Astronomy Cafe – July 12, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the meeting

Mike Nash and Randy Enkin hosted a special Lunar Session,  joined by special guests Brian Day and Gary Varney.

Brian is deputy staff scientist at NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute. He manages data visualization and analysis projects supporting missions including Artemis. He was Education/Public Outreach lead for the LCROSS and LADEE lunar missions and has participated in various Mars analog field studies.

Gary is an amateur astronomer, planetary astrophotographer, creator of Amateur Astronomy Selenology Project on Facebook, owner/operator Varney Observatory in Pembroke Pines, Florida, and works as Telescope Technician at OPT. Online photo gallery

  • Intro – Randy Enkin
    • Clavius photos by Mike Nash & Gary Varney
    • Amateur Astronomy Selenology Project – review of the Lunar 100
    • Gary Varney and Brian Day intros
  • Lunar Imaging – Gary Varney
    • Lunar Processing Overview video
      • AutoStakkert demo
      • Registax – demo of wavlet sharpening
      • Photoshop – demo of finishing the image
    • Filters
      • Green – helps with ghosting
      • IR650 or IR742 – improvements over standard seeing
    • Completing the Lunar 100 photographically – Gary’s current mission
  • NASA’s Lunar Tools & Missions – Brian Day
    • Mare Crisium – Horseshoe Crater is a breached cinder cone
    • NASA buying commercial “rides” – Firefly Aerospace
    • Moon Trek – online tool for analyzing lunar data from missions
      • GIS for the Moon
      • Generate an STL file for a 3D print of the lunar surface features
      • Draw a path – QR code to flythrough using generic Google goggles on a smartphone 
      • Fly-to features
      • Data layers – helps to interpret the surface features
      • Also displays data from other solar system objects
    • Viper mission to the Moon – rover in 2023
      • Prospecting for water-ice
      • Want amateur photos of the mission area on the south pole
    • Missions to other areas of the Moon
    • 2 landings per year coming up soon
  • Q&A to Brian and Gary
    • US-based teachers can borrow lunar samples for the classroom
    • Touchable Moon rock (fallen to Earth) can be made available
    • Dial-a-Moon – online tool for finding lunar features
  • Lunar imaging – Mike Nash
    • Mostly using a big refractor 
    • 7″ or 8″ Mak for higher resolution
    • Filters – uses various, depending on conditions
    • Daytime lunar imaging is working well
  • Lunar poem by Bruce McCurdy – read by Peter Jedicke
  • Variable Star observing – David Lee
  • Edmonton astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Pumpkin Moon rising over Edmonton – Alister Ling & Luca Vanzella
    • Etruscan vase or omega effect with the Sun setting or rising over the ocean – query by Peter Geldart from Ottawa Centre
    • Jupiter and moon time lapse video – Abdur Anwar
  • Other photo sharing
    • Mars, Venus &  Crescent Moon – Brian Day
    • Venus &  Crescent Moon – Logan Grauer, Alec Lee
    • Ha image of  solar prominences, the Sun & ISS – Brian Day
    • Comet NEOWISE  C/2020 F3 – a tribute video by Debra Ceravolo 
    • Jupiter, moons and shadows – Gary Varney

Astronomy Cafe – July 5, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Meeting transcript video

  • Intro – Chris Purse
    • Next week’s Astro Cafe – Lunar session – Randy Enkin & Mike Nash
    • Photos of the July 4th fireworks from Lopez Island by Randy Enkin
  • Astrophotography of the Year 2021 – Royal Observatory, Greenwich – a short list by Barbara Lane
  • Edmonton Astrophotos – Dave Robinson
    • Moonsweep – rising Moon over Edmonton time lapse – Luca Vanzella & Alister Ling
    • Solar images – Abdur Anwar using a solar filter and C8
    • Solar sunspot sketches – Berta Beltran
    • All sky display of noctilucent clouds time lapse – Murray Paulson
  • Dave Payne’s M57 image data reprocessed – John McDonald
  • SIGs – David Lee
  • Hubble – David Lee & Chris Gainor
    • Uses 386-based processors, upgraded to 486
    • Video on Hubble current status – an explanation of what’s happening
    • Discussion about Hubble systems and updates
  • Henrietta Leavitt Memorial Horizon Watch – July 4th, 2021 – Reg Dunkley
    • Lopez Island fireworks display
    • 28 kms away eastward
    • 5 members setup at Cattle Point
    • Sequence of photos of fireworks
  • Victoria Centre Observatory report – Reg Dunkley
    • Work party getting the two new telescopes operational
    • Refining the pointing accuracy of the Paramount ME with the new telescopes now mounted
    • Discussion about removal of existing Takahashi focuser so Feathertouch focuser can be mounted and used
    • Servicing the Paramount gearing
  • DASCH: Digital Access to a Sky Century – Harvard’s photographic plate collection
  • UVic Observatory Open House – this Wednesday – history of astronomy – zoom info provided in the chat

