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Zodiacal Light

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Zodiacal Light. Credit: Sky and Telescope

For two weeks from the 13th of October zodiacal light will readily be visible from a dark site in the east before morning twilight. This is caused by sunlight reflected of the immense cloud of interplanetary dust encircling the Sun.

Dr. Roy Bishop, Emeritus Professor of Physics from Acadia University, writes in the RASC Observer’s Handbook:

The zodiacal light appears as a huge, softly radiant pyramid of white light with its base near the horizon, and its axis centred on the zodiac (or better, the ecliptic). In its brightest parts, it exceeds the luminance of the central Milky Way.

Moonlight, haze or light pollution can easily blot out zodiacal light, so you’ll need a dark sky location to observe it. It is best viewed just after twilight in the east, in the hour to half an hour just before twilight begins at dawn, from about October 13-27.

Charles Ennis

2nd VP RASC

Astronomy club at the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden

Join us at the Botanical Garden on September 2nd for the very popular Harvest Festival, this is usually one of our best attended events. This will be the last outreach event for the club this year and we will have our solar observing telescopes out in force. Lets hope for some clear, smoke free skies.

Service Awards 2018

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Brian Lucas receiving his service award from President Chris Gainor and Past President Colin Haig at the GA.

At the General Assembly in Calgary last June Dr. Brian Lucas received a Service Award for his years of service to the Society. The other Service Award recipient from our Center, Neil Sandy, did not attend the GA, so 2nd Vice President Charles Ennis presented Neil with his award at Pender Harbour Days last week.

Congratulations and thanks to Neil and Brian for all they’ve done for our Centre!

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Neil Sandy receiving his Service Award from Charles Ennis.

Warm Room

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The new warm room is located under the roof rails.

On Sunday, 2018 January 7, construction materials were delivered to our observatory at the Sechelt Airport for the building of a storage/warm room for the observatory. Colin Bradley and David Thompson got down to work a few days later and by Friday they’d completed the basic structure. The next step is to install insulation, wiring, lighting/heating, and shelves and a workbench.

Blue Moon Turns Red

The second full Moon in a month is referred to as a “blue Moon” and January 31 we’ll see the second full Moon of January 2018. But we will see that blue moon turnLE2018-01-31T red on the 31st with the first total lunar eclipse in 2 ½ years. People on the West Coast will have a front row seat as the eclipse begins at 2:49 AM PST. Midtotality occurs at 5:29 and the eclipse ends at 8:10 AM.

Visit from Roy Bishop

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L to R: Dr. Roy Bishop, Charles Ennis, Danny Sklazeski, Mike Bradley

On 27 December Dr. Roy Bishop dropped by Sandy Hook to visit with some of our members. Dr. Roy L. Bishop Roy Bishop is Emeritus Professor of Physics at Acadia University in Nova Scotia. He is a graduate of Acadia (both Engineering and Physics), McMaster University, and the University of Manitoba. While in Manitoba, in 1967 he joined the Winnipeg Centre of the RASC. Upon his return to Nova Scotia, he helped to re-establish the Halifax Centre in 1970. Roy was President of the Halifax Centre in 1975 when that Centre hosted the first RASC General Assembly in Atlantic Canada. Currently, he is the Honorary President of the Halifax Centre. For 19 years (1981-2000) Roy was Editor of the Observer’s Handbook (also known as “The Bible According to Bishop”), as well as contributing a substantial portion of its content every year, a practice he continues to maintain into the present. During his term as editor he doubled the size of the Handbook to nearly 300 pages. In terms of number of Handbook pages edited, Roy’s record exceeds that of even the 50-year editorship of the legendary C.A. Chant. Beginning in 1980 Roy undertook the 8-year sequence of presidential positions in the national Society, serving as President in 1984-1986. In 1988, he received the RASC Service Award. He was national Honorary President in 2001-2005. For his innovative contributions to the Observer’s Handbook, in 2002 he received the RASC Chant Medal. Dr. Bishop has for decades consistently participated in and assisted with countless Centre and national projects and initiatives, including General Assemblies, star parties, public events, and literally countless lectures, published articles, and media interviews. Roy is a quiet but passionate advocate for astronomy and the RASC. He has encouraged, taught, and mentored scores of amateur astronomers, both within and outside of the RASC. He freely shares his wisdom and deep knowledge of the Society with all who seek his counsel. Roy’s research on the history of astronomy has brought to light one of the earliest observatories in North America. Other astronomical topics on which he has published include meteors, human vision, the centennial of the Observer’s Handbook, transits of Venus, and the tides of the Bay of Fundy. His contributions to astronomy and physics beyond the RASC have been recognized by the naming of asteroid 6901 Roybishop, and by his induction in 2012 to Nova Scotia’s Discovery Centre Science Hall of Fame. Dr. Bishop’s steadfast and influential work, over four decades, has helped raise the global reputation of the RASC to that of a leading astronomical organization. His reputation for, and insistence on, scientific accuracy, thoroughness, and integrity has steadily guided and maintained the RASC on the path of excellence as an organization. Dr. Bishop is a living embodiment of the goals and objectives of the RASC and in 2013 received the award of  Fellowship in the Society. We were very pleased to have him spend some time with us.

Nairn’s Star

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On this anniversary of the passing of our member Nairn Robertson, we’ve received some fabulous news. You’ll recall that Nairn was the young man that we took on as a member after the Make a Wish Foundation gave him a telescope which we taught him to use. Nairn’s telescope is now at our observatory for the use of members. Nairn’s uncle Dean has now had a star named for Nairn:

RA 1 h, 21m, 19.09s

DEC +58° 19′ 54.8″