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RASC Vancouver Monthly meeting (hybrid): October edition

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

Location: Room AQ 3159

Topic: Planetary Defense, or “How to Avoid Impacts and Influence Orbits”

Speaker: Jennie King

Bio:
Jennie “Starstuff” King is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s astronomy program. While studying astronomy and physics, she discovered her deep love of STEM education and outreach through work with the Dark Skies, Bright Kids organization. As a high school AP Physics and Engineering teacher in Denver, Colorado, she brought her love of space exploration to the classroom. Jennie became a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador in order to encourage others to explore the wonders of the cosmos with their hearts, minds and imaginations. She has hosted livestream watch parties for NASA milestones such as the Perseverance Rover landing, developed school-aged astrophysics curricula, and led interactive astronomy events for all ages. As a new Vancouver area resident, Jennie looks forward to connecting with the astronomy and STEM education communities of BC and beyond.

Abstract:
On September 26, 2022, a quiet binary asteroid system had a very interesting day. Didymos, the larger asteroid of the system, watched as a spacecraft deliberately slammed into its smaller moonlet, Dimorphos. Meanwhile, telescopes on Earth directed their gaze toward this event in order to witness the aftermath of the collision and to collect valuable data. This dramatic encounter, known as the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test), was humanity’s first test of the kinetic impactor method for asteroid deflection. Because the Didymos-Dimorphos system poses no danger to Earth, it provided a welcome opportunity to demonstrate technology that could one day save lives in the event of a real threat. This talk will address the following questions:

– What exactly were the goals of this cosmic crash test, and what have we learned from the results?
– Why do organizations like NASA invest time and resources in planetary defense?
– What comes next in humanity’s efforts to protect our home world from impacts?

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 (hybrid): September edition

Join us in-person at SFU for our Monthly Meeting with an on-line backup option available.

Topic: A Changing Night Sky – When the satellites come flying in.

Speaker: Patrick Seitzer, Research Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan Astronomy Department

Bio: Patrick Seitzer is a Research Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan Astronomy Department in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He conducts research in Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and optical studies of orbital debris. Using U-M’s 0.6-meter Curtis-Schmidt telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile, he and his collaborators conduct optical surveys to determine the total amount of debris at geosynchronous orbit (GEO) then follow up with spectroscopy with the 6.5-m Magellan telescopes to characterize particular objects. Magellan is also used to do deep pencil-beam surveys for faint orbital debris in the GEO regime. Recently he has concentrated on the challenge of large numbers of new bright satellites and how they will change the appearance of the night sky, and affect astronomical observations. He served on the NASA delegation to the Inter-Agency Debris Coordinating Committee (IADC), and currently is on the American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) Committee on Light Pollution, Radio Interference, and Space Debris.

Abstract: Artificial satellites in Earth orbit have been leaving streaks in astronomical images since 1957 and the launch of Sputnik 1. The problem took on a much larger challenge in May, 2019, when SpaceX launched the first Starlinks into low Earth orbit (LEO). These satellites were bright enough that they could be seen in twilight, and from the center of light polluted cities. Astronomers immediately wondered: with the proposed launch of several hundred thousand satellites into LEO in the next decade, was the night sky lost? I’ll review what determines when and how bright a satellite will appear, and the steps SpaceX has taken to make the Star links fainter. In addition, I’ll outline what amateur astronomers can do to measure the brightness of satellites, and when and where to observe so that your observations are least affected by satellites.

SFU’s COVID in-person protocols apply, that being maintaining distance from others and wearing of masks are encouraged.

If you can’t join us in person, join via the zoom link available to our Meetup members when you RSVP. RASC Vancouver Members will be sent the online link in our usual monthly meeting email invitation.

All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Hybrid In person at Simon Fraser University and via Zoom. Details available in meet up.

Date and Time: September 08, 2022, 7:30PM

RASC Vancouver Monthly meeting (hybrid): July edition

Join us in-person at SFU for our Monthly Meeting with an on-line backup option available.

We are fortunate to have two researchers from Canada’s National Research Council, Hertzberg Institute of Astrophysics for this month’s meeting. Dr. Wesley Fraser and Dr. Madeline Marshal will speak to us on the first images from Webb only two days after data is received. Canada made significant contributions to the telescope instrumentation. Learn about Canada’s contribution and the fascinating research these two will describe. 

