Transit of Mercury – See Mercury Cross the Sun
May 9, 2016

The Transit of Mercury on November 8, 2006 Credit Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL]

A rare astronomical event will occur during the morning of Monday, May 9, 2016 when Edmonton skies will see a Transit of Mercury. A transit of Mercury occurs when the orbits of Mercury and Earth around the Sun line up in such a way that, from certain places on Earth, the planet Mercury can be seen to cross the face of the Sun over the course of a few hours. On May 9, as seen from Edmonton, the transit will be in progress at sunrise, which is at 5:41 AM! But you don’t have to get up that early to see it since the event will take a leisurely 7 hours to complete.

Planetary transits are among the rarest of astronomical events. To see Mercury transit the Sun, you’ll need the magnifying power of a telescope that is fitted with a specialized filter to protect your eyes (see Viewing the Transit Safely below). Viewed this way, Mercury appears as a little black dot slowly moving across the face of the Sun. The transit presents a rare opportunity to witness a planet’s orbital motion in real time.

The most recent transit took place a decade ago, on November 8 2006, and after the upcoming May event, you’ll have to wait until November 11, 2019, for you next opportunity. So don’t miss it!
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Sidewalk Astronomy April 15-16, 2016

FREE and WEATHER PERMITTING

The RASC will be setting up telescopes on sidewalks for free views of the Moon and Jupiter, at the following locations.

Friday, April 15, 8:30 – 11 PM

  • Gazebo Park in Old Strathcona
    83 Avenue between 103 and 104 Streets
  • The Promenade overlooking Victoria Park
    South side of 100 Avenue at 118 Street
  • South-west side of St. Albert Place
    5 St. Anne Street, St. Albert

Saturday, April 15, 9:00 – 11 PM

  • The Promenade overlooking Victoria Park
    South side of 100 Avenue at 118 Street
  • South-west side of St. Albert Place
    5 St. Anne Street, St. Albert

Total Lunar Eclipse
Sunday evening September 27

A significant astronomical event will take place during the evening hours this Sunday, September 27, when Edmonton skies will be graced by a total eclipse of the Moon. A lunar eclipse is one of the most accessible astronomical events, visible to the naked eye, or through the lens of binoculars, telescope, or camera.

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Each phase of a lunar eclipse can last an hour or so, since it takes the Moon roughly that long to move its own diameter against the sky; totality can last somewhat longer due to the substantial size of Earth’s umbral shadow at the Moon’s distance. In this case the “total” phase of the eclipse will last 72 minutes, from 8:11 to 9:23 pm MDT.

One place to view this event is at the Public Observatory at TELUS World of Science – Edmonton and the adjoining meadow in Coronation Park where additional private telescopes will be set up by members of Edmonton RASC, which also provides the lion’s share of volunteer interpreters inside the Observatory. Weather conditions permitting, the facility will be open for its normal Sunday evening shift from 7-10 pm and through to the end of the partial phases. The Public Observatory at TELUS World of Science is open to everyone, free of charge.

The University of Alberta Observatory (5th Floor, CCIS Building) will also be open from 9:00 – 9:30 pm for students and public to observe the last part of totality. The Moon will be blocked from view by other campus buildings for the earlier portion of the event.
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International Observe the Moon Night
September 19, 2015
TELUS World of Science

International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) is an annual world-wide public engagement program that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of our Moon and its connection to NASA planetary science and exploration. Everyone on Earth is invited to join the celebration by hosting or attending an InOMN event.

The RASC Edmonton Centre will be hosting an event at the RASC Observatory next to the TELUS World of Science.

Weather permitting, please drop by to participate in some lunar activities and observe the moon through the observatory telescopes. Please dress appropriately for the weather.

Event will run from 7:30pm to 10:00pm.

For more information on InOMN, vist: http://observethemoonnight.org

Northern Prairie Star Party 2015
September 8-13, 2015
Black Nugget Lake

NPSP 2015 – Event Recap

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Alister Ling (Edmonton Centre RASC executive member) gave a very interesting talk on the trials, tribulations and triumphs of high dynamic range (HDR) photography in astronomy, followed by long-time RASC member and photographer Warren Finlay speaking on photographing nightscapes around the world. David Miles, PhD candidate and research engineer (EIT), Department of Physics, University of Alberta, gave an entertaining and informative presentation on studying space weather from a sub- orbital sounding rocket. Our afternoon concluded with Dr. Jeff Kuhn, from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, talking about the use of large telescopes to search for alien life in our galactic neighbourhood (see photo of our speakers).

