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: 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

RASC Vancouver Monthly meeting (hybrid): January 12, 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: What’s coming in 2023 and Big Events of 2022

Speaker: Matthew Borghese, NASA Solar System Ambassador

Bio: Matthew Borghese is a communications specialist and former journalist who covered space shuttle launches from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Matthew lives outside of Victoria, British Columbia where he provides STEM outreach and connects students to careers and internships at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). Matthew presents to a variety of audiences from kindergartners to university students on both sides of the border.

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

We have a few 2023 RASC Observer’s Calendars for sale at the meeting. The calendar features astro photos taken by RASC members and includes comprehensive listings of astronomical data. Save on the cost of shipping from RASC National, purchase one at the meeting.

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