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Deep Sky Party Commences!

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People attending our grand opening of the observatory in June 2015

Tonight and for the next two nights astronomers from the Vancouver and Victoria Centres of the RASC will join us at the SCC Observatory to view the skies. Some will be camping there, others will be staying with RASC members. I hope that all of our members will join us at the observatory with their telescopes to view the skies this weekend. The forecast is for clear skies. Danny will be camping at the observatory this weekend as our “ambassador”. Members are welcome to bring family and guests. Please review the protocols for observatory use on our Observatory page.

Sea Cavalcade 2016 Update

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Mike shows solar prominences to visitors at the solar scopes while Scott mans the booth at Sea Cavalcade 2016

Yesterday we tallied 510 visitors to our booth and the solar scopes at Sea Cavalcade 2016. Scott, Mike, Sam Casoria, Charles, and David worked the booth and telescopes. Guest appearances included Errol Lipschitz, James MacWilliam, and Neil Sandy.

The list of giveaway items distributed is as follows;

Moon Gazer’s Guide : 73

Star Finders : 116

Getting Started in Astronomy guide : 17

Journal of the RASC edition on light abatement : 16

-Scott Harlow

Sea Cavalcade 2016: Volunteers Needed

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Sea Cavalcade 2014

We will be setting up our information booth at Gibsons Sea Cavalcade 2016 on Sunday, 24 July, at 9 AM and will be there until 4 PM. We’ll have our solar scopes set up to view sunspots and solar flares. Any members who’d like to drop by and assist would be very welcome.

Halfmoon Bay Country Fair 2016

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Mike, Charles, Scott and Danny manning the solar scopes

Our Centre was at Cooper’s Green for the 50th annual Halfmoon Bay Country Fair on 10 July. 257 people attended the booth and looked through the solar scopes. We even fixed a telescope that someone brought in.

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Charles answering the questions of the public at our booth

Canada Day 2016 Update

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Scott, Danny, and Mike sheltering from rain showers and discussing observatory matters while waiting for visitors to arrive

Mike Bradley, Charles Ennis, Bruce Fryer, Scott Harlow, Neil Sandy, Danny Sklazeski, and Sam Casoria manned the booth and solar telescopes. Bette Chadwick, James MacWilliams, and Serge and Sharon Planidin visited our patch of grass at Hackett Park. The day started out with a downpour that didn’t let up until the parade started. By the afternoon the skies had mostly cleared.

342 people came to visit the booth. We handed out 88 Star Finders, 60 Moon Gazer Guides, 1 Getting Started in Astronomy Guide, and 10 Journal of the RASC special edition on light abatement.

Sechelt Mayor Bruce Milne dropped by the booth to discuss issues with Scott and Charles, including light abatement, and took away one of the Journal Special Editions.

-Scott

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Sam and Danny at the solar scopes

First Anniversary Party for the Observatory: 2 July

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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

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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

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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.

Deep Sky Poster Contest

Our Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC invites youth on the Sunshine Coast to dazzle us with their artistic creativity and scientific knowledge. We will be holding a poster contest for youth. The theme for this poster contest is the Deep Sky and should depict the wonders that can be viewed with telescopes in our skies above the Sunshine Coast. Posters should not be smaller than 8.5 X 11 inches. The original contest deadline was 15 July, but we’ve extended the contest deadline to August 10th. The awards will be handed out at the Starlight Coast Star Party on August 20th at the SCC Observatory. The winning posters will be posted on the SCC web site. Prizes include:

  • Age 9 years or less category: Celestron 76mm (3 inch) Firstscope reflector telescope kit suitable for this age group to view planets.
  • Age 10 years to 18 years category: Meade 76mm (3 inch) Jupiter reflector telescope kit suitable for this age group to engage in beginner’s astronomy.
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Prize for 9 years and younger category.

Winners of both categories will also be invited to the Deep Sky Party to view the skies using our SCC Observatory telescope.

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Prize for 10 – 18 years category

Posters can be dropped off at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre 5714 Medusa Street,  which is open Wed through Saturday 11 a.m. to 4pm , Sunday 1-4 p.m, or at the Gibsons Public Library, which is open  Monday 12:30 – 4:30, Tues –Sat 10-5:30, Wed 10-7:30, or dropped off or mailed to 5902 Skookumchuk Rd, Sechelt, BC, V0N 3A4. We don’t have a monthly meeting in July or August due to the summer holidays, so it isn’t possible to drop the posters off at a meeting at this time of year.

Please include your name, age and contact information with your Entry and indicate that it is for the Astronomy Poster Contest.

Contact Information:

Check out the Sunshine Coast RASC site at: http://www.coastastronomy.ca/ for contact and schedule information.

Sunshine Coast RASC President Charles Ennis:

e mail: cuhulain@ telus.net

phone 778-458-2666