Astronomy Cafe – Feb 5, 2024

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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 29, 2024

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Meeting transcript video

  • Intro – Randy Enkin
  • FDAO Star Party – Jan 27 – Randy Enkin
    • Games Night – Jeopardy – was a lot of fun
      • Teams: FDAO, RASC (Nathan, Randy, Chris Gainor)
      • Emcee: Amy
  • 2024 Total Solar Eclipse – Randy Enkin
    • 15% obscuration in Victoria
    • Observe first, photograph next
    • Eye safety – contact Lauri or Randy to pick up some eclipse glasses
    • RASC Eclipse Task Force – Lauri
      • Southern Ontario – mid-afternoon, school kids are being let out early
      • Maritimes – late afternoon, after school
      • Education of teachers in eastern Canada
    • Early March – next eclipse presentation at Astro Cafe
    • Total Solar Eclipse – April 8, 2024 | RASC Victoria
  • Victoria Centre Events – Randy Enkin
    • AGM – Feb 12th
      • Zoom only
      • Quorum of 25 needed
      • Financial Report
      • Election – slate in place except for President – contact Reg Dunkley
    • Social Dinner – Feb 26 at ~ Four Mile Brewpub
      • 22 people registered
      • Contact Marjie to sign up by Wed, Feb 21
      • 55 attendees allows exclusive use of the restaurant, so please sign up!
      • Starts at 6PM
      • Drinks and meals at own expense
      • Awards and speeches
      • Victoria Centre report of activities for 2023 – send info to Randy
    • Astronomy Day – May 18
      • Venue is the Royal BC Museum
      • Need a working committee
    • Island Star Party
      • New Moon weekend is Aug 2-4, but Aug 5 is BC Day so that is a holiday weekend
      • Following weekend to New Moon – Crescent Moon & Perseids – Aug 9-11
      • CVRD has decided no camping and no events outside of park hours, so a new venue probably needed
  • Space Missions
    • Japanese Lunar Mission – now active, despite being on its side
    • Helicopter on Mars has crashed, so that mission is over
  • Good Lighting in Metchosin – Bill Weir
    • Bill had success with controlling streetlights with full cutoff fixtures
    • Ted White is pursuing International Dark Sky certification for municipality
    • Patrick Earl and Dave Robinson will assist
  • Zoozbe “moon” of Venus – Bill Weir
    • Radio Lab podcast
    • Zoozbe is actually an asteroid!

Next Astro Cafe – Feb 5th, then none for the rest of the month. Monday, March 4th will be the next Astro Cafe after Feb 5th.

Astronomy Cafe – Jan 22, 2024

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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

Astronomy Cafe – Dec 4, 2023

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Transcript video

  • HD110067 “could become the most interesting star in the galaxy” – Randy Enkin
  • FDAO Fundraising campaign star parties at the Centre of the Universe – Lauri Roche
    • Pancake breakfast – Dec 9 9:30am-Noon
    • Solstice Party & Pluto debate – Dec 16 6-9pm
  • RASC – Lauri Roche
    • RASC 2024 Observers calendars ($15) and almanacs ($18) – 3 of each still available – contact Lauri roche.lauri@gmail.com
    • RASC Victoria social evening – seeking a venue for February 2024
  • SIGs – David Lee
  • Hubble News – Chris Gainor
    • Gyroscope problems – 3 out of 6 have failed
    • Hubble could stay in orbit until 2036, but imaging, power or computer systems could fail sooner
    • Budget cuts at NASA could end the mission
  • Buy & Sell at Astronomy Cafe – review from last week’s event
    • About 40 attendees – new and old members, and non-members
    • Lots of equipment for sale
    • Sid brought lots of equipment to sell and give away on behalf of Victoria Centre
  • Astronomy images
    • Dave Paynegallery
      • Monkey Head Nebula in Orion
      • Bubble Lobster Claw Nebulae in Cassiopeia
      • Demo of creating an image – basic processing steps and explanation of colours
      • 3-4 nights of image acquisition and several hours of processing
    • Brock Johnstongallery
      • NGC 1333 – reflection, emission and dark nebula
      • Cocoon Nebula – lots of dust rings the emission nebula along with numerous background galaxies and stars
  • UVic Monthly Meetings – 2nd Wednesday of each month – Reg Dunkley

