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Roberts Creek Earth Day: 22 April 2017

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Volunteers setting up solar scopes for 2016 Earth Day (photo by Sam Casoria)

We will be setting up our outreach booth for Roberts Creek Earth Day from noon to 5 pm on Saturday, 22 April, by the Mandala at the foot of Roberts Creek Rd. This is the same location we’ve set up in past years. Volunteers should show up for 11 AM to help set up.

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Members of the public at our Earth Day booth last year.

National Board Finalizes Strategic Plan

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L to R: 1st VP Chris Gainor, 2nd VP Robyn  Foret, Dr. Wilma Slenders, Executive Director Randy Attwood, President Craig Levine

The National Board of the RASC met in Calgary at the Sheraton Cavalier on 18/19 March to finalize the Strategic Plan. We identified the primary goals, assigned actions to each, assigned each action a “champion” to supervise that activity, established measurables, and set deadlines. We are determined to transform the RASC. We intend:

1: To ensure that our front office staff are adequately trained and have access to the right tools and skills

2: To become a conduit for the professional astronomical community to reach out to the public

3: To be the national brand for astronomy in Canada

4: To be stewards of night sky and the earth under it

5: To provide educator consumable material to be used in classrooms across Canada

6: To develop and mentor volunteers within the RASC

7: To become the premier link for all astronomy in Canada

8: To build collaborative communities united behind common purpose

9: To assist in developing Centre leadership and foster Centre development

10. To make the RASC a safe, inclusive, welcoming environment

11. To ensure that RASC finances are sustainable

Dr. Slenders, our facilitator, is now polishing up the results and we’ll be turning this into a presentation for the Presidents and Committees at a meeting on 22 April.

The Board would like to thank the Sunshine Coast Centre for its feedback and input, which was very helpful to us in this planning process.

Charles Ennis, National Secretary

Total Solar Eclipse: Oregon, 21 August 2017

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Picture of a solar eclipse by member Ed Hanlon

My wife’s cousin Ron is an engineer lives in Beaverton, a suburb of Portland, Oregon, and has invited me and friends to his place to view the total solar eclipse on 21 August, 2017. This is the first total lunar eclipse visible from the U.S. in over 38 years: The last one passed through the Pacific Northwest in 1979. Bruce Woodburn and I are planning to drive down to view this from Ron’s part of the world. Any other members who are interested in being part of this should contact me.

Clear Skies, Charles Ennis, President

In Memoriam: Nairn Robertson

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It makes me very sad to announce that one of our youngest members, Nairn Robertson, passed away from his illness on 28 December, 2016. He’d received an intestine transplant weeks earlier in an attempt to save him, but ultimately he succumbed to his condition. Nairn’s mother called us in August of 2015, asking us if we could teach him how to use a telescope given to him by the Make A Wish Foundation. We got him a free membership in the RASC and got down to work. He had a chance to learn how to operate our Celestron telescope at the SCC Observatory shortly afterwards. In the fall of 2015 he went into Sechelt hospital as his condition worsened. We got the astrophysicists that came to talk at our monthly meetings to visit him in hospital. His passion for astronomy inspired us all.

nairns-scopeNairn’s mother has donated the 12 inch Meade LX90 telescope to our Centre. We’re in the process of putting together a program named for Nairn to allow young people to explore the skies with his telescope.

The memorial service for Nairn is 21 January, 2017, at YMCA Camp Elphinstone at 12:30 PM in the Welcome Centre Exploration Hall.

Starlight Coast Star Party a Success

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Setting up for the star party. Solar scopes in the foreground.

We had 85 members of the public show up for our first Starlight Coast Star Party last night. We had a perfectly clear sky for the event, though it was very hot until the sun set. The Rotary Club served hotdogs, hamburgers and sandwiches. We displayed the entries for the poster contest and handed out prizes to the winners. The Coast Reporter photographer showed up to get pictures. We had visitors on site viewing the skies until midnight.

Poster Contest Winners

5-9 yr Category

 

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Winners in the under 9 years category

1st Prize  Beginner Telescope: Miyo (5) &  Taho  Shinagawa

 

2nd Prize    Book: Kianna Hamlin (9)

 

3rd Prize     Book: Ryder Wood (9)

 

4th    Book: Molly Jones

 

10-18 Category

 

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1st place winner in the 10 – 18 category

1st Prize  Telescope: Jessica Carrol  (14)

 

2nd Prize – Astronomy Book  (Hubble): Eva Starsage (12)

 

3rd Prize  – Sky Scout: Merriwether Morris(15)

 

4th (honorable mention)    Book: Alexandra Holden  (  15)

 

**Honorable mention  – Subscription to Sky News: Trisha Singh

 

All of the rest of the kids that showed up got a gift bag.

DAO Day

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Steve, Charles, Brittany of the filming crew and Dan Posen from the Victoria Centre RASC in front of the Plaskett Observatory

I jumped in the TV truck Monday morning with Steve and Brittany from Coast Cable and headed off to Vancouver Island to for a whirlwind visit to the DAO (Dominion Astrophysical Observatory), NRC Herzberg Institute, the Center of the Universe, and the VCO (Victoria Centre Observatory) to get footage for the second season of our Night Lights TV show. We did interviews with graduate student Dan Posen regarding the history of the DAO, which is coming up on its 100th birthday and is still in use. We interviewed Dimitri Monin, the technical director of the Plaskett Telescope, about its structure and operation. We interviewed Dr. Dennis Crabtree, the acting director of the NRC Herzberg Institute, regarding the many telescopes that the NRC manages as well as the telescopes they intend to build in the future, such as the 30 meter mirror telescope. The blue line you see on the parking lot behind us represents the diameter of that 30 meter telescope. We also interviewed Victoria Centre member Diane Bell and toured the VCO with her and Dan. It was a very productive session.

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Steve and Brittany speaking to Dimitri Monin (in the background gesturing) and Dr. Crabtree (in the Hawaiian shirt) at the base of the Plaskett telescope

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Plaskett Telescope

Charles