AstroNotes 2015 February Vol: 54 issue 01



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The Newsletter of the Ottawa Centre, RASC

Volume 54 No 1 February 2015

Editor’s Message

After a brief holiday, AstroNotes is back. A major reason we exist as a group is to share our enthusiasm and knowledge with each other, and this newsletter is one of the ways we do so. It is intended for all Centre members. Each month’s issue will be posted to the web site and announced to the entire membership on or around the 21st of the preceding month. Submissions are due a week before, on the 15th.

The goal is to ensure that all members are aware of what we do, to facilitate participation, and to make everybody welcome. We all benefit by letting each other know what we’re up to as individuals and as a group, what activities and events are being planned and how to join in, and by reporting on what happened the previous month. Enjoy!

President’s Message

We have an interesting and busy year ahead of us at the Ottawa Centre. Over the next couple of months we will be reviewing the existing facilities at the Fred Lossing Observatory and developing a plan to implement the 14” SCT telescope and the 18” Starmaster generously donated to us by Mike Wirths. Ron St. Martin, the director of the FLO, has agreed to develop a plan for housing these two instruments with the hope of getting them up and running later this year. If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact either Ron or me.

Interest in the FLO is high. After the January meeting we had 36 people sign up for a tour of the facility. Coming up in February (see Centre Announcements below) we will be having the first of our FLO tours. We plan to have an open house and star party, and will repeat the event in April.

We are closer than ever to having the Smart Scope operational. When it is finally ready to go online you won’t have to venture outside on these cold winter nights. You will be able to get some photos of your favourite winter sky object from the comfort of your own living room. When everything is operational, you will be able to do your observing from your laptop while sitting on your couch, in front of the fire if you wish.

January also brought us a new editor for AstroNotes. Due to her heavy work load and family commitments, Janet Tulloch has had to step aside for awhile. But fortune smiles on us and brought us Karen Finstad. Karen is also RASC National Secretary. We are grateful that she has stepped forward and look forward to working with her to keep AstroNotes the interesting and informative voice of our Centre it has been over the years.

Clear skies,

Gordon Webster

Centre Announcements

Last month, Gordon Webster delivered a talk about the Fred Lossing Observatory (FLO), which is a resource available to members. Several people expressed an interest to visit FLO so a group visit has been organized. Clear skies and reasonably mild weather permitting, the date of the first tour has been set for Saturday, February 21. If you signed up, you’ll be receiving more details via email. And if you would like to join either the February or April tour, please send an email to Gordon Webster.

January’s meeting video has been posted to our YouTube channel here.

A warm welcome to our New Members! October: Marie Michaud, John Parsons, Ghislain Serise, Sayuri Tsuruta, Mark Walker; November: Gerry Gruber, Siegfried Janz, John Shortt, Donna Shortt; December: John Badowski, John Criswick, Eric Houle, Calvin Joy, Alexander Garvie, Jennifer Garvie, Michael Garvie, Tanner Krauter, Monica Olney, Stephanie Seiler, Brandon Silbernagel, Larry Stewart. All new members are cordially invited to ask questions about us and what we do. Speak up at the monthly meeting, or send them in to Astronotes.

A word about our Centre email lists: We have now set up a list called “all-members”, which will be used by the Centre Council to circulate official announcements, such as the posting of a new AstroNotes, or the date of our Annual Meeting. Although everybody is automatically on this list, not everybody may post to it. On the other hand, all members of “mem-list” may post to that discussion list, but it’s your choice to join the list or not. State your preference when you sign up or renew your RASC membership; or let our Centre Secretary know if you wish to opt-in or opt-out.

Member News

Ottawa Centre member Robert Dick has been named a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. This award recognizes outstanding members who have made extraordinary contributions to the Society over the long term, particularly for service rendered at the national level. It is the highest honour the Society can pay to a member. Congratulations, Robert!

A Yahoo Group, the Friends of FLO has been created by Pat Browne. She describes it as “A group of friends engaged in supporting the Fred Lossing Observatory of the RASC Ottawa in the municipality of Mississippi Mills, Ontario” and invites any and all Centre members; just follow the link and send a request to join from there. Pat is also actively promoting astronomy in her local community of Mississippi Mills as you can see in these columns for the local paper: The Millstone: Night Sky and The Millstone : Night Sky News .

Read this note by Centre Webmaster and “crater-ologist” Chuck O’Dale that appeared on the Planetary Society’s web site: Crater Exploration with the RASC .

National Update

This year’s General Assembly will be held July 1 – 5 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The registration web site is not yet available, but keep an eye on the National site as we expect it to be ready soon.

The 2016 GA will be a little closer to home in London, Ontario.

The 2015 Observer’s Handbook is now available as a pdf. Member’s price is $10. It’s not purchasable from the store however; you’ll need to do so from here.

Ever wonder how we got to be “Royal”? The Calgary Centre’s YouTube channel offers this explanation from what looks suspiciously like the Lego Queen.

Next Meeting

8:00 PM Friday February 6, 2015 at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum located here. Note there is a $3 parking fee for museum parking.

We look forward to hearing presentations from two guest speakers:

Ottawa RASC member Carmen Rush is back with another talk in her series on historical figures in astronomy. Johannes Hevelius (1611-1687) is a lesser known Polish astronomer who, like Tycho Brahe, built his own
private observatory with state-of-the-art equipment. He measured the positions of 1564 stars and studied the Moon, comets and the sun. Join Carmen as she presents another fascinating account of a scientist who
helped lay the foundations for our modern science of astronomy.

Next Generation Satellite Technologies will be presented by Ryan Anderson, Senior Engineer, Advanced Systems for Telesat. For over 40 years, Telesat has been on the leading edge of innovation in space and satellite communications. From launching Anik A1, the world’s first domestic communications satellite, to the dramatic recovery of Anik E1 and E2, to the first commercial use of Ka band for broadband internet access on Anik F2, Telesat is a proven industry leader.

Presently, Telesat is making use of the latest technologies to provide the most reliable and cost effective services around the globe: all-electric propulsion, flexible payloads, high throughput spot beams, and innovative orbits are some of the technologies that are driving innovation in Satcom. Telesat's future programs will take advantage of these advancements and continue to push the limits of the technology.

PLUS: all our regular meeting features: The Sky this Month, 10-minute Astronomy, Member Photos, and of course, the beloved Door Prize!

Centre Information

General enquiries:

The Ottawa Centre 2015 Council

President: Gordon Webster (
Vice President: Tim Cole
Secretary: Chris Teron
Treasurer: Oscar Echeverri
Centre Meeting Chair: Mike Moghadam
Councilors: Yves Demers, Stephen Nourse, Carmen Rush
Past President: Gary Boyle

2015 Appointed Positions

Membership: Art Fraser
Fred Lossing Observatory Director: Ron St. Martin
Smart Scope Director: Jim Maxwell
Hospitality: Art & Anne Fraser
Stan Mott Library: Estelle Rother
Ted Bean Telescope Library: Al Scott
Webmaster: Chuck O’Dale (
AstroNotes Editor: Karen Finstad (