Astronomy Cafe – March 20, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Vernal Equinox Today – Jeff Pivnick
    • Caused by axial tilt of the Earth
    • Celestial Equator intersects with the Ecliptic
    • Babylonians picked 12 constellations 3,000 years ago, but Ptolemy named them later
    • Declination and Right Ascension coordinates are referenced to the equinox
  • Astronomy Day – Lauri Roche
    • Sunday, April 30th 11AM – 4PM at Bob Wright building lobby at UVic
    • Free parking on outside of the Ring Road in Lot 1
    • Setup is Saturday afternoon
    • Leads
      • UVic Site Manager – Sam Fielder
      • Technical Support – David Lee
      • Welcome Table – Marjie Welchframe
      • Telescope Show & Tell – Bill Weir
      • Children’s Astro Crafts – Rachel & Ryan Holmes
      • Astrophotography – Brock Johnston & Dan Posey
      • Responsible Lighting – Dave Robinson
      • Planetarium – need a lead to used Starry Night on TV
      • Solar Observing outside – Alex Schmid, Sid Sidhu
      • Ask An Astronomer –  need a lead and 3 or 4 astronomers (UVic students?)
      • Speakers – Lauri Roche
        • 3 speakers signed up, 3 to go
        • 20-minute talks
    • FDAO, NRC, Science Venture, Camosun College, Mt. Doug High, Vic High & Oak Bay High
    • Tour of the Bob Wright telescope
    • Need volunteers – 2-3 shifts is ideal – contact Lauri Roche
    • Saturday, April 29th 7-11PM Star Party on Observatory Hill
  • Open House – Centre of the Universe – March 25 – Lauri Roche
  • Victoria Centre Observatory – Randy Enkin
    • Will open to members once the road is open
  • Standing Where Ansel Adams Stood – Randy Enkin
    • Moon and Half Dome – Dec 28, 1960
    • When the Light, Shadow and Stars Aligned: Standing Where Ansel Adams Stood – Kim Beil, NY Times
    • Ansel Adams joined Sierra Club Outings
    • Kim Beil found the exact spot where Ansel Adams took his famous Moon and Half Dome photo, and determined four possible dates based on the star field and Moon
    • 6:47AM on Aug 6, 1936 – date/time of famous photo
  • Meetings
    • Social Dinner – March 27th – contact Randy to attend at Moon Under Water Pub on Bay St.
    • Council Meeting – March 28th – 7:30PM
      • Open to all members
      • Budget for coming year – we have funds to spend!
  • Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair – Dorothy Paul
    • April 16th
    • 100 projects, 150 students
    • Need some specialty judges from RASC – about 2 hours
  • Astrophotos from members
    • Moonrise from Clover Point – Randy Enkin
    • Jones-Emberson 1 Bubble planetary nebula – Brock Johnston
  • 2023 RASC General Assembly – May 5th – May 7th, 2023
    • No business meeting, just fun meeting and interacting with everyone – Bill Weir
    • Speakers list almost complete – Lauri Roche
    • $35 admission for members to participate for three days
  • Vic High Astronomy Deck – Clayton
    • Mitigate the light pollution at the site – discussion of strategy
    • New 12″ Skywatcher funded by a generous donation
    • City of Victoria will install shields on the streetlights

There will not be an Astro Café next week in order for the RASC Victoria Centre Social Dinner to take place. Please RSVP to Randy by March 19 if you would like to attend.

