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Guest Speaker: Paul Gray – 25 years of Supernovae

We kick-off the New Year with a super-interesting presentation by our Guest Speaker: 

Paul Gray: “25 years of Supernovae”

When: 7 pm to 9 pm on Saturday, January 12th, 2019
Where: Room A2402, Yukon College

About our Guest Speaker, Paul Gray and his history about supernovae

Supernovae mark the death of a star in one of the largest explosions in the universe, some resulting in the creation of black holes. They also create many of the heavy elements that earth and life as we know it is made from.  For most of the 20th century supernovae were found by professional astronomers in the course of other research. By the 1980’s equipment and technology improved to allow amateurs to seriously pursue supernovae and contribute to research by alerting the professionals quickly of new events.

There is much to learn from supernovae and until recently amateurs played a major role in the discovery of new supernovae.

Team Supernova Nova Scotia has had a front row seat to the changes both in discovery and science being done over the past 25 years. In this talk Paul will take us on the journey that his family has had while highlighting some of their discoveries, adventures and science.

Bio
Paul’s first memory of the night sky was around the age of 4 while looking out the window of the car on a dark clear night somewhere in upstate New York. They called to him a few times again but it was not till 1985 at the age of 12 that Comet Halley hooked him. For 3 years he learned the night sky with binoculars and books alone in his parent’s backyard. Finally in 1987 he found the RASC and became a member in 1988. He was active with the Halifax Centre as a youth helping in any way he could including observing chair and chairing the Nova East Star Party. In 1998 Paul found himself moving to Maryland, USA for 5 years. While there he became a member of the Delmarva Stargazers and was active in many facet of the club and still remains as their Honorary Northern member. Upon returning to Canada Paul joined the RASC Moncton (now NB Centre) and again was involved holding numerous positions including newsletter editor and various president positions as well as chairing the 2010 General Assembly. He is now in Halifax where he just finished his 4th year as president. (ask him how he held onto power?)

Nationally Paul has been involved since 2005 as Council Rep for the NB Centre. He would later serve on the Board Pilot Committee, chair the National Observing Committee for 3 years and serve as a Director on the Board. In 2012 he became editor of the RASC Observer’s Calendar and enjoys working on it during the cold winter months. In 2016 Paul was award the RASC Service Award for his efforts at both levels of the RASC.

Over 3 decades Paul has had a journey of astronomical experiences. Observing first with a 60mm Tasco then a 100mm F4 Taylor Hobson TV Lens made into a telescope he completed the messier list. Later he would build a 330mm F4.5 reflector in his final year of highschool using the schools Tech Labs. After his move to the USA he would observe with a 12.5” F5 reflector completing his finest NGC List as well as his Dark Nebulae project.
He has a passion for meteor observing and deep sky observing of most objects. He has ventured into photography many times over the years in both film, DSLR and CCD. He “went off the deep end” so to speak while in college when he teamed up with David Lane to conduct a supernova search and at age 22 found his first. He would later find 5 more and share one with his daughter Kathryn Aurora Gray. To keep things in the family his son Nathan Gray also would find a supernova as part of the program he and David Lane developed. Paul is also a 3 time recipient of the RASC Ken Chilton Prize.

Recently he made a dream come true and observing easier by finally building his backyard observatory at his home in Nova Scotia.

Everyone is welcome!

Happy 2019 and Clear skies!

Vikki Zsohar
President, Yukon Astronomical Society
RASC Yukon Centre

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Notice of the Annual General Meeting of the Yukon Astronomical Society (RASC Yukon Centre)

Dear Member,

We are pleased to invite you to our Annual General Meeting of the members of the Yukon Astronomical Society (RASC Yukon Centre) that is to be held on the 10th of December, 2018 at the Yukon Astronomical Society’s new Astronomy Interpretive Centre, between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm!

Please, note that this will be the first time, after the star party, that we will gather in our own brand new facility, and first ever using of the building for an event!

And to celebrate this and to celebrate our members, we will have a dinner party right after the AGM, right there at the observatory! But don’t worry, our new building has electric heating!

We would also like to extend our invitation to the friends of the Yukon Astronomical Society to come and celebrate together with us!

Please, bring a dish or snacks, salads of your choice and non-alcoholic drinks to share with others, and let’s make this event a great closure of the year! Observations will also be offered from the observatory after the AGM. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available on-site. The event is child-friendly.

Directions: The RASC Yukon Observatory and Astronomy Interpretive Centre is located just a few minutes walk from the Takhini Hot Pools, at the end of Takhini Hot Springs Road. You find a trail immediately behind the hot pools. Take left direction on that trail, and walk until you see a blue parking lot sign on the left and an information board on the right. Walk up the hill on the trail by the information sign, and you find the observatory. It should be less than 5-10 minutes walk from the Takhini Hot Pools public parking lot.

During the AGM, members will have opportunity to ask questions, move motions and use membership rights to vote to:

– accept the President’s Annual Statement
– accept the Treasurer’s Report
– accept the Annual Financial Statement
– Elect Directors
– Elect National Council Representative

Please, note that only registered members can vote. Both youth and adult members can vote.

Are you keeping your membership in good-standing? You may renew or check your membership status at www.rasc.ca when you login with your username and password.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Yukon Astronomical Society and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Yukon Centre, thank you for joining us in the discovery of the Universe either by attending our programs and bi-weekly workshops, or spending time observing the night sky in fellowship with other members or studying astronomy from your home.

