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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

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