Astronomy Cafe – May 29, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Beginner Observers – report by Brenda
    • Observing and sketching targets from Cattle Point
    • Trying to find another observing spot to get away from the car lights
    • Summer targets are next
    • Four observers at Pearson College two weeks ago – liked it!
    • Island View Beach may be a good observing location
    • Most of the group are working on Explore the Universe observing certificate
  • Special Interest Groups – David Lee
  • Beaveree and Seniors event at the Centre of the Universe – solar observing – Lauri Roche
  • Plaskett Observing Session – video report by Randy Enkin
    • First in-person observing session on May 19-20, 2023 since 2019
    • Supernova 2023ixf photographed in M101 as our last target, unknown to us at the time
    • Dan Posey notified Dave Bohlender at NRC, so the SN photometry was reported online quickly
    • Subsequent processing revealed the SN is a blue star
    • Koichi Itagaki, amateur Japanese discoverer of SN
    • The progenitor star of the SN now has a paper published about it
  • Thanks to Astro Cafe volunteers – Randy Enkin
  • Photos of Supernova 2023ixf (Type II)
    • Dave Payne
      • May 13-16 images of M101 without SN
      • May 20th image of M101 with the SN
    • Brock Johnston
      • GIF flashing old versus new image of M101
      • Light curve of SN from AAVSO
      • Also imaged M51 and M13
    • Sketch of SN using 6″ Dob – Bill Weir
    • Photos of SN on May 20th & 24th showing the SN enlarging – Ron Fisher
  • Plaskett Observing Session on May 19-20 – Dan Posey
    • Objects imaged before M101 are being processed
      • NGC 4565 Needle Galaxy
      • NGC 4605 Faberge Egg Galaxy
      • NGC 6914 reflection and emission nebula
  • National AGM – June 25th online – Chris Gainor
    • Restricted to RASC members – log in to member area of website
    • Reports, financial statement, bylaw amendments, elections
    • Please attend and vote
    • 2023 AGM Agenda
  • Island Star Party – Dave Payne
    • Aug 11-13
    • Still need some volunteers – sign up for email list
  • Discussion of Supernovae (in general)
    • Type I and Type II Supernovae – Dan Posey
    • SN 2016aps – Lauri Roche
  • Star Parties on Observatory Hill – Lauri Roche

This is the last Astronomy Cafe until we restart after the Summer break.. Astro Café will resume on Monday. September 11, 2023.

Image of Supernova 2023ixf acquired through the Plaskett 72" telescope by RASC Victoria Centre members.
Image of Supernova 2023ixf acquired through the Plaskett 72″ telescope by RASC Victoria Centre members. This preliminary image processed by Dan Posey.

Astronomy Cafe – May 15, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Intro – Jeff Pivnick
  • To the Moon, with Robots and HumansDr. Gordon “Oz” Osinski, Dept. Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario
    • Sailing ships to space missions – history of human exploration
    • The Moon has thousands of meteorite impacts
    • 2019 announcement by Canadian government
      • Canadarm 3 on Lunar Gateway outpost
      • Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) – Canadian lunar rover
    • Artemis I – launched last year
      • Lots of images from this mission
    • Artemis II – orbit Moon
      • Canadian astronaut – Jeremy Hansen
      • Crewed test flight to the Moon and Earth high orbit
      • Engineering mission, not a science mission
      • Launch – late 2024 or early 2025
    • Artemis III – land on the Moon
      • Geology training for astronauts
      • 18 astronaut candidates
      • 13 candidate landing sites – all near Lunar South Pole
      • Geological samples will return to Earth with the astronauts
      • Canada has 30 out of 200 impact craters found on Earth
      • Mistastin Lake impact structure – best analog to lunar craters since anorthosite ejecta is found here, same as on the Moon (light material)
    • Canadian Lunar Rover Mission
      • Canadensys – contractor for 30kg prototype
      • Science instruments will take about 5-6kg
      • South Pole – geology and mineral resources
      • Volatiles – water
      • Permanently Shadowed Regions – no sunlight
      • Radiation monitoring to ensure astronauts’ health, both on the Moon and future Mars missions
      • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter – images showing deep lunar shadows
    • Q & A
  • Island Star Party 2023 – Dave Payne
    • August 11-13, 2023
    • In-reach – socializing with fellow members
    • Location: Bright Angel Park – south Cowichan
    • Activities
      • Solar observing
      • Nature walks
      • Kinsol Trestle
      • Lots of activities in Cowichan Valley
      • Telescope walk, how to use a telescope, observing skills
      • Speakers – one each night
    • Perseid Meteor shower
    • T-shirts – contact Joe Carr to preorder
    • Volunteers needed – contact Dave Payne
    • ISP Volunteer Email List
  • Victoria Centre Observatory – Reg Dunkley
    • Last night – 10 Active Observers
    • Both visual and photography
    • Become an Active Observer – contact Chris Purse
  • Occultation of Jupiter by the Moon – David Lee
    • Wednesday, May 17th 4:52am – 5:33am
    • Moon 3º above the eastern horizon during the occultation
  • Astrophotography by local members
    • Astronomy Day slideshow – Ken McGill
    • Brock Johnston
      • Orion & Flame Nebula widefield
      • M94 – halo
      • Cat’s Eye Nebula & NGC 6552 barred spiral galaxy
  • Randy Enkin
    • Deep Sky Filter – a Lumicon “UHC” legacy visual filter
    • Orrery – kit build
  • Observations – Marjie Welchframe
    • Kemble’s Cascade
    • Spring double stars

