AstroNotes 2019 January Vol: 58 issue 01

Editor's Message . President's Report . Ottawa Skies . FLO Update . Mojiang . Monthly Challenge . Objects . Estelle’s Pick of the Month . FLO Star Parties . Next Meeting . Centre Information



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The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC

Volume 58 – No. 1 – January 2019

Editor’s Message

Happy New Year RASC Ottawa. I hope you and your families had a pleasant holiday season and that the New Year is healthy and prosperous with lots of clear, steady, dark skies.

Our first issue of the New Year begins with a message from our new President, Mike Moghadam. Our Assistant Editor, Doug Fleming was recently in China and shares a brief report on his trip. Of course, we have our regular Ottawa Skies put together each month by Dave Chisholm. Our Centre librarian, Estelle Rother has a new Pick of the Month for us and Oscar Echeverri has selected our challenge objects for the month. We also have another update on the construction at the FLO. Chris Teron and others have been working hard to get the new observatory up and running as soon as possible. Apparently, there is no truth to the rumours that the only reason for the push is that Louisa wants the telescope and related equipment out of their garage.

A lot of people have put in a lot of work just to make this newsletter happen. They make my job easy and, in the process, they make our Centre a great place to be. Thank you to all those who contribute so much. I think I can safely claim to speak for the entire membership when I say, “Thank you”.

Clear skies,
Gordon Webster

President’s Report

Happy New Year Everyone. I hope you had a relaxing, joyful time with family and friends over the
holidays. I wish you good health and, of course, clear skies in 2019.

I’d like to start this first message of 2019 with a thank you to Tim Cole, our former Ottawa Centre President. Over the last two years I have learned a great deal working with Tim. Tim and I spent many evenings talking about Ottawa Centre programs and how we can advance them. He cares deeply about the Ottawa Centre and has always acknowledged the contributions of volunteers. Thanks Tim.

Let me take this opportunity to share with you some things that I think are important to consider as we set priorities and move forward with new projects. Value for members
I have had many discussions with Tim, Gordon Webster, Chris Teron and others mulling over the programs we offer to members. Do they meet the needs of members? Should we offer more? Do we understand what members want? How should we change?

You may recall we had two surveys recently where we asked members what interested them. These were helpful. I refer to them from time to time. However, it is clear to me that we should have an ongoing discussion on what members want. I encourage you to join the conversation and be vocal. I should also mention that I spend a lot of time looking at what other amateur astronomy groups are offering, inside and outside the RASC. We can learn from other groups. Many of you have sent emails in the past sharing ideas about what other astronomy clubs are doing. Please continue to do this.


Our Centre is entirely run by volunteers. Consider the programs and activities we offer: monthly meetings, the Fred Lossing Observatory & star parties, the telescope and astronomy book libraries, the discount astronomy magazine program, telescope clinics, AstroNotes, our web site, the annual member dinner, the public stargazing program and the outreach program. I’m confident you will agree that these programs are well organized. We have a talented, creative and dedicated group of volunteers.

I’m also aware that our Centre is brimming with people who are not volunteering, but are equally talented, creative and dedicated. I believe some of you are thinking about becoming more active in our Centre, but are not sure where you can fit in or the next steps. Let’s talk – please send me a note at .

The key message here is that everyone is welcome and encouraged to be active in the Ottawa Centre. We are better because of you.


We are very fortunate to be recognized as an Affiliate with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. With this designation, we are granted the use of the wonderful auditorium for our monthly meetings, in exchange for supporting the Museum’s astronomy-related outreach programs. There are other, very exciting opportunities we are exploring to expand our relationship with the Museum. I hope to report on them in the coming year.

With this in mind, it does raise the question – are there other partners we can collaborate with to develop mutually-beneficial relationships. I’d like to hear your ideas.

Clear skies.
Mike Moghadam

Mojiang, China

Douglas Fleming

I had the good fortune to be able to spend last November travelling throughout rural West China interviewing teachers and observing English classes. It was a wonderful (if exhausting) trip, during which I met many friendly and hospitable colleagues. Of course, the politics are problematic, but I can say without hesitation that there are a lot of progressive people doing good work among the many people I met. I thoroughly recommend visiting China, especially if you get a chance to go to rural areas once you see the key sights in the big Eastern cities.

Anyway, the highlight was a week spent in villages and towns around Mojiang, a small city in Yunnan Province. In contrast to the big cities along the eastern coast, the air was completely unpolluted: clear and steady seeing! I don’t have any photos of how the constellations were at an unfamiliar tilt through my pair of 12X50 binoculars, but I do have a few photos of the park that sits on the Tropic of Cancer, which bisects the city.

The photo above is of the astronomical dome (currently under repair), and a tour group appreciating a Ming Dynasty sundial. The photos below are an aerial (drone) shot of the park (and the line of the tropic) and some of us standing in front of a monument celebrating the odd fact that many of the local Hani ethnic minority give birth to twins.

Next time, I bring a scope!

FLO Update – Watch this space!

Have you ever wondered when you look up with you telescope if anyone is looking back? What would they see if they had a really powerful scope? Well...

And if they had a 3x barlow...

That should scare them off!!!


FLO Star Party Dates for 2018/2019

We will be continuing the Ottawa Centre’s Members Star Parties at the FLO through the winter this year. If you haven’t attended before, be sure to mark at least one of these dates on your calendar. You are welcome to bring family members or a guest.


November 10 – waxing crescent Moon – sets 7:03 PM NO GO
December 8 – waxing crescent Moon – 1.8% sets at 5:42 PM – can you spot it? NO GO
January 5, 2019 – New Moon & Partial Solar eclipse NO GO
February 9 – Waxing crescent – 19.5% sets at 10:09
March 9 – Waxing Crescent – 8.4% sets at 9:05
April 6 – One Day Moon 1.7% sets 9:02 PM

Next Meeting

7:30 PM Friday February 1, 2019 at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum (directions). Note there is a $4.00 parking fee for museum parking. The meeting runs until 9:30 pm 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!

Centre Information

To subscribe (or unsubscribe) to our members-only discussion list ( ) please contact .

The Ottawa Centre 2018 Council

President: Mike Moghadam (
Vice President: Stephen Nourse
Secretary: Chris Teron (
Treasurer: Oscar Echeverri (
Centre Meeting Chair: Oscar Echeverri (
Councilors: Carmen Rush, Gerry Shewan, Jim Sofia
National Council Representatives: Karen Finstad plus one open position
Past President: Tim Cole

2018 Appointed Positions

Membership: Art Fraser
Star Parties: Paul Sadler
Fred Lossing Observatory: David Lauzon & Rick Scholes (
Light Pollution Abatement: OPEN
Public Outreach Coordinator: Danel Polyakov
Hospitality: Art & Anne Fraser
Stan Mott Astronomy Library: Estelle Rother
Ted Bean Telescope Library: Darren Weatherall
Webmaster: Mick Wilson (
AstroNotes Editors: Gordon Webster & Douglas Fleming (