Werner X sightings for 2014

Posted by as Observing Highlights

The Lunar X (also known as the Werner X) is a clair-obscur effect in which light and shadow creates the appearance of a letter ‘X’ on the rim of the Blanchinus, La Caille and Purbach craters.

The X is visible only for a few hours before the first quarter. To find the X look along the lunar terminator, the line between dark and light, start at about the middle and follow it slightly south. Near to the X, the Lunar V is also visible, formed by Ukert crater and several other small craters.

Lunar X visibility in 2014

Jan 8 2014 16:12 UT
Feb7 2014 06:46 UT
Mar 8 2014 20:19 UT
Apr 7 2014 08:38 UT
May 6 2014 19:56 UT
Jun 5 2014 06:36 UT
Jul 4 2014 17:11 UT
Aug 3 2014 04:11 UT
Sep 1 2014 15:59 UT
Oct 1 2014 04:51 UT
Oct 30 2014 18:45 UT
Nov 29 2014 09:25 UT
Dec 29 2014 00:21 UT

Introduction to Astrophotography course

Posted by as Special Events

Instructor: W John McDonald
Course #116990 $70
Program Guide (pdf)
3 Tuesdays, 7-9pm Apr 8-22, 2014

Photographing the night sky can be a rewarding pastime. As a result of improvements in
off-the-shelf cameras, amateurs can produce images that sometimes rival those done by
professional astronomers. The course will include instruction on camera types and
settings for various astronomical subjects. It will focus on subjects accessible with a
camera and tripod but will also include the opportunity to take images through a telescope.
If you have a camera that has manual settings please bring it to class. If you plan to
purchase one feel free to wait until the discussion of camera properties in the first class.

Monterey Recreation Centre • 1442 Monterey Avenue • 250‑370‑7300

2014 GA Call for Papers Notice

Posted by as Special Events

It’s time again for the Call for Papers for the Annual General Assembly of the RASC.  Since Victoria Centre is the host for the GA in June of this year, our organizing committee would like to see our local membership well-represented in our paper sessions.  The papers can be about some observational research you may be involved with, the photographs of a trip you’ve taken, or perhaps related to an outreach activity.  Have you done some historical research, worked on a new educational program or have a unique point of view on an astronomical topic?  We are looking for presentations that represent a wide variety of topics generally related to astronomy and would love to have you involved.

Our paper presentations will be held on Saturday, June 28 and will be, as in the past few years, 15 to 20 minutes in length.  They are one of the showcases of the Annual General Assembly and are eagerly anticipated by the delegates. I hope you will consider a proposal.

On Sunday, June 29 we will be having an afternoon forum that has as its theme the RASC’s intentions for programs and initiatives for UNESCO International Year of Light, 2015.   

An International Year of Light will allow the universality of light and the variety of its applications to be appreciated via many and varied themes covering broad areas of interest, supported by cross-cutting themes addressing essential issues to be included in all activities.

The four main themes will be Light in Science, Technology, Nature and Culture with the cross-cutting themes of Sustainability and Development, Education, History and Young People.

You may wish to refer to the website (pdf) for more information and details.

Please send your intentions to present for either the Saturday Paper Sessions or the Sunday IYL 2015 forum to the Call For Papers webpage. Deadline is April 15th, 2014.

If you have an questions please contact [sc:pastpres]

Jan 14th, 2014 – Cafe Scientifique – “Black Holes – More than Meets the Eye” – Dr. Laura Ferrarese

Posted by as Special Events

Cafe Scientifique Jan 14th, 2014 – Black Holes – More than Meets the Eye Speaker: Laura Ferrarese – Herzberg Institute and University of Victoria, Faculty of Science.
Time: 6:30PM-8PM
Place: Hermann’s Jazz Club.
(Free) Tickets Required (SOLD OUT, but waitlist available)

An artist's drawing a black hole named Cygnus X-1
An artist’s drawing a black hole named Cygnus X-1. It formed when a large star caved in. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Of all the legacies of Einsteinʼs general theory of relativity, none is more fascinating than black holes — space-time singularities, whose gravitational fields are strong enough to distort space, alter the flow of time, and even prevent light from escaping. By the mid 1990s, the existence of black holes was proven beyond any reasonable doubt, and on a scale far larger than anyone had anticipated. This talk will discuss how astronomer have come to believe that black holes with masses million to billion times the mass of the Sun lurk at the centers of galaxies. More surprisingly still, I will discuss how these black holes might play a much more important role in the evolution of galaxies than anyone had anticipated.

Jan 8, 2014 – “A brief update on modern physics” – W. John McDonald

Posted by as Meetings


From the smallest constituents of atoms to the largest structures in the Universe nothing is as it seemed in 1900 just before relativity and the quantum revolutionized science. My aim is to give a broad-brush picture of the material world that emerges from observations of systems ranging in size from quarks, leptons and the Higgs boson to stars, galaxies and universe itself. It is a picture that differs greatly from our common sense ideas. Those ideas evolved historically based on interpreting information we got from our human senses. With the development of modern instruments that let us see further and deeper into nature’s secrets a picture of a very different reality is evolving. It is an incomplete picture but rich and compelling nevertheless.

Presentation (4.1MB pdf)

President’s Message – January 2014

Posted by as President's Message

There is not much to report this month, aside from confirming that the hum you hear in the background is Victoria Centre’s 2014 General Assembly committees working away as the June date nears. Remember too, that we have decided to proceed with our annual Astronomy Day, this year to be held at the Royal BC Museum on May 10. This “double booking” of events will lead to a bit more work on our part, but with Paul and Mark at the helm of the GA, and Sherry heading up the our day at the museum, and our usual cadre of energetic volunteers, we should have a Spring to remember.

On the observing front, I would like to urge all of you to make this your “Messier” year. Start keeping a record of the “M” objects that you observe, and before long you will have one of those little round pins. Messier Certificate