After nearly three decades, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has announced that SkyNews will be shutting down at the end of February 2023. While it is sad to say goodbye, we are proud of the work that has been published and of the community that supported the magazine for so many years.Skynews magazine
Update: The article I quoted above no longer appears on the national Skynews website. It appears the national RASC Board is still considering options about Skynews magazine.
As a life member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), I’m sad to see Skynews end. That said, I can reassure my fellow RASC Victoria Centre members that our local Skynews newsletter will continue to be published. It is the RASC National Skynews magazine (using the same name) which will no longer be published due to what appears to be a continuing poor market for speciality glossy publications. RASC tried to keep Skynews afloat and relevant after it was purchased from the previous publisher Terry Dickinson, but in recent years the magazine proved to be too much of a drain on the finances at the national level. The RASC National Board consulted with RASC Centre executive over the last few weeks, but in the end, this difficult decision had to be made.
Skynews provided a good balance of interesting articles, observing hints and tips, some cosmology, astronomy and space news, and a forum for night sky photography and gear reviews. Skynews was a less-intimidating entry point to astronomical subjects for beginning enthusiasts, and being focused on Canadian astronomy, it highlighted how to pursue our hobby from northern latitudes.
Skynews also provided an opportunity for RASC to reach out to people interested in astronomy who were not members. RASC Victoria Centre used the magazine at public events such as Astronomy Day to promote interest in astronomy to the wider community.
I hope some of the contributors to Skynews will find opportunities to continue to write about Canadian amateur astronomy, observing the night sky, and issues that affect us as astronomers. It would be great to see the skynews.ca Domain name be retained by RASC for the promotion of amateur astronomy in Canada. Perhaps the website could be used to encourage up-and-coming Canadian journalists who have an interest in astronomy and space. The Skynews Youtube channel is also a valuable asset worth nurturing and keeping up-to-date, but some resources from RASC will obviously be needed.
Joe Carr, Webmaster
March 2, 2023 – I received my last issue of SkyNews magazine today, a week after posting my thoughts (above) about the loss and the possibilities going forward. It’s sad to read about Carina’s new column planned for astrophotographers, Phil Groff’s wish to finally be free of the pandemic restrictions to fulfill his plan to visit RASC members across the country, Nathan’s 2023 Galactic Travel Guide, and other articles giving observing hints and targets for the coming months under Spring skies. So much optimism that now goes up in smoke since SkyNews will no longer be there to help those of us who are amateur astronomers in Canada to pursue our passion.
Thanks go to all the current and past contributors to SkyNews, who made this publication come alive, and also thanks to the advertisers who supported the magazine. Finally, thanks to RASC National for owning and operating the magazine over the last few years.