Astronomy Cafe – June 28, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Transcript video of the online meeting

  • Photos from Edmonton – Dave Robinson
    • Noctilucent Clouds – Alister Ling, Bruce McCurdy, Tom Owen’s daughter
    • Diffraction corona on setting Sun – Eric Klaszus
    • Bubble Nebula – Tom Owen
  • Impressions of the GA and AGM
    • Another virtual GA for next year – Chris Purse
    • Gather Town
      • a challenge to use by some attendees
      • tablet app was beta – difficult to use – Bill Weir
      • could easily locate or follow people
    • Tours on Monday were excellent
    • Presenters were very good – Reg Dunkley & David Lee
    • A generational transition is happening within RASC – Chris Gainor
      • nextGen committee
      • Invite Karun’s students and Vic High students to get involved in Victoria Centre
    • AGM – Chris Gainor
      • Robyn Foret and Chris Gainor will be retiring next year
      • 3 new board members: Betty Robinson, Malhar Kendurkar, Michael Watson (all 3 year terms)
      • Next GA in 2022 will be mainly virtual
      • 2023 should return to an in-person event
      • 2024 possibly with Astronomical League in Toronto
    • Andrew MacIntosh, a non-member from Victoria won an astrophotography award
  • Trouble with Hubble – Chris Gainor
    • Payload computer problems, but main computer is still alive
    • Goddard staff will very likely fix or workaround the current problem
    • Latest Hubble updates
  • Photos of the Saturn & Jupiter with the Full Moon – Randy Enkin
  • Hot Weather Ending – Reg Dunkley
    • Lee Trough is causing the circulation for the current hot weather in our area
    • Cloud currently offshore from Washington and Oregon will move north over Vancouver Island, which will shut down the hot outflow over us
    • Warm air dome will move eastward

Astronomy Cafe – June 21, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Thierry Legault’s Astrophoto Guide
  • RASC GA and AGM – Registration site
  • Geocaching and Public Outreach for Astronomy – Malcolm Scrimger
  • Summer Solstice – Randy Enkin
    • The Solstice happens at different times 
      • Actual time depends on time zone person is in
      • Gregorian calendar causes timing anomalies (Leap Years)
      • Earth’s eccentric orbit, astrophysical and geophysical components affects seasonal timing too
      • Sun setting angles in the north – https://metcam.navcanada.ca
  • Astrophotography
    • Astrophotography SIG – John McDonald
      • This Thu 7:30PM
      • M101 Monthly Challenge
      • Beginners Introduction to planetary imaging and processing using PixInsight
    • Victoria Centre astrophoto – Brock Johnston
      • Ring Nebula M57 & galaxy (IC 1296) in the field using LRGB – Dave Payne
      • Ring Nebula M57 – more detail from narrowband Hydrogen (Ha), Oxygen, Sulphur wavelengths – Dave Payne
      • Visually observing the galaxy (IC 1296) – Dorothy Paul
      • Ring Nebula M57 – Brock Johnston
      • Eagle Nebula – narrowband using Hubble palette – Brock Johnston
      • Hercules Cluster M13 – Brock Johnston
      • Sunspot and granularity on Sun’s surface in Ha – John McDonald
      • Eagle Nebula M16 from Slooh Chile- Joe Carr
      • Recent astrophotos by Victoria Centre members
    • Edmonton Centre astrophotos – Dave Robinson
      • Dimming of Betelgeuse (ESO link) – Larry Wood 
      • Lightning storm June 15th – Stephen Olesen
  • FDAO Star Party this Saturday (youtube & zoom) – new IMT building at the DAO – Lauri Roche
  • Diane Bell’s astronomy equipment – Lauri Roche
  • Variable Star visual observing – David Lee

Astronomy Cafe – June 14, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Annular Eclipse – review of photos
    • Iqaluit photos by David Aglukark & Vinnie Karetak – presented by Chris Purse
    • Worldwide photo collection – presented by Randy Enkin
  • CRD Bike Trail Widening & Lighting – Dave Robinson
    • Dave has a meeting scheduled with the project team
  • Photos from Edmonton – Dave Robinson
    • Crescent Moon & Venus over the city – Alister Ling
    • Animation of Jupiter – Abdur Anwar
  • General Assembly & AGM – Chris Gainor
    • More info is posted online about the events
    • Register for GA and AGM separately. AGM is no cost.
    • Looking for Centres to host the next GAs – Bill Weir
    • Starts on June 25th – end of next week!
    • Registration site
  • Library photos – Alex Schmid
    • Historic slides and projector
    • Brass eyepieces
    • Stereo viewer
    • WW II astronomy books
    • Construction cranes on UVic building site
    • Email Alex if any member wants to borrow a book
  • SIGs – David Lee
    • Makers SIG – being held this Thursday online – contact David Lee or Jim Cliffe to join in
  • Juno mission update – Reg Dunkley
    • Spacecraft flew within 625 miles of Ganymede recently
    • Close encounter with Europa and Io planned
    • Imagery is freely available to amateurs
  • Observatory update – Cameron Burton
    • Replaced the winch and made new rollers for the shutter
    • Dome bearings to be rebuilt next year, in order to implement automation
    • Discussion within group
  • FDAO Star Party – Lauri Roche
    • Thanks to volunteers at last star party
    • June 26th – next star party
      • The DAO’s “Green Building” virtual tour by Jenny Attwood and Scott Roberts
  • RASC National website – Chris Purse
    • Centre membership is now available
    • Expanded merchandise is now being offered
  • RASC Service Award for Diane Bell’s family will now happen since the pandemic rules are relaxing. Perhaps a picnic later this summer?

Astronomy Cafe – June 7, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

  • Chit chat
    • Planetary imaging discussion
    • Saanich News reporting Lucky Budd’s daytime shot of Jupiter
  • RASC GA & AGM – Chris Gainor
    • Last weekend in June 25-28
    • Good speakers on all four days
    • Sunday 3PM – AGM & election – no charge
    • Monday – Virtual tours of observatories
    • Mars panel discussion
    • Registration site
  • The Sun and Stars – Randy Enkin
    • Star Dances
      • Defocus stars to see their colours when photographing them
      • Jiggle camera setup to see deliberate star tracks
      • Staying at Magic Lake on Pender Island last week – looking south
      • Jiggle the tripod to see colours in the star tracks
  • CRD lighting of bicycle trails – Dave Robinson
    • Widening trails from 2-3 metres to 6.5-7 metres
    • Lighting the whole system of trails – 3 segments
    • Please respond to the  online survey by June 13th
    • LED lights, warm colour, down-facing, 4.5m poles
    • PBX Engineering – consulting engineers – Dave wants to talk with them
    • It appears traffic volumes will increase significantly and bicycle speeds are bound to increase with e-bikes
  • Edmonton Observatory – Dave Robinson
    • Roman Unyk installing the azimuth bearing in the mount for the 32″ telescope – a time lapse video and discussion.
    • Black Nugget Lake observatory, near Riley, Alberta.
  • FDAO events – Lauri Roche
    • Star Party – this Saturday, June 12th – Is Anybody Out There? Life outside the solar system – James Di Francesco
    • Summer Solstice celebrations – June 20th
    • Annular Eclipse photos
    • Ask An Astronomer – Scott along with the RASC EAA group (David Lee, Brock, Dave Payne)
    • More star parties – ever 2 weeks for awhile, then monthly
  • Buy & Sell – Reg Dunkley
    • Gord Bell (brother) is selling Diane Bell’s astronomy gear – binoculars, telescope, eyepieces
    • Nelson Walker is selling his Tele Vue 101 apo refractor, classic tripod, and eyepiece collection
    • Both listings will appear on our Buy & Sell page soon
  • Gianluca Massi – Virtual telescope from Rome – looking for contacts here in Canada who plan to take photos of the annular eclipse for his live broadcast on Thursday – contact Randy Enkin or Gianluca directly ASAP
  • Juno orbiting Jupiter – Reg Dunkley
    • Mission extended for several more years
    • Recent close encounter with Ganymede – 625 miles!
  • 2012 Transit of Venus review – Joe Carr