Next Astronomy Cafe in 2 weeks – April 3

Astronomy Cafe – March 6, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Randy Enkin (video recording)
    • Venus-Jupiter Conjunction
      • Some great photo taken of the conjunction both by members and others
      • Venus can be up to 47º away from the Sun
      • Venus-Jupiter Conjunctions 1990-2060
      • March 1st conjunction – Venus-Jupiter had 0.5º separation
    • Victoria Centre’s Annual General Meeting – March 13th (virtual)
      • Need 25 members for a quorum
      • Links to Zoom sent to members along with supporting documents
      • Social dinner at the Moon Under Water Pub to be held on March 27th
  • The Hunt for the Culprit  – Part 2 – Reg Dunkley
    • Jan 9th – Part 1 was presented
    • Iron 60 and Supernovae relationship
    • Are Supernovae responsible for climate change on Earth?
    • Star formation near the Sun is driven by expansion of the Local Bubble by Catherine Zucker, et. al. – Jan 2022
    • Caroline and William Herschel
    • GAIA – astronomical big science, inspired an astronomical gold rush
      • ESA video on GAIA
      • 3D map of the Milky Way
      • Photometric instrument
      • Measures: Brightness, positions, proper motions, radial velocities, spectra
      • 11 years of data, 150 complete surveys of the sky
      • How this data is being used – a review
    • Interstellar Extinction
    • H-R Diagram: Colour Index vs Magnitude
    • 3D Mapping of Interstellar Dust
    • The Local Bubble – dust map
    • Traceback of Star Cluster
    • Idealized Model for Local Bubble Evolution – Stellar and Solar Orbits animation
    • Location of the Culprit
    • Summary of Zucker et al findings
    • A Golden Opportunity!
      • Data freely available along with analysis routines
      • Do some citizen science?
    • Radcliffe Wave by Brian Ventrudo
  • Special Interest Groups – David Lee
    • Beginners SIG – tomorrow evening
    • Citizen Science SIG – Thursday evening – sign up with David Lee
  • Photos & Observations by members
    • Venus-Jupiter conjunction from Hawai’i – photo of closest approach (0.5º) by Dave Payne
    • Jones-Eberson Bubble planetary nebula – photo by Brock Johnston
      • Jones 1 in Pegasus – next object to try for – Bill Weir
    • Explore the Universe observing program – Marjie Welchframe
    • Moon-Jupiter-Venus conjunction on Feb 23 – iPhone photo taken from the city by Doug Hardy
    • Photos – Ken McGill
    • Moon-Jupiter-Venus conjunction on Feb 23 – Marjie Welchframe
  • Reports – Lauri Roche
    • Centre of the Universe Open House on March 25-26
    • RASC Online General Assembly (no AGM)
      • Virtual tours of DDO and DAO (7-8pm on Fri)
      • Poster sessions – April 1st call for papers
    • RASC National AGM – June 25th (virtual)

Astronomy Cafe – Feb 13, 2023

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Video transcript of meeting

A Special General Meeting (SGM) was held before Astronomy Cafe commenced. After the SGM concluded, members heard a guest speaker and reports.

A Brief History of Galaxies: from the discovery of island universes to a clash of the Titans – Dr. Sara Ellison, UVic Astronomy professor

  • Our own Milky Way and other galaxies showing light and dust features
  • Deep field taken by JWST
    • FOV: a grain of sand held at arm’s length
    • thousands of galaxies in the image
  • History
    • Charles Messier – a 17th century comet hunter who listed 110 objects that are notcomets
    • Lord Ross used the 1.8m Leviathan telescope to sketch spiral galaxies
    • Shapely-Curtis debate in 1920 about the nature of nebulae
    • The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars: Sobel, Dava: 9780143111344: Books –
    • Henrietta Leavitt discovered the Type 1 Cepheid Variables, correlation between the brightness and variations in the luminosity
    • Leavitt’s discovery used by Edwin Hubble, who in 1923 settled the Shapely-Curtis debate. The Hubble Law related distance to velocity (red shift), the start of cosmology as we now know it.
    • Hubble Tuning Fork classifications of galaxies
    • Halton Arp studied Peculiar Galaxies – guide:
  • Early modelling of interacting galaxies
  • Video – current modelling of interacting galaxies
  • Toomre Sequence – showing different morphologies
  • Galaxies cluster in groups, which is how they grow mass
  • Stellar streams in the Triangulum Galaxy – research at Herzberg
  • Tidal streams in the Milky Way are remnants of small galaxies that have interacted in the past
  • How a galaxy merger transforms it – simulations predict:
    • Isolated disk
    • Small group
    • Gas funnels to the galaxy centre
    • Black hole accretion
    • Decay
    • Dead Elliptical
  • Sara’s research – Sara Ellison – University of Victoria
  • Q&A


