Astronomy Cafe – Feb 5, 2024

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Intro – Jeff Pivnick
  • EnceladusAPOD Feb 5, 2023 – Jeff Pivnick
    • Smaller moon of Saturn discovered by William Herschel
    • The Great Forty 48″ reflector in Slough near Windsor – Herschel’s telescope
    • Cassini Mission
      • Discoveries: magnetic field disruptions, jets of water from “tiger stripe” fissures, wobbly orbital period caused by loose crust
      • 2:1 resonance with Dione results in elliptical orbit and interior heating of the ocean below the crust
      • Cassini division in Saturn’s rings – named for Gian Domenico Cassini, discoverer
      • Mimas 1:2 resonance with Cassini division
    • Diameter 504 kms, 14% liquid water
    • Discussion
  • Randy Enkin
  • Annual General Meeting – RASC Victoria Centre – Randy Enkin
    • Feb 12 7:00PM – Zoom meeting – info and special link to be sent to members
    • Victoria Centre’s Annual Report – contact Randy Enkin with your report president@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Financial Report
    • Election – Reg Dunkley
      • Chris Gainor has agreed to stand for President
      • We now have a full slate, but further nominations will be sought at the AGM
      • New Council will be seeking involvement from members for volunteering
      • We need a quorum of 25 members. If you cannot attend, contact Randy president@victoria.rasc.ca (or another member attending) to be your proxy for voting purposes.
  • Social Dinner – RASC Victoria Centre – Four Mile Pub – Feb 26th
    • Large parking lot, but please carpool if possible
    • Sound system with microphone and speaker will be used for speakers
    • Attendees please contact Marjie to RSVP by Feb 21st
  • SIGs – David Lee david@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Beginners SIG – tomorrow night’s presentation by Randy Enkin on observing the Moon
    • Citizen Science SIG cancelled
    • Astrophotography SIG – 4th Wednesday – hosted by Brock
  • Astronomy Books – David Lee
    • Observer’s Sky Atlas – Erich Karkoschka
    • 21st Century Atlas of the Moon – Charles Wood, Maurice Collins
  • Astronomy Cafe – March 4th
  • Scitech Daily
    • Perseverance Mars Lander – sedimentary layers discovered by ground penetrating radar and samples taken
    • Ingenuity helicopter has crashed

Next Astro Cafe – March 4th – none for the rest of February

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 22, 2024

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcipt of meeting

  • Intro – Jim Cliffe
  • Space Telescopes – Chris Gainor
    • How Long Will Hubble Last? – Sky & Telescope article
    • US Postal Service issued two stamps with images from JWST – $30.45 and $9.85 for their express service
  • David Lee
    • Inside the Star Factory – book profiling JWST by Chris Gunn (photography) & Christopher Wanjek
    • Makers SIG – meeting online this Thursday
      • Citizen Science – transitioning from analog to digital recording for occultations – IOTA
      • Imaging computing platforms – including Astroberry
    • Astrophotography SIG – meeting online this Wednesday – Dave Payne
      • Camera settings
      • Photo showcase
      • Q&A
  • Canadian stamp for the Total Solar Eclipse – Lauri Roche
    • March 14th issue day
  • Eclipse viewing glasses – Lauri Roche
  • Astrophotos
    • Dave Payneonline gallery
      • Flying Dragon Nebula – molecular cloud in Cygnus – taken last summer
      • Medusa by Garvacchio
      • Medusa Planetary Nebula in Gemini – RGB and narrowband taken earlier this month
    • Brock Johnstononline gallery
      • Christmas Tree and Fox Fur Nebula
      • Network Nebula – part of the Veil Nebula
      • Crab Nebula
    • Astrophoto Processing – discussion by Ken McGill, David Lee, Brock Johnston, Jim Cliffe
  • Astronomy Information Sources – Susan Grady posed the question to the group
  • Panic! Early results regarding the morphological and structural properties of galaxies seen with the James Webb Space Telescope – UVic, Wed, March 13 – Dr. Leonardo Ferreira, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physics & Astronomy
  • Young people’s astronomy club? – question by Garry Sedun
    • Some High schools and Middle schools offer astronomy groups
    • Discussion about how to reach out to younger people
    • Youth under 18 need family member who is also a member if VCO visit is desired – Chris Purse
    • Using smartphones on a telescope for imaging – simple mounting platforms work well
  • FDAO – Lauri Roche – roche.lauri@gmail.com
    • Games Night at this Saturday’s Star Party – 6:30-10PM – NRC, FDAO & RASC teams
    • FDAO Strategic Planning coming up
  • Victoria Centre – upcoming events– Reg Dunkley & Lauri Roche
    • AGM – Feb12 7:00PM – online zoom to all members
      • Election
      • Financial Report
      • Awards announcements
    • Social Evening – Four Mile Pub – Feb 28th – sign up with Ken Atkinson secretary@victoria.rasc.ca
      • Socialize with your fellow astronomers and friends over some good food and drink
  • Lunar and Mars Missions – group discussion

