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RASC Vancouver Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture – February 9, 2024

Join us on Friday, February 9th at 7:30 pm for our annual Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture! 

FREE Event tickets can be found here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/paul-sykes-lecture-dr-tanya-harrison-geologist-planetary-scientist-tickets-798196756987

Location: Simon Fraser University, Burnaby Mountain Campus: AQ3181Click to locate on SFU Room Finder
Topic: What’s Up on Mars?
Speaker: Dr. Tanya Harrison

Bio: Dr. Tanya Harrison is the Co-Founder and CEO of the Earth and Planetary Institute of Canada (EPIC). She has worked as a scientist and mission operations specialist on multiple NASA missions to Mars, including the Opportunity, Curiosity, and Perseverance rovers, and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and is now the Principal Investigator for one of the camera systems on the Canadian Space Agency’s upcoming lunar rover mission. Bridging worlds, as well as sectors in the space ecosystem, Tanya was previously the Director of Strategic Science Initiatives at Planet, and the Director of Research for Arizona State University’s NewSpace Initiative. In addition to her role at EPIC, she is currently a Fellow of the University of British Columbia’s Outer Space Institute. Tanya holds a Ph.D. in Geology with a Specialization in Planetary Science and Exploration from the University of Western Ontario, a Masters in Earth and Environmental Sciences from Wesleyan University, and a B.Sc. in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Washington. Her honours include two NASA Group Achievement Awards, the Amelia Earhart Fellowship for women in aerospace and the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious doctoral award. She currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario, where she can usually be found with a camera and NASA stickers in hand. You can find her prolifically posting about all things Mars on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube as @tanyaofmars.

Abstract: Professional Martian Dr. Tanya Harrison will delve into the latest updates from the current suite of missions at the Red Planet, examining both the triumphs and challenges faced in recent exploration. How are the results of those missions feeding into future mission planning—including for humans to set foot on Mars? We will explore the technological advancements, logistical considerations, and strategic planning necessary for such a monumental endeavor, including the potential timelines and milestones.

About our Events: All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting January 11, 2024

Date:  January 11, 2024

Topic: Recap of 2023 and what events and space missions coming up in 2024. 

Speaker:  Matthew Borghese, NASA Ambassador. 

Time:  7:30pm
Place: AQ3159 in the Quad at SFU Burnaby Mountain Campus
           Here is a link to the SFU room finder:  
https://roomfinder.sfu.ca/apps/sfuroomfinder_web/?q=AQ3159
Zoom:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81087386674?pwd=T0hYc3I0eG5PQ3d4WG82dk5zT3JRdz09

For reference, this lecture room is directly down the stairs that lead into the Quad from the Trottier Observatory. 

Further details for the presentation can be found on our website  www.rasc-vancouver.com

We look forward to seeing everyone there, and Happy New Year!

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting December 14th 2023

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Simon Fraser University Burnaby Room AQ3159

Time: 8:15pm Late start due to Members only AGM at 7:30pm

Topic: The ORCASat CubeSat satellite mission, and its goals for astronomical photometric calibration

Sign up online at https://www.meetup.com/astronomy-131/events/297469433/

Speaker: Justin Albert

Bio: Dr. Albert (https://particle.phys.uvic.ca/~jalbert/) is a professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at UVic. He’s the co-PI and science lead for the ORCASat CubeSat satellite mission (which orbited the Earth 2990 times earlier this year).

Abstract:
ORCASat was a very small (20 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm) “CubeSat” satellite, funded by the Canadian Space Agency, designed and constructed here in BC, launched up to the International Space Station (ISS) on Nov. 26 last year (2022), and deployed out of the ISS into its own low-Earth orbit a month later on Dec. 29. It then orbited the Earth approximately 15 times per day until July 7 of this year, when it re-entered our upper atmosphere and burned up (as is the ultimate fate of all CubeSats). ORCASat contained two light sources, one red (660 nm) and one in the near-infrared (840 nm). The amount of light emitted by each light source was continuously monitored by precisely-calibrated photodiodes also onboard ORCASat, in order for ORCASat to provide a light source for large (4m and above) ground-based telescopes (e.g. the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on Mauna Kea, and the Blanco Telescope in Chile), to precisely calibrate the measured magnitudes of stars and supernovae using such telescopes. I’ll discuss what we learned from ORCASat, and how that could be applied to potential future missions of this type (very-low-cost CubeSat satellites), and also to future missions of a similar but different type (very-low-cost, hand-launched small propelled stratospheric balloons).

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting November 9th 2023

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Simon Fraser University Burnaby Room AQ3159

Topic: Black Holes, Dark Matter, and Vacuum Energy

Speaker: Dr. Robin Catchpole

Bio: Robin Michael Catchpole works as an astronomer at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, having retired as Senior Astronomer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in July 2004.

He joined the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) from Bryanston School in 1962. After obtaining a BSc at University College London, he was posted to the Royal Observatory at the Cape of Good Hope, S. Africa (now known as the South African Astronomical Observatory) and spent the next 24 years, working first at the Radcliffe Observatory in Pretoria and then at the SAAO in Cape Town.

