Astronomy Camps for kids this summer on Observatory Hill

Posted by as Special Events


During the months of July and August, Science Venture will be offering camps at the Centre of the Universe, 5071 West Saanich Rd. Each camp will be lead by a team of university students, who will deliver innovative, fun, and hands-on astronomy, physics, and space technology activities.

Programs are offered to youth entering Grade 3-8 in the fall of 2014.

Check out the program and schedule, and sign up on the Space Venture website.

ISS video pass – April 12, 2014

Posted by as Observing Highlights

I have produced a short video of the International Space Station going over the Victoria Centre Observatory on the 12th of April. The track starts near Pleiades and goes almost through Polaris as it arcs over the VCO.

John McDonald


ISS over VCO from RASC Victoria Centre on Vimeo.

This video shows a pass of the International Space Station over the Victoria Centre Observatory on April 12, 2014. The first frame shows the ISS just past Pleiades. From there it goes on to pass very close to Polaris then exits stage right.


Volunteer roster is now full for 2014 General Assembly!

Posted by as Special Events

The 2014 GA Organizing Committee wishes to thank all of those who have signed up to help at our June event. Our volunteer roster is now complete and all positions have been filled. We will be reaching out to all volunteers in the next few weeks with further details on your involvement.


Paul Schumacher and Mark Bohlman
Co-Chairs 2014 GA Committee

May 4, 2014

The 2014 General Assembly is coming up quickly in late June, and our organizing committee needs your help! Ideally, they would like to see every member of Victoria Centre contribute to the success of this event. Not only are we hosting our fellow astronomers from across Canada, we are also celebrating the 100th anniversary of Victoria Centre!

Job Descriptions – Additional Volunteers Needed (26 positions)

April 8, 2014


CHAIRPERSON COMMITTEE – Reports to Paul Schumacher and Mark Bohlman ( 6 positions open)

First Aid Personnel (2 needed)

  • Assists deals with any emergency that may come up (one present each day) and notifies UVic emergency services personnel of any incidents per UVic emergency protocol (June 26,27,28,29)

UVic Telescope Chaperones (1)

  • Works with UVic student  telescope  to meet, greet and chaperone delegates up to the Wright Centre rooftop and help/ participate in evening viewing at UVic rooftop scope for 3 nights during GA  9 p.m. to 11 p.m.(Fri. June 27, Sat. June 28, Sun, June 29)

Photographers / Videographers (3)

  • Members to record events of all GA activities (June 26,27,28,29) by day or by shift


HOSPITALITY COMMITTEE Reports to Deb Crawford (8 positions open)

Catering/Meals Quality Assurance Person ( 1 needed)

  • Liaison with UVic Catering on behalf of RASC during GA for seamless set-up and of all catering events including banquet. (June 26,27,28,29)

Meeting Room Quality Assurance Person (1 needed)

  • Liaison with UVic and RASC during GA to see that all meeting rooms (including banquet space) are set up correctly prior to room meeting/events and no issues arise during meetings/events. (June 26,27,28,29)

Tours Chaperones (4 needed)

  • Attends or drives to and from tour event and makes sure all tours during the GA go as planned without a hitch: Whale Watching, Butchart Gardens, Maritime Museum, Historic Tour (June 27,28,29)
  • Assists Deb with head counts, preplanning and vendor liaison
  • Coordinates with Transportation Committee for drivers where needed

Welcome BBQ VCO MICs (2 needed)

  • MIC’s during Open House part of welcome evening  BBQ- meet and greet delegates who would like to inspect the VCO facility (Thursday June 26th)


TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE – Reports to Charles Banville (10 positions open)

Drivers (10 needed)

  • Drives guests to and from airport, bus terminal, ferries(June 25,26,27,30) or DAO BBQ (June 26) or Tours. (June 27,28, 29)
  • Drivers will be reimbursed for their gas mileage for driving delegates to and from lodging to arrival/departure location and Tour pick-up drop-off points.


PAPERS  COMMITTEE– Reports to Lauri Roche (2 positions open)

Paper Session Timekeepers (2 needed)

  • Assists Lauri with timekeeping of paper session presenters during Saturday June 28th all day sessions.