Astronomy Cafe – Oct 16, 2023

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Transcript video

  • Resumption of monthly meetings and speakers at UVic –  Jeff Pivnick
  • Unexpected Results from James Webb Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
  • Annular Solar Eclipse from Victoria on Oct 14, 2023 – Randy Enkin, Lauri Roche, David Lee
    • Lots of families at FDAO event on Observatory Hill
    • Randy gave 10-minute eclipse basics talks
    • Pre-eclipse report and time lapse video by David Lee
    • FDAO eclipse event report by Lauri Roche
      • Streamed images from David Lee’s telescope in lower parking lot
      • Streamed images from Time & Date website
      • Homemade waffles, fruit and parfaits were popular
      • Lots of RASC members
      • About 150-200 public attended
    • Eclipse Images by members
      • Impromptu event from Cattle Point – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
      • Sid Sidhu’s Highlands neigbourhood event – David Lee
      • Gordon Head sketches – Dorothy Paul
      • Observatory Hill photo series – Brock Johnston
      • John McDonald’s photos – David Lee
      • Cattle Point – Alex Schmid
      • Partial Solar Eclipse 2023 – RASC Victoria online gallery
    • Eclipse photos from online sources – Randy Enkin
    • Eclipse reports from members
  • Total Solar Eclipse – April 8, 2024 – Discussion about this upcoming event
  • SIGNALS – Star-formation, Ionized Gas and Nebular Abundances Legacy Survey – CFHT – Laurie Rousseau-Nepton, Principal Investigator
  • FDAO Star Party AGM, 2024 RASC calendars or workbooks – contact Lauri Roche (roche.lauri@gmail.com)
  • Beginners’s SIG – Algol Minima – David Lee

NEW EARTH Lab – Find Life on Exoplanets

Posted by as UVic Meetings

Dr. Christian Marois has agreed to deliver a presentation for our October 11th UVic Meeting. It is an exciting topic from a renowned Astronomer. What a great way to relaunch the RASC Speaker Program at UVic! – Reg Dunkley, Past President, RASC Victoria Centre

Date/Time: October 11, 2023, starting at 7:30PM

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


“The NRC NEW EARTH Laboratory, and the Quest to Develop the Tools to Find Life on Exoplanets” – Dr. Christian Marois, NRC

New Earth Lab - NRC

Are there Earth-size exoplanets orbiting nearby stars? Is there life as-we-know-it on these Worlds? The exoplanet field is rapidly progressing toward having the required technology to discover rocky Earth-size exoplanets orbiting nearby Sun-like stars, and search for life signatures. I will describe my NRC NEW EARTH team progress over the last few years to test new innovations, and deploy them in two frontier instruments, the SPIDERS pathfinding at the Subaru telescope, and the CAL2 instrument at the Gemini North observatory. I will also describe our new breakthrough concept, STARLITE, that could dramatically speed-up the discovery and search for Earth-like exoplanets using current and future ground-based telescopes. I will finally discuss possible roles that Canada could play in the ~2040 NASA Habitable World Observatory, a ~6m Hubble Space Telescope successor that is optimized for imaging and characterizing Earth-size planets.

Dr. Christian Marois
Dr. Christian Marois

Dr. Christian Marois, NRC astronomer and University of Victoria adjunct professor, has revolutionized how we view the universe by pioneering direct imaging of exoplanets. He invented the most powerful high-contrast techniques, methods that are now widely used by the community, and he led an international team of astronomers to make the ground-breaking discovery of the first images of planets orbiting a star other than the Sun, the HR8799 planetary system.