SFU’s COVID in-person protocols apply, that being maintaining distance from others and wearing of masks are encouraged.

If you can’t join us in person, join via the zoom link available to our Meetup members when you RSVP. RASC Vancouver Members will be sent the online link in our usual monthly meeting email invitation.

All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Hybrid In person at Simon Fraser University AQ3159 and via Zoom

Date and Time: July 14, 2022, 7:30PM

Link to SFU Room finder: https://roomfinder.sfu.ca/apps/sfuroomfinder_web/?q=AQ3159

Link to more information on our Meetup: https://www.meetup.com/astronomy-131/events/286493282/

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting (Hybrid event): June edition

Join us for our first In-Person monthly meeting in two years at SFU Burnaby!
SFU’s COVID protocols apply, that being maintaining distance from others and wearing of masks are encouraged.
If you can’t join us in person, join via the zoom link available to meetup members when you RSVP.
All of our monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Location: Hybrid: In person at Simon Fraser University AQ3159 and via Zoom
Link to SFU Room finder: https://roomfinder.sfu.ca/apps/sfuroomfinder_web/?q=AQ3159

Topic: A View of the Universe – The Trottier Observatory and Galaxy Formation

Speaker: Dr. Joanna Woo – Astrophysicist, Department of Physics, Simon Fraser University


Website: https://www.sfu.ca/physics/people/faculty/jwa304.html

Bio: I am an astrophysicist with a focus on galaxy evolution using a variety of cutting-edge observational and theoretical tools. While studying for a B.Sc. in Physics and Astronomy from UBC, I established and became the president of the UBC Astronomy Club which is still active to this day. I also held a part time job at the H. R. MacMillan Space Centre. Being the adventurous type, I decided to pursue graduate studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, receiving my Ph.D. in 2014. I then moved to beautiful Switzerland to take up a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Astronomy of ETH Zurich before returning to Canada for postdoctoral position at UVic. Since mid-2019 I have been a lecturer at the Department of Physics at SFU and the director of the Trottier Observatory.

Abstract: From the Trottier Observatory to the galaxies far far away, this talk will cover the multiple facets of astronomy outreach and galaxy evolution research at Simon Fraser University. Since its humble beginnings at the turn of the new millennium, the Trottier Observatory has educated and inspired thousands, from young children in the community to advanced undergraduates and beyond. Aside from outreach, we are actively involved in study of galaxies and their evolution. I will give a brief overview of our work on understanding the processes by which galaxies mysteriously stop forming stars.

Hoping to see everyone in our first in person event of the year.

International Astronomy Day & Science Rendezvous 2022 (Virtual)

RASC Vancouver will be celebrating International Astronomy Day in conjunction (as we do annually) with Simon Fraser University’s Science Rendezvous.

RASC Vancouver will be hosting five astronomy-themed presentations and SFU’s Science Rendezvous event line-up includes student spaceflight experiments that are going up to ISS, astronomy presentations, a magic chemistry show, a special Meet an SFU Scientist talk with an Astro statistician and live streamed, front-row, remote access to SFU’s on-campus telescope.

Registration in advance is required at Eventbrite to receive the Zoom links. Registration is free. The Zoom links will be emailed out to registrants a week prior.

Events for RASC International Astronomy Day can be found at this link:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/international-astronomy-day-with-sfu-and-rasc-vancouver-tickets-307191476977

Events for SFU’s Science Rendezvous can be found at this link:
https://www.sfu.ca/science/community/science-rendezvous-2022.html

Highlights include:

RASC Vancouver:
11:00 am: The One Meter Solar System-all youth welcome!: Suzanna Nagy- RASC Vancouver Secretary and Past-President

12:00 pm: The Life Cycle of a Star: Renuka Pampana- RASC Vancouver Webmaster

1:00 pm: An Introduction to Astrophotography: Rob Lyons, professional filmmaker, photographer and founder of Super Creative

2:00 pm: How Can We Do More LPA: Leigh Cummings–Light Pollution Abatement (LPA) Chair RASC Vancouver

3:00 pm: Stellarium-How to use Stellarium-a free open source planetarium for your computer: Robert Conrad -Vice President and Observing Chair RASC Vancouver

RASC Vancouver Monthly meeting: April edition

Join us for our monthly meeting on Thursday, April 14,2022

Time : 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM PDT

Location: Zoom

Topic: Astrophotography – Getting Started with Deep Sky Imaging

Speaker: Rouzbeh Bidshahri (Rouz)

Bio: Long time amateur astronomer interested in high resolution imaging of deep sky objects and planets. Consulting and setting up telescope systems with training.