No Astro Cafe next week due to the Victoria Day statutory holiday. The last Astro Cafe before the summer break will be held on May 29th.

Astronomy Cafe – May 8, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Intro – Marjie Welchframe
  • Centre of the Universe Volunteer Coordinator – Aimee Rossen (
    • Volunteer waivers – need to have everyone sign the form after viewing the safety video
    • Volunteer list – access to Observatory Hill
    • Volunteers should arrive before 7pm on Saturday night to avoid congestion at the access gate
  • ORCASatProf. Justin Albert
    • This microsat was built at UVic and launched six months ago to the ISS, where it was deployed – ORCASat — Launch
    • ORCASat should burn up next month after six months of operation in low Earth orbit
    • Background
      • Modern cosmology started in 1929 Edwin Hubble’s assertion that the Universe is expanding
      • Cepheid variable stars tell us the absolute magnitude, hence the distance away from Earth. Henrietta Swan-Leavitt’s research enabled this process.
      • Observing past 10*7 Parsecs means using Type 1A SuperNova (White Dwarf), since Cepheids are no longer bright enough to use as a standard candle.
      • Limitations of our Knowledge of Dark Energy 73% of Universe’s mass
      • Calibration of brightness measurements are needed – flux as a function of colour
      • Dark Matter 23% of Universe’s mass
      • Atoms 3% of Universe’s mass
      • The Dark Side of the Universe
      • Supernovae are one of the powerful probes for understanding the eventual fate of the Universe
    • ORCASat is in an ISS-like orbit
      • Needs good coverage above ground observatories, so they can observe Orcasat
      • Photometric calibration – Orcasat’s absolute brightness is compared with standard stars
    • ALTAIR – Airborne Laser for Telescopes Atmospheric Interference Reduction
      • Photometric Calibration using a high altitude balloon
    • A laser photometric ratio star (LPRS) – exciting the Sodium layer
  • I Need More Space-Time – review of a science fair project by Nathan Hellner-Mestleman
    • Predict when our Universe will end
    • Used Wiseman Observatory data for Type 1 SN
      • Spectral lines: Hydrogen epsilon, Hydrogen delta
      • Examined Supernovae 30 million LY to 40 billion LY
      • Found the Hubble Constant to vary from 20 km/sec/Parsec to much bigger
    • Using Slooh data didn’t work out, since Supernovae data levels are too low
    • Project tried to infer how long the Universe will last from changes in brightness of Supernovae
    • Consensus from WMAPS
  • Q&A for both Justin and Nathan
    • Is the Universe finite or infinite? We don’t know, and possibly will never know.
    • Hot, dense start to the Universe – ratio of Hydrogen and Helium verifies this process, as does Nucleosynthesis with Quarks and Gluons (DOE Explains…Quarks and Gluons | Department of Energy).
    • LIGO and other Gravitational Wave observatories should verify how the Universe started (inflation).
  • Events
    • RASC General Assembly – Lauri Roche
    • Beaveree at Camp Barnard – May 27th (9am-2pm) – Bill Weir
    • Island Star Party – Aug 11-13 – Dave Payne
      • Permit for park use is in place
      • More details at next week’s Astro Cafe