Do you have questions? Please call 250-408-4838 or e-mail to yukonastronomicalsociety@gmail.com,

Together with the Board of Directors, we wish you Clear Skies!

Vikki Zsohar
President, Yukon Astronomical Society
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Yukon Centre

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Northern Nights 2018

During the 2018 edition of Northern Nights (4:30-6pm, on the 22nd of September, 2018, at Kathleen Lake Lakefront Cabin), and in partnership with our Valued Partner, Parks Canada, the Yukon Astronomical Society will host the following presentation:

Chris Gainor, Ph.D : History of the Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 28 years ago in 1990. After overcoming problems caused by a defective main mirror, Hubble has made discoveries that have revolutionized our view of the universe we live in. This talk will cover the history of Hubble based on a history book the speaker is writing for NASA.

Chris Gainor is a historian specializing in the history of space flight and aeronautics. He has five published books and is currently writing a history of the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. He is also President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and editor of Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly.

Photo credit: Neil Zeller
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Last Meeting in the Monday Night Astronomer workshop series

As the midnight Sun takes over the sky, we wrap up our bi-weekly Monday Night Astronomer workshop
series, today , May 28 th at 7pm to 9pm at Room A2402 at the Yukon College.

Today’s topic: open discussion about our own astronomical observations, astronomy news and our
observatory project.

If you can, bring some crackers, coke or juice or similar to share. The series will resume on September
10 th .

During the summer we will focus on our observatory project and we are hoping having an opening
ceremony on August 23 rd , on the first day of our 2 nd Annual Yukon Star Party.

If your membership expired or about to expire, you have the option to renew at www.rasc.ca , by
choosing “Yukon Centre” as your centre.

The following ways you can follow our news, programs and events first-hand for the most recent
information:

  • Website: www.yukonastronomy.com is our first preferred way to share information and
    communicate with members and the public. (Please note that our old website
    www.yukonastronomicalsociety.com expired).
  • Facebook public page: RASC Yukon Centre – Yukon Astronomical Society
  • Facebook member GROUP page: Yukon Astronomical Society (please request your membership
    directly at the site
  • Twitter: @yukonastronomy

I am hoping that this year we’ll engage in a lot of fun programs, volunteer work, and outreaches about
astronomy, together.

Either we meet or not today or during the summer, for the Board of Directors of the Yukon Astronomical
Society/RASC Yukon Centre and myself, I wish a great summer to you until our Star Party in August, or at
the next workshop in September!

With amateur astronomers’ greeting:

Clear skies,

Vikki Zsohar
President, Yukon Astronomical Society
RASC Yukon Centre

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ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY RECEIVES FUNDING FROM GOVERNMENT OF YUKON

The Yukon Astronomical Society has announced that Tier III funding aid has been approved for the RASC Yukon Astronomical Observatory’s next phase of construction by the Yukon Government. This includes renovation of a 10 ft diameter observatory dome which was donated by Takhini Hotsprings LTD. This project also makes sure that the site will be safe for the public and relative infrastructure can be installed to meet the needs of those who will attend events being planned for hosting by the RASC Yukon Centre*. Expected construction could be completed as early as Fall 2018 with the finished observatory becoming accessible for the general public.

RASC Yukon Observatory will be equipped to host professional grade astronomical telescope technology system which can be remote controlled and future ready. Public viewings are being planned for various planets as well as the Sun and Moon of Earth. Bright star clusters and other celestial objects can also become focused. “We are very excited to showcase the dark Yukon starry nights for students of all ages and everybody who is interested in looking through a telescope” says Viktor Zsohar, President of the Yukon Astronomical Society.

It is the future plan of the Yukon Astronomical Society to extend the observatory site with a presentation building. In addition to public viewing for ‘Yukoners’, the Yukon Astronomical Society will have exclusive access schedules available as a membership benefit. The site will also be available for those ambitious enthusiasts planning their own relevant events in Whitehorse. More details will be available later on including the Grand Opening Event information and standard observatory operating hours. Be sure to keep an eye out on the Yukon Astronomical Society’s social media presence and website for this information as it becomes available.

 

Funding for this project is made possible with support from Government of Yukon’s Community Development Fund.

    

 

 

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Dr. Van Laerhoven hosts RASC Event at Yukon College – Exoplanets: The Weird and Wonderful

Image Credits: [An exoplanet seen from its moon (artist’s impression)] ‘iau1301a’ by IAU/L. Calçada (Shared Under Creative Commons ASA 3.0 U)

On March 19, 2018 the Yukon Royal Astronomical Society of Canada was treated by the presentation of Dr. Christa Van Laerhoven who appeared at the Yukon College in Whitehorse to speak about some interesting points of her field in detail. A senior member of the Yukon RASC, Dr. Van Laerhoven is a professional astronomer and planetary scientist at the University of British Columbia.

The opening of this presentation discussed the motivation for exoplanet research being to give context to that of our very own Earth and solar system in general. If you were a farmer you wouldn’t try to understand raspberries by simply studying one single raspberry, Dr. Van Laerhoven remarks, but instead you need to look at raspberries in the context of several different raspberry bushes, grown in different conditions, breeding raspberries together, finding out how resistant they are to various elements, and all of the information possible in order to understand why they are the way that they are. In order to understand the ways in which our Earth is normal or abnormal, we must take a look at the bigger picture.

(more…)

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