Abstract/Summary: Brief look at different types of astrophotography with focus on deep sky imaging from short to long focal lengths.

More details on the speaker :

Rouz                                                             .

Telescope Systems Design & Installation

Email:     [email protected]

Gallery: https://www.astrobin.com/users/Rouzbeh/

Articles: https://astrogeartoday.com/author/rouzastro/

Social:    https://www.instagram.com/rouz_astro/

https://www.facebook.com/RouzAstro

Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture: Sophia Gad-Nasr : Creating Black Holes with Dark Matter at Cosmic Dawn

We are thrilled to announce that the speaker for our annual Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture is: Sophia Gad-Nasr
Science Advisor and Dark Matter Hunter
PhD student in Cosmology at University of California, Irvine

Join us on Saturday, March 12 at 7:30 pm for our annual Paul Sykes Memorial Lecture (held virtually).  Our YouTube channel will live stream the lecture. 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ9gX3n2zRNIiJq0v7kwvfg

Abstract in her own words: At the heart of every large galaxy lies a black hole millions to billions of times the mass of the sun. These supermassive black holes are found too early in the Universe’s history to be explained by conventional mechanisms: their formation remains a mystery.

The answer may lie in yet another of the Universe’s mysteries: dark matter. A substance six times as abundant as normal matter, dark matter is everywhere and holds galaxies together. If dark matter particles scatter off of one another, then the interplay between gravity and these scatterings may lead to a catastrophic collapse, leaving behind a black hole in its wake.

Join me on a tour of the dark Universe during the earliest stages of its evolution. I will discuss the puzzle of the existence of supermassive black holes at cosmic dawn, and how dark matter may resolve this mystery. With space telescopes like the James Webb, we can peer back far enough to see if dark matter in galaxies does collapse and form black holes at cosmic dawn, and potentially unravel this longstanding mystery in cosmology.

Paul sky memorial lecture background : These annual memorial lectures honor Paul Sykes. Paul actively pursued his interest in astronomy, attending conferences and joining RASC, where he became a Life Member. Paul Sykes passed away in October 2005 at the age of 87 and left the Vancouver Centre a generous gift.

Paul Sykes was born in Hummelston, Pennsylvania USA in 1918. He acquired his interest in astronomy at an early age. During his teens he published his own monthly astronomical column and gave at least one lecture.

He was an officer in the United States Air Force, served in the Pacific during WWII attaining the rank of Captain. He was awarded a Presidential Unit Citation, the U.S. Air Medal, the Oak Leaf and Cluster and the Bronze Star. Following the war he attended UBC earning a degree in Physics in 1948. He rejoined the United States Air Force and attended the Oak Ridge School of Reactor Technology, studying nuclear physics. He worked on the NERVA Project, a nuclear rocket development effort and rose to the rank of Major.

Paul was appointed a lecturer and administrator in Physics at UBC and remained there until retirement in 1983.

RASC Vancouver at 90!

In 1917, the Canadian Government opened the Dominion Observatory at Saanich, near Victoria. Local amateur astronomers formed a new centre of the RASC which included a few members from Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.

As membership grew, despite the distance to Victoria and the onset of the Great Depression, by 1930 the astronomers (which by then included a few professional astronomers from UBC) had decided there were sufficient numbers to form a centre in Vancouver. By fall of 1931, the details had been finalized to create a new Centre of the RASC.

On the 2nd Tuesday of November in 1931, the first meeting of the Vancouver Centre was held at UBC in the now long-gone original Astronomy building. The Centre would meet there (and later in the new Astronomy and Geophysics building) until 1969. The Centre then moved to the H. R. MacMillan Planetarium and stayed there until 2011. The Centre moved around temporarily to various locations such as bcit and Douglas College (now Kwantlen University) and SFU, and a few years later decided to make the move permanently to SFU.

From the beginning, public outreach has been a big part of Vancouver Centre’s mandate. The monthly meetings have always been open to the public, and star parties were frequently held. Originally these would be held on various members’ properties. However, by the beginning of the 1950s, the number of people grew too large to be held on private property in the Lower Mainland. Thus, our star parties were moved to various public spaces where access to the sky could be had and that the public could reach. (The author encountered the RASC Vancouver Centre at the Brockton Oval Track in Stanley Park in 1977.)

