Astronomy Day 2024 in Victoria

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The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and the Royal BC Museum present

International Astronomy Day

at the Royal BC Museum and Observatory Hill, Victoria, BC, Canada

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Amazing Astronomical Activities for all Ages!

2024-PressRelease-IAD – contact Randy Enkin (email) (250) 893-9067

2024-Astronomy Day Poster – (6.4Mb PDF printable at 8.5″x11″)

Astronomy Day 2024 – event photos

May 19, 2024 – Yesterday the Victoria Centre held a highly successful IAD event at the Royal BC Museum and at the Centre of the Universe. We had big crowds taking in our presentations at the RBCM during the day, and in the evening at the Centre of the Universe.

I want to thank everyone whose great work contributed to this success, notably the volunteer team headed by Randy Enkin, with big assists from Lauri Roche and David Lee, amongst many others. I also want to thank the people at the RBCM, the Friends of the DAO, and the other groups who made Astronomy Day a success.

I also thank the Victoria Times-Colonist, which ran articles on IAD two weeks ago and yesterday, along with photos in today’s newspaper. 

Christopher Gainor, FRASC, President, Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

Royal BC Museum – 10AM to 3PMevent

675 Belleville Street, Victoria

Interactive activities outside on the plaza

  • View the Sun (video) safely through solar telescopes (weather permitting)
  • Ask an Astronomer – find answers to those questions about astronomy and space you always wanted to ask
  • Interactive activities inside in Clifford Carl Hall (Museum main level)
    • Telescope show-and-tell (video) – try out telescopes and ask questions
  • Astrophotography (video) – take photos of the night sky with your own camera and see our members’ work
  • Children and families astro crafts – kids make their own astronomy and space souvenirs
  • Ask an Astronomer – find answers to those questions about astronomy and space you always wanted to ask
  • Responsible Lighting (video) – get pointers on how to reduce your own light pollution, and feel better for it
  • UVic Astronomy & Physics – interactive astronomy for students
  • Science Venture – hands-on, minds-on science, engineering and technology learning opportunities for youth entering grades 1 through 12 (STEM). Experience the Spiro Mars Rovers (robots)!
  • Camosun College Astronomy – astronomy courses, university transfer
  • Oak Bay High & Monterey Middle schools – students, teachers and parents

Public Lectures in Newcombe Auditorium video

You Versus the Universe – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman

Nathan Hellner-Mestelman

Abstract: During our everyday lives, we donít usually think about the mind-boggling scale of the universe around us, the enormous history of our cosmos, and the epic future awaiting us. Prepare to leave our little planet behind on a quirky voyage across time and space!

Bio: Nathan Hellner-Mestelman is an impassioned astronomy nerd in Grade 11, and recent author of Cosmic Wonder: Our Place in the Epic Story of the Universe. He enjoys reciting slam poetry, playing the ukulele, and sharing the wonders of the universe with all.

The Stars – John McDonald

John McDonald

Abstract: When I was a child I was fascinated by the points of light in the sky we call stars. What are they, where did they come from and how far away are they? Are they all like our sun with planets travelling around them and are any of those planets inhabited? In this talk I will tell you some of the fascinating things astronomers have learned about stars.

Bio: John McDonald is a physicist, a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK) and Professor Emeritus at the University of Alberta. His research was in particle physics contributing to the work at TRIUMF in Vancouver and CERN in Europe. Currently, John is enjoying retirement in Victoria and having a great time observing and photographing the sky.

North Star to Freedom – Amy Archer

Amy Archer

Abstract: What is the connection between the 100,000 people that traveled the underground railroad and the night sky? Can you imagine the logistics of using stars to guide you over such a far distance, while in immediate peril? Do you want to know how a meteor shower helped connect families of enslaved people that had been separated? From a young age Amy has thought it fascinating how the night sky could be used to navigate a people from unspeakable hardship to freedom.

Join Amy Archer to hear stories about how the night sky played a hand in helping people navigate from unspeakable hardship to freedom. The night sky is full of new discoveries waiting to be had, and there are so many stories to share of its rich history, join us as we explore vignettes about the Underground Railroad and the Night Sky.

Bio: Amy is a first generation Canadian with roots from Trinidad and Tobago, she was born in Edmonton, Alberta and has spent most of her life on the West Coast. Amy is the mother to one very inquisitive teenager, whom she is always learning from. Amy is the Vice-Chair of the Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (FDAO) and has been involved with the organization for the last 7 years. Amy is constantly fascinated by the knowledge of the astronomers and can be found at most Saturday Night Star Parties either behind the scenes or looking through her favorite telescope.

Making the Most of Spilled Milk:  The Story of the Milky Way, Our Home Galaxy – Simon Smith

Simon Smith

Abstract: We live in the Milky Way galaxy, a swirling sea of old stars and young stars, bright stars and faint stars, and massive clouds of gas and dust. But where did our stars, gas, and dust come from, and how did they all arrange themselves into the soft glow of light we see splashed across the sky on a crystal clear night? In this presentation, I will share with you our best understanding of how the Milky Way formed from the chaotic early Universe, how it built up all the many stars we see around us, and its likely fate in both the near and far future of the Cosmos.

Bio: Simon is currently working towards his Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of Victoria. He studies the smallest galaxies in the Universe – known as ‘Dwarf’ galaxies – and has helped discover several of these tiny galaxies in and around our cosmic neighbourhood. Originally from the small town of Oxenden, Ontario, Simon has lived in Victoria for three years and has been a keen participant in the astronomy outreach community.


IMAX Cosmic Series – May 17-19, 2024


Centre of the Universe and the Observatory – 7:30PM to 11PMevent

The Hon. Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor looking through Chuck Filnesss' telescope

Observatory Hill, 5071 West Saanich Road, Saanich

Reserve Your Tickets (free – available May 15th) – only ticket holders will be admitted to this evening event. (Daytime events at the Museum do not require tickets!)

  • Plaskett telescope tours
  • Planetarium shows
  • Observing through telescopes
  • Virtual reality with the Rift
  • Centre of the Universe gallery
  • Children’s Activities
  • Gift shop
  • Presentation – Looking for precious metals at the end of the galactic rainbow – Dr. Trystyn Berg

Please Note:

  • All Astronomy Day activities are FREE and available to the general public.
  • Membership in RASC is not required.
  • Regular admission applies to the Royal BC Museum exhibits and IMAX Theatre.


Press Coverage

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