Northern Ontario Astronomers Take to the World Stage!

Photo by Colin Durocher as seen from his own telescope and beamed all over the world!

For several months in Winter – Spring 2021, the North Bay Astronomy Club worked with Graham Jones of the international website timeanddate.com to plan a live broadcast of the June 10th Annular Eclipse of the Sun from Northern Ontario. This broadcast can now be viewed through the Time and Date website, or directly through Youbtube (found here). Bill Montague and Dave Roscoe of the North Bay club along with Graham spread the idea to Sudbury RASC, where Linda Pulliah inspired the key people to get involved.

Shortly after 3:00 AM on June 10th, teams from the North Bay Astronony Club and Sudbury RASC Centre gathered at sites with a clear view of the Northeast. North Bay found clear horizons on a hill-top near Trout Creek, while Sudbury RASC set up at Dynamic Earth.

Sudbury RASC’s setup at Dynamic Earth. – Photo by Norm Hey

The North Bay team included Club President Bill Montague, Dave Roscoe, Randy Currie and Bob Chapman. Bill was interviewed by Reuters International and by Graham Jones. Both North Bay and Sudbury Teams provided live feeds of the Eclipse from their telescopes to international webcasts through NASA and Time and Date. The New York Times post-eclipse article cited the work of both the North Bay and Sudbury teams.

Luc Boulard streaming to NASA. – Photo by Norm Hey

The Sudbury Team included Linda Pulliah, Olathe MacIntyre, Norm Hey, Colin Durocher, Luc Boulard and Alan Ward, who set up two of his refractors. They started off focused on setting up, adjusting, and polar aligning their telescopes. Then there were computers, cameras, and internet connections to check out.

With all the equipment running as smoothly as possible, in the remaining darkness, they offered views of Jupiter and Saturn to visitors, and engaged in outreach activities. There was even a man who showed up with full welders mask to view the eclipse directly.

Most enthusiastically reaching out to visitors before and during the Eclipse was Linda Pulliah. She advised on viewing safety and handed out Eclipse glasses. Olathe set up a Hydrogen Alpha Scope to bring out detail in the otherwise bland surface of the un-eclipsed part of the Sun. Norm set up his filtered 5-Inch Refractor for solar viewing (the second setup for the night for him! – He had earlier night been imaging the Asteroid Vesta from his driveway!)

Luc mounted a computer-interfaced Canon camera on Linda’s 4-Inch refractor and prepared to track the Sun with his Skywatcher motorized mount. He covered the Eclipse for NASA, received comments in many languages mentioning him by name on NASA’s website. Colin had a similar setup with his computer-interfaced Canon camera mounted on his 9.25-Inch Celestron SCT. He made the upload link from his computer to the world-wide-web with his cell phone!

Another view of Luc streaming to NASA – Photo by Norm Hey

Graham and Anne launched the Eclipse Program on TimeandDate.com at 5:00 AM, and images of the brightnening twilight sky in the Northeast from Trout Creek appeared on screen at 5:15. The view from Dynamic Earth originating from Colin’s unfiltered SCT appeared a few minutes later. As sunrise approached, Colin’s uploaded video grew more and more colourful! Cloud near the horizon actually made Colin’s images more picturesque.

Live view from Colin’s unfiltered SCT

At 5:39 watchers of timeanddate.com saw the horns of the crescent-shaped eclipsed Sun poke above a distant cloud deck, a thrilling view! A minute later, the North Bay crew was showing the World the complete solar crescent in monochrome, the sun having risen out of the cloud.

At 5:41, Colin’s unfiltered view dramatically showed the solar crescent breaking free of the golden cloud layers. His video became the most compelling component of the Time and Date.com Eclipse Program. Colin’s images and video feed were also picked up and re-broadcast by NASA, and featured around the world. Rumor has it it was even featured on Jimmy Kimmel! Eclipse Hype was real!! Both Sudbury and North Bay views were unquestionably becoming viral!

As the Sun rose into the clear sky, all telescope operators were imaging through solar filters, and the uploaded images revealed rapidly-changing shape, width, and orientation of the partially-eclipsed Sun.

Around 7:20, with the Eclipse substantially over, the the broadcasts highly successful, Bill, Randy and Dave relaxed in lawn chairs, and chatted with Graham in an informal, but highly enthusiastic interview online from their remote hill top.

Bill, Randy & Dave interviewed by Time and Date after a highly successful event!

This is the first time Sudbury and North Bay Amateur Astronomers put together their knowledge of telescopes, imaging, and communications technologies to broadcast an astronomical event to the World, and it was an astounding success!

Sources: Both the North Bay Astronomy Club and Sudbury RASC Centre, and TimeandDate.com You all came together to make it happen smoothly and without a hitch. Hats off to all of you! We would also like to thank the media in giving us our 15 minutes of fame. Below are articles where both of us are mentioned.