Lunar Eclipse – April 14, 2014

Posted by as Special Events

A Total Lunar Eclipse will be visible in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada on Monday, April 14-15, 2014 – EVENT CANCELLED

  • Penumbral Eclipse begins at 9:55 PM
  • Partial Eclipse begins  at 10:59 PM
  • Full Eclipse begins at 12:08 AM
  • Maximum Eclipse at 12:46 AM
  • Full Eclipse ends at 1:23 AM
  • Partial Eclipse ends at 2:32 AM
  • Penumbral Eclipse ends at 3:36 AM

RASC Victoria Centre: Lunar Eclipse 2008 Collection &emdash; Lunar Eclipse composite
Victoria Centre members and the public are welcome to observe this eclipse from the Cattle Point Urban Dark Sky Park in Oak Bay. This event lasts several hours, with the full eclipse phase lasting just over an hour. Please dress warmly, and come prepared with binoculars and portable seating.

What does a Lunar Eclipse look like? Please browse our online gallery for the 2008 Total Lunar Eclipse observed from Cattle Point.

This event is dependent on the weather. Rain or excessive cloud cover will result in cancellation. Please consult our Facebook event or Twitter feed for a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ before attending this event.

The Community Association of Oak Bay (CAOB) has teamed up with Oak Bay Kiwanis and the Cattle Point Star Park to enjoy viewing a full lunar eclipse. Here’s how: meet at teh Kiwanis Tea Room at Willows Beach Park (foot of Dalhousie St) at 10:00PM, April 14. Lots of parking. Walk along the beautiful Willows Beach esplanade up to Cattle Point (via stairs), where the Cattle Point Star Park’s astronomers will greet you and have their powerful telescopes focused on the full Moon as it goes through all the phases of this rare spectacle. We will then conduct a walk back to the Tea Room for a warm beverage and snack. Your option is to walk back to the Star Park around midnight (Full eclipse is at 12:08AM) or call it a night.

Field guide to the total lunar eclipse of April 14 – 15, 2014 from Michael Zeiler on Vimeo.

This simulation gives you a preview of where and when you can see the first total lunar eclipse of 2014. This eclipse is especially well placed for North and South America and will be an unforgettable sight. During the total phase the Moon will turn a coppery-red, so make plans for comfortable viewing and photography.

For more maps and information on eclipses past, present, and future, visit, follow @eclipsemaps on Twitter, and Like Eclipsemaps on Facebook.

More information on this eclipse from Mr. Eclipse

Interactive Google map of this eclipse


President’s Message – April 2014

Posted by as President's Message

This month we have some excellent news.  Last Wednesday, Victoria Centre Council voted unanimously to submit a proposal to NRC Herzberg that Victoria Centre host a series of Saturday openings of the Observatory this summer.  These openings are in addition to night sky viewing on Astronomy Day, May 3, also hosted by us (with the assistance of NRC staff), and the GA 2014 Welcome BBQ, to be held Thursday, June 26, at the observatory.  We are optimistic that our proposal will be looked at favourably.  It is hoped that this summer “pilot project” lead to a more permanent arrangement with us, the NRC, and other groups taking over functions and activities lost with the closing of this landmark.

This proposal is the result of the hard work of several Council Members, led by Lauri Roche, who are part of the “Short Term Working Group for the Reopening of the Observatory” which was formed at a community meeting held last November, thanks to the efforts of MLA Lana Popham and Don Moffett.  At the time of that meeting, which akun pro ceko was held at the Herzberg, and was attended by NRC staff and administration, we hoped both that the Centre of the Universe or the DAO, or both, might be reopened in some form, and that there would be a role for us similar to what we had done in the past, both near, and distant, in terms of public outreach and education on the hill.

It will be proposed that the Observatory be open for seven Saturday evenings, three in each of July and August, and one in September.  The Observatory will be open for tours to be conducted, eventually, by our members.  Other members of our group will be outside with the usual telescopes, weather permitting.  We will propose that four members will be on the hill on each of these openings, and that a small group of us be trained to open and close the observatory, and operate the telescope.

There are still hurdles to be cleared, and matters to be discussed even if our proposal is accepted, but this first step is vital, and is the most important one.  This could turn into a “flagship” activity for our club.  If you are interested in helping with this program, please let us know.