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Bulletin of the RASC
March 2013 - Volume 8, Number 3

David Garner, Editor

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A PDF version of the Bulletin is available here.
A Web-based version of the Bulletin is available here.



Editor's Notebook


March's Sky


According to the 2013 Observer's Handbook, Mercury will be back in the dawn sky by mid-month, whereas Venus is lost in the solar glare. Unfortunately, Mars is not visible as it is approaching conjunction with the Sun. Look for Jupiter still hanging around the northern edge of the Hyades. Jupiter will be setting around midnight whereas Saturn will be rising in the late evening. Uranus is lost in the evening twilight but Neptune reappears in the morning sky late in March. The next full Moon occurs on March 27th (UT).


2013 GA Registration is Open!


by Dave Gallant, Thunder Bay Centre, 2013 GA Chairman

Register now for 2013 GA in Thunder Bay, ON - Price Increase after March


The Thunder Bay Centre would like to encourage everyone to sign up early for the GA by going to


We have a good program planned out that is sure to please. Don't forget to come early to participate in Dennis Mammana's photo night sky workshop, or to stay for the day of tours and see all the natural wonder that Northwestern Ontario is known for.


Registration price increases by almost 25% on April 1, so why not save a few bucks and register early.




Associate Editor, Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada


by Jay Anderson, Journal, Editor-in-Chief

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is seeking a volunteer to occupy the position of Associate Editor of the Society's Journal.


The successful applicant is expected to assist the Editor-in-Chief in the bi-monthly preparation of the Journal. Each of the six issues of the Journal produced during the year requires a time commitment of 20 to 30 hours, spread over a two-month period, normally shared with the Editor-in-Chief.


Successful candidates will have a familiarity with English grammar and spelling, and make a commitment to learn along the way. Candidates must be able to work with a team of over 30 volunteers to produce the Journal on time and within budget, be of even temperament, and have a slow-burning fuse. Applicants should be keen to improving the quality of the Journal, its content and distribution, and be prepared to bring new ideas and strategies to the Journal team.


It is expected that the successful candidate will be willing to stand for the position of Editor-in-Chief in approximately three years time.


For further information, contact Jay Anderson, Editor-in-Chief (




David Levy Speaking Tour


by Randy Attwood, Past President, Mississauga Centre

The National Society Public Speaker Program was set up to encourage our Centres to organize and host public talks and presentations, by speakers from outside their local area, about astronomical and related topics.


This spring, eight centres will participate in a rare speaking tour by RASC member David Levy. A long time observer and author, David has been observing for most of his life, has discovered 22 comets, written 34 books and is an RASC Chant Medal recipient.


The dates are as follows:


• May 31 Ottawa

• June 1 Montreal

• June 3 Kingston

• June 5 Toronto

• June 6 Kitchener-Waterloo

• June 7 Mississauga

• June 8 Hamilton

• June 9 London

The Public Speaking Program is sponsoring David’s travel to/from Canada as well as some of his travel within Canada. Centres are sharing in the total costs of his lodging.








The Asterism Nagler 1 in Canis Major


by Dave Chapman,Editor, Observer's Handbook

At the Winter Star Party 2013, I learned of the binocular asterism Nagler 1, which is included in Tele Vue's Sky Tour push-to software. It appears as an inverted V of stars magnitude 6–8 at the location RA 6h 23m Dec –26º 17’. While Canis Major is still high in the evening sky, there is still time to snag this object. Find it 1/3 of the way between zeta Canis Majoris (Furud) and beta Canis Majoris (Murzim). The top-most star is HD 44736 in the accompanying chart (Nagler1.pdf), which also includes several other members.





RASC Membership Development News


by Deborah Thompson, Executive Director

The RASC Membership Development News for February 2013 is available at: RASC Member Development News Feb 2013.





{C}Across the RASC {C}


RASC Hamilton Centre Hosts the Canadian Astronomy Telescope Show


by Gary Bennett, Hamilton Centre, Membership Director


What is an Astronomy Trade Show?


It's just like an auto/boat/outdoor/cottage show, only with astronomy gadgets that will leave you drooling. Some exhibitors will be showcasing brand new products, others will offer a retail purchase opportunity. Some visitors will see this as an excellent opportunity to plan their next investment in new equipment. A trade show is where you get to see the "real thing" and kick a few tires (gently please!). And no trade show would be complete without fabulous door and raffle prizes! There will also be several seminars outside of the trade show floor.


