Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

Astronomy in the Park: Saturday, 11 August 2018

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After a two-year absence, 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, 11 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.

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Perseid meteor shower (source: NASA)

Bill Burnyeat, formerly of the MacMillan Planetarium, will be doing a presentation in the park amphitheatre at dusk. Afterwards our astronomers will have their telescopes in the park picnic area for viewing Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and countless other celestial objects while overhead the Perseid meteor shower takes place. 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 family event open to the public, organized by volunteers, and made possible by Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. Please respect all park rules. Weather permitting. Also check our website: www.coastastronomy.ca

NOTE: Our observatory will not be open on this evening as all of our volunteers will be committed at this event.

Our sun is still an interesting place to view!

I took this image through the clubs new Quark Hydrogen Alpha (Ha) eyepiece last Friday mid afternoon (14/7/18), seeing was quite good. The combination of camera/eyepiece/telescope results in a small field of view, but one where the details of the solar chromosphere are revealed very nicely. The image was taken in monochrome and coloured to match the Ha colour..We are looking at an area where bundles of magnetic fields lines are concentrated.

We will have the eyepiece, and other solar viewing equipment in use at the Gibsons Art Gallery next Saturday for our meet and greet with Erwin. Come by and take a look at his images and the sun!

 

Heavenly Wonders at GPAG

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NGC 7023

From July 12 to August 12 the Gibsons Public Art Gallery will be presenting a collection of photos, Heavenly Wonders- Astrophotography by Erwin Diener. We invite you to be moved and challenged by the profound beauty and vastness of cosmic space while reflecting on the human experience. This meet and greet event is scheduled for Saturday July 21, 1 pm – 4 pm. Members of the Sunshine Coast Centre will be present to interpret the photos and show the public views of the sky with telescopes.

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New focuser installed today

The new “Feather Touch” focuser that we have been after for some time was finally installed today. The focuser will provide a more precise control over the fine focusing of the telescope and will comfortably handle heavy eyepieces or even cameras. The focuser was purchased with part of the grant that we received from Rotary – thank you!.

Mike

Dr. William Wall: 11 May 2018

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At 7:30 PM, 11 May 2018, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, the Sunshine Coast Centre of the RASC presents Dr. William Wall, whose topic is: Basic Properties of the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano.

The Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano is a world-class radio telescope and is the largest scientific project in Mexico. The LMT is technologically advanced, permitting it to observe the much of the universe, thereby expanding the frontiers of science. Using examples from everyday life, I will illustrate the impressive technological capabilities of the LMT.  I will also discuss the benefits transferred to industry by the scientific developments required by the LMT project.

 

Dr. William Wall was born in Canada. He received his B.Sc. from the University of Toronto, his M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia, his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He did his postdoctoral fellowship at NASA GSFC in Greenbelt, Maryland. He’s currently a researcher at the National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics in Tonantzintla, Puebla, Mexico. His research

involves observational studies of the interstellar medium, using radio telescopes, including the LMT. He occasionally gives talks to the public about the LMT.

 

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

Detecting neutrinos from core-collapse supernovae in our galaxy

Museum of Flight and LIGO

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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.

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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.

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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!

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

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

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

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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

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