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 15, 2024

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Intro – Brock Johnston
  • DAO Virtual RealityLight Wave ObserVR – Darren Delorme
    • Photogrammetric capture using Drone Deploy to create a point cloud of the outside of the observatory site
    • Modelled the telescope and mount inside using Blender from smart phone imagery and archival images
    • Working on windows, dome shutters, viewing platform, surrounding buildings and terrain
    • Unity – star catalog data – currently using 100,000 stars
    • VR headsets and hand motion tracking
    • VR tour starts at Elk Lake built on Lidar data
    • Multi-user experience/star party (up to 64 people), rooms, Meta platform launch
    • Inspired by Loki on Disney+
    • Next step is to create the stories and lessons
    • Perhaps add John Plaskett as a tour guide
    • Discussion of next steps, project milestones, first use, terms of use
  • Games night at FDAO Star Party – Jan 27th
  • The Colours of Uranus and Neptune – Randy Enkin
    • Are the two planets the same colour?
    • Uranus discovered by Herschel in 1781
    • Neptune discovered by several people in 1821, 1845 and 1846
    • Voyager 2 space probe has visited both planets in 1986 and 1989
    • Modelling the seasonal cycle of Uranus’s colour and magnitude, and comparison with Neptune – Patrick G. J. Irwin et al
    • Members relate their observations of Neptune and Uranus
    • Chris Gainor reminisced about being at JPL as a press reporter for the planetary encounters by Voyager 2. Both Hubble and JWST now observe the two planets regularly
  • David Lee david@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Occultations – citizen science
      • NEO
      • Int’l Occultation Timing Assoc – occultations.org
      • New DIY kits available
    • Makers SIG – Jan 25th
      • Imaging computing platforms – convergence and DIY solutions
  • FDAO – Lauri Roche roche.lauri@gmail.com
    • Star Party on Jan 27th
    • Strategic Planning for FDAO coming up
    • Send suggestions for new activities for the FDAO
  • RASC Victoria Centre Events – Lauri Roche & Reg Dunkley
  • Herschel Museum  – Reg Dunkley
    • Near Paddington Station, London, UK
    • Treadle lathe, mirror grinding, forge for mirrors
    • Catalog of stars
    • Site of discovery of Uranus in the garden
    • Musical instruments

Revealing the Invisible Universe with Radio Telescopes – Dr. Jennifer West, NRC

Posted by as UVic Meetings

Date/Time: Wednesday January 10, 2024 starting at 7:30PM

Location: University of Victoria, Bob Wright Centre, Lecture Theatre A104. Park in Lot 1 (pay parking) and cross Ring Road.

Cylindrical reflector and antenna - CHIME, DRAO Penticton
Cylindrical reflector and antenna – CHIME, DRAO Penticton

Radio astronomy has been around for nearly a hundred years. In that time, we have only managed to see a glimpse of the Universe’s many hidden secrets that can be revealed at radio wavelengths. With recent advances in computing, we have seen an explosion of new radio telescopes, including the upcoming Square Kilometre Array for which Canada has officially announced its intention to become a full member. With these telescopes comes a wealth of new and upcoming data. I will discuss some of the things that we hope to learn, the challenges we still face, and the new technology that comes with it.

Dr. Jennifer West
Dr. Jennifer West

Jennifer West is currently a Covington Fellow at the Herzberg Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Centre, National Research Council of Canada. She is interested in magnetic fields in supernova remnants and the Milky Way Galaxy, using data from large surveys using cutting edge radio telescopes. Previously she was at the Dunlap Institute at the University of Toronto and prior to that she completed her PhD at the University of Manitoba.