The New York Times: Solar Eclipse – Ring of Fire

North Bay Nugget

Missed June 10th’s Annular Eclipse? Fear not, we have you covered!

At 5AM, on June 10th, there was an Annular Eclipse. If you didn’t get up in the early hours of the morning to see it, you can still watch it via a recorded live-stream.

Thanks to TimeandDate.com who organized the streaming event, RASC Sudbury Centre and our friends at the North Bay Astronomy Club, among several other organizations, footage of this Annular eclipse was beamed all over the world, including to NASA TV. The results were fantastic! Mother Nature it appeared, hadn’t crashed the party afterall!

More information about the Eclipse is to be found on TimeandDate.com

June Zoom Meeting | June 4th, 2021

Have you ever wondered how a telescope mirror is tested? Find out how on Friday at 7pm in a live demonstration by Alan Ward as our featured presentation.

Agenda:

  1. Sudbury RASC President Address – Alan Ward
  2. “LIVE” Testing of Astronomical Optics in the Computer Age – Alan Ward (40min) Description Below
  3. Show & Tell
  4. Break (10min)
  5. From the Archives
  6. What’s Up Doc?
  7. Gearing Up for Solar Maximum: Part 1 – About H-Alpha Telescopes – Alan Ward (10min)
  8.   Closing Comments/News/Open Forum/Starlight Lounge

Featured Presentation: For over 100 years amateur & professional telescope makers have relied on a simple but very effective Foucault Tester for evaluating the surface quality of lenses and mirrors. Although highly accurate in its ability to reveal minute imperfections, the Foucault Test requires the user be highly skilled in his/her ability to properly interpret the characteristic ‘shadows’ it produces. This has always posed a problem in that readings taken by the human eye are subjective and prone to misinterpretation. Due to these misinterpretations, the test has been limited in its ability to produce repetitive measurements necessary for the production of high quality large aperture mirrors. Alan Ward will present “LIVE” the workings and advantages of his video / computerized testing system which produces consistent readings regardless of who is conducting the test.

Note: You must be on the mailing list to receive the Zoom meeting invitation. The meeting links will not be posted in the newsletter, or the website. This is for security purposes. To request being on the mailing list, please contact us using the contact form via our website, or contact Patrick on Facebook.

RASC Sudbury Centre Newsletter, June 2021

May Zoom Meeting | May 7th 2021

Hi Everyone! First of all, a brand new newsletter for you all, completely redesigned from the ground up. Will be tweaking it over the next several months.  We have some great talks for you for this month. Trevor Chandler of KW RASC will be our main speaker, talking to us about the environments near Perseverance’s landing site. And in the Second half of the meeting, Alan Ward will be talking about the best possible optical design for both planetary and star images, that is both practical and economical. As usual, everyone is welcome.

1. President’s Address/Welcome – Alan Ward

2. Sudbury RASC Newsletter Rejuvenated – Patrick Dodson

3. Featured Presentation: Trevor Chandler (KW RASC) – The physiographic and paleo fluvial and lacustrine environments near the Perseverance Landing Site

4. Break (10min)

5. Alan Ward: What is the best telescope optical design which provides the sharpest star and planetary images possible that is both practical and economical to build?

6. What’s Up Doc?

7. New Product Reviews

8. Closing Comments/Open Discussion

Note: You must be on the mailing list to receive the Zoom meeting invitation. The meeting links will not be posted in the newsletter, or the website. This is for security purposes. To request being on the mailing list, please contact us using the contact form via our website, or contact Patrick on Facebook.

Newsletter May 2021

 

April Zoom Meeting | April 2, 2021

Heads up, there WILL be a Zoom meeting this Friday, at 7pm.

Recognizing that it is Good Friday, it will be a relatively short meeting, with updates, current news, etc.

Agenda:

Note: To anyone who isn’t already subscribed to our newsletter and would like to receive it, please use our contact form on our website (www.sudburyastronomyclub.com) with the subject ‘Newsletter Subscription’ and we will add you to the list. You will receive your invitation to the meeting separately via email. Or alternatively, PM Patrick on Facebook for a link. Remember, even if we are in isolation does not mean we still can’t share the wonders of the universe together.

Sudbury RASC AGM Meeting | Feb 5 2021

The Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Sudbury Centre to be held via Zoom on Friday 5 at 7:00 PM is the Annual General Meeting.

The AGM is for members only, and the future direction of the Centre, as well as new project ideas will be discussed.

The Newsletter of the Centre will contain important details about the meeting and how to attend.  If you are a member, and have not been receiving the Newsletter, or if you have questions about membership in RASC, please communicate with the executive by contacting us here.

