AstroNotes 2017 April Vol: 56 issue 04

Announcements . Member News . National Update . GA Registration . AstroNotes Bookshelf . Next Meeting . Centre Information



Download PDF version: 


The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC

Volume 56 - No 4 - April 2017

Announcement: Ottawa to Host RASC General Assembly, July 2017

Dear Fellow Members,

Our Ottawa Centre has taken on the responsibility of hosting the National 2017 RASC General
Assembly over the Canada Day weekend. This represents an extraordinary opportunity for us to
showcase our exceptional talents in front of our RASC colleagues from across Canada, and we hope you
will be able to join us. (Registration opens March 31 through
In addition to a full program of local speakers, we are pleased to be welcoming three very honoured
guest speakers: Ken Hewitt-White (Keynote), Dr. Eric Steinbring (Ruth Northcott Lecture), and
Nadine Manset (Banquet). A quick Google search will show you why each of these astronomers was
our first choice for their specific special presentation.

There are significant costs associated with hosting a General Assembly in Ottawa during the nation’s
150 th anniversary. While we have been promised a small amount of support from National Office, we
are counting on your generosity to help us "bridge the delta." Every dollar we raise will support the GA,
and in some way be passed forward to the outstanding effort we put into public outreach. If you are a
business owner, please consider making a corporate donation as your way of celebrating Canada's 150th
in a most meaningful gesture.

We are asking you to please support the Ottawa General Assembly through the purchase of a registration
package, and also through an additional donation of whatever amount you can afford. Let’s show the
rest of the RASC what we are made of (besides stardust).
Please make your cheque payable to Ottawa Centre RASC, or use Interac, with payment information
sent to We are a registered charitable, non-profit organization. Receipts will
be issued for donations of $25 and larger. We thank you for your generous support.

Yours sincerely (and clear skies!),

Brian McCullough

Organizing Committee Chair 2017 RASC General Assembly


Excellent news department: We have a pair of new Webmasters: Taras Rabaryski and Patrick Sabourin. In addition, Maya Meeds has agreed to serve as BOTH Public Outreach Coordinator and Star Party Coordinator, and Pat Browne and David Lauzon have joined the FLO team! The membership owes you all many thanks, and we hope you will enjoy serving in these important roles.

Feeling inspired? The Centre still needs volunteers to join the FLO team. If you think you can devote some time and energy supporting the Fred Lossing Observatory, please contact our Centre Vice President, Mike Moghadam.

Starry Night Exhibit: A reminder that the deadline for submissions of astrophotos or other astronomical art is March 31. See the March issues of AstroNotes and the RASC Bulletin for more details. Note the exhibit is open to any RASC member in good standing, not just from the Ottawa Centre.

A public talk to be presented at the University of Ottawa on March 29 will be of interest to many members: Nobel Laureate Adam Riess will speak on Supernovae and the Discovery of the Accelerating Universe. You must register online to attend, and pay $10.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the recent member survey. Your Ottawa Centre council is poring over the results and will share their conclusions soon.

Member News

A warm welcome to new members Michel Bois, James Laing, Gary Brooks, Brent Cunningham and Tom Harris who joined our Centre in February. We look forward to seeing you at our meetings and star parties!

A friend of Ottawa Centre, Stephan Paape has secured funding for his AstroPontiac public observatory/mobile planetarium initiative. Congratulations Stephan! More details can be found on his Facebook page.

Simon Hanmer has announced the next astronomical workshop in the series he presents along with Jim Thompson. “The Sun” will be presented on March 30 at 7 pm. To register and for location details, please email Simon. You can also access material from past presentations online here.

Well done, Howard Simkover. His photo of Mercury and the crescent Moon appeared in the March/April SkyNews. A reminder that Howard may also be heard speaking about meteors to the Ottawa Field Naturalists meeting on March 28; open to the public.

National Update

This from the RASC Bulletin: To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary, the Society is planning
for the first time ever, a National Star Party. On Saturday July 29, all Society Centres and non-
RASC astronomy organizations and clubs are encouraged to hold a star party – from coast to
coast to coast! The first-quarter Moon as well as the planets Jupiter and Saturn will be perfectly
placed for early evening observing. Special handouts to mark the occasion will be produced and
distributed to all participating groups.

AstroCATs 2017 cancelled! The Canadian Astronomy Telescope Show, which had been
scheduled for May 6-7 2017, will NOT be held ( However, the Canadian
Astrophotography School is going ahead on the same dates. More information here.
RASC Board of Directors election: Nominations will be accepted until May 1 for three open
positions on the national Board. The election will take place prior to the General Assembly,
after which the newly elected Board will select its Executive, to be announced at the Annual
General Meeting on July 2. If you think you would like to serve on the Board (if you’re a
member in good standing and over 18, you are qualified) please check out the details here.

Registration for 2017 General Assembly

By Brian McCullough, Chair 2017 GA Organizing Committee

We have three months to go before we open our doors to RASC members and their guests for the
annual General Assembly at Algonquin College over the Canada Day weekend. We hope you will be
able to attend.