  • Council meeting coming up – Tue 28th – AGM planning
  • Awards Nominations and nominees for Council – contact Reg Dunkley
  • AGM will be held online, tentatively on March 13th
  • Social dinner will also be held later – awards
  • SIGs

No Astro Cafe next week. Next Astro Cafe will be held on Feb 27th

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 30, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Special General Meeting – Feb 13, 2023
    • Adopting amendments to the Centre’s Purposes (under our Constitution) and Bylaws for RASC Victoria Centre – requires a 2/3 vote by members
    • This meeting will be held at the start of Astro Cafe that evening
    • Quorum is 25 members
    • Proxies to exercise your vote can be given to another RASC Victoria member who will be attending
    • After the business meeting: Sara Ellison, Astronomy Professor at the University of Victoria, will present A brief history of galaxies: from the discovery of island universes to clash of the titans.
  • Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF – Dave Payne
    • Reviewed data acquisition and processing methodology
    • 8 second and 2 minute exposures over two nights used
    • Preliminary results, including video showing the comet’s motion through the sky
    • Members’ comet observing stories
  • Angular Momentum – Marie Welchframe
    • APOD image from a couple of days ago used the term “angular momentum”, so Marjie looked it up
    • Video explaining angular momentum for kids – law of physics
    • Group discussion: what happens to angular momentum when….
  • FDAO Astro Jeopardy – Lauri Roche
    • James, Ben & Dan were the contestants last Saturday evening
    • One unanswered question: /Which planet has the most moons?/ Unanswered so far. Saturn (83) or Jupiter (80) according to NASA.
  • Astronomy in Victoria – John McDonald
    • A presentation to Berwick House residents
    • Reviewed Plaskett’s work, DAO imaging exoplanets, forming stars
    • RASC out reach and in reach
    • Silent Sky at Langham Court Theatre – Play at Langham Court about Henrietta Leavitt
    • Laurie and Calvin presented four times in the past at Berwick a few years ago
    • Discussion of Christian Marois’ discovery of the first imaged exoplanet
  • Virtual presentations from RASC National – Lauri Roche
  • RASC Victoria Centre Picnic at Pearson College – Bill Weir
    • Late August would be best
  • AAS conference in Seattle – Chris Gainor
  • RASC Victoria AGM tentatively to be held on March 13

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 16, 2023

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

Dr. Laurie Rousseau-Nepton is an astronomer in residence at the Canada France Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). She received her PhD from Université Laval and is the principal investigator for the SIGNALS project. This is a large survey program aiming at observing over 50,000 resolved star-forming regions in nearby galaxies.

