Sunshine Coast Centre RASC

UPCOMING EVENTS: Click on the Events below for more details

Public Viewing, Sept 9th

AstroCafe, Davis Bay, 8:00 PM,  18 August

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Speaker for 9 June: Julio Navarro

navarro_0Our speaker at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, 5714 Medusa St, Sechelt, at 7:30 PM on Friday, June 9, will be Dr. Julio Navarro, whose topic will be Dark Matter and Dark Energy: the puzzling forces that shape our Universe. Admittance is by donation.

Royal Astronomical Society Visit

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That’s Charles in the background talking to RAS Council member Stephen Sergeant in the RAS Library at Burlington House

On 12 May our President, Charles Ennis, attended the President’s Address of the Royal Astronomical Society at Burlington House in London, which has been their base of operations since 1874. Charles then attended the reception afterwards in the RAS library.

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Speaker for 12 May: Dr. Sun Kwok

stardust_b (2)At 7:30 PM, 12 May 2017, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, The Sunshine Coast Centre welcomes Dr. Sun Kwok, whose topic will be “Stardust: the cosmic seeds of life.” How did life originate on Earth?  For over 50 years, scientists believed that life was the result of chemistry involving simple molecules such as methane and ammonia cooking in a primordial soup.  Recent space observations have revealed that old stars are capable of making very complex organic compounds.  The stars then ejected the organics and spread them all over the Milky Way Galaxy.  There is evidence that these organic dust particles actually reached the early Solar System.  Through bombardments by comets and asteroids, the early Earth inherited significant amounts of star dust.  Was the development of life assisted by the arrival of these extraterrestrial materials?  In this talk, we describe discoveries in astronomy and solar system science over the last 10 years that resulted in a new perspective on the origin of life.

Prof. Sun Kwok’s research areas are astrochemistry and stellar evolution.  He is best known for his theory on the origin of planetary nebulae and the death of Sun-like stars.  His recent research has been on the topic of the synthesis of complex organic compounds in the late stages of stellar evolution.  He is the author of many books, including The Origin and Evolution of Planetary Nebulae (Cambridge, 2000), Cosmic Butterflies (Cambridge, 2001), Physics and Chemistry of the Interstellar Medium (University Science Books, 2007), Organic Matter in the Universe (Wiley, 2012), and Stardust: the cosmic seeds of life (Springer, 2013).  He has been a guest observer on many space missions, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Infrared Space Observatory.

Prof. Kwok currently serves as President of IAU International Astronomical Union (IAU), Commission on Astrobiology.  Previously, he has served as the President of IAU Commission on Interstellar Matter (2012-2015) and chairman of IAU Planetary Nebulae Working Group (1994-2001).

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

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.

Comet Hunting

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Mike Bradley checks out the list of comets and sets up the laptop to steer the telescope (photo by Charles Ennis)

Last night (16 April), 9 people attended the SCC Observatory to hunt comets. We got a good look at comets 41P/tuttle-Giacobinni-Kresak and C/2015 V2 Johnson, added objects to member’s Messier lists, and got a good look at Jupiter. Danny and Neil brought their own telescopes to join the sky survey.

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Charles views stars for alignments while Mike runs the laptop and David looks on (photo by James MacWilliams)

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

Cosmic Rays in the Classroom: Francesca Crema

 

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At 7:30 PM, Friday, 14 April 2017, at the Sunshine Coast Art Centre, 5714 Medusa St., Sechelt, The Sunshine Coast Centre welcomes Francesca Crema, whose topic will be “Cosmic Rays in the Classroom: My experiences with muons, variable stars, and project-based learning.”

Francesca Crema is a 17-year-old grade 12 student participating in Templeton Secondary’s STEM Program in Vancouver who intends to pursue a career in the sciences, specifically physics (specifically, high-energy particle physics). Francesca is the youngest at-large council member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, serving on the council of the RASC’s Vancouver center as their youth rep.

Ever since joining her school’s STEM program, Francesca has received the opportunity to research and analyze data collected from a cosmic ray detector, and is currently studying spectroscopy and photometry at the SFU Trottier observatory. Francesca has been updating old data (e.g.: radial velocity, apparent magnitude) on RT Aurigae. Because her school’s STEM program has provided her with these opportunities and more, she will also talk about it and detail the benefits of project-based learning. Her talk will detail her experiences with these projects, as well as provide an introduction to the scientific principles – from elementary particles to variable stars – that they are based on.

Admission is free: donations gratefully accepted at the door.

NOTE: RASC members will hold a very brief 10 minute meeting at the outset to vote on the new bylaws.

Sunshine Coast RASC President Charles Ennis:

 

 

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