RASC eNews

Hamilton Centre Member Receives McNeil Medal from RSC

Dr. Doug Welch, a member of the Hamilton Centre and astronomy professor at McMaster University, has been awarded the McNeil Medal by the Royal Society of Canada.

The McNeil Medal is awarded to a candidate who has demonstrated outstanding ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public within Canada. Previous winners include David Suzuki, Jay Ingram, and Bob McDonald.
“The award is a great honour,” said Welch who enjoys introducing the sky to everyone he meets. “There are so many people who have mentored me and shared my journey that I realize this is an award for them, too.”
Welch’s love of astronomy began in the mid-1960s, and he has been a professional astronomer for more than two decades. In that time, he has revived and directed the largest planetarium program in southern Ontario, which educates both the public and trains generations of new scientific explorers. He is the author of the successful children’s book Amazing Facts about Australia’s Southern Skies, now in its sixth printing, and is co-host of the popular Slacker Astronomy podcast.
A popular speaker at many RASC Centres, Dr. Welch is well-known in the amateur community as the co-creator of the Sky Quality Meter which allows astronomers to make accurate measurements of sky brightness.
Welch will receive the Medal at an Induction and Awards Ceremony Nov. 27 at the National Gallery in Ottawa.

eNews date: 
Sunday, September 12, 2010
9 years 7 months ago
RASC Designates Canada's Fundy National Park as a Dark-sky Preserve

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) officially designated Fundy National Park of Canada in New Brunswick as a new RASC Dark-sky Preserve through its National Certification Program on October 29, 2011. Fundy is the 14th Dark-sky Preserve in Canada to be designated by the Society.


Together with the RASC, Parks Canada Agency recognizes that natural darkness is an ecological resource in need of protection and both organizations are committed to lighting practices that preserve the beauty and wonder of the dark sky and night environment for all Canadians to enjoy.

Through this recognition, Fundy National Park is committed to protecting the night environment from the impact of artificial lighting. The Park is supported by the RASC New Brunswick Centre to assist it in the development of nighttime programs to take advantage of the dark night sky and its contributions to Canadian culture.

For twelve years the RASC’s Dark-sky Preserve (DSP) Program has been increasing public awareness of the beauty of the night sky and the negative environmental impact of artificial light at night. DSP’s are areas with exceptionally dark skies accessible to the general public. The lighting protocol for DSP’s restricts the illumination level and its extent, duration and colour to minimize its impact on the appearance of the night sky and the behaviour of wildlife. The DSP status will preserve the natural state of the region for the health and vitality of flora and fauna and for the enjoyment of the public.

The lighting protocol is based on wildlife and human research into the biological need for dark nights (scotobiology). The RASC Dark-sky Preserve Program is recognized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an independent organization that advises UNESCO and national governments on environmental protection issues.

The DSP Program has three objectives: to limit adverse effects of lighting within the Park, provide a guide for suitable lighting used within the Park, and promotes lighting policies that may be applied to urban areas beyond the Park boundaries. The latter will protect the DSP from future deterioration by surrounding light pollution.

Founded in 1868, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is Canada's leading astronomy organization bringing together more than 4,000 enthusiastic amateurs, educators and professionals. RASC and its 29 Centres across Canada offer both national and local programming and services. RASC is dedicated to the Advancement of Astronomy and Allied Sciences and stimulating and inspiring interest to promote and increase knowledge in astronomy and related sciences in Canada.


For more information please contact: Curt Nason, New Brunswick Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada at 506-648-9063or email nasonc@nbnet.nb.ca.

Additional Contacts:

Fundy National Park
Anne Bardou, Anne.Bardou@pc.gc.ca
Phone: 506-636-4204
Fax: 506-636-457

RASC Dark-sky Preserve Program
Robert Dick, Program Chair, rdick@robertdick.ca
Phone: 800-278-2032

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
Deborah Thompson, Executive Director, thompson@rasc.ca
Phone: 888-924-2911
Fax: 416-924-2911

Robert Dick, rdick@robertdick.ca

International Union for the Conservation of Nature
David Welch, Ph.D, Chair, Dark Skies Advisory Group

eNews date: 
Friday, November 4, 2011
9 years 7 months ago
New Personal Logins - Your Login ID May Have Changed!

As part of the launch of the new RASC website, some member login names are being changed from a five-digit member ID to a personal name made up of the member's initials and last name. This will affect all members who have not changed their default login ID to a personal ID. To find out how to change your login you can check out a new video or visit https://secure.rasc.ca.

Q. Does this affect you?
A. If you have already changed your RASC ID from your five-digit membership ID to something personal (e.g. "Astroguy") then you will not be affected by this change and your personal ID will be preserved - login and check out the new website.
Q. What is the new "default" ID?
A. The new "default" ID is First Initial + Middle Initial + Lastname. For example, Edwin Robert Hubble would have an ID of ERHubble. If there is more than one person with your user ID then you will have a numeric suffix (e.g. ERHubble2).
Q. What is my password?
A. If you had a custom password before then it has not changed. If you have forgotten your password or never logged into the new RASC website you may need to do a password reset request at https://secure.rasc.ca.
Q. What if I'm having trouble with my password?
A. National Office staff and your Centre Administrators can update your login and password on the membership database. Please contact National Office during business hours to have them help you.

eNews date: 
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
9 years 7 months ago
Green Laser Pointers - Smart Use

It's high summer, the season of star parties, and the chance to show the public the Summer Triangle brightly set in the Milky Way, the radiants of outstanding meteor displays, and brilliant planetary conjunctions with your GLPs. With a little care we can all insure that the public remembers the celestial sights, and not GLP operator ineptitude leading to memorable but unplanned law enforcement interventions at star parties.

The GLP Committee has prepared a poster to remind Society members of best practice and inform the public about GLP safety. The poster is available in two formats. If you have any questions, please contact the chair of the GLP committee at: randall.rosenfeld@utoronto.ca.

Go here to obtain the poster https://rasc.ca/sites/default/files/GLP_poster.pdf

eNews date: 
Friday, July 30, 2010
9 years 7 months ago
IDA Award given to Jennifer West

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   

eNews date: 
Friday, April 29, 2011
9 years 8 months ago


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