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RASC eNews

RASC eNews

Pegasus – The Winged Horse

In mythology times, the winged horse Pegasus carried its master Perseus and rescued Andromeda to safety after Perseus saved her from the sea monster Cetus. This is a classic tale of heroism in the night sky. But for backyard astronomers and stargazers, The Great Square of Pegasus spells fall observing. This giant baseball diamond in the sky is quite easy to locate. With the splendid Milky Way perched straight up after sunset, the winged beast ascents in the east.

Weather permitting, astronomers from different parts around the world will be broadcasting the moon, Jupiter and other celestial objects from their observatories over the internet. The WorldWide Star party 2008 will take place on Saturday September 6, 2008. I am scheduled to start broadcasting at 8 p.m. eastern time. Other time zones include a few stations across the USA as well as Australia to name a few. Looks like Sweden will be clouded out. In fact a few of the stations might suffer the same cloudy fate. Come join us in this unique event at:

http://www.deepsky.dk/WorldwideStarparty.asp

Our Galactic Veil

One highlight on clear moonless nights is not a faint nebula or even a single constellation but our majestic Milky Way Galaxy. From a dark site, the familiar veil of light stretches from Perseus in the North East, up through Cygnus overhead and down to the heart of our galaxy – just to the right of Sagittarius.

August nights are now getting a bit longer and cooler to a certain extent. This is a plus when it comes to observing the night sky. No matter if you are hunting down your favourite objects with a telescope or pair of binoculars, to see the arms of the galaxy in all its glory, cannot be put into words.

Globulars A-Plenty

Over the course of the past few months, I have pointed out one or two globular clusters associated with a particular constellation. However as the months tick by, we come to that time of year where these starry blobs containing tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of stars are seen in greater number. One reason why summer time is best for viewing globular clusters is they tend to populate in most part, around the heart of our galaxy, near the nucleus.

The complete Annual Report of the RASC is now available on-line (members-only area).

Note that all URLs in the document are live links; and the Table of Contents and Bookmarks are active links within the PDF.

Thanks to all who helped prepare the report - Bonnie Bird, Jo Taylor, Maureen Okun, and especially Catherine Berry.

Regards,
James Edgar
National Secretary

Get the newest issue of our flagship publication!

Go to www.rasc.ca/journal/currentissue.shtml

Star Light…Star Bright

My favourite part of the day is sunset. As time marches on and if the sky is clear, I enjoy watching pastels of blue get progressively darker. As the sky is dimming, I try to catch stars as they start to show themselves one at a time. In June however, this game is short lived as brilliant Arcturus is the first to pop out, barring the obvious Moon or bright planets. Referred as alpha star in the constellation Bootes (the herdsman), it is the third brightest star seen overall after of course the Sun. But if it already dark and you have trouble recognizing it for the first time, take the curved handle of the Big Dipper and follow as it arks to Arcturus. In fact, keep moving south with this curve and you stumble onto the bright star – Spica in the constellation Virgo. Spica is 15th on the list.

The Chris Graham Robotic Telescope

May 2008

by Craig Breckenridge
Vancouver Centre CGRT Coordinator

Back in early 2005, an individual approached some of the executive of Vancouver Centre to see if there would be any interest in participating in a remote-telescope project. Needless to say, Council thought this would be an excellent project to bring the ability to work in new technologies to our membership. The initial planning meetings with Chris Graham, the equipment owner, and the interested Vancouver Centre members were held and an agreement in principle was worked out; Chris would provide the equipment and most of the software, and the RASCVC would provide some setup expertise, operation labour, and processing experience. It was a match that would evolve over time with both sides learning a great deal about remote-telescope operation.

The High Riding Bear

About an hour after sunset local – look up, way up. What greets you is the most recognized constellation in the sky, Ursa Major – aka the Big Dipper or Big Bear. Taking up 1,280 square degrees of sky, it ranks third behind first place Hydra and second place Libra. With the great beast prancing overhead, you will have a great opportunity to examine its many galaxies through the least amount of atmosphere turbulence and distortion.

The other members of the Executive Committee, with the endorsement of the Board Pilot Committee, have appointed Dave Lane as RASC National President. Dave will complete the term of Scott Young, which ends on 2008 June 30 (the second National Council meeting at the GA). As a result of this, Dave has resigned from the position of 1st Vice-President, which we expect will remain vacant until the GA.

We welcome Dave to his new role, and we ask you to give him all of your usual support and enthusiasm.

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