This year’s project of the year is impressive, even if it only technically only encompasses half a year. Luca Vanzella’s Sunrise Azimuth Sweep is a composite image taken from the same location over a period of half a year showing how the azimuthal location of Sunrise changes from North-East at the Summer Solstice, East at the Fall Equinox, and South-East at Winter Solstice. The composite also includes a composite for each of the 3 days showing the path of the Sun as it rises showing the shallow path in the winter compared to the steeper path in summer. I keep on looking at this image and keep on learning from it! It’s truly remarkable, original, and beautiful.
One of the highlights (in my opinion) of our monthly meetings is Astroimaging Corner when we get treated to some outstanding astroimages captured by our members. As anyone who has tried astrophotography knows, it requires both patience collecting long exposures, and then patience behind the computer. There is an art to producing an outstanding image, without overprocessing. Tom Owen puts in long cold nights collecting the photons, and he has developed a great skill producing tasteful images with excellent colour balance and detail. It is a great pleasure to view his images (as we will later this evening) and to give him this award.
Luca Vanzella has been a driving force behind some of the Centre’s major projects: the Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium; Astro Café; the Black Nugget Lake Observatory; as well as volunteering at most of our events both through organizing details and sharing the sky to the public through his telescopes. This is someone who always lends a helping hand and provides advice whenever asked.
Alister Ling contributes to our Centre in so many ways, that he could be a contender for a service award. However, this year his initiative to start a telescope clinic program fairly regularly at RASCO has put him over the top in Public Education. Alister lets people know (on Facebook and the Astro List) that he’ll available to help members of the public learn how to put together and use their telescopes. People then bring over their scopes and he trouble-shoots and helps them learn how to use them, saving the telescopes from being lost at the back of a dusty closet. This is an enormous effort that does a great amount of service to educate the public about astronomy and help them enjoy the night sky.
At a time when telescopes are commonly computerized, and many people collect photons in their cameras instead of their eyes, it is refreshing to find someone who observes the cosmos without a CCD camera or a goto telescope. Larry Wood is legendary for his eagle-eyes and ability to identify faint fuzzies. Larry is a regular observer at Blackfoot, regularly brings his telescope out to the Victoria promenade for public observing, and answers all sorts of questions on the Astro email list.
Award Details: Two youth memberships will be awarded annually. The awards will be chosen by the RASC Edmonton Membership Committee.
Deadline: January 15, 2018
Background: This award is intended to encourage youth between the ages of 12 – 18 to pursue their interest in Astronomy by providing them up to two years of free membership in the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada—Edmonton Centre. In order to be eligible for the award the youth must submit a brief biography (ages 12 – 15) or one page essay (ages 16 – 18), and complete both the application form and ask an adult to fill out the reference form.
This award honours Franklin Loehde, who joined the RASC in 1952 when he was a junior high school student. In the intervening years he helped found the Queen Elizabeth II Planetarium, and the Edmonton Space and Science Centre (later Telus World of Science). Franklin has played an important role in the Edmonton Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society, serving as a councillor and president.
Application: Download the application form. The form can be emailed, faxed, or mailed to the addresses given on the form.
Bruce McCurdy has been a long-time member of the Centre, serving in just about every capacity on Council and in volunteering. In mid-2013, he took the reins of our Twitter feed and turned it into an excellent social media source of local astronomy news for the Edmonton area. His timely tweets about what’s in the skies over Edmonton, upcoming astronomy events, and thoughtful retweets keep more than 1400 followers informed and looking up. Often, Bruce’s multi-part tweets give our followers short astronomy lessons on topics like Earth’s changing seasons, orbital oddities, and why things in the sky look the way they do. To me, the way Bruce handles the twitter feed is an excellent example of how an astronomy club’s twitter presence should be: on point, timely, non-spammy, and educational. So in the parlance…
To @BruceMcCurdy, 4 a great @EdmontonRASC #astronomy feed for #yeg, I award the 2016 George Moores Memorial Award for Public Education.
This member has conducted a tremendous amount of astronomy outreach over the years, helping the Centre deliver on its outreach mission. Sidewalk astronomy, school visits, major events like the Beaver Hills DSP Star Party and the Jasper Dark Sky Festival – this person has volunteered for just about everything. Thanks to this member’s hard work, we have stepped up our outreach game so we now can have a more professional appearance and a solid backup program in case of inclement weather.
This member pitches in whenever and wherever help is required. From delivering refreshments for our meetings, to signing up for a talk for to help the fledgling Astro Café series, to playing devil’s advocate when needed in Executive meetings, to last year when the Centre needed someone to step in and coordinate one of our biggest outreach events, stepping up immediately and doing a great job (along with his wife of course).
This member has also kept a watchful eye on the Centre’s books for the past four years, ensuring that we spend money wisely and within the arcane rules of the AGLC. And he has signed up for another term as Treasurer, continuing to run a tight ship on financial matters.
I have always been able to bounce ideas on and get second, and sometimes third, opinions from this member. This has helped me immensely in my term as President. For all of these things and many others that I have not mentioned, it is with gratitude that I give the President’s Award for Service to the Centre for 2016 to Jay Lavender.