Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on Wed, 2009/07/01
The Mighty Hercules
In mythology, Hercules was known for his amazing courage and great strength. It is said this Greek warrior killed a lion with his bare hands. In the night sky, Hercules is the slayer of Hydra and was given an alternative name of Engonasin, meaning "on his knees" or "the Kneeler". To star gazers and astronomers, the asterism of Hercules consists of a dozen stars. However, our celestial strong man lacks significant star brightness and would hard press to identify this asterism from major light polluted areas. The Kneeler is actually up side down with his head pointing to the south and looks like a lop sided letter ‘H’. No less than 7 extra solar planets have been found in this constellation. One of which is HD149026b
Written by Paul Gray, New Brunswick on Wed, 2009/06/10
Kouchibouguac National Park has been declared New Brunswick's first Dark Sky Preserve.
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on Mon, 2009/06/01
The Big Bear
If you were to ask anyone to name a constellation in the sky, ninety-nine percent of the time that person would say the Big Dipper or the Big Bear. And why not? Referred by astronomers as Ursa Major or Ursae Majoris, the Big Dipper is the first star pattern we studied in school and is by far the most recognized celestial group. It also helps that Ursa Major is a circumpolar constellation and can be seen somewhere about the northern horizon throughout the year. As you move down in latitude, your chances of seeing it all year round diminish. Distances to these main seven stars of the asterism range from 78 to 123 light years (ly).
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on Fri, 2009/05/01
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..
Written by Denis Grey, Toronto on Thu, 2009/04/23
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.
Written by Dave Lane, President, National Office on Thu, 2009/04/02
Dear RASC and CASCA members,
We are very pleased to announce that the 2009 Plaskett Medal will be awarded to Dr. Catherine Lovekin.
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on Wed, 2009/04/01
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.
Written by Alan Hildebrand, Calgary on Mon, 2009/03/23
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.
Written by Denis Grey, Toronto on Fri, 2009/03/13
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.
Written by James Edgar, Regina on Wed, 2009/03/04
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: