This was the eleventh year that the Northern Prairie Star Party was held at the Black Nugget Lake camp ground south east of Tofield. The event officially started on Tuesday, September 23 and ended Sunday, September 28 – with most of our group activities occurring on Saturday, September 27. This year’s event attracted 50 participants including returnees and newcomers. Unfortunately we were beset by cold and rainy weather that prevented observing on our two big nights – Friday and Saturday. This bad luck was more than offset by lots of discussion amongst participants and camaraderie around the first-ever campfire held on Saturday night when the skies were completely clouded over.
Public Talks on Sep 27, 2014
Member, RASC Edmonton Centre
Hands-on lunar and planetary astrophotography tutorial
Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, UBC
Extremely Large Telescopes
Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, University of Alberta
How to Build a Black Hole – An Impractical Guide for Beginners
Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta
Recent Mars missions and the cycle of water on Mars
New for 2014: Observing Certificates
Warren Finlay has set up 3 observing certificates that can be achieved at the 2014 NPSP. The observing certificates are meant to give attendees a specific goal to accomplish with their observing during NPSP. There are 3 lists (level 1, 2 and 3 which correspond to novice, beginner, intermediate), each with 10 deep sky objects that the observer needs to find during this year’s NPSP to get their certificate. The 3 levels are as follows:
10 objects that can be seen without optical aid if you have keen eyes. Suitable for entry level astronomers who have little experience in observing the night sky. A planisphere, smartphone app, or sky atlas that can be used to find the bright naked eye stars is needed to find the objects on this list.
10 objects that can be seen with a smaller telescope. Suitable for those who have beginning experience in observing the night sky with a telescope. The list includes a globular cluster, an open cluster, a planetary nebula, an emission nebula, a star cloud, an elliptical galaxy, a spiral galaxy, a lenticular galaxy, a garnet-colored star, and a beautiful double star. A smartphone app, digital setting circles, go-to equipped telescope, or star atlas that can be used to find the positions of the brightest deep sky objects (e.g. the Messier objects) is needed to find the objects on this list.
10 objects that can be seen with a medium telescope (6″ diameter or larger). Suitable for those who have intermediate experience in observing the night sky with a telescope. The list includes a globular cluster, an open cluster, a planetary nebula, an emission nebula, a reflection nebula, an elliptical galaxy, a spiral galaxy, a lenticular galaxy, the closest star that can be seen from Edmonton, and a triple star. A smartphone app, digital setting circles, go-to equipped telescope, or star atlas that can be used to find the positions of most deep sky objects and their nearby stars is needed to find the objects on this list.
The lists and instructions for the lists will be given out when people register on site at NPSP.