4b - 2015 NPSP Shirt Design - Pluto New Horizons - small

NPSP 2015 T-Shirt Design
Order yours by August 21


This is the twelfth year that the Northern Prairie Star Party will be held at the Black Nugget Lake campground south east of Tofield. The event officially starts Tuesday, September 8 and ends Sunday, September 13 – with most of our group activities occurring on Saturday, September 12.

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

Keynote at 4:30pm on Saturday, September 12

Jeff Kuhn from the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii

Taking a census of alien life in our galactic neighborhood

 

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Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve 10th Annual Star Party

Milky Way Days

2015 BHDSP Milky Way Days Poster

Event Poster

Sat, Sep 5, 2015 – Miquelon Lake Provincial Park
Sun, Sep 6, 2015 – Elk Island National Park
2:00 pm – 11:00 pm

On the weekend of Saturday, September 5th, and Sunday, September 6th, Miquelon Lake Provincial Park and Elk Island National Park in partnership with the RASC Edmonton Centre will host the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve’s 10th annual event, celebrating the wonders of the night sky.
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Sidewalk Astronomy
The Week of Astronomy Day 2015
April 19 to 25

Members of the public came out for evening viewing on clear nights during the week of Astronomy Day 2015 (April 19th to 25th). They joined our volunteers for Sidewalk Astronomy and enjoying the springtime night sky.

Gazebo Park

Gazebo Park in Old Strathcona, on 83 Avenue between 103 and 104 Street

Saturday, April 25th

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Three members were at Gazebo park sharing outstanding lunar viewing with about 80 members of the public. Many people who stopped by remarked on how sharp the Moon looked through the telescope.

Several lunar features were visible through the scopes, including:

  • the craters Hipparcus and Albategnius, first drawn by Galileo in 1609,  standing out along the terminator; and
  • the Caucasus mountain range near the Mare Serenitatis

Another lunar highlight occurred around 9:50pm when the orange star HR 3376, magnitude 6.2, was very near the dark limb of the Moon. At 1o:00pm, HR3376 was occulted by the moon.

The Promenade

The Promenade overlooking Victoria Park, on the south side of 100 Avenue at 118 Street

Thursday, April 23rd

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Four members made it out to the Promenade around 9:00pm. They had about 25 to 30 visitors viewing through a 12.5″ and a 5″ scope before almost solid cloud and few passers-by encouraged them to call it a day at 10:30.

The sky was partly cloudy with clear patches–more clear to the north and cloud to south. But there were quite a few good views of the Moon and/or Jupiter.

The seeing wasn’t great, but good enough to could faintly discern the Great Red Spot on Jupiter with the Jovian Moons’ discs fairly obvious at 215x in the 12.5″ scope.

The telescopic view of Earth’s Moon always amazes the general public, with great interest in views of Jupiter and many wows.

Venus was hanging in the West with Aldebaran to its lower left.

It wasn’t too cool, but a breeze necessitated good bit of extra clothing. The clouds posed a bit of a problem, but most visitors hung around for a few minutes or continued their walk returning later to catch a view.

Astronomy Day – Apr 25, 2015

The RASC Observatory and the TELUS World of Science present International Astronomy Day.

FREE. Outside Events Are Weather Permitting (check @edmontonrasc on Twitter for outside updates).
Saturday Update: We are ON for both locations!

Daytime

Telus World of Science Lobby – 11:30 am to 4:30pm

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Visit us at our booth or join us for astronomy talks throughout the day.

Evening

Gazebo Park & The Promenade

Join our volunteers for Sidewalk Astronomy and enjoy the springtime night sky at the following locations:

  • Gazebo Park: in Old Strathcona, on 83 Avenue between 103 and 104 Streets
  • The Promenade: overlooking Victoria Park, on the south side of 100 Avenue at 118 Street