Astronomy Cafe – Dec 18, 2023

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Transcript video of meeting

  • New member intro
  • Last Astronomy Cafe for 2023 this evening – thanks to Chris Purse (meeting coordinator), Joe Carr (recordings & notes) and Kathie Koziol (coffee)
  • Leona vs Betelgeuse – Randy Enkin
    • Asteroid 319 Leona occulted Betelgeuse on Dec 12th
    • Betelgeuse’s diameter is 50 milliarcseconds
    • The asteroid’s shape and rotation was worked out from the occultation observations
    • Only clear along the path over Spain
    • IOTA – occultation observations
    • Varsavia occultation observed by David Lee and Dave Bennett on July 17, 2003
  • Events
    • Astronomy Day (May 18, 2024) – Randy Enkin
      • RBCM has invited Victoria Centre to stage the event on their site
      • Discussion about pros and cons for UVic Bob Wright vs Museum sites
      • New location: Langford or Colwood – more young families would likely attend
      • FDAO Star Party in the evening on Observatory Hill
      • Need a new organizing committee with David Lee and Lauri Roche in an advisory – to volunteer contact Randy president@victoria.rasc.ca
      • Consensus is to hold Astronomy Day at RBCM
    • Island Star Party – early August 2024 – to volunteer contact Randy president@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Victoria Centre AGM – Feb 2024
    • Cafe Scientifique – monthly public event staged by UVic Faculty of Science at Hermann’s Jazz Club – Jim Fox
    • Virtual Reality of DAO – Darren
      • Modelling of site, telescope and dome well underway
      • Need more information and feedback from RASC members
      • Darren will present his project to Astronomy Cafe early in 2024
    • Astrophotographs
      • Jellyfish Nebula – narrowband – Dave Payne
      • Horsehead and Flame Nebulae – Ron Fisher
      • Lion Nebula  – Dave’s data, Ron Fisher processed it
    • Lauri Roche
    • Frank Hobbs Elementary Solstice Party this Thursday – contact Randy to volunteer president@victoria.rasc.ca

Next Astronomy Cafe will be held on January 8, 2024

Astronomy Cafe – Dec 11, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Citizen Science SIG – David Lee david@victoria.rasc.ca
  • FDAO Star Parties at the CU – Lauri Roche
    • Pancake Breakfast last Saturday morning. Dennis Crabtree played Santa. Thanks to all the volunteers.
    • Winter Solstice Star Party and debate about Pluto – this Saturday 6-9PM
    • FDAO fundraiser goes to the end of December – donate
  • Astrophotos – Ken McGill
    • Elephant Nebula IC1396 in Hubble Palette – a “van Gogh” rendition among others
    • Wizard Nebula and Open Cluster (starless) NGC 7380
    • Discussion about processing the stars in these images
  • New Black Nugget Lake Observatory  (BNLO – RASC Edmonton Centre) – intro by Dave Robinson
    • Former coal strip mine site developed into an observing site since it’s a dark location reasonably close to Edmonton
    • 32″ Unyk Drew Telescope construction and installation
    • Former observatory dome from University of Alberta
    • Warren Finlay’s documentary video as presented to RASC Edmonton June 2021 Regular Meeting
    • Fundraising, grants, donations
    • Donation of 32″ mirror by Bob Drew, telescope build by Roman Unyk, observatory rehabilitation, construction challenges
    • Completed in 2022 after encountering many delays
    • Dedication at Northern Prairie Star Party this past September
    • Background from Bob Drew
    • Priority of the facility is for the public to observe visually in-person
    • Q&A
  • Chris Gainor
    • Hubble – The gyroscope problems are resolved, so the space telescope is back in operation.
    • JWST – Cass A image
  • Space-Based Far-Infrared Telescope – Dr Doug Johnstone – UVic presentation this Wednesday – B150 Fluery Hall – Reg Dunkley
  • Chit chat and discussion

