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.
This past weekend the Toronto Centre celebrated the 75th anniversary of the David Dunlap Observatory with a special birthday event at Canada's largest optical observatory. A special anniversary podcast was recorded and posted at 356daysofastronomy.org.
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’.
Today, the International Dark-Sky Association announced their 2011 award winners. The RASC is pleased to note that Jennifer West of Winnipeg Centre was one of the awardees in the category "Student Award" under the Dark-Sky Defender banner. More information is available on the IDA website at www.darksky.org.
RASC members can now take advantage of special corporate rates with Delta Hotels and Resorts across Canada. Save 10% off Best Available Rate by visiting the Members Area of the RASC website.
As a RASC member you can save up to 25% on the lowest discountable rates, enjoy additional money saving offers and FREE enrolment in Budget Fastbreak. Earn AIR MILES reward miles at participating Budget locations in Canada and the U.S. Just use the special BCD code located in the RASC Members Area.
If you have had the chance to read a mythological story or two as they relate to the night sky, you would agree some if not all are far fetched. They do make fine entertainment around the camp fire though. Some of these stories take into account two, three or more constellations. One such tale involves the mighty Hercules. Of course we know him as the strongest and most courageous of all. His brute strength not only helped him defeat Leo the Lion as well as Draco the Dragon, but he went on to his toughest challenge - Hydra the Water Serpent.
The Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA) has announced that the 2011 winner of the Peter G. Martin Award for Mid-career Achievement by a CASCA member is Dr. Roberto Abraham (University of Toronto). Dr. Abraham is a member of the Toronto Centre and currently serves as their Honorary President. The complete story is on the Toronto Centre website.