Astronomy Cafe – May 1, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting transcript video

  • The Dual Dipole Radio Telescope – Evan Warburton, Oak Bay High School, Grade 12
    • Io generates a band of electrons around Jupiter
    • Setup dipole antenna on the Lansdowne Middle School field
    • 20MHz ionized radiation – copper wire cut to half the wavelength
    • “Floating” coaxial shield, not grounded
    • SDR Console software – gain, bandwidth, Io A, B and C phase predictions – Software Defined Radio
    • Spectrograph software
    • Detected a radio storm – short, random bursts
    • 10-40 MHz is the observable bandwidth range
    • Observing time: about 1 hour per week
    • NASA’s Radio JOVE Project: Home Page– helpful forum
    • Project planning and execution – discussion
    • Q & A
    • Evan is travelling to the Canada-wide Science Fair in Edmonton May 13, and is attending UVic Physics this Fall with a prestigious Schulich scholarship to his credit.
  • International Astronomy Day – April 29 & 30, 2023 – report by Lauri Roche and David Lee
  • RASC Victoria Centre Council meeting on May 9th – Randy Enkin
    • Members are welcome to attend online
  • Beaveree at Camp Barnard – May 27th (9am-2pm) – Bill Weir
    • Need volunteers for outreach – email Bill
    • Solar and possibly daytime planets
    • Telescopes – both Ha and white light
  • RASC GA 2023 – CONNECT with the cosmos & community – May 5-7 – Lauri Roche
    • Gather Town – social interaction
    • Friday – Dr. Shandin Pete, Salish Sky Lore, 1 hour live from Victoria’s DAO (7-8pm) – contact Lauri to volunteer
    • Saturday – combatting science misinformation, CSA Astronaut Jeremy Hansen
    • Sunday – Dr. Linda Shore, Astronomical Society of the Pacific
    • Members: $35 admission
    • Zoom call is used for all sessions
  • Astronomy by Night – A new Canadian website for amateur astronomers. – Michael Webb
  • Explore the Universe – Marjie Welchframe
    • Lunar crater sketches
  • Astronomy Cafe – next week’s speaker is Justin Albert – cube-sat ORCASat
  • Beginner’s SIG – tomorrow night – Jill & David

Astronomy Cafe – April 24, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Pendulum Experiment To Measure Local Gravity – Kemi Daniel (Grade 5, PCS)
    • Gravity in her house is slightly lower than earth’s gravity
    • Science Fair winner
  • Astronomy by Night – A new Canadian website for amateur astronomers. hosted by Carina Ockedahl (former editor of Skynews)
    • Reached out to contributors – Chris Vaughan, Dan Kusz, Alan Dyer, Charles Ennis, and others
    • AstroPhoto of the Week – not just for Canadians
    • Newsletter
    • Collaboration with SkySafari
    • This Week’s Night Sky
    • Gear Reviews & Tech
    • Columns
      • World’s Asterisms
      • Research
    • Profile
    • Podcast – 2 per week
    • Video – interviews
    • Star chart – from Heavens Above
    • News – both from International and Canadian sources
  • International Astronomy Day/Weekend – David Lee, Lauri Roche
    • Speakers are lined up
    • Local astronomy organizations will be there
    • Observatory Hill on Saturday night – 29th
    • UVic on Sunday daytime – 30th
  • SpaceX Starship Launch on Apr 20, 2023 – Chris Gainor
    • Huge amounts of smoke and debris at launch
    • Disintegrated 4 minutes into the flight
    • Rocket left a huge crater at the launch site
    • Questions and discussion
  • Hybrid Solar Eclipse – April 20th – Randy Enkin
    • 1 minute duration
    • Total & Partial Solar Eclipse
    • Solar maximum corona, so lots of plasma streamers visible
    • Time & Date – particulars of this eclipse
    • Photos & video of eclipse chasers
  • Other events and discussion

