Northern Prairie Star Party 2017
September 19 to 24, 2017
Black Nugget Lake

The fourteenth annual Northern Prairie Star Party will be held at the Black Nugget Lake campground south east of Tofield from September 19 to 24, 2017. Most of our group activities will occur on Friday, September 22 and Saturday, September 23.

For more information, please review the schedule and rules & regulations (PDF) and the Northern Prairie Star Party main page.

Keynote at 3:45 PM on Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dr. Peter Brown
Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario and Canada Research Chair in Meteor Astronomy

Canadian meteorite falls over the last quarter century – How has detection been enhanced and what have we learned?

Having been involved in one aspect or another of almost all Canadian meteorite falls since 1994, Dr. Brown will give a general talk about these falls, the development of a 20-camera meteor network in the last decade and what researchers have learned.

About the Speaker
Dr. Peter Brown is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario and Canada Research Chair in Meteor Astronomy. Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta he got his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Alberta and completed his MSc and PhD degrees at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Brown studies small bodies of the solar system, with particular emphasis on the origin and evolution of meteors, meteorites, meteoroids and asteroids. His PhD thesis focused on the Evolution of Two periodic Meteoroid Streams: the Perseids and Leonids.

Public Talks on Saturday, September 23, 2017

Dr. Erik Rosolowsky (1:45 PM)

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alberta

Living in our Local Group

Our Milky Way is found in a small “town” of galaxies called the Local Group. This talk will examine the two other spiral galaxies in our town, Andromeda (M31) and Triangulum (M33). We will discuss what these islands of stars tell us about how our own Galaxy has evolved over the course of the Universe. The discussion will focus on how galaxies build up their mass over time by turning gas into stars and on the importance of galaxy collisions in shaping the systems we see today.

About the speaker

Erik Rosolowsky is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Alberta. His research work uses radio and optical telescopes to unravel the connections between successive generations of stars in nearby galaxies and the Milky Way. He greatly enjoys teaching math, physics and astronomy at many different levels. Outside of work, Erik enjoys hiking, running, cooking, and playing board games. He lives in Edmonton with his wife and son.

RASC Edmonton Centre members (2:45 PM)

The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse That Was

A number of Edmonton Centre RASC members will have an opportunity to give a short 20-slide presentation on their eclipse-viewing experience. If you are interested in presenting, please email Rick Bramm.

Dr. Peter Brown (3:45 PM)

Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario and Canada Research Chair in Meteor Astronomy

Canadian meteorite falls over the last quarter century – How has detection been enhanced and what have we learned?

Having been involved in one aspect or another of almost all Canadian meteorite falls since 1994, Dr. Brown will give a general talk about these falls, the development of a 20-camera meteor network in the last decade and what researchers have learned.

About the speaker

Dr. Peter Brown is a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario and Canada Research Chair in Meteor Astronomy. Born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta he got his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Alberta and completed his MSc and PhD degrees at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Brown studies small bodies of the solar system, with particular emphasis on the origin and evolution of meteors, meteorites, meteoroids and asteroids. His PhD thesis focused on the Evolution of Two periodic Meteoroid Streams: the Perseids and Leonids.

Observing Certificates

First introduced by Warren Finlay for the 2014 NPSP, the observing certificates are meant to give attendees a specific goal to accomplish with their observing during NPSP. This year, over the duration of the star party, participants are welcome to complete one or more Observing Certificate (three levels, from observing “with keen eyes and no optical aid” to “uncommonly observed objects for advanced observers”). Also for this year is a mini-bimarathon interweaving five laps around a short cross-country course (each lap is 700 meters in length) with observing 10 specified Messier objects. The mini-bimarathon is a shorter version of the bimarathon, a unique observing challenge invented by Warren Finlay.

The lists and instructions for the lists will be given out when people register on site at NPSP.

T-Shirts

The 2017 NPSP t-shirt design will celebrate the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse and its design will be posted by the end of August. To help us with ordering the shirts, please let us know emailing Rick Bramm if you would like (1) long or short sleeved t-shirt and (2) size extra small, small, medium, large, extra-large or double extra-large. The deadline for reserving a shirt is Tuesday, September 5.

Spectacular Prizes!!

When you attend the 2017 Northern Prairie Star Party, you will receive two tickets. One will be for a variety of prizes given out at the end of the presentations, donated by All-Star Telescope, the Royal Astronomical Society – Edmonton Centre club, SkyNews magazine and individual RASC members. These includes eye pieces, LED lights, children’s science books, a special DVD, spyglasses, calendars and more. The other ticket will be for the prizes to be awarded at the BBQ, including three telescopes donated by All-Star Telescope described below. A big thank you to All-Star Telescope for their steadfast and generous support of the Northern Prairie Star Party!

Sky-Watcher Heritage 76

The Sky-Watcher Heritage 76 3-inch (76 mm) diameter Dobsonian reflector telescope is a great grab-and-go beginner telescope, designed to be easy to use and portable, with consistent performance. The total telescope kit weighs less than 5 pounds (1.95 kg). The focal length is 11.81 inches (300 mm). Its retail value is estimated at $100. For more details, visit: https://www.all-startelescope.com/sales/product_info.php?products_id=633.

Celestron Cometron 114AZ

The Celestron Cometron 114AZ is a 4.5-inch (114 mm) diameter Newtonian reflector telescope featuring high quality optics and a wide field of view perfect for observing comets, star clusters, galaxies and more. It does not require any tools to set it up and is portable and lightweight (total kit weighs 8.4 lbs (3.81 kg)). A steel tripod provides stability and can be adjusted to give a mount height of between 29 and 46” (737 to 1168 mm). The focal length is 18 inches (450 mm). Its retail value is estimated at $300. For more details, visit: https://www.all-startelescope.com/sales/product_info.php?products_id=1159

Sky-Watcher Dobsonian 6-inch

The Sky-Watcher Dobsonian (DOB) 6-inch diameter (153 mm) Traditional is a highly-recommended beginner telescope that allows the viewer to find a range of objects in the night sky, from Jupiter’s red spot to galaxies 60 million light years away. It comes in two pieces: the tube with a focal length of 47 inches (1.2 m) and weight of 12.7 lbs (5.78 kg) and the base that is 2.3 feet in diameter and 4 inches high (70 cm by 10 cm high) and weighs about 28 lbs (12.7 kg).

In his book Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe, renowned Canadian astronomer Terence Dickinson states:

“There may not be a perfect telescope for the beginner, but the closest thing to it is a 6-to-10inch Dobsonian mounted reflector. This type of telescope offers the best combination of modest price, versatility and practicality available in a commercial telescope. For $300 to $700 you get a complete telescope of astonishing capability. It will reveal Cassini’s division in Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s red spot, the polar caps and dark regions on Mars, thousands of lunar features, the Trapezium at the core of the Orion nebula, hundreds of star clusters in the Hercules cluster and galaxies 60 million light-years away. ” (p. 69)

The retail value of this grand prize telescope is estimated at $450. For more details, visit: https://www.all-startelescope.com/sales/product_info.php?cPath=21_27&products_id=619

A big thank you to All-Star Telescope for their steadfast and generous support of the Northern Prairie Star Party!

If you would like to donate a prize, please email Rick Bramm.