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.
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
July 20th marks the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing. Due to media attention a desire to take a closer look at the Moon may grow as this date approaches. Unfortunately the Moon will not rise until 11:14PM on the anniversary of the landing. As a result the International Astronomical Union is organizing a global lunar observing event on July 12th called “On the Moon Again”. Between 8PM and 11PM on Friday July 12th, members of the Victoria Centre of RASC will set up telescopes in Oak Bay at the Cattle Point Dark Sky Urban Star Park. If weather permits they will be happy to share views of the Moon with you.
Victoria Centre telescopes will also be in position at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory every Saturday evening in July from 7:15PM to 10:45PM for weekly Star Parties. These events, co-hosted with The Friends of the DAO, will include the following Moon related lectures:
July 6th: The Voyages of Apollo by Dr. Philip Stooke July 13th: “Explore the Moon: My 50-Year, 30-Year, and 1-Year Projects” by Randy Enkin July 20th: The Apollo Moon Walk by Dr. Chris Gainor July 27th: Through the Knowledge Network: Space Suite Apollo and Space Suite IV
In addition to the above programs these Star Parties also include tours of the historic Plaskett Telescope, the Centre of the Universe Museum and Planetarium shows. Obtain free tickets to the Saturday Star Parties at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.
During the week of the July 20th the Friends of the DAO will hold the following additional lectures on Apollo at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, starting shortly after 7:00 PM.:
Tuesday July 16: Canada’s Contributions to Apollo by Dr. Chris Gainor
Wednesday July 17: Apollo in the Age of Aquarius by Dr. Dennis Crabtree
Thursday July 18: The Voyages of Apollo by Dr. Philip Stooke
The Centre of the Universe at the DAO will also be open to the public from 10 AM to 3 PM on Tuesday July 16 through Friday July 19.
Here is more detailed information of the scheduled Saturday Star Party lectures at the DAO:
July 6th 2019 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:30pm The Voyages of Apollo Dr. Philip Stooke
Abstract: A summary of the Apollo Program including its origins, steps along the way to the Moon, the choice of landing sites and a pictorial look at each mission.
Bio: Phil Stooke is a planetary scientist and cartographer with a PhD from UVic. He taught in the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at Western University in London, Ontario until his recent retirement. He has published The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration and similar books on Mars, and is currently revising his lunar atlas.
July 13th 2019 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:30pm “Explore the Moon: My 50-Year, 30-Year, and 1-Year Projects” Randy Enkin
Abstract: In 1969, at age 8, the Apollo missions motivated me to become an astronomer. Very quickly I mastered the subject, but then over the following 50 years I mostly found out how little I know. In this presentation, I will present my 30-year time series of lunar phase observations, and my lunar sketches from the past year which earned me the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada “Explore the Moon Observing Certificate” (https://www.rasc.ca/observing/explore-the-moon-observing-certificate). And you will be introduced to “Enkin’s Daily Moon” where images of the moon explore “the passage of time, illumination, the feminine, and world unity”. (https://www.facebook.com/EnkinsDailyMoon/)
Bio: Randy Enkin did not become a professional astronomer. He is a Research Scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada, working on earthquakes. He is an enthusiastic member of the Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
July 20th 2019 – 7:45pm to 10:45pm The Apollo 11 Moonwalk with Dr. Chris Gainor
Abstract: This presentation will show the entire Apollo 11 moonwalk as it was televised on the evening of July 20, 1969, along with descriptive slides. Chris Gainor will discuss the flight of Apollo 11, the symbolic aspects of the first walk on another celestial body, and the scientific work carried out by astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the lunar surface. The presentation will begin shortly before 8 p.m., just as it did in real time in 1969, and will continue for the two hours and 40 minutes of this historic event.