  • Resident astronomer at CFHT for the last 6 years
    • Started at Mont Megantic with SpIOMM instrument – spectral imager
  • SITELLE – Spectral imager
    • Started building the instrument in 2010
    • Acquires both spectra and an image of each object
    • 2017 – Instrument shipped to Hawai’i
  • Canada-France-Hawaii telescope
    • Some issues with weather (snow, clouds), earthquakes (volcanoes), but lots of clear and stable nights
    • Timelapse of telescope operation
  • Science
    • Big Bang
    • First stars formed
    • New elements
    • First galaxies formed
    • Stellar clusters form into stars
    • Stellar Initial Mass Function – stable through the whole Universe?
    • OB massive stars in H2 regions – Laurie’s study area
  • SITELLE – how it works
    • Michelson Interferometer – emission lines
    • Data cube has both imagery and spectra
  • SIGNALS – Star formation, Ionized Gas, and Nebular Abundances Legacy Survey
    • Large, multinational group of researchers
    • Star Formation Rate & Efficiency
    • Stellar Initial Mass Function
    • 9 fields to cover M33
    • More than 30,000 HII regions currently in the survey
    • Supernova remnants as well
  • U of T – new job at a development lab
    • Building a new generation of SITELLE
    • Imaging spectrograph at much higher resolution
    • The resulting instrument needs a large aperture telescope
  • Q&A
    • A dynamical Model – stellar winds affect dense molecular clouds – clumping and finger structures
    • Each pixel of data has their own interferogram
    • Initial Mass Function – huge amount of data
    • Changing instruments and telescope time at CFHT – ranking of proposals – technical and science
    • Mauna Kea Spectra Explorer – an upgrade to CFHT
      • Bigger aperture instrument
      • Using 20,000 optical fibres are part of the plan
    • Culture of astronomy – accommodating diversity and promote inclusivity
      • Mauna Kea is a sacred site
      • Include local aboriginal teachings in presentations at local astronomy groups
      • Learn some of the language used by first nations when they talk about the night sky
    • Is SITELLE technology used elsewhere?
      • Straight IR is being used in other instruments
      • The “perfect” beam splitter used by SITELLE is unique
      • Software to analyze the SITELLE data is unique
      • Size of the SITELLE detector and data throughput is also unique
    • DAO work being used by CFHT?
      • Spectroscopy innovations and staff
      • Adaptive optics systems
    • How did you get involved in astronomical research?
      • Asked a lot of questions about astronomy as a child
      • Enjoyed physics at the university

Silent Sky  at Langham Court Theatre – performances Jan 25 to Feb 11

  • Story of Henrietta Leavitt and her astronomical research done a century ago
  • Jim Hesser is the scientific advisor
  • Members of RASC urged to enjoy this performance
  • Special presentation by Sara Ellison at the Feb 5th afternoon performance

Observing Notes – Randy Enkin

  • Observers Handbook – Conjunction of Venus & Jupiter – Jan 21/22 – half a degree from Saturn just after sunset. In fact, the conjunction should be visible before sunset.
  • Sat 28th at 8PM – Uranus being occulted by the Moon
  • Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF – observable in the early morning hours – Sky At Night

Makers SIG – meeting online this Thursday – David Lee

RASC Publications for sale – contact Lauri Roche by email

  • 2023 Night Sky Almanac – good for planning your observing
  • Explore the Moon $10
  • Explore the Universe $10
  • 2023 RASC Observers Calendar – 2 left at $15 each

Observatory Hill road update – Lauri Roche

  • Probably another couple of months before the road is open to the public

Astronomy Cafe – Dec 19, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Artemisthe film – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
  • RASC Robotic Telescope – David Lee
    • Science Team will be observing variable stars
    • Education – classroom outreach
    • Buying time on the scope or the datasets is available for members
  • Mars – Brock Johnston, Bill Weir & David Lee
    • Dec 15th – Brock’s photo and Bill’s sketch
    • Occultation of Mars by the Moon
    • Bill is observing Mars monthly
  • Rimouski observing conditions – Michel Michaud
    • Observatory equipment is working well
    • Waiting for better conditions when colder weather arrives
  • Buy & Sell review – items for sale on Victoria Centre’s website – Joe Carr
  • Astrophotography SIG – Dec 28th – Dave Payne
  • Discussion
    • A deep field taken by James Webb Space Telescope – 9 days, 100,000 galaxies
    • GAIA dataset
    • Speakers for next year?
  • The Human Cosmos, Civilization and the Stars by Jo Marchant – at Munro’s Books for $10 – Mary Anne Gervais loves this book – Author’s website
  • Apodizing Mask – used to observe the bright planets – Bill Weir
    • Boosting Performance by Apodization by Ernest Pfannenschmidt (April 2003 JRASC)
    • Old Dec 2003 issue of our SkyNews has Ernie’s obit in it with an image of the refractor. Also there’s an image of a Mars map that he did. It inspired me to do the same in 2005 because in my arrogance I thought, Pfffftt, how difficult could that be? Turned out it was. Takes a lot of luck too to get all of the phases.
  • Next meeting – Jan 9, 2022 starting at 7:00PM

