The biggest story of the month is the unexpected outburst of 17P/Comet Holmes. This outburst occurred over a short 24 hour period starting October 23rd. By the 24th, the comet had increase its brightness from magnitude 17.5 to magnitude 2.5, that is an order of one million times. At the time of writing this article the comet halo is still growing but the inner portion is fading a bit. It is still a very impressive object.
On September 15, 2007 the RASC hosted a fall Astronomy Day. Seven Centres officially participated: le Centre francophone de Montreal, London Centre, Mississauga Centre, Montreal Centre, Prince George Centre, Quebec Centre and Toronto Centre.
Winnipeg Centre member Jay Anderson received the Winnipeg Centre Achievement Award earlier this month. The award recognizes Jay for his many achievements as an eclipse meteorologist, astrophotographer, and most recently as Editor of the Journal of the RASC.
We have all enjoyed the long months of summer, especially the awe inspiring views of the Milky Way Galaxy. This mystical glow of millions of distant suns now stands directly overhead as the sky darkens and sets before the break of dawn. This is also your last chance to catch Scorpius, the planet Jupiter and Sagittarius in that order, located in south-west skies.
The 7th Annual Fall Astronomy Rendezvous will take place on November 17th this year and once again be located at Universite de Moncton. Held in conjunction with the Annual meeting of the New Brunswick Centre, the event is comprised of several talks, door prizes, raffle draw and swap session.
The first anniversary celebration of the signing of the Beaver Hills Dark-Sky Preserve declaration was held in Central Alberta at Elk Island National Park, on September 2, 2007. Whereas the RASC Edmonton Centre did the majority of organizing for last year’s inaugural event: ‘Many Cultures, One Sky’; Parks Canada staff did most of the organizing for 2007. The event was well attended with several hundred guests, a lower key event compared to last year’s gate count of over 2,500!
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.
Canada's largest optical telescope, the 74" reflector at the David Dunlap Observatory is to be closed and its lands redeveloped as part of a plan announced on September 10th by the University of Toronto.