On February 15th, a small asteroid plunged into Earth’s atmosphere over Russia, causing damage and injuries. Nobody saw it coming. The same day, astronomers expected asteroid 2012DA14 to make a very close, but harmless, approach to Earth. Both events captured media attention worldwide. It was an educational opportunity not to be missed!
Today marks the centenary the Great Meteor Procession (GMP), the most spectacular meteor procession on record. The meteors crossed a quarter of the Earth's circumference, and many of the observers whose impressions contributed to the fundamental scientific report on the event were Canadian. The iconic image of the GMP was painted by RASC member and professional artist Gustav Hahn (1866-1962). To mark the centenary of the event NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) features the century-old reproduction of Hahn's painting from the RASC Archives.
Find out just how ridiculous the claims of various snake oil salespeople who are promoting the end of the Mayan calendar by watching this entertaining review of the scientific evidence provided by Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell at the 2012 RASC General Assembly courtesy of the Edmonton Centre.
The 2012 June 5-6 transit of Venus (ToV) is over, and there won't be another one till 2117! Many RASC members successfully viewed the ToV here and abroad, and the RASC ToV team would like your help in constructing a record of our ToV experiences from across the country and beyond. Send us your images and stories, and we'll share them with the rest of Canada and the world on a dedicated rasc.ca page. Even if you were clouded out, but have stories (and images of cursing astronomers) we'd like to hear (and see) them.
The Canada Wide Science Fair was just held in Charlottetown, PEI. The event was spread out from the arrival date of May 12, 2012 to the departure date of May 19, 2012 and had over 500 participants. The RASC "Award for Excellence in Astronomy" for a Junior went to Patrick Fraser  of Avon Maitland-Huron Perth, Ontario on "The Confinable Cosmos".
The RASC's transit of Venus website now features the web premier of a piece of new/old transit of Venus (ToV) music. Ever wondered where all the 17th-18th century ToV themed music is? There's some evidence that it might have been part of the casual improvisatory musical culture of the time. Wonder what that would sound like? The RASC Archivist has created an example based on the bass pattern of a dance from John Blow's Venus and Adonis (1683).
Here's how it came to be, in the words of Regina Centre President, Alden Foraie:
When discussing how to kick off the fall observing season combined with a public-observing session, Regina Centre Secretary, Shane Ludtke, mentioned that the Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO) was having its season-opening concert in a few weeks with a show entitled “Out Of This World” that would end with Holst’s symphony, The Planets.