Astronomy Cafe – May 31, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of the meeting

  • CRD lighting of Galloping Goose Trail from Selkirk Water to Lochside/Borden and Spectrum School – Chris Purse & Dave Robinson
    • Dave has given CRD feedback – dark adaption is adequate, so opposed
    • Members should give CRD feedback through the online survey
  • Moving and installing Bill Almond’s observatory – Cameron Burton & Lisa Meister
    • Disassembly
    • Moving from Bill & Janet’s home
    • Installation at Cameron and Lisa’s home
    • Victoria Centre’s history with Bill Almond and reminisces from members
  • Total Lunar Eclipse – Randy Enkin 
    • Review of online photos (since we were clouded out)
    • Diameter of the Earth’s shadow is larger than expected – more to come
  • Edmonton photos – Dave Robinson
    • NGC 6946 Fireworks Galaxy – Tom Owen
    • Moon over Edmonton – Alister Ling
    • Sunspots – Arnold Rivera
  • Edmonton Centre’s new observatory – Dave Robinson
  • SIGs – David Lee

Astronomy Cafe – May 17, 2021

Posted by as Astro Cafe

Video transcript of meeting

VIdeo frame of ISS taken through an 8" Dobsonian by Nathan
VIdeo frame of ISS taken through an 8″ Dobsonian by Nathan
  • ISS photo – Nathan Hellner-Mestelman
    • Used a iPhone mount using a 30-min video slow motion through a 5mm  eyepiece, 2.5x Barlow and 8″ Dob (1,200mm f/l), so about 600x magnification, 2-3 arc secs 
  • Astronomy Day on May 15th – Randy Enkin & Lauri Roche
    • We were so fortunate to have a clear sky for this online event
    • Reviewed all the presenters and thanked everyone
  • Spectroscopy – Tom Field
    • Intro by David Lee
    • 70-80% of astronomical research is done with spectroscopy
    • Rspec-Astro.com – spectroscopy software for amateur astronomers
    • Bunsen invented his burner to burn elements to see their component spectra
    • Emission and absorption lines in spectrum
    • “The Computers” Annie Jump Cannon – they created categories for spectral plate analysis
    • Equipment to use for capturing spectrum
      • Star Analyser Grating – US$195
      • Other adapters and gear available
      • A slit instead of a grating, which yields more resolution, but costs more and requires better technique
    • Compared spectra of 8 different stars – Torsten Hansen
    • Doing science
      • Graph the results
      • Spectroscopy is more immune to light pollution than traditional astrophotography, so urban observing works
      • Wolf-Rayet stars (WR140) – shows this late-stage star with carbon-rich spectra
      • Spectra can be measured of: planets, comets, meteors, the Sun, Supernova, stars
      • Measuring Doppler Shift, or is it red/blue shift?
      • Extended objects like nebulae need a slit instead of a grating
      • Black Hole? no, but the accretion disk emits light
      • Calculating red shift
    • Spectroscopy can reinforce other observational skills
    • Distance between sensor and grating needs to be precisely setup
    • Emission versus absorption lines
    • Can use other grating, since RSpec can calibrate to other grating resolutions. RSpec grating uses 100 lines/mm which is easy to use, and yields brighter spectra.
    • Calibrate on a known star, then study other objects

Notices

  • There is no Astro Cafe next Monday due to the Victoria Day holiday. The next Astro Cafe is scheduled for May 31st.
  • If anyone would like to lead a citizen science group, please contact David Lee
  • Total Lunar Eclipse is coming up on May 26th

Astronomy Day 2021

Posted by as Special Events

A celebration of International Astronomy Day in Victoria, BC, Canada was held on May 15, 2021 as a virtual online event, sponsored by the Friends of the DAO and RASC Victoria Centre. Hundreds of people attended this live-streamed 4-hour event through both Zoom and Youtube.

Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!
Thanks to everyone who made this event a success!

The program lineup

  • Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO) Virtual Tour
  • Live Solar Viewing from the DAO with David Lee, Sid Sidhu & Chris Purse
  • Guest Presentation – “Fossils in our Galaxy” by Dr. Kim Venn, a specialist at UVic in observational stellar spectroscopy, and the chemo-dynamical analysis of stars in the Galaxy and its nearby dwarf satellites. Stars contain a fossil record of the chemistry of the Universe at the time and place where they were born. Stars formed early in the universe contain very low amounts of elements heavier than Helium, and astronomers call these stars ‘metal-poor’. They are the fossils of ancient star formation in the galaxy. By studying the most metal-poor of these stars, we can read that fossil record to learn about the origin of the elements and formation of the Galaxy. Dr. Venn discussed the recent results on the metal-poor galaxy, including newly discovered streams in the halo, very metal-poor stars found in the Galactic Centre, and metal-poor stars in the Galactic disk that orbit in the opposite direction.
  • University of Victoria Telescope Tour with Karun Thanjavur
  • Ask an Astronomer (or two) with Jason Beaman and Nathan Hellner-Mestelman, hosted by Amy Archer
  • Astrophotography Gallery with Marjie Welchframe, David Lee and friends featuring music from Vox Humana, Jeff Enns (composer)
  • Planetaruim Show from the CU – Draco & Hercules – Aaron Bannister & the constellation blanket
  • Live Stream from the Plaskett Telescope, the Centre of the Universe (CU) and other locations featuring David Lee, Dan Posey, Dave Payne, and Brock Johnston – the RASC Electronic Assisted Astronomy Group and hosted by Ruhee Janmohamed

Astronomy Cafe – May 10, 2021

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Video transcript of meeting

  • Pocket sundial demo – Randy Enkin
    • Apply equation of time, time zone, longitude, latitude, north
    • Kala family makes this precision analemma design in Vienna
  • RASC Creation Station – May 15 – June 13 – Lauri Roche
    • A place to put stories, drawings, comics or poems about Astronomy and Space
    • Local Centres can help
    • Hope to highlight student’s work at the upcoming GA
  • Astronomy Day – May 15th – Lauri Roche
    • Virtual Star Party starts at 8PM with live-streamed events
    • Registration required – free
    • Plaskett history
    • Fossil Stars in the Galaxy – presentation by Dr. Kim Venn
    • Astrophotography display with VOX Humana audio
    • Ask An Astronomer 
    • Tours of the UVic & Plaskett telescopes
    • Ends by 11PM
  • Science Odyssey – Virtual tour of Plaskett – May 13 7PM – Lauri Roche
  • NightScaper Conference virtual conference – May 10-12 – David Lee
    • Air glow caused by the Sun during the day, is visible at night until it fades
    • Fixed tripods, tracking mounts, panoramas
    • Planning tools & software
    • US National Parks – permits and other restrictions
    • Female astrophotographers
    • Science of colours in the night sky – an analysis
  • Spectroscopy – David Lee
    • RSpec software
    • David is taking the course and reviewed his previous attempts at capturing spectra
    • Citizen science is a possibility – new SIG? Contact David.
  • General Assembly 2021 – June 25-28  – Chris Gainor
    • Speakers: Emily Calandrelli, Dr. Katie Mack, Kate Russo, Aaron Prasad
    • Panel discussion on Mars
    • AGM business meeting, elections
    • Nominal registration charge – $15
  • RASC National – Chris Gainor & Chris Purse
    • National staff are supporting members to access the new website
    • Members need to reset their passwords
    • New website supports many more features like: store, discussion groups and forums
  • Edmonton photos – Dave Robinson
    • Comet Atlas C2020 R4 – Arnold Rivera & Alister Ling
  • Helen Sawyer Hogg Lecture by Prof.  Andrea Ghez – tomorrow afternoon
  • No Astro Cafe on Victoria Day, May 24th
  • May 31st Astro Cafe – Lisa & Cameron will show their moving of Bill Almond’s observatory to their home