AstroCATS is the first show of this kind in Canada and ideally situated as an alternative for attendees who would otherwise need to travel to New York or Chicago, California, or Arizona to get their astronomy “toy fix.” For some of you, it will be the first convenient opportunity for you to attend a world class display of astronomy products up close and personal!


If you are ready to buy new astronomy gear there will be approx. $ 250,000 of merchandise available for purchase at the show. Everything from telescopes, mounts, CCD cameras, focusers, and more. There is something for everyone...entry level to high-end professional grade equipment will be on display. And there is sure to be a few "new product unveilings" at the show.


Held just 15 miles West of Toronto (only 55 miles North of Buffalo, NY), at Sheridan Community College in Oakville, Ontario, AstroCATS is a 2-day event featuring the largest commercial display and sale of telescopes and related astronomical products in Canada.


Tickets can be purchased on-line or at the door (discount for on-line advance purchase!). We already have an impressive number of vendors on-board and as the show gets closer we are sure to have even more.


For more information:








RASC Hamilton Centre Teams Up With Henry's School of Imaging for “Astrophotography 101” to Drive RASC Membership


by Gary Bennett, Hamilton Centre, Membership Director


No true “shutter-bug” can resist the creative lure of the night sky! Starting in April, Hamilton Centre President Andy Blanchard will don his professor hat and travel to 5 classroom locations in Ontario to conduct classroom instruction of “Astrophotography 101”. The 5 hour course is designed to teach budding astrophotographers how to use equipment they already own (camera & tripod) to create breathtaking images of the night sky. The course will be run on 10 different dates beginning April 27 and concluding November 9.


It didn’t take long for Henry's staff to jump at the chance to add Astrophotography to their list of excellent courses. Students will receive a one year RASC membership upon course completion.


For more information:








Ottawa Centre Announcements


by Charles O'Dale, Ottawa Centre


Simon Hanmer's series on "Planetary Geology" has two new articles:


Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Archive : Truly a 21st Century Lunar Atlas;

JAXA's Moon ... As Though you Were There!



Chuck O'Dale's series on "Impact Structures" two new craters documented:


Pilot Lake Impact Structure

Eagle Butte Impact Structure







Innovators in Instrumentation: Advancing Astronomy at the Dunlap Institute


by Randall Rosenfeld, RASC Archivist

The Dunlap Institute was established in 2008 as a dynamic centre for the development of astronomical instrumentation and research, and the fostering of innovative astronomy education and public outreach. An exhibition will open this spring highlighting instrumentation developed at the Dunlap, and the cutting-edge research projects for which it was designed. The exhibition will highlight equipment for exoplanet research, key contributions to the Thirty Metre Telescope project, developments towards the establishment of a permanent observatory in the Canadian Arctic, and instrumentation for optical SETI. Models, actual instruments, and plans will be on display. The exhibition will also include artifacts from the University's former Dunlap Observatory, to provide a historical perspective on the development of the tools of modern astrophysical research.

The exhibit is designed by a team of students in the Master of Museum Studies (MMSt) program at the University of Toronto, working in collaboration with Dunlap Institute astronomers, and with support from the University of Toronto Scientific Instruments Collection (U. of T. Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology), and the RASC through its Archives.

Innovators in Instrumentation opens March 22nd on the 3rd floor of Victoria College, on the downtown St. George campus of the University of Toronto. It is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, and will run until October, 2013.

For more information please contact:


{C}Photo/Video of the Month {C}


The Snow Moon


by Rick Stankiewicz, RASC Member, Unattached

The February full Moon is called the Snow Moon, as this time of year usually signals the deepest snows of winter. This year the full Moon fell on February 25th and on this evening I was fortunate to be in an opportune location to see the Moon rising in the eastern sky. I had not planned it, but this particular evening I was fishing for Walleye with some friends on the Bay of Quinte (Lake Ontario) near Belleville, Ontario, when the Moon appeared through the clouds on the horizon. A pale pastel pink disc appeared initially, but as the minutes wore on and the lunar disk rose higher above the horizon, it grew brighter and transformed from pink, then red, then orange as it evaded more and more of the earth’s atmosphere along the horizon.

What a wonderful sight and this made the whole trip worth the effort. Our fishing party caught one nice fish this trip but the rising of the Snow Moon was the “icing on the cake” for me.

The image was acquired using a Panasonic, Lumix DMC-TS3 camera, 5X optical zoom, ISO 400, f/5.9, 1/3 sec. exposure.




{C}The Sky this Month {C}


What's New in the Sky


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

{C}Seal of the RASC

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