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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)

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:

 

 

Strategic Planning:What Do Our Members Want?

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SCC members voting on brainstorming points to prioritize them for our strategic plan

On March 4, 10 members of our Centre met at the President’s home to conduct a brainstorming session towards creating a strategic plan for our Centre and to provide feedback for the National Board, which is concluding strategic planning for the RASC at a meeting in Calgary on 18/19 March. Attendees broke down into groups to discuss Financial Sustainability, Value to Members, Value to the Public, Value to the Scientific Community, and Centre Needs. The President is going to form the results into a digest that can be distributed to other SCC members to get their feedback and input.

Coyote Science Update

 

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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

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

Regards, Charles