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RASC eNews

RASC eNews

A Winter Wonderland

Happy New Year everyone. Hope there were astro presents under the Christmas tree with your name on them. If so and for those of you that already have a telescope or even binoculars, January night skies await. Stepping outdoors on the next clear moonless night, your eyes immediately pick up the brilliant suns of Auriga, Gemini, Orion and Taurus. Eighteen of the brightest stars occupy these constellations and give the wintry sky a magical appearance.

A new newsletter is now available from the Coalition for Canadian Astronomy highlighting progress with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), the Thirty-Metre Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). [Ed. A cope was formerly available in the CASCA Astronomy News NOV 2006, which is no longer found].

Le Bulletin de la Coalition pour l'astronomie canadienne est maintenant disponible grâce de CASCA. Cette numéro souligne des nouvelles concernant le radio télescope international du 21ième siècle (le Square Kilometre Array ou SKA), le Télescope de trente mètres et le grand réseau millimétrique de l’Atacama (Atacama Large Millimeter Array, ALMA).

Some Pretty Cool Galaxies

Public star parties are a great place to show the wonders of the night sky to children and adults alike. One of the most frequently asked questions asked is, you guessed it, “how far can you see with this telescope”? In response the term light year is defined as a rounded off figure of ten trillion kilometres. Turning our instruments skywards to a faint smudge, we rattle off the estimated distance (in light years) we have previously read in books or found on web sites. With distances of nebulae and star clusters are listed in the thousands of light years category while residing in our Milky Way Galaxy, however, remote galaxies would be the correct answer.

The Minutes from National Council Meeting NC064 (2006-11-04) are now available on-line in the Members' Section of the RASC Web Page. Go to www.rasc.ca/private/minutes/index.shtml. Note that these minutes are unofficial until formally adopted by National Council.

The night sky is a vast and ancient collection of mythological stories and superstition. In fact, one of the most famous legends is known as the Royal Family of Constellations in which six patches of sky take part in this nightly play. To sum up the story, King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia sacrificed their daughter Andromeda to the sea monster Cetus to appease the Gods. Perseus – our northern hero was on his way back from slaying the Medusa with her severed head in a potato bag. Hearing Andromeda’s cry for help, Perseus arrived not a moment too soon. Quickly thinking, Perseus showed the head of snakes to Cetus and monster immediately turned to stone. Our hero and his damsel fly off on Pegasus– the winged horse.  As seen from 45 degrees north latitude, half of Perseus is a circumpolar, meaning that our hero will not dip below the northern horizon. The further north you travel, more constellation will not be lost. Buried within its borders are many fine celestial objects with the most famous being, the Double Cluster. These jewels are catalogued as NGC 884 and 869 which reside around7,000 light years (ly) from us. This duo is spectacular in binoculars and very low power binoculars.

Long-time RASC member David Levy has discovered another comet visually near Saturn in the pre-dawn sky as reported by the Central Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams (circular 8757). David Levy is a life member of the Society attached to the Kingston Centre and also serves as their Honorary President. Congratulations!

October is well known for its wet weather. Cold, damp days are a sure indication winter is slowly creeping in. With this in mind, we will focus this month’s article on the watery constellation namely Aquarius – the Water Bearer and Pisces – the Fishes.

October 2006 Journal The 2006 October Journal is now online. Go to http://www.rasc.ca/currentjrasc/. The username and password are the same as before; see the broadcast email to members.

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FEATURE ARTICLES/ARTICLES DE FOND

No proposals have been received for the 2008 General Assembly. The Annual Meeting is required by the Bylaws, but the paper sessions, tours, and social events which have become a part of the "GA Experience" are hosted by a local Centre. Unless a Centre steps forward to host the 2008 GA, the event may be cancelled.

Any Centre with the interest in hosting this event should contact Scott Young at sdy @ mts.net as soon as possible.

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