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:  

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:  

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:  

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:  
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