Astronomy Cafe – April 17, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Regional Science Fair – report by Randy Enkin
    • 3 prizes awarded
    • Measured the period of the pendulum
    • Supernovae red shift analysis – Nathan Mestleman-Keller
    • Double Di-pole Radio Telescope – Io/Jupiter generates – Evan Warburton, Oak Bay High School, Grade 12
    • Distinguished Service Award to Randy
  • Astronomy by Night – new astronomy website hosted by Carina Ockedahl (former editor of Skynews), Chris Vaughn, Charles Ennis, and more contributors
  • JUICE – Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer launch – Randy Enkin
    • ESA launched this mission to Jupiter on Friday
    • Lunar-Earth flyby a year from now
    • Venus and Earth flyby
    • Arrives at Jupiter – July 3031
    • Multiple flybys of Jupiter’s icy moons
    • Orbit Ganymede for 3 years
    • 10 instruments onboard
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Makers SIG
    • Astrophotography SIG
  • International Astronomy Day – Lauri Roche & David Lee
  • Neutron Stars – The Quest to Understand the Zombies – a book by Katia Moskvitch – review by Ron Fisher
    • Latest research and very interesting story
    • Research in Italy
    • NGC 4993- emitted radio waves and captured visual light from neutron star collision
    • CHIME – fast radio bursts
  • Astrophotos and Sketches
    • Double Transit – John McDonald
      • Planets and shadows visible
      • Moon Shadows on Jupiter – video
    • SkAc1 faint Planetary Nebula – Dave Payne
      • Challenge by Bill Weir
    • Double Transit sketch – Bill Weir
    • Orbital Motion of Venus – Marjie Welchframe
    • Bode & Cigar Galaxies, Horsehead & Flame Nebulae – Ken McGill


Posted by as Events, Special Events

2023 Public Night-Sky Viewing Begins at the Centre of the Universe at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory Saturday April 29.

International Astronomy Day events will return to Victoria for 2023 on the weekend of April 29 and 30. The public is invited to daytime activities at the Bob Wright Centre on the Ring Road at the University of Victoria on Sunday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The night before, Saturday, April 29, public telescope viewing will take place at the National Research Council of Canada’s Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and the Centre of the Universe from 7:30 to 11 p.m.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Victoria Centre and the University of Victoria (UVic) Department of Physics and Astronomy are proud to sponsor family-friendly Astronomy Day activities, which will begin outside the Bob Wright Centre at 11 a.m. with solar telescopes for safely viewing the sun on the main concourse. The shift of daytime Astronomy Day activities to Sunday means that there will be FREE PARKING for the public at UVic.

Inside the Bob Wright Centre there will be astrophotography and historical displays, and tours of the Bob Wright Centre Observatory. RASC volunteers and Science Venture staff from the UVic will engage children with hands-on activities. All the astronomy presentations, displays, and workshops are free.

There will be free lecture presentations on astronomy in the Bob Wright Centre by Dr. Deborah Lokhorst of the National Research Council (NRC) on the DRAGONFLY Telescope, Simon Smith of UVic on Dwarf Galaxies, Xiaoyi Ma of UVic on Finding Exoplanets, Nathan Hellner-Mestleman of Mount Douglas Secondary School on Life in Space, David Lee of the RASC Victoria Centre on Astrophotography the Easy Way, Dr. Madeline Marshall of the NRC on What’s Been Happening with the James Webb Space Telescope?, and Dr. John McDonald of the RASC Victoria Centre presenting A Photo Tour of the Summer Sky.

The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, the RASC Victoria Centre, and the NRC Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre will host evening activities at Observatory Hill, 5071 West Saanich Road, on Saturday, April 29 from 7:30 to 11 p.m. Visitors with tickets will be admitted to Observatory Hill starting at 7:15 p.m. The Centre of the Universe exhibits will be open that evening, and the Observatory, including the historic Plaskett Telescope, will be open for tours. RASC members will have their personal telescopes set up for public viewing if the weather permits. There will be a presentation on the growing issue of satellite constellations by Dr. Jonathan McDowell of the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. The public viewing on the evening of Saturday April 29 marks the beginning of public events at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory for the summer of 2023. Further public events at the DAO will take place this spring and summer on selected Saturdays.

Entry to the Observatory grounds for all public evenings in 2023, is by ticket ONLY. Tickets are FREE but require reservation. To obtain your entry ticket and further information on Saturday Star Parties, please go to Tickets will be available starting Wednesday April 19. Current Federal Government Covid guidelines will be followed.

The RASC Victoria Centre is proud of its history and association with both amateur and professional astronomy in Victoria and its mandate for public education in Astronomy. For more information, please continue to explore our website.