He obtained his doctorate at the University of Cape Town on The Properties of the SC Stars and the Chemical Composition of UY Cen, under the supervision of Prof. Brian Warner. In 1991 he returned to the RGO in Cambridge, until it closed in 1998, when he moved to Greenwich as Senior Astronomer.

He has authored and co-authored over 120 research papers and articles and used a number of telescopes around the world including the Hubble Space Telescope. Research interests include the composition of stars, exploding stars, the structure of our Galaxy and galaxies with black holes at their centres. His current research interest is in the structure of the Bulge of our Milky Way Galaxy, as shown by Mira variables.

In 1981 Robin married the sculptor, the late Gill Wiles (1940 – 2014). He currently lives just outside Cambridge, UK.

Abstract: Gravity is the weakest force and yet it can concentrate matter into a small enough volume from which even light can not escape, creating a black-hole. On the scale of our solar system everything is dominated by normal (baryonic) matter, but on the largest scale our universe is dominated by dark matter and vacuum energy, about which we know almost nothing, except their effect through gravity. How does this all work together? How can these apparent opposites co-exist?

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting October 12 2023

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Online Only. Zoom Meeting details can be found on Meetup

Topic: Deep Sky Astrophotography in the City

Speaker: Max Rakhimov, Night Sky Camera

Bio: Max studied microelectronics and physics, and this background has lent itself perfectly to one of his passions: astrophotography. His expertise has been invaluable in building specialized parts for cameras, as well as custom sensors – the eyes of a camera – sensitive enough to capture faint objects despite city light pollution.

Max has been interested in astrophotography since he was a teenager, and that interest has blossomed into a full-on career creating purpose-built telescopes.

Astrophotography from a city with heavy light pollution presents unique challenges. Max’s technical background and experience lead him to explore advanced image processing techniques, like image stacking and noise reduction, to mitigate the effects of light pollution and capture stunning images of celestial objects despite the challenging conditions.

Max’s combination of education, passion, and hands-on experience has allowed him to explore pushing the boundaries of astrophotography – even in less-than-ideal urban settings.

Abstract: Astrophotography from urban environments is a remarkable and challenging niche within the world of astronomy and photography. This endeavour involves capturing awe-inspiring celestial objects like galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters while dealing with the ever-present glow of city lights.

In this space, we delve into the fascinating realm of astrophotography from the city, where special techniques, filters, and modified cameras play pivotal roles in achieving breathtaking results.

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting Sept 14 2023

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Simon Fraser University Burnaby Room AQ3159

Topic: Gas Angular Momentum and Galaxy Quenching in the IllustrisTNG Simulation

Speaker: Marcus Cowan

Bio: I’m an undergraduate mathematical physics student at Simon Fraser University. This summer I’ve been working as a research assistant with Dr. Joanna Woo to study the evolution of galaxies in the IllustrisTNG cosmological simulation. My passion for astronomy has grown through my work, and I am excited to continue my career in the field going forward.

Abstract: The shape of a galaxy is related to galaxy quenching, which is when a galaxy shuts down its star-formation. In IllustrisTNG, a simulation of the universe that spans from the Big-Bang to modern day, the angular momentum of gas falling towards a galaxy is strongly related to the future shape of the galaxy. In other words, whether gas is spinning around a galaxy or not as it approaches plays a key role in that galaxy’s evolution. By studying the relationship between a galaxy’s location in the cosmic web and the angular momentum of its infalling gas, and how that angular momentum affects the galaxy, we can better understand galaxy evolution and quenching.

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting July 13 2023

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Simon Fraser University Burnaby Room AQ3159

Topic: Outreach… WAY Outside Your Centre

Speaker: Charles Ennis

Bio: Charles is an experienced public speaker and published author, with 20 books in print and three more in progress, including a Small Observatories Handbook for the RASC. Charles joined the Sunshine Coast Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada in August 2013 and quickly got involved in helping to build that centre’s small observatory, which opened to the public in June 2015. Within months of joining the SCC RASC, Charles also became their Media Director. In December 2014 he became President of that Centre. He currently serves on the RASC’s national Communications Committee, Publications Committee, and is the Public Speaker Program Administrator for the RASC. Charles taught part of the Beginning Astronomy Course at Elder College at Capilano University.

Abstract: Most members think of the RASC as an organization which serves Canadians, but we have members outside of Canada and partnerships with astronomers all over the world. For example, our Sunshine Coast Centre has set up new astronomers in Uganda, has supported astro-tourism projects in the Pitcairn Islands, and is helping people in Egypt to set up a Centre. Past President Charles Ennis introduces you to the kinds of astronomy partnerships your Centre can get involved in.

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events

RASC Vancouver Monthly meeting: May 11, 2023

We are thrilled to announce that our May meeting will be a very special event.

Dr. Shawna Pandya, Canadian Space Agency astronaut candidate, will be presenting to us on Thursday, May 11 at 7:30 pm. SFU has kindly offered us the 420 seat Diamond Family Theatre in which to hold the event and we are grateful.