Astronomy Cafe – Nov 20, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Victorian Asteroids – Randy Enkin
    • Lauri Roche and Chris Gainor now have asteroids named after them
    • Peter Jedicke proposed the names to the IAU’s WGSBN
    • Lauriroche – Visible in the summer sky, 14 magnitude
    • Gainor – evening sky now, spring will be the best view
    • Past namings: Sidhu, Bettyhesser, Jamesheasser, JackAlice (Newton), Scarfe, Plaskett, Balam, Tatum, Climenhaga, Plaskett, Kavelaars, Bohlender, DAO, Crampton, UVic, Vicsympho, Makosinski, Kleewyck (Emily Carr), Frasercain
    • Congratulations to everyone with named asteroids
    • Other Awards and Honours – Victoria Centre members with asteroids named after them
  • New members intro – Suzanne, Jerod (both in person)
  • Lunar sketches – Randy Enkin
    • Cassini over several nights
  • Swap and Shop – next week in-person at Astronomy Cafe
    • Bring your astronomy stuff!
    • Bring your money to buy stuff!
    • Send your list of equipment to Chris Purse (membership@victoria.rasc.ca) ahead of time so we can promote the event
  • Website Infrastructure – project leader needed – Randy Enkin president@victoria.rasc.ca
    • Determine the scope of the project, coordinate the technical details, help Council select a new web provider
    • Talk to Joe Carr Webmaster for details (web@victoria.rasc.ca)
  • Jeff Pivnick
    • A review of Circumstellar Disks by Brenda Matthews, who was our speaker from last Wednesday’s meeting at UVic
    • ALMA situated on the Atacama Desert 5,000m / 16,000′ altitude
    • Monthly meetings – future list through to March 13, 2024
    • Garry Sedun – working at altitude is very difficult
    • 134th Birth Anniversary of Edwin Hubble today
      • Lawyer, teacher of math and physics
      • Graduate work at University of Chicago in physics and astronomy
      • Started work in 1919 Mt Wilson observatory on the new 100″ Hooker telescope, studying nebulae and galaxies
      • Classification scheme for galaxies
      • Founded extra-galactic astronomy
      • Red/blue shift gives indication of distance of celestial objects
      • Several articles in Skynews by Bruce Lane highlighted Hubble’s work
    • Discussion of all topics presented by Jeff
  • Observatories Observed in France – Sep 2023 – Brian Barber
  • Deep Sky at IMAX, the story of James Webb space telescope is now on – Jeff Pivnick
  • Astronomy Day – out-of-date astronomy magazines and Observers Handbooks are good for giveaways, so don’t throw them out. Contact Jeff Pivnick (jeff.pivnick2@gmail.com)
  • Calendars for 2024 – some still available
  • Centre of the Universe Events – Lauri Roche
    • FDAO Telescope Clinic – thanks to all the volunteered last Saturday
    • Dec 9th – fundraising breakfast
    • Dec 16th – solstice party
  • Nebula from Gamma Cassiopeia, “the Ghost of Cassiopeia” IC59 & IC63 – astrophoto by Dave Payne
  • Observing Report
    • Fireball spotted by Dennis F’s wife at 6:40AM a few mornings ago. Widely reported in the region, but Sid Sidhu’s All-Sky camera didn’t capture the event.
  • Upcoming Events
    • Astrophotography SIG this Wednesday – Dave Payne
    • UVic speaker for Dec 13 – Far Infrared space observatory – Dr. Doug Johnston – Reg Dunkley

Next Astronomy Cafe on Nov 27th is a Swap ‘n Shop – bring your astronomy gear to sell, and bring cash to buy stuff!

Astronomy Cafe – Oct 30, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video

  • New members
    • Matt – astrophotographer
    • Ewen, Michaela – Swiss visitors
    • Cameron, Lisa, baby Max
    • Carlos
  • Eclipses – Randy Enkin
    • Geometry of eclipses
    • Types of solar eclipses
    • The Saros Cycle
      • Lunar Months – Sidereal, Synodic, Draconic, Anomalistic
      • Every 18 years, the solar eclipse cycle repeats, but the track moves a third around the Earth
    • Antikythera mechanism (~200 BCE) – predicts Saros cycles
  • What is a conjunction? David Lee, Marjie Welchframe
    • It’s a conjunction if the two objects share Right Ascension
    • derekscope.co.uk – list of all conjunctions to 2025
    • A large number occur during daylight
    • Discussion of how to observe conjunctions during the day
  • Makers SIG  – this Thursday- David Lee david@victoria.rasc.ca
  • Telescope Clinic – Nov 18 at FDAO Star Party event at the Centre of the Universe
    • Need some RASC volunteers to help attendees use their telescope
    • Contact Lauri Roche roche.lauri@gmail.com
  • Victoria Centre Observatory – Reg Dunkley, David Lee
    • Oak tree encroachment on the observatory is now trimmed back, thanks to NRC
    • MICs need to be trained on the new equipment and procedures
    • Workflows for imaging are now in place
    • Picnic table – new one in the budget
  • Amateur Radio and the ISS – Jim Cliffe
    • Image broadcast from ISS to amateurs – Slow Scan TV
  • Pearson CollegeAstronomy Outreach – Bill Weir
    • Westshore Walmart parking lot
    • Moon, Jupiter, Saturn
  • James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
    • M1 Crab Nebula – Hubble image vs Webb image
  • 2024 RASC Observers Calendars – Lauri Roche
    • $15 each – still some available – contact Lauri roche.lauri@gmail.com
    • Lauri will also distribute calendars at the monthly meeting at UVic on Nov 8th
  • Nov 8 monthly meeting at UVic – Reg Dunkley

Astronomy Cafe – Oct 23, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video

