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The Sky This Month - May 2011

A Smorgasbord Of Galaxies

The sky above offers many types of objects to hunt and enjoy. We scan the night either visually, using star charts and then star hop with telescopes. Keen eyesight is a must for a successful hit. One can always click on a control pad of a computerized telescope what magically moves to the object’s programmed coordinates. No mater what mode you choose to seek out these sometimes hard to find objects, your labours will not be in vain. The celestial menu includes diffuse, emission or planetary nebulae, star clusters or even colourful double and multiple star systems. However these objects for the most part, belong to our Milky Way Galaxy and pretty well in the ‘stellar neighbourhood’.

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The Sky This Month - June 2011

Puff The Draco Dragon

The beauty about circumpolar constellations is that they never set below the horizon. From forty-five degrees north latitude, we can enjoy such familiar patterns as Ursae Majoris (Big Dipper), Cassiopeia, Cepheus, Camelopardalis, Draco and of course Ursae Minoris (Little Dipper) which sports the North Star. For the rest of the constellations, that depends how high or low in declination they reside. This month, we will take a look at the Draco the Dragon.

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The Sky This Month - July 2011

Ophiuchus – The Mystery Constellation

The world of astrology and those who follow its daily predictions were delt a crushing blow in the second week of 2011. Over night, the dates of the signs were revamped and a mysterious thirteenth house was added. People woke up to find out they were no long who they thought they were. For instance, if someone went to bed a Capricorn, they woke up as a Sagittarius, etc. Personally, it was about time these dates changed because of the 26,000 year wobble called precession. The Sun now appears in the constellation to the left from where your sign used to be. As for this mysterious pattern thrown into the mix – there is no mystery.

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The Sky This Month - August 2011

The Glory Of The Night

August is a busy time for campsites and cottages as city dwellers plan their vacation. It is that special time when the family or a group of friends plan their meals, pack the car and drive to the wilderness. If weather is on your side, the outdoor experience can be a thing of beauty. Between the sweet smell of fresh air, the peace and quiet along with first hand witnessing nature in all its glory, camping can be a memorable experience. Of course physical activities such as hiking, swimming or even fishing are enjoyed during daylight hours. However, when the Sun’s last photons disappear behind the mountains and out of view, the night sky begins to change.

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The Sky This Month - September 2011

Looking Up At Royalty

Perched high in northern skies are two figures of pure royalty. King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia were also portrayed as main characters in a famous mythological story. The “Royal Family of Constellations” involves the said King and Queen, as they sacrifice their daughter Andromeda to the sea monster Cetus. But Perseus saves Andromeda in the nick of time and both fly off on the winged horse Pegasus.

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Help Wanted: Constitution Renewal for 2010

In 2009-10, the Constitution Committee will be working on a process to renew the Society's Constitution. The last major revision to the Society's bylaws was completed in the early 1990s. In 2009-10 the Constitution Committee will be conducting a through review of the Society's Constitution with a view to making it more flexible and modern. Two or three volunteers are needed to work on this project on a part-time basis from September 2009 until about August 2010.
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The Sky This Month - December 2007

Winter’s River

Eridanus the River is a large slinky constellation that continues far below our south Canadian horizon. In fact the alpha star named Achernar shining as bright as Procyon at magnitude 0.5 is located at declination -57 degrees. This long stretch of celestial landscape is listed as the 6th largest in the sky and is well populated with many galaxies.

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Stan Runge awarded the Winnipeg Centre Service Award

Winnipeg Centre member Stan Runge received the Winnipeg Centre Service Award earlier this month. The award recognizes Stan for his many years of service to the Centre and to the Society.

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Vance Petriew Honoured by AAVSO

Arne Henden, Director of the AAVSO, took Vance Petriew by surprise when he asked him to come forward for a special Director's Service Award at the Banquet of Astronomy Roundup 2007 in Calgary, Alberta.

Vance took on the challenge of amassing and converting over 70,000 records at the AAVSO. Here is their write-up from the AAVSO Web site, www.aavso.org/aavso/about/volunteers.shtml

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International Dark Sky Symposium at Mont Megantic Report

The International Dark Sky Association Symposium at the ASTROLab at Mont-Mégantic Provincial Park was held from September 19-21 at Mont Mégantic Observatory. In addition to speakers from the RASC, speakers from the International Darksky Association (IDA), Parks Canada, lighting companies, engineers and light pollution researchers from North American and Europe presented a wide range of talks on the subject.

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