Bio: Chris Gainor is a historian specializing in the history of space flight and aeronautics. He has five published books and is currently writing a history of the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. He is President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
July 27th 2019 – 8:30pm to 10:45pm Through the Knowledge Network: Space Suite IV and Space Suite Apollo
Producers – Imagine Create Media Space Suite IV A series of 10 short films that explore the infinite wonders of our universe and our interactions with the cosmos. Space Suite Apollo Trace the history of NASA’s Lunar missions from Mercury to Gemini, to the Apollo Missions that ultimately landed a man on the moon. Set to the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, Space Suite Apollo gives viewers an unflinching look at the raw footage that continues to capture the world’s imagination.
All Astronomy Day activities are FREE and available to the general public. Membership in RASC is not required.
Regular admission applies to the Royal BC Museum and IMAX Theatre.
Royal BC Museum – 10AM to 4PM
675 Belleville Street, Victoria
Interactive activities outside on the plaza
View the Sun safely through solar telescopes (weather permitting)
Interactive activities inside in Clifford Carl Hall (Museum main level)
Telescope-making – grind a mirror and build your own telescope
Telescope show-and-tell – try out telescopes and ask questions
Astrophotography – take photos of the night sky with your own camera
Children’s astro crafts – kids make their own astronomy and space souvenirs
Ask an Astronomer – find answers to those questions about astronomy and space you always wanted to ask
Light-based Science – light is energy, and energy is a big part of our Universe
Responsible Lighting – get pointers on how to reduce your own light pollution, and feel better for it
Planetarium – cruise the night sky during the day while sitting on a couch
Presentations in Newcombe Auditorium
11:00AM – Exploring a New World on the Edge of the Solar System, New Horizons and 2014 MU69 – by famed solar system expert JJ Kavelaars of the NRC. Poster (837kb pdf)
12:00 Noon – Space Suite I – Our wondrous universe set to a timeless score – presented by Knowledge Network and Two Story Productions. Poster (837kb pdf)
1:00PM – Observing Planet Formation around Young Stars – planetary researcher Ruobing (Robin) Dong from U Vic. Poster (577kb pdf)
2:00PM – Space Suite II – Our wondrous universe set to a timeless score – presented by Knowledge Network and Two Story Productions. Poster (837kb pdf)
2:30PM – Science & Storytelling: How discoveries of new worlds help tell stories of family – Elizabeth Tasker and Ria Voros. The two authors will discuss how they came to work together unexpectedly through Ria’s novel. Poster (2Mb pdf)
Elizabeth Tasker is an Astrophysicist at the Institute for Space and Astronautical Science at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Her forthcoming popular science book is “The Planet Factory”, on planet formation and exoplanets. The updated paperback edition comes out in Canada late April.
Ria Voros is a local Young Adult novelist whose forthcoming book is coincidentally titled “The Centre of the Universe”. In this story 17 year old Grace’s mother is missing. Grace is obsessed with exoplanets and she meets Elizabeth a few times in the book.
Gates will open at 2pm on Friday. Camp on the field and setup your telescope for two nights of fun!
Cost: Free of charge! Visiting observers who stay overnight: suggested donation of $20/Adult one day or two.
Everyone who is present is entitled to tickets for door prizes, presentations, and access to the observing field.
Prizes for kids and adults, including three telescopes! See below…
Don’t want to camp? No problem if you live in the Greater Victoria area…you can drive home after an evening of fun on the observing field.
Staying after dark? Please bring a red light with you – no white lights!
Schedule of Events
2:00 pm – Gates open
6:15 pm – Welcome and door prizes, including a telescope!
6:30 pm – Astro Cafe – Theme: Star Parties
Bill Weir will share experiences from recent Mt Kobau and Merrit Star Parties.
Miles and Dorothy Paul will describe highlights from the latest Oregon Star Party
Nelson Walker will discuss his planning process for observing sessions
Plus Show and Tell Session
8:00 pm until dawn: observing! No white lights during this time, please
Solar viewing – all day on the field
Afternoon presentation – TBA
5:00 pm – StarBBQ – burgers!
