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Perseid Meteor Shower

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We’re going to open the SCC Observatory for the Perseid meteor shower Thursday, August 11 and at 8:30 PM.

Deep Sky Party 3

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Danny, our ambassador for the visitors this weekend

Members and visitors viewed the skies for the second night in a row last night. It was not as clear a sky as Friday night, with clouds drifting through, but we did get some viewing between the clouds.

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Everyone getting set up at sunset

Deep Sky Part Two

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Members from other RASC Centres setting up for last night’s star party

Tonight is the second night of the clubs star party at our airport site at the top of field rd…

Last nights conditions were exceptional… at least the clarity of the sky was. While it was not so good for viewing planets because of the turbulence in the air the transparency was excellent. The milky way was etched sharply against a black background of stars and was
clearly visible from the north east horizon down to the southern horizon. The club scope was up and running as well as numerous other scopes from members and guests. Among the numerous star clusters and galaxies we viewed we were also treated to 2 passes of the space station and numerous bright meteors from 2 currently active meteor showers.

We also have several guests from the Victoria centre staying on site and possibly some today from Vancouver… feel free to drop by the site to say hello and welcome them to our beautiful area.

If all goes well, weather wise, tonight should be spectacular!!!!

the gate is closed now but unlocked so members can still access the site…pls leave gate as you find it when you enter.

Members and guests are welcome…

I hope to see you there!

neil sandy
rasc member

Deep Sky Party Commences!

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People attending our grand opening of the observatory in June 2015

Tonight and for the next two nights astronomers from the Vancouver and Victoria Centres of the RASC will join us at the SCC Observatory to view the skies. Some will be camping there, others will be staying with RASC members. I hope that all of our members will join us at the observatory with their telescopes to view the skies this weekend. The forecast is for clear skies. Danny will be camping at the observatory this weekend as our “ambassador”. Members are welcome to bring family and guests. Please review the protocols for observatory use on our Observatory page.

First Anniversary Party for the Observatory: 2 July

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The ribbon is cut by our president, a representative from Swanson’s Ready Mix, and the two mayors on 27 June 2015.

Our SCC Observatory opened on the 27th of June last year. We’re planning a viewing session to celebrate the first anniversary of our first light on Saturday, July 2 (weather permitting). The observatory will open the gates at 9 PM (Sunset 9:12). BYO Telescope and refreshments.

UPDATE: 1 July 1800 hours- Wow. This morning before heading to Canada Day celebrations I checked the forecast for tomorrow and the sky charts and it looked good for an opening at the observatory for 2 July. When I came home in the afternoon and checked again I found that the forecast had dramatically changed: The forecast was now calling for rain in the evening on Saturday, 2 July and the ClearDarkSky chart showing overcast. What a difference a few hours can make! I will keep checking tomorrow and post another update closer to the event. If the forecast doesn’t change, it doesn’t look good for opening the observatory on the 2nd.

UPDATE 2 July 1000 hours:  The forecast has improved somewhat from yesterday. We’ll post later today around 1800 with another update on whether we’ll be opening tonight.

UPDATE 2 July 1800 hours: The forecast has gone back to predicting rain and as I write this the rain is bouncing off my skylights. ClearDarkSky is calling for overcast and Scott, our observer up near the airport confirms this. We will not be opening the observatory tonight.

Planet Viewing Star Party

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Mike Bradley and Deborah McWilliams checking out the image of Mars on the laptop as Mike takes photos for processing

Last night (4 June) 24 people of all ages attended our club’s “Last Call for Jupiter” Star Party for members at the SCC Observatory. It was a beautiful night, with just a trace of high cloud. There were 10 telescopes set up including the observatory’s 14 inch Celestron Edge HD. Later in the session our VP, Mike Bradley, hooked up his camera to the observatory’s telescope to capture images of the planets.

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People of all ages watch Mike take photos of Saturn

Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn were all prominent in the sky, with Mars making a close approach to Earth and Saturn at opposition.

We look forward to seeing the results of the photography session.

Charles Ennis, President

Last Call for Jupiter Viewing!

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photo by Mike Bradley of Jupiter during the double shadow transit last month

As the nights get shorter and the Earth spins along, Jupiter sinks toward the western horizon… soon to be engulfed in the murk and turbulence of the atmosphere close to the horizon, (which unfortunately is where saturn and mars currently lay :-()… having said that its been a great show on Jupiter this past few months and using my C11 SCT with bino viewers has given me some of the best views of the planet I have ever had…. but as they say all good things come to an end… until next year that is =D> .