Contact persons: Lauri Roche or 250-652-2361 or David Lee

Astronomy Cafe – Apr 3, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting transcript video

  • SIGs – David Lee
  • Mallory Thorp – profile by Marjie Welchframe
  • Island Star Party 2023 – Dave Payne
    • Speakers TBA
    • Telescope tours and tutorials
    • Make suggestions for activities
    • Tue, April 11th – kick off meeting
    • Contact Dave (email) or

      Randy Enkin Email

      to help out with this fun event
  • Fast Radio Cosmos lecture by Victoria Kaspi – Reg Dunkley
    • Uses the CHIME radio observatory near Penticton
    • 3 additional outrigger radio telescopes:  160 kms from Penticton, Green Bank, WV, and Hat Creek, CA
    • Good Q&A at the end of the lecture video
    • Skynews – Feb 2017 issue highlights the CHIME instruments
    • DRAO open to the public starting April 8th
    • Discussion of radio interference when using radio telescopes
  • Astronomy Day – Lauri Roche
    • FDAO Star Party – Observatory Hill – April 29th – evening hours
      • Need astronomers with telescopes to volunteer 
      • Starlink speaker
    • UVic – April 30th 11AM-4PM
      • Lots of volunteers have signed up, but everyone welcome to help, especially someone to lead the event promotion and communications – contact Lauri by email
      • Astronomy labs open
      • 6 speakers 
      • Free parking
  • Virtual General Assembly 2023 – May 5-7
    • Jeremy Hansen, CSA astronaut – speaker
  • RASC Victoria Hopes & Dreams – Randy’s list

    Randy Enkin Email

    • Open Council meetings. Now that we have a smaller Council, we should make more effort to advertise the meetings to the entire membership – and possibly lay the foundation for more recruitment to leadership.
    • Closer ties to UVic. I often hear that members want to get back to meeting at the University. I also think we should offer programs that encourage undergrad students to be active in the RASC-VC.
    • Closer ties with the FDAO. We have overlapping mandates and volunteer bases. Closer coordination will benefit both organizations.
    • More in-person events, especially under the night sky.
    • More scheduled and ad hoc evenings at the VCO
    • More diversity in membership and leadership.
    • A budget!
    • Revised Statement of Goals of the Society.
    • Calendar on the website
    • Documented Council job descriptions
    • October 14 Solar Eclipse event
    • Display of Astrophotographs
    • Support Vic High club, Oak Bay, Mount Doug
    • Prizes or other activities with UVic students (Volunteerism, Outreach)
    • Using the telescope collection to support School Clubs.
    • Help with the telescope lending library
    • Recruitment and Retention of membership.
    • Sustainability of Volunteers and Council members
    • Organize the Google Drive. Make more complete.
    • Member survey
    • Diane Bell Award for Astrosketching
    • Car share to VCO
    • NOVA program!
    • Schools Program – with FDAO?
    • Liaisons with school groups
    • Mentors with school groups
    • Join in school-group observing nights
    • Prizes and goodies for school groups
    • Support for Science Fair – volunteers for judges, prizes, handing our RASC bookmark etc.
  • Sky At Night Podcasts – Bill Weir & David Lee
    • Lance Bass  (nSync boy band) – selected to be a Russian cosmonaut! “The last Soviet citizen”
    • JWST podcast series
  • Victoria Centre Observatory (VCO) – Reg Dunkley
    • Active Observers to have access soon
    • Tech committee needs to check on the health of systems up there first
    • No more than 16 people at a time, with social distancing and health precautions (personal choice)
    • Ad hoc observing sessions for favourable weather to start with
    • Scheduled observing sessions later
    • Must be an Active Observer and must adhere to safety procedures
    • Gate codes for existing MICs have been refreshed for the coming year
  • Astrophotos during galaxy season – Dave Payne
    • M94 galaxy – elliptical shape and outer ring of material
    • M106 and friends – 4 arms in M106
  • National Council – Chris Gainor
    • Complete staff turnover at the National office is ongoing
    • Randy Atwood is interim Executive Director, working with the Board to recover
    • Annual Report – Victoria Centre’s report still needed
    • Skynews magazine is still being wound up

There will not be an Astro Café next week as it is a holiday Monday. We will be back on Monday, April 17

Island Star Party 2023

Posted by as Events

August 11-13, 2023

Island Star Party 2023 poster

Location: Bright Angel Park at rural and dark Cowichan Station, in the beautiful Cowichan Valley on southern Vancouver Island, BC, Canada

Gates will open at 2pm on Friday. Camp on the field and setup your telescope to enjoy observing the night sky from a dark site.

