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Museum of Flight and LIGO


On March 13 Night Lights co-host Bruce Fryer and I teamed up with Eastlink/Coast Cable crew Steve Sleep and Brittany Broderson and drove down to the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field in Seattle to capture some footage for the 4th season of our Centre’s Night Lights program. Ted Huetter, the museum’s public relations director, took us into the Space Shuttle Simulator that was used to train all Space Shuttle crews. You can still see boot marks on the sides from those crews practicing escapes from the cockpit hatches. We got footage of Saturn V engines, an Apollo capsule, a lunar ascent module, a lunar rover, and a Viking lander (the third in the series which was never launched). We got great footage inside the mid-deck and flight-deck of the simulator and lots of other shots in the cargo bay.


Bruce Fryer standing beside a Rocketdyne F-1 engine. 5 of these massive engines sent the Saturn V rocket of the Apollo missions into space.


Ted Huetter and Brittany Broderson checking out the mid-deck of the Space Shuttle. That ladder in the foreground goes up to the flight deck above. 

fH41UM4M_400x400The next day we went to LIGO Hanford where gravitational waves were measured for the first time in 2015. Amber Strunk, LIGO Education and Outreach Coordinator, met us at the lobby of the administration building where devices like the Weber Bar used in the past in attempts to detect these waves are displayed. We were allowed into the massive building housing the near infrared laser, the device that splits the beam to send it down the two 4-kilometer long tunnels, the interferometer and beam detector. Fortunately for us, this was a maintenance day where upgrades were being installed so workmen (and our crew) would be allowed into this secure area. This is an ultra clean area, so we had to put on booties, bouffant hair nets, and $700 laser safety glasses: The laser beam is infrared, so if it got loose in that dust free room you’d never see it before it blinded you. The vacuum in the tunnels that house the laser beams have fewer atoms per cubic meter than you’d find in outer space!


Brittany filming Bruce interviewing Jeff, the man in charge of operations in the LIGO control room.


Bruce, Brittany, Steve, and Charles all ready to go into the laser room with their safety goggles in place. All nerded up!


Brittany getting “b-roll” while Amber Strunk describes the laser tunnel in the background to Steve and Bruce.


Looking down one of the 4-kilometer long arms that house the laser beams at LIGO Hanford. That white rectangular structure you see in the distance is only the half-way house in this arm!

Charles Ennis, Past President

Night Lights Shoot: The DRAO


Steve and Brittany preparing to film Bruce and Dr. Sean Dougherty, Director of the DRAO, in front of the synthesis array

On Tuesday, 11 July, Bruce Fryer and Charles Ennis teamed up with Coast Cable TV staff Steve Sleep and Brittany Broderson and drove up to the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) at White Lake near Penticton to film sequences for the 3rd season of Night Lights. We spent several hours doing interviews of DRAO director Sean Dougherty and Dr. Ken Tapping at the various radio telescopes and in control rooms. Due to the numerous forest fires in the interior the skies were smoky.


The 26 meter John Galt telescope with the new CHIME array in the background in the lower left

Later we drove up to the Okanagan Centre’s observatory to get more footage.


Bruce, Jack, and Charles in Jack’s 16 foot observatory dome

After spending the night in Kelowna, we drove down to Jack Newton’s Observatory B & B in Osoyoos to film some segments before returning to the Coast.

Coyote Science Update



Last year members of our Centre assisted the Aboriginal Prime Time Network in producing their science show for First Nations youth- Coyote Science. I just got this update from Producer/Director, Loretta Todd, who is based in Gibsons:

Sending you heartfelt kinanâskomitin, thank you, for sharing your time, story and knowledge with Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science Show. Your work and dedication is inspirational for our young people. We appreciate all the good work of the Sunshine Coast Astronomy Club. You and your colleague, Michael Bradley, have been so helpful and supportive.

Just letting you and your team know that Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science show is now screening on APTN. The episodes you were involved are airing this Saturday, February 25  – Big Bang  and Astronomy, sometime in April (tbc). Coyote Science will broadcast every Saturday morning. APTN is on channel 125 on Telus TV and channel 631 on Coast TV.

BC time: 7:30 am (on the HD channel, 9:30 am on the SD channel)

Mountain time: 8:30 am

Central time: 9:30 am

Eastern time: 10:30 am

Atlantic: 11:30 am

Newfoundland: 12:00pm

(check local listings because there is a difference between the APTN HD channel and the old school APTN SD channel)

Thank you again. It is so appreciated. We are planning a special lunch in the near future to celebrate Coyote Science on the Coast – will keep you posted.

ekosi, Loretta Todd, Producer | Director

APTN will begin streaming episodes in the near future as well, so check their website and like their facebook page for updates and interesting stories.


Starry Nights


Bravo has finally released the Starry Nights film! You can view it here and the poster here: starry-nights-poster

Regards, Charles

Closing In On the Fine Cut


Jeff, Dodie and Charles in the office at Merit Motion Pictures working on editing Starry Nights

I spent the last 6 days in Winnipeg in studios at Merit Motion Pictures and MoonGazy Films working on turning the rough cut of our Bravo film “Starry Nights” into a finished film. We worked on recording voice overs, editing, special effects and art work, adding astrophotography, adding the music, and creating the credits. This week it will be going to technicians for color correction and sound editing. By the end of this week we hope to have it wrapped!

Charles Ennis


Jeff and Dodie working through lunch to get the film edited.

Its A Wrap!


Filming at the observatory of the Prince George RASC 

Last night we finished 13 days of filming interviews, star parties, observatories (optical and radio telescopes), night skies and assorted b roll in Prince George, Kelowna, Penticton, and the Sunshine Coast. We got all that we hoped to capture for the BravoFACTUAL “Starry Nights” project as well as key footage for the proposedTelus Optik “Astronomers Like You” project. We hope to get a go ahead from Telus in the next few weeks. Now its time to get down to editing and making this all into documentaries. Many thanks to the many people who helped us in the last 13 days!

Charles Ennis, National Secretary


Filming at the observatory of the Okanagan RASC

Bravo Said Yes!


You may recall that last February Dodie Graham-McKay and I submitted a proposal to the Bravo Network for a 15 minute documentary with the working title “Starry Nights”. Bravo contacted us two days ago to give us the green light! The announcement was posted on Real Screen here. In the next few weeks Dodie will be coming out to work on this with me as well as to fine tune the final proposal for the other project for Telus Optik.

Clear Skies!

Charles Ennis, SCC President