Astronomy Cafe – Dec 5, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Beginning in Astrophotography – Ron Fisher
    • 2018 Dobsonian telescope for Christmas
    • Joined the Astrophotography SIG when it started up during the pandemic
    • Climbed the “learning curve”
    • Acquired an EQ6 mount, mounted 300mm telephoto lens and a dSLR
    • Learned PixInsight
    • Andromeda (1st photo), Orion Nebula (2nd photo)
    • New gear acquired in April 2022
      • Askar 500mm 90mm apo refractor
      • 50mm Guidemaster scope & guide camer
      • ASI Air Pro powers and controls all the gear
    • M81, M82
    • Pelican Nebula
    • PixInsight used for processing
    • With a focal reducer
      • North American Nebula
      • Elephant Trunk Nebula
      • Soul Nebula
    • Heart and Soul Nebula
    • Ron’s astrophoto gallery
  • Astronomical Holiday Gifts – Randy Enkin
    • Starting in astronomy – David Lee
      • Stars and Planets – Smithsonian handbook
      • RASC Almanac
      • Deep Sky Wonders – Sue French – good for beginners with small scopes or binoculars
      • Binocular Highlights – Garry Seronik
    • History of Hubble – Chris Gainor has a few copies at his house ($25)
    • For sale – used from Randy Enkin’s bookshelf
      • Apollo Murders – Chris Hadfield
      • Silent Spring – Rachael Carson
      • Planets – Dava Sobel
      • The Day the World Discovered the Sun – transects of Venus in the 18th century
  • Edmonton Centre– Alistair Ling
    • Finally staging hybrid meetings – Planetarium at Telus World
    • What’s up in the sky – based on Edmonton’s sky
    • The hybrid meetings have only attracted limited members to attend in-person
    • Observatory at Black Nugget Lake – installing a 32″ telescope – unofficial first light by this summer
      • Visual telescope – looking forward to observing the celestial splendors
      • Designed to be an imaging scope, if needed in future
      • Public access is planned
    • Weekly public outreach at The Science Centre
    • Helping people use their telescopes – by Alistair
    • Have a full slate of officers
  • Occultation of Mars – Randy Enkin
  • Mars photo from yesterday evening – Brock Johnston
  • Observing techniques – discussion
  • SIGs – David Lee email
    • Beginners tomorrow night – magnitude basics
    • Electronically-assisted Astronomy on Thursday, then on request only
    • Citizen Science SIG – coming up in January
    • Aaron Bannister request: astrophotography for school kids
      • Capture brighter objects when weather permits
      • Processing data sets
      • Astrophotographers?
  • Last Astro Cafes for 2022 – Dec 12th, 19th
  • First Astro Cafe of the New Year – Jan 9, 2023 starting at 7:00PM instead of 7:30PM
  • Sunshine Coast Centre – Peter Broughton presentation on J.S. Plaskett – Dec 9 Friday 7PM – Victoria Centre members welcome
  • Winter Solstice Star Party – Dec 17th – Nathan is presenting
  • Status of national Observers Calendars – haven’t arrived yet
  • Artemis I update – Chris Gainor
    • Close pass to the Moon this morning
    • On its way home – Dec 11th arrival
    • Crescent Earthrise photo
  • Watching the final Apollo launch to the Moon – flashback tomorrow night – Chris Gainor
  • David Bennett memories from members – next week