Cost: Free of charge for drop-ins! Suggested donation of $20/Adult observers who camp overnight – one night or two. Kids camp free.

Everyone who is present is entitled to tickets for door prizes, can attend planned activities and have access to the observing field. Prizes include telescopes!

Star Party Poster – please stick it on your fridge and share with friends! PDF & PNG

Don’t want to camp? No problem…it’s at most a 20-minute drive from most areas of the Cowichan Valley, and only a 45-minute drive from Victoria. Live out of town? Stay in one of the many guest houses, hotels and motels in the Cowichan Valley, however reserve early, since accommodation fills up during the summer.

Staying after dark? Please bring a red light with you – do not use white lights, including cellphone flashes!

Schedule of Events

Friday Aug 11th

  • 2:00 pm – Gates open
  • 7:30 pm – Telescope tour
  • 8:00 pm – Welcome and door prizes
  • 8:30 pm – Speaker TBA
  • 10:00 pm until dawn: observing! No white lights during this time, please

Saturday Aug 12th

  • Solar viewing – all day on the field
  • Nature Walk through the park trails – afternoon
  • 7:30 pm – Telescope tour
  • 8:00 pm – Door prizes
  • 8:30 pm – Speaker TBA
  • 9:30 pm – Public viewing of the night sky with telescopes on the field
  • 10:30 pm until dawn: observing! No white lights during this time, please
  • The Perseid Meteor Shower will be at its peak overnight!

Sunday Aug 13th

  • Cleanup – everyone please pitch-in & help
  • 12:00 pm – departures by Noon please!
The Island Star Party is hosted by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre, with support from the Cowichan Valley Starfinders.
The observing field
The observing field

Directions to the star party

Head west off the Trans-Canada Highway on Koksilah Road and turn right onto Tigwell Road. The park is at the end of the road. If you are driving a big vehicle such as a motorhome, we suggest you turn west off the Trans-Canada Highway at Allenby Road, then turn left onto Koksilah Road and left onto Tigwell Road. This slightly longer route will avoid a low-clearance rail bridge on the more direct route.

Lat 48° 44.0246′ N, Long 123° 40.5144’W

What to expect

Dark sky and red lights on the observing field
Dark sky and red lights on the observing field

The night sky at this location is very dark, but there is a light dome to the north from the City of Duncan. Views in the other directions and overhead are excellent, and at this time of year Sagittarius is visible in the early part of the evening to the southwest.

Please feel free to camp on the observing field with your tent, trailer or motorhome and setup your telescope and other astronomy gear. There is some power on the field for astronomy equipment and to charge small devices, but no RV plug-ins please! Also, please do NOT park on the field with your vehicle if you plan to leave after dark! In this case, move your vehicle off the field after setting up, and park outside the access road on Tigwell Road with your headlights facing away from the field. The same parking request applies to visitors for the evening – park outside the gate and walk into the field.

  • Washrooms are a short walk from the observing field with sinks, toilets and urinals, but no showers. Red lights will mark the way at night along the forest trail.
  • Playground and workout gym on the observing field
  • Park gates are open from 7am – 9pm daily. Make sure your vehicle is outside the gates before 9PM if you plan to leave later on!
  • Explore the trails through the forest and along the Koksilah River – a nice way to spend the day. Good swimming too, although the river water is cold!
  • Pets are allowed in the park and at the star party, but must be under effective control of their owners at all times. If your dog knocks over an expensive telescope, you just bought it!
  • Drinking alcohol or smoking is not allowed in public areas of the park. You may consume alcohol at your campsite (private area), but please don’t wander around with your drink, or become intoxicated or high.
  • Dry summer conditions demand that no open flame be used. Please cook using a camp stove or use the Picnic Shelter by the lower parking lot. No campfires or open flame please!
  • Mobile phone service is very weak at this rural location. There is no Wi-fi, so don’t expect good (or any) connectivity.
  • Although the observing field is flat, it is bumpy, so people with mobility issues may find some areas are not easy to navigate. The washrooms are accessible by using the trail through the forest and navigating a modest slope.

