Skip to main content
Bulletin of the RASC
April 2008 - Volume 3, Number 4

Ian Levstein, Editor

We welcome your comments on the Bulletin. Email them to the Editor at

Member: ~FULL_NAME~, RASC ID: ~ID~

News @

Bonnie Bird Announces Retirement

The Society's Executive Secretary, Bonnie Bird, has announced that she will be retiring this summer after the GA in Toronto. Bonnie has served as our Executive Secretary since July 1996, running the National Office, dealing with Centre inquiries and external customers alike, and keeping everything running smoothly. If you've ever called National Office for any reason, odds are you've heard Bonnie's cheerful voice.

Bonnie's retirement comes at a time when our membership handling systems are transitioning to the new iMIS system, and so our requirements at National Office are somewhat in flux. To get us through this transition period, the Executive, in consultation with the Board Pilot Committee, has decided to create a term position to replace Bonnie and allow time to get the new systems up and in place.

The position of Interim Executive Secretary has been created, with a term ending 2009 Mar. 31. Our current Membership and Publications Clerk, Jo Taylor, will be promoted to the position of Interim Executive Secretary beginning 2008 Jul. 5. Jo will be working closely with Bonnie this spring and summer to complete handover training. Jo's position will be posted and backfilled this spring to bring the new Membership and Publications Clerk on-line as early as possible, and allow Jo to move into Bonnie's role this summer.

It is anticipated that by spring 2009, Council will be able to better define the staffing needs for National Office, and we'll be able to post new position(s) with job descriptions.

We wish Bonnie all the best in her retirement and congratulate Jo on her promotion. We'll miss you, Bonnie!


RASC Welcomes the Sunshine Coast Centre

The Executive Committee is pleased to welcome the Sunshine Coast Centre (SCC) to the RASC family! SCC by-laws were approved in principal by National Council, amended as required, and received final executive approval on 2008 Mar. 30.


National Council Meeting (NC081)

Minutes from the National Council Meeting (NC081) on 2008 Mar. 30 are now available in the Members' section of the RASC Web site. Highlights include the 2007 National Awards, proposed changes to the Society's fees, and initiatives to deal with charitable tax issues facing the Society. Please note that these are not the official approved minutes, until passed by National Council at their next meeting. You can access the minutes at


2008 General Assembly - Registration Now Open!

The 2008 General Assembly of the RASC will be hosted by the Hamilton, Mississauga and Toronto Centres and will be held on the campus of York University in Toronto. Registration is now open at This year's early-bird registration deadline is April 30 and regular registration will be available until June 15. News and updates are available at

More information about the 2008 GA will soon be available in a special edition of the Bulletin later this month.



Call for Nominations

The three presidential positions (President, 1st Vice-President and 2nd Vice-President) plus the Secretary must be filled by election or acclamation at the RASC Annual Meeting on 2008 Jun. 30. Names of candidates must be presented to the Secretary at least 60 days prior to the Annual Meeting by the RASC Nominating Committee or by a private nomination supported by the signatures of five members of the Society. Please send any suggestions for these positions by email, no later than 2008 Apr. 30, to: Peter Jedicke.


Spring Astronomy Day

Spring Astronomy Day 2008 is fast approaching on Saturday, 2008 May 10. This year's Astronomy Day is especially significant in that it will 'spring board' the RASC into the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

Forward your events to the Education Committee via Brian Battersby, for addition to the Education Committee's Web page.


Call for Star-Party Dates

Please forward your local 2009 star-party dates to the Handbook Editor... yes 2009! Both the Observer’s Handbook and the Observer's Calendar 2009 Editors have deadlines in June.


Bulletin and National Newsletter On-Line

Thanks to Walter MacDonald of the Kingston Centre, a significant part of the Society's recent history has been added to the National Web site. Back issues of the Bulletin and the National Newsletter are now available at

Beginning in 1970, the National Newsletter was published as a supplement to the Journal. Focusing on Society news and information the National Newsletter tells the stories of the Society throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's. In 1991, the National Newsletter became the Bulletin and it was published concurrently with the Journal until the Journal was relaunched in 1997. The articles and information contained in these back issues are very interesting and many are still relevant and interesting today. Download a trip through memory lane today!