Important note: There will be voting for key positions, so we ask all available members to please attend.

Positions up for voting:
Vice-President
Treasurer

January Zoom Meeting | Jan 15, 2021

Join us this Friday for our Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Sudbury Centre at 7:00PM Friday January 15, online via Zoom. This meeting will feature Clark Muir of KW RASC, talking about Sudbury’s Vatican mirror.

  1. Welcome: Sudbury RASC President – Alan Ward
  2. Sudbury’s Historical Vatican Mirror – Clark Muir: As urban legends go, Sudbury’s ‘Vatican Mirror’ delivered a most curious twist. This 20″ telescopic mirror laid idle for decades and has a checkered past that goes back 120 years. Its origins were only discovered by remarkable coincidences and a passion for exploring  Canada’s astronomy history. We’ll introduce it to those not familiar with the story and discuss its future.
  3. Show & Tell – Stargazer Steve
  4. Break  (10min)
  5. Silvering: An Old Idea New Again – Peter Pekurar: Mirror Coatings – ATMs have developed a breakthrough in refining a chemical process that can easily be performed at home using very obtainable economical materials.
  6. What’s Up, Doc? – Astronomical Events to plan for.
  7. Closing Comments/News Etc – An Open Forum for what you’d like to discuss.

Special Note: If any of our members would like to order a 2021 calendar, please go to www.RASC.ca and place an order in the e-Store. The 2021 Calendar is priced at $17.95 Cdn. With taxes and shipping, the price will be $28.48

A big THANK YOU to all of the members who have renewed their membership and a reminder to those who have not yet done so. We really appreciate your support.
To all NEW MEMBERS, welcome to our club. We hope that you enjoy your participation with us.

About the Guest Speaker:

Clark Muir currently lives in Kitchener, Ontario and has had a lifelong interest in astronomy.  In earlier years,  this was in particular with visual observing. Later on, he developed an interest in researching the history of astronomy with a focus on Canada. He is currently the Chair of the RASC History Committee.

Note: To anyone who isn’t already subscribed to our newsletter and would like to receive it, please use our contact form on our website (www.sudburyastronomyclub.com) with the subject ‘Newsletter Subscription’ and we will add you to the list. You will receive your invitation to the meeting separately via email. Or alternatively, PM Patrick on Facebook for a link. Remember, even if we are in isolation does not mean we still can’t share the wonders of the universe together.

 

 

December Zoom Meeting | Friday Dec 4th, 2020

Join us for the  December Meeting of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) Sudbury Centre at 7:00PM Friday December 4th, online via Zoom. This special meeting will feature guest-speaker Dr Raymond Francis of NASA’s JPL. Notes about the speaker below.

  1. Welcome: Sudbury RASC President – Alan Ward
  2. Preparing the Mars 2020 Rover Mission – Dr Raymond Francis: The Perseverence Mars Rover is en-route to Mars with landing scheduled for February 18 2021. This presentation will describe the Rover, its science instruments, and the principal goals of the mission, as well as the development process that led to its launch earlier this year.
  3. Break  (10min) – Live Demo from Peter Pekurar
  4. Mars Rovers Planetary Drives – Peter Pekurar: A Made in Canada Story
  5. Show & Tell: Members show off their great images of Mars.
  6. What’s Up, Doc? – Once in a lifetime events will be emphasized
  7. Closing Comments/News Etc – An Open Forum for what you’d like to discuss.

Special Note: If any of our members would like to order a 2021 calendar, please go to www.RASC.ca and place an order in the e-Store. The 2021 Calendar is priced at $17.95 Cdn. With taxes and shipping, the price will be $28.48

A big THANK YOU to all of the members who have renewed their membership and a reminder to those who have not yet done so. We really appreciate your support.
To all NEW MEMBERS, welcome to our club. We hope that you enjoy your participa-tion with us.

About the Guest Speaker:

Dr Raymond Francis is an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. He has worked in Mars rover operations since the Curiosity rover landing in 2012, and is part of the mission science and operation teams for both the Curiosity and Perseverance rovers. He is also the lead system engineer for the AEGIS autonomous instrument targeting software used on the rovers, and has previous experience in ISS payload development, stratospheric balloon experiments, and air-borne science operations. Originally from Sudbury, Ontario, he holds a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Western Ontario, an MSc in Physics from the Royal Military College of Canada, and a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ottawa. He is also a licenced pilot and gliding instructor.

 

Note: To anyone who isn’t already subscribed to our newsletter and would like to receive it, please use our contact form on our website (www.sudburyastronomyclub.com) with the subject ‘Newsletter Subscription’ and we will add you to the list. You will receive your invitation to the meeting separately via email. Or alternatively, PM Patrick on Facebook for a link. Remember, even if we are in isolation does not mean we still can’t share the wonders of the universe together.