Astronomy Cafe – Nov 14, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • Island Star Party – Dave Payne
    • RASC Victoria will be hosting ISP in 2023, not Cowichan Valley Starfinders
    • Debriefing from CVSF will happen soon
    • Bright Angel Park will need to be reserved soon with CVRD
    • Volunteers from Victoria Centre will be needed – contact Dave Payne
      • Insurance
      • Speakers
      • Advertising
      • Setup on Friday – tents, parking, observing field
      • Cleanup and teardown on Sunday
    • Council approved our participation a year ago
    • Date for 2023 star party needs to be decided upon
      • Nearest New Moon in August is the 16th
      • Good dates for star party is probably Aug 11-13
      • Mt. Kobau Star Party – Aug 12-20
      • Perseid meteor shower peaks on Aug 13
    • Previous star parties attracted a wide selection of amateur astronomers
    • At least 50 attended each night at this year’s star party
    • Discussion
    • Photos from 2016
  • Space Mission Reports – Chris Gainor
  • Observing Mars near Opposition – Bill Weir
    • Weather is clear and stable this week
  • Ken McGill’s observing van conversion
  • RASC National website – problems for members – Bill Weir
    • When renewing membership, subscribing to the email lists can happen involuntarily – Dave Payne
    • Centre affiliation choices are not working properly – Chris Purse
    • Large order for calendars from Victoria Centre placed 3 weeks ago has not arrived – Lauri Roche
    • Brendon Roy from National gave an update on shipping publication orders
  • RASC Victoria Centre Council Meeting tomorrow night – Jill Sinkwich
  • Malcolm from Toronto introduced himself as a new Victoria Centre member
  • Website tour – Special Interest Groups & email lists – Joe Carr
    • SIGs – click on the name beside the one that interests you to sign up
    • Email lists – descriptions on the Members Only area of the website
      • Members Only area is behind a shared password – contact Joe Carr, Webmaster
      • HillObs – special requirements for signup for members who are Active Observers to observe and acquire astrophotos from the Victoria Centre Observatory
  • Public Observing at Observatory Hill – Lauri Roche
    • Public restricted to 150 on Saturday nights – sign ups go quickly when the event is posted
    • Currently scheduled monthly
      • Nov 26 – next star party
      • Dec 17 – Nathan will be presenting
    • Friends of the DAO membership is $25
    • Hosting groups of students and teachers at the Centre of the Universe during the day
    • How school programs work – new team needed from RASC – contact Lauri for info
    • Road construction on Observatory Hill is still underway – be cautious, especially at night
  • UVic Astronomy Open House – Bob Wright Building observatory every Wednesday evening
  • Astrophotography – Dave Payne
  • Gonzales Observatory – query from Larry Manuel
    • Originally a solar transit observatory for time keeping and the historic Noon Gun – Joe Carr
    • Environment Canada weather station
    • Gonzales Hill Regional Park