Jupiter is still nice and high in the early evening so with a little luck and some good seeing we should get some good views on Saturday.

I will be there with bino viewers in hand…. there might even be a

C11 or two on site…. for sure there will be a C8 😎

See you Saturday… gate time to be announced… i should be there 9ish.

Neil Sandy

member-rasc

NOTE: Mars (on a close approach to Earth) and Saturn will be up there also.

Charles Ennis, President

Science Odyssey and International Astronomy Day

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visitor viewing the Mercury transit from the deck of the SCC Observatory 9 May

Yesterday was International Astronomy Day and the second to last day of Science Odyssey, which runs from 6 – 15 May. We had 5 viewing sessions at our SCC Observatory including a double shadow transit of Jupiter and the transit of Mercury. We had Steve Mairs from U Vic come to speak to us about star formation. Steve visited the SCC Observatory last night for our viewing session for Astronomy Day and spent about an hour chatting with youth who came to view the Moon and Jupiter. Although last night was less than ideal viewing conditions we still got some viewing done and had 17 people show up to view the skies.

Transit of Mercury Report: 9 May

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Families waiting to view the transit of Mercury

Mike Bradley and I were up at the SCC Observatory at 5:30 AM to open up and several members of the public were there at first light to view the transit of Mercury. The transit, which began at 4:12 AM before the sun rose, was in progress as the sun cleared the trees. Steve Sleep from Coast Cable showed up to do interviews and film the action.

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Steve getting video footage of us getting video footage of the tranist

By the time the day was over we’d had 10 of our members, 1 Vancouver Centre member, and 21 members of the public drop by to view the transit. Mike and Danny got photos and Mike got some video of the event as well.

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Many members brought their own solar scopes

We collected $114 in donations during the event.

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That round dot on the lower left is Mercury. Photo by Mike Bradley

Charles Ennis, President

Viewing Sessions to Launch Science Odyssey

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Charles setting up the observatory for viewing

Thursday night Scott, Bruce W, and I went up to the SCC Observatory and spent several hours viewing Jupiter and other wonders of the night sky. The viewing conditions were very good.

Friday morning, 6 May, David and Mike went up to the observatory and mounted the new Antares guide scope on the side of the main optical tube assembly of the SCC Observatory.

Friday night, the official opening of Science Odyssey (6 – 15 May), 8 club members set up their telescopes outside the observatory and I opened the SCC Observatory to view the double shadow transit of Jupiter. members all noted that seeing was challenging and, as James put it: “Members dug in among buffeting winds (albeit warm winds) to peer into The Jovian atmosphere.” David modeled the transit using astronomy software and was able to show us the shadow position to look for. We spotted Callisto’s shadow on Jupiter and Io transiting first with the observatory telescope, the shadow skirting the north polar region about 9 PM, with the Great Red Spot crossing the central meridian. The Antares scope proved to be lined up well with the OTA.

James reports:

“Neil carried out scientific research on the light pass of several different 2″ diagonals and we had opportunity to compare the views in James 11″ SCT Service Scope and Neil’s Shiny new 8” SCT with fresh Starbright XLT Coatings from the Celestron factory.

“We observed Jupiter and Moon’s, two shadow transits – there was a moon transit too not visible to us under the conditions –

Globular Clusters M3 and M13 – both beatifully resolved, Galaxies M82 (Neil),

M65, M66 (James ) and The Ring Nebula

Which appeared best in Neil 8” SCT.

“Just before departure Saturn and Mars arrived on the scene and we had tantalizing views of these distant world’s promising more detail to follow. We exited the Stargate at 12.50 am. A great night.”

Meanwhile Mike Bradley was photographing the event from his SunMoonStars Observatory:

“I could view the transit with my 5” Megrez and capture a movie for processing. Attached is the result from stacking 500 frames, taken at f20. As James said the seeing was not great and focus was hard to achieve. Thanks to the magic of stacking software the image isn’t too bad! The reddish cast to the image is because the camera has been modified for Hydrogen alpha, I’ll do some further processing to try to correct for this.”

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Mike’s preliminary photo of the double transit

 

Members will be back up at the observatory Saturday night for viewing. The SCC Observatory will be open to the public from sunrise on Monday, 9 May, for the transit of Mercury, which will last until 1140 AM.

Charles Ennis, President

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