Registration opens Friday, March 31 through our RASC Ottawa website . All of the information you
require for registering and for ordering GA merchandise can be found on the website. Please note that
registration will close on Friday, June 2 to give us time to order our merchandise, food and other
services. We have an excellent program of presentations and events in store for what promises to be
an outstanding General Assembly weekend.

To get everyone in the mood, GA fundraiser mugs will be available for sale at the April 7 meeting for $8 each.

AstroNotes Bookshelf

Edited by Janet Tulloch

Each month our librarian, Estelle Rother, chooses one book from our library of over 800 books and DVDs to feature. The library is located in a cabinet behind the Aviation Museum theatre and is open immediately after meetings. You
can consult the Centre’s old website for most of our titles; note an updated catalogue will appear on our new website soon.

Estelles’ Pick for March

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

If you saw the movie, were intrigued by Dave Chisholm’s review at the February meeting, or are simply interested in the history of space flight, this book is for you. Available for loan to RASC Ottawa members.

Book Review

By Pat Brewer

Atlas of the Moon
by Antonin Rukl, edited by Dr. T.W. Rackham (Hamlyn, 1991)

This out of print atlas is an oldie-but-goodie that is found in our Centre
library. It is a cartographic (as opposed to photographic) atlas, consisting of
76 maps covering the near side of the moon. In addition there are eight
maps at the same scale covering areas sometimes visible due to lunar
libration, which is the slight apparent wobbling that results from the earth-
moon alignment of orbits.

The far-side of the moon is not mapped, so you are on your own when you visit there. Each map forms
the right side of a two-page spread along with a miniature map indicating the location of the mapped
area on the face of the moon. The left page lists all the indicated features along with a basic
description and information on the derivation of their names. Each map is named for the most
prominent feature on that section of the moon.

The maps themselves are drawn with shadow to indicate the three-dimensional nature of the features
and are shown in pale sepia tones. This can make it easier to distinguish features rather than the lower
profile appearance of photographic atlases. The features are drawn as we would see them in the
telescope, with aspect changing as you approach the edge of the moon.

Landing locations for a number of space probes and the Apollo missions are also indicated. The atlas
can prove very useful over the course of a lunar month as the terminator crosses the moon and you
move from map to map. Included at the back of the book are photographs with descriptions of a
number of prominent features.

Some of the observing advice offered at the beginning of the book is dated and all of the moon phase
tables at the end of the book are way past their useful dates. However, the map section of this large
format atlas is a good basis for a telescopic exploration of our nearest neighbour in space and as a
result this book is frequently out on loan from our Centre library. Sadly, the author passed away on
July 12, 2016, but he has left us this legendary lunar atlas.

Interesting new publication

Expert advice for photographing the August 21 total solar eclipse! This e-
book by Canadian astronomy writer and Calgary RASC member Alan Dyer
is, alas, only available here for iPads and Mac computers.

Next Meeting

7:30 PM Friday April 7, 2017 at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (directions).

Note there is a $3 parking fee for museum parking. The meeting runs until 9:30 pm.

Part I: Mary Grey & the Dominion Observatory
Presented by Sharon Odell, Art History Graduate Studies, Carleton University
The Dominion Observatory of Canada (1902-05) is located within the National Historic Site of the Central Experimental Farm, on the Natural Resource Canada campus. This architecture continues to possess great national, local, and social significance, due in part to the keen foresight of Mary Grey. Grey was the last astronomer who worked at the observatory, and this presentation will examine the motivation behind her advocacy for its preservation, as it became a part of her scientific career and later, museum curation.
Photo credit Wikipedia

Part II: Brian McCullough will give a GA Update and Paul Klauninger will speak on The Galaxies of Spring.

PLUS all our regular meeting features: Ottawa Skies, 10-minute Astronomy, Observer Reports, and of course, the beloved Door Prize!

All RASC monthly meetings are free and open to members and non-members alike. Refreshments will be available and this will be a wonderful opportunity to meet new friends who share a common interest and chat in a relaxed, stimulating and fun environment. Please join us!

If you cannot attend in person, follow the proceedings over our live stream here.

Centre Information

General enquiries:

The Ottawa Centre 2017 Council

President: Tim Cole (
Vice President: Mike Moghadam
Secretary: Chris Teron (
Treasurer: Oscar Echeverri
Centre Meeting Chair: Kelly Jordan(
Councilors: Carmen Rush, Gerry Shewan, Jim Sofia
National Council Representatives: Brian McCullough, Robert Dick
Past President: Gordon Webster

2017 Appointed Positions

Membership: Art Fraser
Outreach / Star Parties: Maya Meeds
Fred Lossing Observatory: Pat Browne & David Lauzon
Hospitality: Art & Anne Fraser
Stan Mott Astronomy Library: Estelle Rother
Ted Bean Telescope Library: Al Scott
Webmasters: Taras Rabaryski & Patrick Sabourin
AstroNotes Editors: Karen Finstad & Janet Tulloch (