Astronomy Cafe – Oct 3, 2022

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • DART spacecraft impact – Kelly Fast, presenter for Oct 17th Astro Cafe- Jeff Pivnick
    • Last 2.5 minutes of mission
  • Astrophotos from the VCO – Reg Dunkley
    • Didymous – looks like Albert Einstein
    • Had an MIC training session with poor attendance. We need a couple more sessions scheduled longer in advance.
      • Operating the telescopes and the observatory
      • All the equipment is working very well
      • Can also bring along a dSLR
    • David’s planetary imager was used to image the Io transit of Jupiter over the Great Red Spot – LRGB channels – 40,000 frames
    • Couldn’t get Registax to work, so used AstroSurface software
    • We are now allowed to have up to 15 members, 3 in VCO wearing a mask with new protocols in place
  • Astrophotos – Brock Johnston
    • Io transit of Jupiter over the Great Red Spot
    • 4700mm of focal length
    • Saturn – Sep 25th
    • Jupiter – GRS on the edge
    • Using AstroSurface – uses R-L deconvolution and wavelets
    • Links to weather conditions and forecasts – Jetstream & ClearDarkSky for Victoria & Upper Winds
  • Imaging using the Plaskett – Dan Posey
    • Just past imaging session happened on Sep 30th
    • gPrime & rPrime – good for imaging emission nebulae
    • Next Plaskett sessions: Oct 29, Dec 22
    • Can have up to two people with Dan in the control room
    • No updates on the new camera, which will be about 20′ wide and more square FOV. Jim Hesser expects the camera replacement will take months, but it is progressing.
    • Imaging done: Cocoon, Stephan’s Quintet, North America and Dumbbell nebula
    • Cruise tour of 30 crashed into the dome – thanks to Dan for interrupting the imaging – Lauri
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Beginner’s SIG this Tuesday
    • Electronically-assisted Astronomy this Thursday
  • Sky Brightness Survey – David Lee
    • Consolidation and cleanup of the data is progressing
    • Project meetings on Tuesday 7:00-7:30PM and Wednesday 7:00-8:00PM evenings with the team
    • David will show some graphics depicting the data and problems
    • Need some people who are colour blind to participate
    • Does Jupiter skew the dark sky readings? Bill Weir
    • About half the volunteers were new to SQM measurements, the others had done
    • How about taking more readings during New Moon in October? – maybe
  • 2023 RASC Calendars – Lauri Roche
    • Place an order – email Lauri
    • No up-front payment required
    • See the RASC website for information about the 2023 calendar. We anticipate the cost will be similar to last year which was $15 each; this is a considerable savings over ordering directly from the RASC eStore
  • Future of Hubble – Chris Gainor
    • 13 years since last servicing mission
    • 535 kms above Earth, so good until 2036-37
    • NASA and SpaceX may use a Dragon spacecraft to boost Hubble into a higher orbit – 6 month technical study
    • Polaris flights being privately funded for next year to high orbit – a second flight might be used to boost Hubble
    • Chris’ Space Review article – NASA-SpaceX study opens final chapter for Hubble Space Telescope
  • Bill Weir
    • Vixen 114mm Newtonian telescope donation
      • Parabolic mirror, good quality optics
      • Two school programs might want to use this telescope – Lauri
    • Sidewalk astronomy at Metchosin Market
  • Next Astro Cafe is in 2 weeks on Oct 17th

President’s Message – August 2022

Posted by as President's Message

Summer Outreach

I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday evening with Sherry Buttnor, demonstrating the 16 inch reflector up at the Centre of the Universe. It is humbling being in the dome with her, as Sherry has been operating and demonstrating the 16 inch since 1987! For most of the time, we had the telescope trained on the moon. Once the moon got too low, we moved to M13 – the Hercules cluster. Everybody who looked in the eyepiece exclaimed some version of “Wow!” Sherry often told the people, “You’ll never look at the moon the same way from now on.”

Brock Johnston that night had one of the 8″ Dobsonians set up behind the Plaskett Telescope, with a steady stream of people coming for a glimpse of Saturn. A woman who had never before seen Saturn through a telescope said she was in tears afterwards, she was so awestruck.

Astronomy outreach is fun! The people who come to star parties and other
outreach events are keen to learn, and they appreciate our efforts to help them see the sky. Sometimes it feels like a lot of work, but once you are at it, it is a real high.

So make the decision to help out at our outreach events!

  • We need people for Saturday nights at the Centre of the Universe (contact Garry Sedun,; especially if you are willing to set up your telescope.
  • We need volunteers for the Vancouver Island Star Party, an hour north of Victoria at Bright Angel Park, August 26-27 (contact Dave Payne, Also, plan to go to the star party – Dave has been working with the Cowichan Valley Starfinders Astronomy Club to create an excellent program of speakers and events.
  • We need volunteers for the Saanich Fair at the Saanich Fairgrounds, September 3-5 (contact Lauri Roche,
  • We need volunteers for the Fall Fairfield, Sept. 25, right outside our Astro Cafe venue at the Sir James Douglas School yard (contact Reg Dunkley,

At these events, you can typically take a shift of a couple of hours and answer questions from the eager public. I have seen members with the whole range of background and experience taking on these roles, and everybody has done well. Just show a bit of the enthusiasm that I know all RASC Victoria Centre members have.

Look Up,
Randy Enkin,