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Public Viewing: 25 August

IMG_1588We won’t be open Saturday, 24 August as we’re busy doing Astronomy in the Park at Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. We are planning to open the observatory Sunday, 25 August as the forecast at the time of writing is favourable. We’ll update on this page on  Sunday around 4 PM. Gates open at 8:30 PM.

Observatory Upgrade

IMG_1606At the end of July David Thompson upgraded our observatory with solar powered night lights which provide red lighting on the deck and access ramp of the observatory. These modules are spaced along the railings of the ramp and deck. These got their first trial at a public observing session August 4, and they work well. Thanks David!

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.

ECLIPSE TIMING FOR SECHELT:

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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyvMuWFelf4

Clear skies!

Charles Ennis, Past President

 

More Members Complete Qualified Operator Training

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Shannon using the observatory telescope.

Last night (Saturday, 1 December), We conducted a training session at the observatory and Shannon McLaughlin completed her training as Qualified Operator. Ed Hanlon came later and went through some of the training, but we were losing the sky by that time, so he’ll come back and complete the QO course later.

If you’re interested in learning how to use the observatory telescope, please contact me. We’ll take you through the procedure of opening/closing the observatory, starting up and parking the telescope, navigating the night skies with the telescope, and recovering from telescope failures to get back into action quickly.

Charles Ennis, Past President

2 Records Broken at the Observatory Last Night

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Bruce Woodburn taking a break from binocular observations to view M13 last night with the big scope.

At last night’s public viewing session at our observatory we broke two records. One concerned yearly attendance, which stood at 311 just two days ago. Last year’s total attendance was only 159, so we knew to double that we needed just 7 more people to attend this year. Attendance last night was 29, which is the highest attendance ever recorded at a public session. So we easily pushed past doubling last year’s attendance to a new record of 340. And the year isn’t done yet! We had people of all ages at the observatory last night. One little girl told us her favorite planet was Saturn, and was ecstatic when she saw it for the first time in the eyepiece. Several members worked on their observing certificates. James MacWilliam showed up with his guitar and entertained us for hours. A thoroughly entertaining evening.

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.

Observatory Update

David is shown here putting the finishing touches to the cover he made to protect the roof opening/closing mechanism. It also keeps curious fingers from getting trapped.

The electrical system with its safety interlocks is fully functional now and moving the roof is done by pushing a button. Very smooth!

Mike