopes and went to the coffee shop across the street to get caffeinated. The park filled up with people from all around the world who were amazed and pleased to find our Eclipsomaniacs from the RASC there to help them view the skies. We had people from all over the U.S., the U.K., Europe and Asia there. Monmouth city volunteers were handing out solar glasses, so everyone had some. Quite a number of serious photographers set up cameras and there was one other person with a telescope (8-inch Schmidt Cassegrain). Brittany set up one video camera with solar filter facing the Sun and captured the entire eclipse sequence. The other TV camera she used to interview people and record the reactions of the crowd.

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Crowds in Main St Park

Hundreds of people viewed the skies through our solar scopes, which we had tracking the Sun as soon as it cleared the trees on the horizon. As the penumbra arrived, someone remarked that they wished they could take a picture. I saw that they had a cell phone and showed them how to take one at the eyepiece of my hydrogen alpha scope. Soon scores of people were coming to take photos at the eyepiece.

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People in Main St Park viewing the sun with Charles’ Coronado PST

The eclipse was breathtaking. The atmosphere of the crowd was electric. As the totality approached the light went platinum: it was like being in a black and white movie. Then the sky went dark, the temperature dropped and a chill wind blew through. Sunset appeared all around us and night above. Venus shone brightly and a glorious silvery corona surrounded the Sun. The crowd went wild. Unbelievable!

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After the eclipse ended, the Eclipsomaniacs all packed up and prepared to head home. Those of us in the TV van headed towards I5, while Ron and Karla tried 99W. Where it had taken us an hour to get to Monmouth from Portland that morning, it took us 5 ½ hours to get back. 6 ½ hour after that, we’d only made it as far as Renton, WA, and we got hotel rooms for the night. In the morning, we started north to the border. We dropped Kenneth off in Vancouver about 3 PM, and we finally made it back to the Sunshine Coast about 7 PM.

I am already getting thank you e mails from the crowd.

Solar Eclipse

What a great day for the eclipse. The official visitor count was set at 670, but I think we may have missed a few!

 

 

 

 

 

All ages attended and it was especially pleasing to see families sitting around some of the safe solar viewers,
watching, talking and learning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone who came out for this event, and don’t forget the next meeting of the Astronomy
Club will take place at the Arts Centre in Sechelt at 7:30 pm on Sept 8th. Our speaker will be
Christa Van Laerhoven who will be talking about Planetary Science. all are welcome.

(Eclipse image Dan Sklazeski)

Perseid Meteor Shower August 12th

Due to inclement weather this event has had to be cancelled.