Photo galleries of past Island Star Parties

What’s nearby

  • Tim Horton’s fast food dine-in and drive-thru and a Co-op gas station and convenience store are both nearby at Bench Road and the Trans-Canada Highway.
  • Big box stores, grocery stores and malls are a short drive away in Duncan, Cobble Hill and Mill Bay.
  • Pizza and other fast food can be ordered from and/or picked up at numerous local establishments.
  • Espresso drinks and other fancy beverages available in Duncan, Cowichan Bay, Cobble Hill and Mill Bay.
  • Nearby mall at the intersection of Cowichan Bay Rd & Trans-Canada Highway – Pizzeria Prima Strada, Drumroaster Coffee, Country Grocer, Dragon Yuen.
  • Whippletree Junction – a variety of eclectic stores that are worth a visit, located nearby on the highway.
  • The fascinating Kinsol Trestle is a short drive from the park, where the Trans-Canada Trail crosses the Koksilah River. An easy walk from the parking lot – level and accessible.
  • Wineries in the area are too numerous to mention individually! Look here: Wine Festival Specials
  • BC Forest Discovery Centre – steam trains, historic forestry equipment and history – fun for all ages
  • Cowichan Bay village – fish boats, oceanfront restaurants and shops, whale watching, sea lions
Island Star Party 2023 t-shirt
2023 Island Star Party t-shirt

Island Star Party t-shirt

Fruit of the Loom quality cotton t-shirt, printed ink design. Men’s sizes in black: S, M, L, XL, 2XL – limited supply, so pre-order to ensure you get one! Pick up at the Star Party or local pickup in Victoria. $20 each – Joe Carr – Email

Contact us

  • Dave Payne – Email – mobile ‭+1 (403) 874-1980‬ – Event Lead
  • Miles Waite – Email – mobile ‭+1 (250) 208-7493‬ – Facilities
  • Joe Carr – Email – mobile ‭+1 (250) 744-9981‬ – Promotion

Awards to members for 2022

Posted by as Meetings

Over 40 members of RASC Victoria Centre enjoyed a social dinner and awards ceremony at the Moon Under Water Pub on March 27, 2023. Photo gallery

Newton Ball Award 2022 – Deborah Crawford

Randy Enkin awarding Deb Crawford
Randy Enkin awarding Deb Crawford

An active member of the Victoria Centre, Deborah Crawford served on Council as Secretary from December 2012 to November 2014, Second Vice President from December 2016 to November 2018 and then as Treasurer from December 2018 until the spring of 2023. She has a talent for turning events into joyous occasions. Deb organized several AGM banquets and two Star Party “StarBQ’s”. During the 2014 General Assembly Deb oversaw a large buffet at the Centre of the Universe complete with a cake replica of the DAO dome. It was the highlight of the GA.

Ernie Pfannenschmidt Award 2022 – Dave Payne

Randy Enkin awarding Dave Payne
Randy Enkin awarding Dave Payne

For the invention of the Generalized Hyperbolic Stretch (GHS) an innovative software tool that allows the controlled transformation of pixel intensity. It has been embedded in key astrophotography software packages such as Pixinsight. Astrophotographers around the globe have adopted this powerful tool.

Astrophotography Award 2022 – Dave Payne

Foxmascone Nebulae (NGC 2264) in SHO – The Foxfur and Cone Nebulae and Christmas Tree Cluster in SHO with RGB Stars (Monoceros) – October, 2022 A total of 17.5 Hours in Narrow Band H,S,O filters and 3.75 Hours in R, G, B Filters using a Planewave CDK12.5 Telescope and an- AIS6200MM Camera

Randy Enkin awarding David Lee
Randy Enkin awarding David Lee

Certificate of Appreciation in 2022 – David Lee

In addition to the leadership David displayed during International Astronomy Day, the Dark Sky Survey, and the formation of Special Interest Groups he amazed the Victoria Centre for the perseverance he demonstrated photographing a Lunar Eclipse while a snow storm kept more timid RASCals indoors.

Certificate Of Appreciation 2022 – Randy Enkin

In appreciation of his Organization, Leadership and Guidance so capably rendered as the Centre’s President for 2021 and 2022.

Reg Dunkley awarding Randy Enkin
Reg Dunkley awarding Randy Enkin