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While there's little chance of a collison, astronomers around the world will be watching the skies tonight as asteroid Apophis (which caused a mild panic in 2004 after predictions of its possible impact) passes within 15 million kilometres of the Earth.

Dick KnowlesThe Calgary Centre Council regrets to announce that the Calgary Centre has lost one of its long time members. Dick Lowndes passed away suddenly on Saturday, December 29 in Calgary. Dick and his wife Marg were regulars at almost all of Calgary Centre’s events. In addition to his regular volunteering at public outreach events, Dick was an active member of the Calgary Centre’s Council for years, including a role on the Executive as our Treasurer.

Crispy Cold Nights

Happy New Year everyone. As I wrote a few months ago, 2013 will be the year of brilliant comets including C/2012 S1. If the predictions hold, the comet will be a binocular object in August and moving up to naked eye status by November when it peaks at month’s end. Astronomers estimate C/2012 S1 will outshine the full moon thus becoming the brightest comet in history and be seen during the day. Only time will tell and is still many months away.

Toronto, Canada (December 12, 2012) – While awareness of man-made pollutants and their environmental impact may be rising exponentially, one source of contamination remains largely unaddressed. Light pollution is the wasteful and obtrusive emission of artificial light, and it can have disastrous consequences for the affected local environments.

PASADENA, Calif. -- NASA will host a media teleconference at 11 a.m. PST (2 p.m. EST) on Monday, Dec. 3, to discuss the latest findings and travels of NASA's Voyager 1 spacecraft.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-379

PASADENA, Calif. -- The next news conference about the NASA Mars rover Curiosity will be held at 9 a.m. PST(12 p.m. EST) Monday, Dec. 3, in San Francisco at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2012-377

Long Cold Nights

 

Here we are – the last month of 2012. If you do not have a blanket of snow on the ground where you live, it is only a matter of time till it arrives. But before that happens, let’s do some late autumn observing. Cetus the Whale is the fourth largest constellation in night sky. Within its 1,231 square degrees lie more than 50 NGC objects down to magnitude 12.0 with that number tripling when you go down to 13th magnitude.

 

Do you know someone who has done outstanding work in the RASC? Do they qualify for one of the RASC’s national awards? A list of national awards is given below. Please look within your Centre, and among our unattached members, for those bright and shining stars that deserve recognition. Go to www.rasc.ca/rasc-awards to check the requirements for these national awards, think about the contributions of those hard working RASC members that you know, and nominate them for an award. Now is the time!

As you prepare to brave the cold, clear nights of fall and winter observing, why not consider measuring yourself against an artful and subtle observing quarry, Sirius B?

The RASC Sirius B Project Team is pleased to announce the launch of the Sirius B Observing Challenge website, which contains everything you need to pit yourself against this tough celestial entity. Venture where all too few observers have gone before!

The Big “W”

In astronomical and mythological terms, the Queen of the night belongs to Cassiopeia. Locating the Queen is as simple as looking up on these cool November nights and finding the five suns that form the distinctive letter ‘W’. These stars range in brightness from magnitude 2.5 to 3.4 and are circumpolar, meaning the constellation can be found all year round from our location as it circles some thirty degrees from the North Star – Polaris. Cassiopeia is ranked twenty-fifth in area.

The wait is over.

Whether you're an amateur stargazer or a professional astronomer, the 2013 Observer's Handbook and Calendar have something for everyone. Limited quantities of both products are available, so place your order today!

OBSERVER’S HANDBOOK 2013
$27.95 plus S&H and applicable taxes

Free PC Planetarium Software in every book!   

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