6:15 pm – Welcome and door prizes, including two telescopes!
6:30 pm – Speaker – David Lee will share his experiences, insights and beautiful images acquired on his recent trip to Kitt Peak Observatory in Arizona and during his time amongst the iconic Saguaro cacti.
8:00 pm until dawn: observing! No white lights during this time, please
Cleanup – everyone please pitch-in & help
Please, no parking in the church parking lot this morning in consideration of Church members attending their service!
12:15 pm – solar viewing for St. Stephen’s congregation
Early departures please!
Camping on the observing field with your tent, trailer or motorhome – bare camping, no utilities on the field
Setup your telescope and other astronomy gear on the observing field
Some power on the field for astronomy equipment, but no RV plug-ins please!
Washrooms and porta potties
Water, self-serve coffee & tea
Visitor and drop-in parking
Please do NOT park on the field with your vehicle if you plan to leave after dark! In this case, move your vehicle off the field after setting up, and park in the parking lot with your headlights facing away from the observing field. The same parking request applies to visitors dropping in for the evening – leave your vehicle in the parking lot and walk into the observing field.
Star Party t-shirts
A very limited supply of RASCals Star Party t-shirts will be available for sale. Pre-order yours by contacting Joe Carr. Black t-shirts available in Men’s M or L sizes ($16 ea), white t-shirts available in Men’s S & XL ($12 ea), and white Kid’s t-shirts available in S & M ($12 ea).
2018 RASCals Star Party white t-shirt
2018 RASCals Star Party black t-shirt
Bushnell 4.5″ reflector telescope – Friday night prize – donated by a RASC member
Sky-Watcher Virtuoso P114 4.5″ Matsukov telescope & computerized mount – Adult’s Grand Prize – Saturday night – donated by Quarky Science
Celestron Astromaster 130AZ 5” reflector telescope – Kid’s Grand Prize – Saturday night – donated by All-Star Telescope
Bushnell 4.5″ Reflector telescope
Sky-Watcher Virtuoso P114 4.5″ Matsukov telescope & computerized mount
RASC VICTORIA CENTRE ANNOUNCES AUGUST 21 ECLIPSE VIEWING IN VICTORIA
Viewing planned for Royal BC Museum, Mount Tolmie & Metchosin Cricket Pitch
Members of the Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will be setting up their solar telescopes in three locations around Greater Victoria for public viewing of the solar eclipse on the morning of Monday August 21.
Because looking directly at the Sun at any time is dangerous without proper protection, the telescopes at these events will be equipped with shielding to allow members of the public to safely see the eclipse. While the eclipse will be total in some parts of the United States, the eclipse in Victoria will be only a partial eclipse, where parts of the Sun will always be visible. The August 21 eclipse in Victoria will begin at 9:08 a.m. and end at 11:38 a.m. At 10:20 a.m., the Moon will block around 90 percent of the Sun as seen from Victoria.
RASC members will be setting up their telescopes during the eclipse on the morning of August 21 in front of the Bell Tower at the Royal B.C. Museum at 675 Belleville Street in Victoria, at the Cricket Pitch in Metchosin behind the Fire Hall at 4400 Happy Valley Road, and at Mount Tolmie Park off Cedar Hill X Road in Saanich, which can be reached by going up Mayfair Drive to the top of the Mountain, where telescopes will be located on the water reservoir facing south.
The University of Victoria will hold an open house for eclipse viewing that morning open to the public at the UVic Observatory on the fifth floor of the Bob Wright Building.
There will be no public eclipse viewing at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory.
Victoria will experience a 90% solar eclipse on the morning of Monday, August 21, 2017 with the maximum at 10:20 a.m.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION: Approved eclipse glasses or approved eclipse filters must be used at ALL times when looking at the sun. Serious and irreversible eye damage may result from looking at the sun without approved safety equipment.
Here are the public viewing sites in the Capital Region that have been identified:
Mount Tolmie Park – RASC members will be at the summit with solar telescopes and eclipse viewers.
Royal BC Museum area – RASC members will be near the museum with solar telescopes and eclipse viewers.
University of Victoria Observatory – UVic is hosting a special public open house at the UVic Observatory (Bob Wright Building – 5th floor) on Monday, August 21, 2017 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. to view the solar eclipse. The eclipse will be visible at 90% coverage from Victoria. The eclipse begins at 9:08 a.m., reaches maximum coverage at 10:20 a.m., and will end at 11:38 a.m.. We will have eclipse glasses for the public to use and share, as well as special solar telescopes which will project an image of the Sun on a small white screen (attached to the telescope) to clearly show the eclipse. Looking at the Sun directly, even during maximum coverage, is damaging to your eyes. We request the public to leave the eclipse glasses behind after use. The event is free and no preregistration is necessary. The observatory will be open for the duration, and you are welcome to come and go as you wish. Please contact the Physics & Astronomy main office (250-721-7700) if you need any further information. Please note, pay parking is in effect on the University campus. The Bob Wright Building is easily accessible by bus.
Continue to check this site for additional sites as they are added.
NASA eclipse site – includes important safety information and an interactive map so you can determine the eclipse times at your location
Mr Eclipse – a lot of good information from eclipse viewing experts
Christ Church Cathedral, 930 Burdett Ave, Victoria, BC V8V 3G8
William Herschel wasn’t just the first President of the Royal Astronomical Society. And he didn’t just discover that the celestial body in the sky that others thought was just a star which was actually a planet, Uranus… Or the discoverer of infra-red radiation… He was a multi-instrumentalist and composer of great stature!
Michael Jarvis and Paul Luchkow are joined by Nathan Whittaker (cello) and some of Victoria’s (and the world’s) finest astronomers and astrophotographers in a programme of music and readings from William’s and his equally musical sister and astronomical collaborator Caroline’s diaries.
Acclaimed as some of the finest astrophotographers in Canada, the concert will take place in the splendour of projections of astrophotographs of deep space taken by members of the Victoria Centre, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
The infinity of space in the intimate space of the Chapel of the New Jerusalem at Christ Church Cathedral. Truly a night to remember!
Tickets: General: $25; Students/Seniors: $20
Munro’s Books; Ivy’s Bookshop; Long & McQuade; Christ Church Cathedral Office (903 Burdett); or at the door
(Note by Jim Hesser: Acoustics in this intimate space are very good. Herschel’s beautiful music is played by three outstanding musicians. Dress comfortably and enjoy a unique event featuring Centre members prominently. As seating is limited to 175, I suggest securing tickets in advance; I’ll have some available at the 11 Jan Centre meeting: general $25, seniors (65 and older)/youth $20 all costs included; cash or cheques made out to Christ Church Cathedral.)
Remember the pizza party I mentioned? Probably not…it was a year ago or more. Well, it’s on! As a thank you for all the long hours and hard work you’ve put in at various events, we’re inviting all Victoria Centre members (and your spouses) to a party.
If you are a RASC-Victoria Centre member, and have volunteered at one or more RASC events in the last couple of years, you’re invited! -Saturday December 3rd. -6pm-10pm -Garry Oak room, Fairfield Community Centre,1341 Thurlow Road, Victoria.
This will be a pizza party, our regular monthly meeting for December, and a Members Night combined. We’d like at least two or three members to come and show off their skills: astrophotography, research projects, telescope making, crafts….anything astronomy-related that you’d like to share with the group.
Please email me directly if you plan to attend (and if you’re bringing your spouse), and if you’d like to present something as part of Members Night. Also let me know if you have any food allergies and/or special requests for pizza.
*Please note: there will be NO regular monthly meeting at UVic in December. The Pizza Party/Member’s Night will be in its place. We will hold a short business segment as usual as required by our bylaws (around 7:30pm), but this meeting will be primarily a Thank-You get-together for our amazing volunteers.