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RASC eNews

RASC eNews

The Leo/Virgo/Coma Galaxy Fest

If you took part in the Messier Marathon this past March, you no doubt had to negotiate the swarm of galaxies in Virgo, Leo and Coma Berenices. Many of these objects do not reside near reference stars, thus making the hunt even more challenging.

But now that the rush is over and the dust has settled, we have time to search for these and other remote objects. This is also a perfect time of year weather wise. As winter’s snows are now a thing of the past, spring nights are quite enjoyable before the hum of mosquitoes drive us indoors..

TORONTO, April 22 - The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto Centre and Metrus Development Inc. feel that Earth Day is an appropriate moment to celebrate the imminent return of one of Canada's most beloved astronomy landmarks to active service.

Dear RASC and CASCA members,

We are very pleased to announce that the 2009 Plaskett Medal will be awarded to Dr. Catherine Lovekin.

Looking Up To The Twins

As dusk settles, the famous twins of the constellation Gemini come out to play. Castor on the top right and Pollux, the bottom left, represent the twin’s heads and helps orient you to the rest of the asterism. At a distance of close to 50 light years (ly), Castor measures about half the diameter of the Sun and is a true system in itself – comprising of three spectroscopic double stars, orbiting each other. For a challenge move your scope a lunar width (30 arc minutes) below Castor till you come to a couple of 14th magnitude galaxies designated as IC2196 and IC2197.

The University of Calgary invites interested RASC members to participate in the upcoming meteorite recovery effort near Lone Rock, Saskatchewan. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to mapping the strewn field of what we expect will be Canada’s largest recorded meteorite fall. While any recovered meteorites will remain the property of the landowner or the University of Calgary, search volunteers may suggest institutions for potential donations.

Toronto Centre member Ivan Semeniuk is now sharing his experiences as an "embedded journalist" in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. Check out his weekly podcast "The Universe in Mind" to hear from leading international researchers in astronomy and related fields during this IYA year.

By now, most RASC members know we have leased new space in an office building a few blocks west of our old place. Monday and Tuesday next week, March 9 and 10, are moving days. The phones will be disconnected for part or all of that time, so be patient and hold your calls for a while.

Later in the week, most things will be up and running at our new digs. Give the staff a chance to get their feet under the desks and relax their frazzled nerves before you call.

Please take note of the new address:

The on-line version (in Adobe Acrobat PDF format) of the April 2009 issue of the RASC Journal is now available in full-colour, high-resolution format (6.5 MB), plus a low-resolution version (2.9 MB). Look, too, for the hidden "Easter Eggs" - URLs in some not-so-obvious places.

Thanks Charles

The name Charles Messier is familiar with amateur and professional astronomers alike. Charles was bitten by the astronomy bug in his younger years, similar to the same way we got hooked on the wonders of the night sky. He had an early passion for the stars and such but two spectacular events swayed him to his future. First was the jaw dropping Great Comet of 1744. It was discovered independently in December of 1743 by Dirk Klinkenberg and then four days later by Jean-Philippe de Chéseaux.

As part of the continuing rollout of our new website's features and capabilities, we are pleased to announce that access to the on-line edition of the Journal and the private area of the RASC website is now available from the RASC Web Portal at secure.rasc.ca. In fact, it is only available this way.

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