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Astronomy in the Park: 24 August

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Danny Sklazeski setting up his hydrogen alpha scope to show visitors to Porpoise Bay Provincial Park the Sun.

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, 24 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.

At dusk, our astronomers will have their telescopes in the park picnic area for viewing Jupiter, Saturn, and countless other celestial objects. 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 free, family event open to the public, organized by volunteers, and made possible by Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. Please respect all park rules. Weather permitting.

UPDATE, SATURDAY 24 AUG: The forecast this afternoon looks doable for setting up the booth and solar telescopes. The forecast on ClearDarkSky for this evening shows some cloud cover, poor transparency, and poor to average seeing, so it isn’t very likely that we’ll be doing night time viewing: We’ll keep a close eye on this.

Our SCC Observatory will NOT be open tonight.

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Our Centre’s 2018 information booth in Porpoise Bay Provincial Park

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.

Sunspot Group AR2671

A remarkably-long sunspot group is sprawling across the solar disk. AR2671 stretches 140,000 miles from end to end, almost twice as wide as the planet Jupiter.

I imaged it today from Roberts Creek – I didn’t want to miss such an impressive group in  a period of solar minimum!

Tomorrow we have the partial eclipse here on the coast and this sunspot group should still be visible as the moon moves across the solar disc. Check it out.

Safe Solar Viewing

I made a simple projection telescope to prepare for the Eclipse (August 21st). All it took was a plank from an old IKEA shelving unit, a few scraps of wood and a couple of lenses. The objective is a 500mm focal length lens and the Barlow is a -25 mm one. I have a spare lens set if anyone wants it.

The entire device is just over 0.8m long and extremely easy to align.

The design is so simple that anyone could make one but I did find a nice article on line at http://richardsont.people.cofc.edu/safe_solar_folder/index.html. This article would be perfect to guide a budding young scientist in getting ready for viewing the eclipse or sunspots when they appear .

Mike