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RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting July 11th, 2024

Date:  Thursday, July 11th, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Topic: Project SOS (Starhopping on Steroids). Join our President as he reveals a project that he has been working on for years over thousands of hours.

Speaker: Robert Conrad (President RASC Vancouver)

Location: 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


Bio: Robert Conrad is currently the President, Observing Director and Education Co-director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (@ Vancouver). He has taught two courses at SFU through their continuing education program and offers frequent online courses and workshops on Observational Astronomy. His area of focus is teaching the art and science behind starhopping, a method used to locate celestial objects and how to locate comets and asteroids. Outside of astronomy he is an avid wildlife and mountain photographer as well as a learning and development and educational consultant.

Abstract: During this presentation Robert will walk through the resources that are the result of this project (all guides will be available to all attendees via a link). He will also talk about the types of objects that an observer can view. In addition, he will describe how to use the resources and provide tips and tricks that will greatly enhance your observing or imaging experience.

Meet-up Link: https://www.meetup.com/astronomy-131/events/301615374/

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting June 13th, 2024

Date:  Thursday, June 13th, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Topic: NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft: Unravelling planet-formation and searching for a second Kuiper Belt.

Speaker: Dr. JJ Kavelaars

Location: 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


Bio: Dr. JJ Kavelaars is a Principle Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre, and the Head of the Canadian Astronomy Data Centre. Dr. Kavelaars searches the sky for outer solar system objects and has discovered dozens of satellites of the giant planets and over 1000 minor planets in the distant solar system. He is a co-lead of the Canada-France Ecliptic Plan Survey and the Outer Solar System Origin Survey and co-investigator on NASA’s New Horizons Kuiper Extended Mission. In 2022 Dr. Kavelaars won the Canadian Astronomical Society’s Dunlap Award for Innovation in Astronomical Instrumentation and Software in recognition of his contributions to the development of digital research infrastructure in astronomy, and the NRC Dan Wayner Award for outstanding achievement in Science and Technology in recognition of his contributions to the understanding our outer solar system.

Abstract: The New Horizons spacecraft flew past Pluto and the small Kuiper Belt object Arrokoth. The spacecraft is now nearly 60 astronomical units from the Sun and continuing to explore the outer solar system. Dr. Kavelaars will highlight what we think we have learned about planet formation from this mission, and what we still hope to discover about the very distant solar system.

Meet-up Link: https://www.meetup.com/astronomy-131/events/299223013/

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting May 9th, 2024

Date:  Thursday, May 9th, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Topic: Lucy in the Sky with Trojans: Fossils of the Early Solar System

Speaker: Jennie King, NASA Solar System Ambassador

Location: 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


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 science education through work with elementary school students. As a high school AP Physics and Engineering teacher in 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. In addition to volunteering with NASA, Jennie now works as the Manager of Educator Programs at Science World in Vancouver, a role which allows her to continue sparking scientific curiosity and a love of STEAM learning.

Abstract: NASA’s Lucy mission, launched in October 2021, is the first space mission dedicated to studying Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. These ancient bodies are trapped in two “swarms”, one orbiting behind and the other ahead of the planet Jupiter. Over the course of its twelve-year mission, Lucy aims to explore an unprecedented number of asteroids in order to uncover clues about the early solar system. Just as the early hominin fossil of the same name led to deeper understanding of humanity’s origins, the Lucy mission aims to shed light on planetary evolution. Join NASA Solar System Ambassador and self-proclaimed space rock enthusiast Jennie “Starstuff” King as we explore the science of Lucy’s journey to these fascinating fossils of the early solar system.

Meet-up Link: https://www.meetup.com/astronomy-131/events/299407477/

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting April 11, 2024

Date:  Thursday, April 11, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Topic: A Planet Hunter’s Guide to the Galaxy

Speaker: Dr. Michelle Kunimoto

Location: 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


Bio: Michelle Kunimoto is a postdoctoral fellow at MIT and is an expert on discovering and characterizing strange new worlds outside of the Solar System. She aims to understand the demographics and diversity of exoplanets, especially in the context of the search for potentially habitable Earth-like worlds. Across all of her planet-hunting endeavours, Dr. Kunimoto has found over 3000 planets and planet candidates. She received her PhD in Astronomy from UBC Vancouver in 2020, and will be joining the university as a faculty member later this year.

Abstract: Discoveries of planets outside of the Solar System (“exoplanets”) have exploded over the last couple decades, and exoplanet science is one of the fastest growing fields of astronomy today. In this talk, I will cover how we find exoplanets, how we identify those that are potentially habitable, and how anyone can take part in the hunt – even you, from the comfort of your own home!​

Can’t attend in person?
Zoom Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/81087386674?pwd=T0hYc3I0eG5PQ3d4WG82dk5zT3JRdz09

Learn more here: https://www.meetup.com/astronomy-131/events/299407455/

RASC Vancouver Monthly Meeting March 14, 2024

Date:  Thursday, March 14, 2024 at 7:30 PM

Topic: “Show and Telescope” Explanations, Setup, and Demonstrations of the most popular amateur telescope types.

Location: 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
This is an in-person event this month that is not well suited for online.


Our new President (observing and starhopping guru) will start off with a 30 minute lecture on the “Must know” when it comes to observing with telescopes, regardless of the type. This will be followed by a demonstration of various types of telescopes and mounts.

Presenters are experienced amateur astronomers with an impressive number of years of astronomy amongst us. One of us is a lifetime RASC member and he will be demonstrating a very fine instrument from his early astronomy days that he still uses and often brings to SFU for Starry Nights.

Telescope types will include, short fast telescopes, long focal length telescopes, refractors, reflectors, compound types, Newtonians. You will see Equatorial Mounts, Altitude/Azimuth mounts, Dobsonians, homemade telescopes and computer mounts. Discussion will include advantages and tradeoffs of the different types.

After the telescope presentations, attendees are invited to the stage to view the scopes and speak to each of the presenters about their telescope. You will see set up and collimation explained. It is an opportunity to ask questions and learn about what might be the right next telescope for you. We plan to have some fun comparing and discussing with each other different telescope mount and optic types.

Looking forward to seeing you on Thursday March 14th. That night the 23% illuminated moon will be right next to the Pleiades which will make for a beautiful backdrop for the evening!

More Information: https://www.meetup.com/astronomy-131/events/298520124/

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