George Moore’s Astronomy Workshop
Oct 16-18, 2009

gmaw_logoOn Oct 16-18, 2009 the RASC Edmonton Centre hosted the George Moore’s Astronomy Workshop at Camp Maskepetoon, a 45-minute drive SW of Edmonton and near Pigeon Lake. The event ran from Friday evening until Sunday afternoon. The cost per person was $120 for adults and $90 for children under 15.

The Centre was proud to present Stephen James O’Meara as the featured guest speaker. A long-time friend to the amateur astronomical community, Stephen is one of the world’s greatest visual observers. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Northeastern University and spent much of his early career on the editorial staff of Sky & Telescope magazine in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now a resident of Hawaii, Steven shares his love of the sky through his monthly Secret Sky column for Astronomy magazine, for which he is also a contributing editor. Steven has authored or coauthored 10 popular books on astronomy (including his acclaimed Deep-Sky Companion series) and other science topics, namely volcanos and scary science for youngsters; Steven’s scary science book: Are You Afraid Yet: The Science Behind Scary Stuff, which was nominated for the 2010 Young Adult Library Services Association Quick Picks for the Reluctant Young Adult Readers List.

20091016_O'MearaSteven’s vision and love for sharing the wonders of the night sky is legendary. The Texas Star Party (TSP) gave him its highest honor, the Lone Stargazer Award “for setting the standard of excellence in visual observing.” The TSP also gave him its Omega Centauri Award for “advancing astronomy through observation, writing, and promotion, and for sharing his love of the sky.” He has also been awarded with the Caroline Herschel Award for his greatest visual achievements, including being the first person to sight Halley’s Comet on its 1985 return, the discovery of dark spokes in Satur’s B ring before the Voyager 1 spacecraft imaged them, and being the first person to determine accurately the rotation period of the distant planet Uranus. For these accomplishments, the International Astronomical Union named asteroid 3637 O’Meara in his honor.

When he’s not looking at the sky, Steven enjoys studying bats and alligators, and traveling the world with his wife, Donna, to document volcanic eruptions. National Geographic Explorer produced a movie (“Volcano Hunters”) about the O’Mearas’ research into finding a correlation being the Moon’s tidal pull and volcanic activity; the film was selected as one of the year’s best National Geographic documentaries and won the Fall  2002 Golden Eagle Award for excellence in documentary. Now a contract videographer for National Geographic Digital Motion and a contract photographer for National Geographic Image Collection, Steve continues his tradition of sharing his love for all things scientific through his lectures.

Round Robin Sessions

The round robin sessions featured members of the Centre giving presentations on different areas of astronomy designed to teach different aspects of astronomy. The following are some examples of round robin sessions, which have been presented in the past. Registrants did not need to pre-register for the round robin sessions.

Teacher Session

A session designed to provide information for teachers using the Alberta Science Curriculum to assist teachers in their presentation of astronomy in the classroom. Our instructor will provide information and tips on how to present the different astronomical concepts to students in a fun and novel way.

Digital Astrophotography

Astrophotography has come a long way in a short time. Our instructors will help you understand the finer points of digital astrophotography and show you the do’s and don’ts.

Meteorites

A few of the members of our Club have an extensive meteorite collection and in the past have given a presentation on different types of meteorites. One member also brings his collection to the Workshop with a microscope so you can view these meteorites up close.

Collimation Clinic

Not sure if the star images you are seeing through your telescope are the best they can be? We have collimation clinics for both Newtonians and Schmidt-Cassegrain styles.

Observing

Providing the weather co-operates, there is always night sky viewing through telescopes and binoculars. During the day, several of our members have telescopes set up outside do to solar observing safely through filters.

Telescope Loaners

The Centre has a telescope loaner program where teachers can sign out a 15cm (6″) telescope for a week or two for free to give students an opportunity to learn the operation of a telescope for themselves and view objects in the sky. A “Kidscope” as they are called, will be on display at the Workshop. Each telescope comes complete with instructions for assembly and basic operation.

Teacher Resource

All teachers who attended the Workshop received free a copy of Skyways: Astronomy Handbook for Teachers, published by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.