Bio: Dr. Shawna Pandya is a physician, aquanaut, scientist-astronaut candidate with the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS), skydiver, pilot-in-training, VP Immersive Medicine with Luxsonic Technologies, Medical advisor at Orbital Assembly Corporation and Fellow of the Explorers Club. She is Director of IIAS’ Space Medicine Group, Chief Instructor for IIAS’ Operational Space Medicine course, a host with the World Extreme Medicine’s podcast series, Primary Investigator for the Shad Canada-Blue Origin student microgravity competition, member of the AIAA ASCEND Guiding Coalition, Life Sciences Team Lead for the Association of Spaceflight Professionals, and sessional lecturer for “Technology and the Future of Medicine,” at the University of Alberta.

Topic:  Space Medicine on the Moon, Mars, and Beyond

Presentation Abstract: Microgravity. Radiation. Isolation. Let’s face it – space is trying to kill us. So what does it really take to send people to the LEO, the Moon, Mars and beyond, and more importantly, how do we go from surviving…to thriving? In this engaging and informative talk, Dr. Shawna Pandya talks about the medical and health challenges we face as we send humans to increasingly distant and ambitious locales in space, the technologies that will get us there, and the less-often discussed aspects of human spaceflight – like how not to get voted off the Habitat, the challenges of reproduction in spaceflight, and what we are learning from emerging research on the International Space Station. Dr. Pandya ends by discussing future-looking concepts in space medicine, such as building permanent medical capabilities off-Earth, the science fiction technologies that will need to become reality in order to get us there…and the plan for a MedEvac from Mars (hint: it needs some work).

Registration is required via EventBrite.  Admission is free.  RASC members are encouraged to bring family and friends.  Here is the link to EventBrite:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monthly-lecture-series-dr-shawna-pandya-scientist-astronaut-candidate-tickets-615383958987

Here is a link to the SFU room finder:  
https://roomfinder.sfu.ca/apps/sfuroomfinder_web/?q=diamond%20theatre

Closest parking will be under the Convocation Mall. SFU parking fees apply.

We look forward to seeing everyone there.

RASC Vancouver Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture (In person at SFU and online by zoom)

Join us for our monthly meeting. All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Simon Fraser University Burnaby Room AQ3159

Topic: The archaeology of another world: uncovering our lunar cultural heritage

Speaker: Dr. Alice Gorman

Bio: Dr. Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology and author of the award-winning book Dr. Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future (MIT Press, 2019). Her research focuses on the archaeology and heritage of space exploration, including space junk, planetary landing sites, off-earth mining, and space habitats. In 2022, she co-directed (with Justin Walsh) an archaeological survey on the International Space Station, which was the first archaeological fieldwork ever to take place outside Earth. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and a heritage consultant with over 25 years’ experience working with Indigenous communities in Australia. Gorman is also a Vice-Chair of the Global Expert Group on Sustainable Lunar Activities, a member of the Advisory Council of the Space Industry Association of Australia, and Vice-Chair of the Adelaide Section of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. Asteroid 551014 Gorman was named after her in recognition of her work in space archaeology.

Abstract: How would we feel if an industrial machine blew away the first footprints of human beings on another world? If lunar visitors scratched their names into the Apollo 11 landing module and stole the plaque commemorating this achievement on behalf of all humanity?

The Moon is not only the inspiration for mythology, literature, art, and science on Earth. It is the gateway to human exploration in the rest of the Solar System, with resources such as water ice that can be used to fuel rockets to Mars. The major spacefaring nations are proposing to send people back to the Moon, 54 years after the Apollo 11 mission, and this time they plan to stay.

However, the Moon is also the location of significant cultural heritage with over 100 archaeological sites that show how technology and human behaviour adapted to a new planetary environment. Soon, the lunar cultural heritage record will be under threat from human activities for the first time. What’s going to happen to the extraordinary places and objects left on the Moon, since the first human object, the Soviet Luna 2 space probe, crashed in 1959? In this lecture, space archaeologist Alice Gorman takes us on a journey to find out.

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA some day, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events

RASC Vancouver Monthly meeting (Online only): February 9, 2023

Urban Astrophotography – How to overcome extreme light pollution featuring comet C/2022 E3 ZTF

In this talk we will focus on some practical techniques, equipment, and post processing tips to help overcome light pollution when doing astrophotography from Vancouver. We’ll look at lot’s of pretty pictures and feature the recent comet C/2022 E3 (ZTF) as a case study.

Speaker:  Rob Lyons – RASC Vancouver Council Member and Imaging Chair, President/Executive Producer for Super Creative

Time:  7:30 pm
Place: Zoom:  https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81087386674?pwd=T0hYc3I0eG5PQ3d4WG82dk5zT3JRdz09

About our Events:

All RASC lectures and observing events are open to the public, family friendly, and there is no charge for admission. Our organization is run entirely by volunteers who love astronomy and astrophysics. Whether you’re a complete beginner, a seasoned astronomer, or you hope to work for NASA someday, anyone fascinated by space exploration is welcome and will enjoy our events