Dr. Marois is the founder and principal investigator of Canada’s only high-contrast imaging laboratory, NEW EARTH, a one-of-a-kind facility for innovation. He is involved in international collaborations, including the Gemini Planet Imager instrument survey team, and is working toward developing frontier technologies for current and future 30-m class telescopes, focussing on the discovery of Earth-like exoplanets and search for life outside our Solar system. He is currently leading the development of three projects, SPIDERS, a pathfinder for the Subaru telescope, CAL2, a facility-class sensor for the Gemini Planet Imager, and STARLITE, a system for imaging Earth-like exoplanets orbiting Sun-like stars using ground-based telescopes.

Astronomy Cafe – May 15, 2023

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Intro – Jeff Pivnick
  • To the Moon, with Robots and HumansDr. Gordon “Oz” Osinski, Dept. Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario
    • Sailing ships to space missions – history of human exploration
    • The Moon has thousands of meteorite impacts
    • 2019 announcement by Canadian government
      • Canadarm 3 on Lunar Gateway outpost
      • Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP) – Canadian lunar rover
    • Artemis I – launched last year
      • Lots of images from this mission
    • Artemis II – orbit Moon
      • Canadian astronaut – Jeremy Hansen
      • Crewed test flight to the Moon and Earth high orbit
      • Engineering mission, not a science mission
      • Launch – late 2024 or early 2025
    • Artemis III – land on the Moon
      • Geology training for astronauts
      • 18 astronaut candidates
      • 13 candidate landing sites – all near Lunar South Pole
      • Geological samples will return to Earth with the astronauts
      • Canada has 30 out of 200 impact craters found on Earth
      • Mistastin Lake impact structure – best analog to lunar craters since anorthosite ejecta is found here, same as on the Moon (light material)
    • Canadian Lunar Rover Mission
      • Canadensys – contractor for 30kg prototype
      • Science instruments will take about 5-6kg
      • South Pole – geology and mineral resources
      • Volatiles – water
      • Permanently Shadowed Regions – no sunlight
      • Radiation monitoring to ensure astronauts’ health, both on the Moon and future Mars missions
      • Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter – images showing deep lunar shadows
    • Q & A
  • Island Star Party 2023 – Dave Payne
    • August 11-13, 2023
    • In-reach – socializing with fellow members
    • Location: Bright Angel Park – south Cowichan
    • Activities
      • Solar observing
      • Nature walks
      • Kinsol Trestle
      • Lots of activities in Cowichan Valley
      • Telescope walk, how to use a telescope, observing skills
      • Speakers – one each night
    • Perseid Meteor shower
    • T-shirts – contact Joe Carr to preorder
    • Volunteers needed – contact Dave Payne
    • ISP Volunteer Email List
  • Victoria Centre Observatory – Reg Dunkley
    • Last night – 10 Active Observers
    • Both visual and photography
    • Become an Active Observer – contact Chris Purse
  • Occultation of Jupiter by the Moon – David Lee
    • Wednesday, May 17th 4:52am – 5:33am
    • Moon 3º above the eastern horizon during the occultation
  • Astrophotography by local members
    • Astronomy Day slideshow – Ken McGill
    • Brock Johnston
      • Orion & Flame Nebula widefield
      • M94 – halo
      • Cat’s Eye Nebula & NGC 6552 barred spiral galaxy
  • Randy Enkin
    • Deep Sky Filter – a Lumicon “UHC” legacy visual filter
    • Orrery – kit build
  • Observations – Marjie Welchframe
    • Kemble’s Cascade
    • Spring double stars

No Astro Cafe next week due to the Victoria Day statutory holiday. The last Astro Cafe before the summer break will be held on May 29th.