Additionally, visits would be arranged for members to go to various scientific institutions and facilities that would allow visitors. Members have trekked to Vancouver Island to visit the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, to UBC to visit their telescopes and later to visit the Tri-University Meson Facility (TRIUMF). And now we have access to the Trottier Observatory at SFU as well.

So it has been an interesting 90 years so far with comets, planetary conjunctions, eclipses and other interesting things in the sky to bring us together and look at. And in 10 years (in 2031) we will celebrate 100 years of the Vancouver Centre, so make your plans now to be here to help us celebrate that happy date.

– by William Fearon

Remembering Ken Jackson

Being the President means that, in addition to many other duties, one sometimes has sad news to report. This is one of those times.

On June 21, we lost our webmaster, Ken Jackson, to complications from a bone marrow transplant he received years earlier to treat leukemia. Ken never told us about his condition, but some of us had suspected he wasn’t well. We had no idea it was as serious as it was so his passing came as a shock to all of us.

Ken, a member of Vancouver Centre since 2012, first joined council back in April of 2016. As a software developer, his skills were essential to getting our web presence into proper shape and making our council emails function more effectively, improving both reliability and security as our one-man IT department. When we were forced to go virtual last year due to covid, Ken’s skills proved invaluable, not only getting our lectures online, but enabling us to quickly pivot the GA that Vancouver Centre was hosting from an in-person to an online event. His torch has now been passed to the capable hands of his two assistants, Karimbir Singh and Renuka Pampana, who will keep things running smoothly into the future.

Ken also loved public outreach and was a constant presence at our many events, engaging with the public and sharing his love of astronomy, often with his partner Sumo at his side. He also volunteered at sfu’s Starry Nights public astronomy events on Friday nights, where Howard Trottier described him as a “kind and gentle presence.”

Ken was a loving father to three daughters. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations to Plan Canada’s “Because I am a Girl” programme (https://plancanada.ca/because-i-am-a-girl). The Vancouver Centre has made such a donation in Ken’s honour.

Clear Skies, Ken.

Astronomy Day & Science Rendezvous 2021 (Virtual)

RASC Vancouver will be celebrating International Astronomy Day in conjunction (as we do annually) with Simon Fraser University’s Science Rendezvous. Due to COVID19, the event this year will be virtual.

RASC Vancouver will be hosting four astronomy-themed presentations and SFU’s Faculty of Science will be hosting a variety of science presentations as well as an afternoon forum of professors on astronomy-themed topics.

Registration in advance is required at EventBrite to receive the Zoom links. Registration is free. The Zoom links will be emailed out to registrants a week prior.

Events for RASC International Astronomy Day can be found at this link:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/international-astronomy-day-livestream-events-with-rasc-and-sfu-tickets-149786835457

Events for SFU’s Science Rendezvous can be found at this link:
https://www.sfu.ca/science/community/science-rendezvous-2021.html

Highlights include:

RASC Vancouver:
11:00 am: NASA’s Voyager Missions: Matthew R. Borghese, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Solar System Ambassador
11:45 am: Solar Observing (weather permitting): Gordon Farrell, President of RASC Vancouver Centre
1:00 pm: The Moon 101: Ted Stroman, Member of RASC Vancouver Centre
2:00 pm: The Jim Bernath Meteorite Collection: Suzanna Nagy, Secretary of RASC Vancouver Centre

SFU Faculty of Science:
11 am to 3 pm:

  • Chemistry in the Kitchen: experience the magic of chemical reactions right in your own kitchen
  • Get Inspidered: learn about spiders, get creative and build your own creature
  • Digestive System: see what happens inside your stomach and intestines, simulate your own digestive process
  • Robotic Forearm: see all the muscles, tissues and nerves up close and learn how to construct your very own robotic forearm
  • Anatomy Bone Word Search: get familiar with what your bones are called, and get busy in a word search
  • Indulge in Physics: from forces and motion, to electricity and magnetism, matter and optics

3:30 pm: Learn more about aerospace physiology, astrostatistics, and dying galaxies from SFU Scientists:

  • Dr. Andrew Blaber, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology – aerospace physiology
  • Dr. David Stenning, Statistics – astrostatistics, exoplanets
  • Dr. Joanna Woo, Physics/Trottier Observatory – astronomy: mysterious death of galaxies