2015 International Astronomy Day @ SFU

8,000 – that is how many people SFU estimates attended the joint International Astronomy Day and Science Rendezvous festivities on Saturday, May 9. If you were there, then you know what a great success it was.

RASC’s contribution to the day included 19 tables of activities and displays. The Moon Phases with Oreo Cookies was so successful that I had to make a run to the nearest grocery store to buy more Oreos. One of our craft tables ran out of paper by the end of the event. The Solar System Toss to Pluto was a huge hit and Astronomy Bingo was enjoyed by both children and adults alike.

We hosted seven short lectures that were well attended with a good variety of topics, including “New Horizons and our First Visit to Pluto” by Scott McGillvray, “Are We Alone? The Search for Extra Terrestrial Life” by Stanley Greenspoon, “The Global Space Community” by Ken Lui, and Ed Hanlon’s Northern Lights slideshow to name just a few.

The weather was spectacular (the first time in 3 years we did not have rain on Astronomy Day) and RASC took full advantage with three solar telescopes set up beside the new Trottier Observatory for solar viewing.

A big thank you goes out to Vancouver Telescope and Pacific Telescope who donated an 8 inch Dobsonian as a door prize. The winner was the Chan family with children Carina and Colton from Burnaby, BC.

Canadian Telescope also donated solar viewing glasses, umbrellas, and binoculars which were given away throughout the day.

I can never thank our volunteers enough for all of their efforts. 40 RASC volunteers gave up their Saturday, many of whom were there all day — some arriving as early as 9:00 am to start setting up and stayed until 6:00 pm for take-down. I wish to acknowledge their efforts by naming each here:

Staff at Vancouver Telescope
Staff at Canadian Telescopes
UBC Astronomy Club and Ronan Kerr
Planetary Society and Ken Lui/ Catherine Lui
Karl Miller, Gordon Farrell, Doug Montgomery and their solar telescopes
Howard Trottier for opening up the Trottier Observatory for tours
Ted Stroman for his Moon and Apollo Mission display
Jim Bernath and his hands-on science displays
Adrian Mitescu, Phil Lobo, Pomponia Martinez and Bob Parry for helping Jim Bernath at his six display tables
Mark Eburne and his Light Pollution display
Stanley Greenspoon and Sarang Brahme at Craft Table #1
Benjamin Joseph and his son Mark as well as Jennifer Kirkey at Craft Table #2
Judy Zhou, Anca Datcu-Romano and Irena Datcu-Romano at the Moon Phases/Oreo Cookie activity
Scott McGillvray at Astronomy Bingo
Eimi Anazawi and Samer Aabedi at the Solar System Toss
Alan Jones who coordinated all seven lectures
As well as Muguette McDonald, James Smith, Kyle Daly, William Fearon, Ron Jerome, Michael Levy, Terry McComas, Jeremy Van Den Driesen and Leigh Cummings.

I don’t think that I missed anyone but in the event I did, please accept my heartfelt thanks.

And finally, a very special thank you to Simon Fraser University and its amazing staff for allowing rasc Vancouver to hold International Astronomy Day in the Academic Quadrangle and all fees waived. A special relationship has developed between RASC Vancouver and SFU and with the opening of the Trottier Observatory, we are looking forward to many more years of astronomy-related activities at SFU. From my lips to God’s ears— here’s hoping for many clear-weather night skies.