Astronomy Cafe – May 8, 2023

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Intro – Marjie Welchframe
  • Centre of the Universe Volunteer Coordinator – Aimee Rossen (info@centreoftheuniverse.org)
    • Volunteer waivers – need to have everyone sign the form after viewing the safety video
    • Volunteer list – access to Observatory Hill
    • Volunteers should arrive before 7pm on Saturday night to avoid congestion at the access gate
  • ORCASatProf. Justin Albert
    • This microsat was built at UVic and launched six months ago to the ISS, where it was deployed – ORCASat — Launch
    • ORCASat should burn up next month after six months of operation in low Earth orbit
    • Background
      • Modern cosmology started in 1929 Edwin Hubble’s assertion that the Universe is expanding
      • Cepheid variable stars tell us the absolute magnitude, hence the distance away from Earth. Henrietta Swan-Leavitt’s research enabled this process.
      • Observing past 10*7 Parsecs means using Type 1A SuperNova (White Dwarf), since Cepheids are no longer bright enough to use as a standard candle.
      • Limitations of our Knowledge of Dark Energy 73% of Universe’s mass
      • Calibration of brightness measurements are needed – flux as a function of colour
      • Dark Matter 23% of Universe’s mass
      • Atoms 3% of Universe’s mass
      • The Dark Side of the Universe
      • Supernovae are one of the powerful probes for understanding the eventual fate of the Universe
    • ORCASat is in an ISS-like orbit
      • Needs good coverage above ground observatories, so they can observe Orcasat
      • Photometric calibration – Orcasat’s absolute brightness is compared with standard stars
    • ALTAIR – Airborne Laser for Telescopes Atmospheric Interference Reduction
      • Photometric Calibration using a high altitude balloon
    • A laser photometric ratio star (LPRS) – exciting the Sodium layer
  • I Need More Space-Time – review of a science fair project by Nathan Hellner-Mestleman
    • Predict when our Universe will end
    • Used Wiseman Observatory data for Type 1 SN
      • Spectral lines: Hydrogen epsilon, Hydrogen delta
      • Examined Supernovae 30 million LY to 40 billion LY
      • Found the Hubble Constant to vary from 20 km/sec/Parsec to much bigger
    • Using Slooh data didn’t work out, since Supernovae data levels are too low
    • Project tried to infer how long the Universe will last from changes in brightness of Supernovae
    • Consensus from WMAPS
  • Q&A for both Justin and Nathan
    • Is the Universe finite or infinite? We don’t know, and possibly will never know.
    • Hot, dense start to the Universe – ratio of Hydrogen and Helium verifies this process, as does Nucleosynthesis with Quarks and Gluons (DOE Explains…Quarks and Gluons | Department of Energy).
    • LIGO and other Gravitational Wave observatories should verify how the Universe started (inflation).
  • Events
    • RASC General Assembly – Lauri Roche
    • Beaveree at Camp Barnard – May 27th (9am-2pm) – Bill Weir
    • Island Star Party – Aug 11-13 – Dave Payne
      • Permit for park use is in place
      • More details at next week’s Astro Cafe

Astronomy Cafe – April 24, 2023

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Video transcript of the meeting

  • Pendulum Experiment To Measure Local Gravity – Kemi Daniel (Grade 5, PCS)
    • Gravity in her house is slightly lower than earth’s gravity
    • Science Fair winner
  • Astronomy by Night – A new Canadian website for amateur astronomers. hosted by Carina Ockedahl (former editor of Skynews)
    • Reached out to contributors – Chris Vaughan, Dan Kusz, Alan Dyer, Charles Ennis, and others
    • AstroPhoto of the Week – not just for Canadians
    • Newsletter
    • Collaboration with SkySafari
    • This Week’s Night Sky
    • Gear Reviews & Tech
    • Columns
      • World’s Asterisms
      • Research
    • Profile
    • Podcast – 2 per week
    • Video – interviews
    • Star chart – from Heavens Above
    • News – both from International and Canadian sources
  • International Astronomy Day/Weekend – David Lee, Lauri Roche
    • Speakers are lined up
    • Local astronomy organizations will be there
    • Observatory Hill on Saturday night – 29th
    • UVic on Sunday daytime – 30th
  • SpaceX Starship Launch on Apr 20, 2023 – Chris Gainor
    • Huge amounts of smoke and debris at launch
    • Disintegrated 4 minutes into the flight
    • Rocket left a huge crater at the launch site
    • Questions and discussion
  • Hybrid Solar Eclipse – April 20th – Randy Enkin
    • 1 minute duration
    • Total & Partial Solar Eclipse
    • Solar maximum corona, so lots of plasma streamers visible
    • Time & Date – particulars of this eclipse
    • Photos & video of eclipse chasers
  • Other events and discussion