THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY OF CANADA
STANDING COMMITTEE ON OBSERVATIONAL ACTIVITIES
FROM NATIONAL CHAIRMAN Bulletin No. 4
In this, my first bulletin as Chairman of the Standing Committee on Observational Activities,
it seems appropriate to restate the purpose of the Committee and to review the progress that
has been made to date.
The Committee has three main objectives:-
1. To keep members informed of the observational activities of all Centres.
2. To give help and encouragement to the Centres in developing observational programmes.
3. To develop, ultimately, programmes of definite scientific value in which the
experienced amateur can participate.
With sixteen widely separated Centres from Halifax to Victoria, communication has always
been a major problem. Prior to 1958 we were hardly aware of each other' s existence, for
few members from outside of Toronto attended the Society's Annual Meeting and At-Home, held
always in Toronto on a Friday evening in late winter. Then the suggestion was made that
every alternate year the Annual Meeting be held outside of Toronto, and the Hamilton Centre
was host in 1958. The following year the Annual Meeting, held again in Toronto, was
expanded into a two-day event with a paper session. In Montreal in 1960 there was the
first display of observational work, and discussion groups held at that time led to the
formation of the Standing Committee on Observational Activities the following year.
The Standing Committee is composed of the Chairman and three members and the National Co-
ordinator of each of the observing disciplines. While it was decided that all observa-
tions could be classified under ten main observing disciplines, it was agreed that these
should be introduced one or two at a time. At present there are National Co-ordinators
for six disciplines, as shown on the attached list. Admittedly, these have not all been
as active as we would have wished but we have gained experience and I am confident that we
are now ready for another step forward.
Our efforts are now being directed towards issuing bulletins at regular intervals. It is
believed that the duplicating and mailing of the bulletins, formerly the responsibility of
the Co-ordinators, can be handled more efficiently by the National Office. It is there-
fore planned to have mailings through the National Office three or four times a year, each
mailing to include the bulletin of any Co-ordinator who has material ready at that time.
With this bulletin you will also receive bulletins from the Co-ordinators of the Aurora
Section and the Comet and Nova Section.
Communication continues to be a problem. No matter how many bulletins we write, they are
useless unless we get them into the hands of the right people. It is not practicable to
send copies to all members of the Society but a wider distribution than heretofore will be
possible under the new system. Several "key" members of each Centre will receive copies,
and we ask everyone receiving a bulletin to make a special effort to bring it to the
attention of any members who might be interested.
Communication is a two-way street -- Were there no response from the Centres, the Co-
ordinators would soon have nothing to write about. The paper sessions and exhibits that
are now a part of every General Assembly indicate that there is plenty of enthusiasm all
across the country. From the exhibit in Toronto last May we know that the Ottawa Centre
National Chairman, Bulletin No. 4 -2-
has done considerable astrophotography, that the Hamilton Centre is interested in meteor
observing and telescope making, that Winnipeg, with its own small observatory, is making
lunar and planetary observations, that le Centre Francais de Montreal made extensive ob-
servations of the December 1964 lunar eclipse, that Edmonton is giving its full support
to a project for a municipal observatory, that Calgary is excited about its city' s project
for a planetarium, that the expansion of the Department of Astroncw of the University of
Western Ontario has stimulated the interest of the London Centre. (This list is not
intended to be ccinplete but only to indicate the interest that exists.)
However, not all of the Centres hav been reporting on their activities to the National
Co-ordinators. We would like to know what you are doing in every field of observation.
Your report need not go into much details If your observations are of a casual nature,
a general statement to that effect would be sufficient. If you are making observations
in a field for which a National Co-ordinator has not yet been appointed, send your report
to the Chairman of the Standing Committee. Similarly, if you want help in a field for
which there is no Co-ordinator, write to the Chairman:
We are still a long way from attaining our objectives but we have come a long way since
1958. We are eager to help you in any way we can, and with your co-operation the
Standing Committee could becane a vital force within our Society.
Aurora - Dr. Earl Milton, 2 Spence Street, Apt.12, Regina, Sask.
Comet & Nova - Jim Low, 108 Roy Avenue, Apt.102, Dorval, Que.
Lunar - A.L. Ostrander, 75 Rabbit Lane, Islington, Ont.
Meteors - S.A. Mott, 2049 Honeywell Avenue, Ottawa 13, Ont.
Planetary - G. Gaherty, 2800 Hill Park Road, Montreal 25, Quo.
Variable Stars - T. Dickinson, 16 Palamar Road, Downsview, Ont.
Isabel K. Williamson, Chairman,
Standing Committee on
5162 Belmore Avenue,
August 1965. Montreal 29, Quebec.
SCOA Bulletin No. 4