Note that in 1997, the Journal was redesigned and the content of the Bulletin became an integral part of the Journal. Its legacy is continued today in the on-line Bulletin which you are reading now.


Bulletin Welcomes New Editor

The Bulletin of the RASC is pleased to welcome Ian Levstein as its new Editor. Ian has been a member of the Kingston Centre since 1989 and has served that Centre as Secretary, Astronomy Day Coordinator, and two terms as President. Although now living in the US, Ian continues his interest in astronomy and observes with an old (but still very orange) Celestron C8 SCT. With him, Ian brings to the position an ongoing interest in astronomy and almost 20 years experience with computers, Web publishing, HTML scripting, and editing. You can contact Ian at


Sir Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)

Science fiction writer and visionary, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, best known for his novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, died on March 19 at age 90. In 1945, Clarke suggested a global relay system of telecommunication signals using geosynchronous satellites. The first draft of his article "Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?" is now in the Smithsonian. He was knighted by the Queen in 2000 for his "service to literature."


Across the RASC

Prize for Rosenfeld

Toronto member Randall Rosenfeld has won second prize for his paper “From Uraniborg to Yerkes, a Fragile Monumentality”. The paper was submitted for the 2008 Griffith Observer Boeing Astronomical Writing Contest. Prizes are awarded for those articles “which best communicate to the average reader, material of current or historical interest in astronomy, astrophysics, and space science.”


Toronto Centre Hosts 2,000 for Earth Day

The Toronto Centre, in cooperation with the Ontario Science Centre, had a magnificent night for Earth Hour, and was rewarded with a fabulous turnout estimated at 2,000 people. Storytellers, live music, and science demonstrations all built on the environmental theme for Earth Hour. The Toronto Centre prepared a new brochure highlighting light-pollution issues especially for this event.


The Sky this Month

Young Moon Opportunity

On April 6, observers across Canada have an opportunity to observe a young Moon less then 24 hours old. For those of you working on the Isabel Williamson Lunar Program, take note - this is one of the requirements of the program. This opportunity is the best this year to see such a young Moon, which will vary between 19 and 23 hours old depending on where you are located in Canada. Don’t miss out! Below, is a table of details for a number of locations at the end of Civil Twilight, the time when you should start to look for the Moon. Thanks to Paul Gray, Observing Chair, for this information.



Civil Twilight Ends
Moon Age
Moon Altitude
Moon Sets
8:18 ADT
19h 24m
5 deg 20'
8:57 ADT
8:32 ADT
19h 37m
5 deg 30'
9:13 ADT
8:30 EDT
20h 21m
5 deg 48'
9:01 EDT
8:42 CDT
21h 47m
6 deg 24'
9:33 CDT
8:52 MDT
23h 00m
6 deg 59'
9:49 MDT
8:24 PDT
(1 day old at 8:50 PDT)
23h 29m
7 deg 21'
9:21 PDT


What's New in the Sky

Readers are encouraged to check out the Northern Skies section of the RASC Web site at Thanks to Gary Boyle for keeping us all in the know!



Dates to Remember
    • 2008 Apr. 30 - Deadline for National Nominations
    • 2008 Apr. 30 - Deadline for Early Bird Registration for 2008 GA
    • 2008 Apr. 30 - Deadline for Paper Proposal Submissions for 2008 GA
    • 2008 May 10 - Spring Astronomy Day 2008
    • 2008 Jun. 27 - National Council Meeting (Toronto)
    • 2008 Jun. 28-30 - RASC General Assembly at York University, Toronto, ON
    • 2008 Jun. 30 - RASC Annual Meeting at York University, Toronto, ON
    • 2008 Oct. 4 - Fall Astronomy Day 2008


Seal of the RASC

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
136 Dupont Street, Toronto ON M5R 1V2 CANADA
Tel: (416) 924-7973 Fax: (416) 924-2911

Member Service:
Visit Us at:

The Bulletin of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
is a benefit of membership in the Society.
© 2008 Royal Astronomical Society of Canada