  • John McDonald
    • NightWatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe– book review and recommended for beginners in astronomy. Perhaps a Festive season gift?
    • Annular Eclipse event at Berwick Elk Lake
      • Thanks for the eclipse glasses (Jeff Pivnick)
      • Residents hadn’t observed a solar eclipse before, so there was lots of excitement
  • Astronomy Outreach and Events – Patrick
    • International Dark Sky designations
    • Astronomy events near Hope
    • Bonneford, Alberta
    • Now resides in Victoria
  • Nucleosynthesis – Jeff Pivnick
  • Planetary Nebula images
    • Dave Payne
      • Proto-planetary nebula
      • Planetary Nebulae visual differences: larger, two explosions, classic, cosmic wind dispersion
    • Brock Johnston
      • M57
      • NGC 7293 Helix Nebula
      • M97 Owl Nebula
      • NGC 651 Little Dumbbell Nebula
      • M27 Dumbbell Nebula
      • NGC 6888 Crescent Nebula
      • Soap Bubble Nebula
    • Use these images at the Centre of the Universe displays? Lauri Roche
  • Lauri Roche
    • 2024 RASC Observers calendars have arrived. Cost is $15 each, with some still available. Contact Lauri roche.lauri@gmail.com
    • Thanks to everyone who attended the FDAO AGM a couple of nights ago.
  • Special Interest Groups – David Lee david@victoria.rasc.ca
  • Famous Eclipses in History – Randy Enkin
    • Some during BCE Era?
    • Mar 1, 1504 Lunar Eclipse in Jamaica – Christopher Columbus
    • 1868 solar eclipse – Janssen observed helium in the solar spectrum before element was identified on Earth
    • 1919 solar eclipse – Eddington confirmed General Relativity
  • Eclipses from Enkin’s Daily Moon – Randy Enkin
    • Art, photos, juxapositions
  • Weather Forecast for just-past Annular Eclipse – Reg Dunkley
    • GOES-West satellite cloud cover loop shows the eclipse darkening
    • DAO Current Weather – Sky Camera
  • Sunspot Groups – David Lee
    • Sunspots emerge through magnetic fields
    • Individual sunspots and groups of sunspots
    • AAVSO sunspot – online reporting

President’s Message – October 2023

Posted by as President's Message

It’s October! The nights are longer. The moon is higher. And lots of events are happening for our amateur astronomy community.

The big one is the Annular Solar Eclipse which will happen on the morning of Saturday October 14. The moon will nibble away at the sun starting at 8:07AM, half an hour after sunrise in the east. The maximum here will be at 9:19AM with a whopping 85% of the sun in eclipse. And the show is over at 10:38AM.

Ring of Fire - Cedar City, Utah on May 20, 2012

The Victoria Centre is not running any official viewings. Members are invited to help the Friends of the DAO with their Eclipse Breakfast at the Centre of the Universe. Note, we have 1,000 solar-viewing glasses to hand out, so we encourage members to go to good east-viewing sites (e.g., Clover Point, Cattle Point, Mount Tolmie) with a handful of these glasses. Contact me (email) or Lauri Roche (email) to get your glasses. Lauri will also be handing them out at the University on October 11.

What a great segué! Finally, after a 3½ year hiatus, we are back to holding monthly Wednesday evening talks at the University of Victoria. The first will be on Wednesday October 11, at 19:30, in the Bob Wright Centre, Lecture Theatre A104. We have a very exciting speaker, Christian Marois, who led the international team of astronomers that first imaged extrasolar planets. His topic is “The NRC NEW EARTH Laboratory, and the Quest to Develop the Tools to Find Life on Exoplanets”. Let’s have a big crowd join in this talk. And afterwards, everybody is welcome to chat in the Astronomy lounge in the Elliott building, and have access to our library for the first time since the lockdown. Many thanks to Alex Shmid and Reg Dunkley for organizing the event.

After a 2-week break, the weekly Monday evening Astro Café continues on October 16 with Jeff Pivnick as our host. Join online with Zoom, or better still join in person at the Fairfield Community Centre and enjoy the cookies!

The last point I am pleased to make is that the Victoria Centre Observatory is up and running better than ever. Use the wonderful telescopes up there or bring your own, and join the community looking at the sky together. Note that you must be on the “Active Observers List” to be allowed up to the VCO (Members Only). Contact our Membership Chair, Chris Purse (membership@victoria.rasc.ca) to get on the list. Members on the Active Observers List get emailed when the sky is predicted to be clear and one of the Members in Charge opens it up.

We are so fortunate to have such a vital community in the Victoria Centre. Do seize the opportunities.

And as always,
Look Up!
Randy Enkin (email)