I had a hard time deciding on the 2019 President’s Award for Service. There are more than a few members I could have recognized. All of them work to keep our centre what it is. While I have noted he has recently started flirting with the dark side, astrophotography, this member is known mostly for visual astronomy and the art of star-hopping . He has been a volunteer at the RASCO, promoted sidewalk astronomy, come out at many many outreach events and ran the observers group for as long as I can remember. After years as head of that group he’s stepping down. For long time service to RASC Edmonton the 2019 President’s Award goes to Larry Wood.
Public Outreach is near and dear to my heart. It was how I came to be involved in the activities of this center and how I got to know so many fine people. This member joined less than 10 years ago but quickly became involved in public outreach. He has organized numerous events and can always be counted on to give a talk man a booth or bring a scope to an event. He’s been our Public Education Director for the past few years and continues to do a superb job. The 2019 George Moore’s Memorial Award goes to Clayton Knoll.
While it is said a picture is worth a thousand words, it takes a real talent to use words to paint a picture in one’s mind. While an observation can be a solitary thing, a well written report of an observation can be shared. For years now this award recipient has put his observations into such descriptive text, that the reader cannot help but see what the observer saw with their own eye. I have long admired the recipients writing of his observations, as they normally tell not just what was seen but why and how the subject observed came to be. I was very much in admiration of his report of daylight occultation of Venus by the crescent Moon on July 31 that, even though there was no photograph, was a first rate example of observational reporting, and for this and many more such reports I award the 2019 Observer of the year to Bruce McCurdy.
He has been the editor of Stardust for many years. Some time back an effort was made to collect all the issues of our newsletter going back to its first issue some sixty years back. For the past year Mike has been working on a searchable index for those six decades of Stardust and near the end of 2019 posted it on the website. This took a lot of work and I don’t recall anyone ever asking him to do it. He just did it. For this I award the Franklin Loehde Project of the Year to Mike Ward.
Astrophotography has advanced so much in the past twenty years, it’s hard to remember when amateur’s used film, or even the first generation ToUCam. Getting the image is important but it’s in the processing where the magic really happens. This year recipient has been producing stunning astrophotos for years. Some of his work is featured on the Astro-Cards we hand out at outreach events. Not only does he produce great pictures he freely shares his knowledge of how he does it with others. There are many fine astrophotographers in our centre but for 2019 the Bryce Heartwell Memorial Award goes to Rick Bramm.
It has been really fantastic seeing Janey’s skills as an observer develop over the last couple of years. She is an enthusiastic binocular and naked-eye observer. Lately she’s been viewing planets, moonrises, aurora, and atmospheric phenomena like light pillars.
Geoff Robertson is no stranger to public outreach and education as the past director of public education. Recently, Geoff has organized workshops educating the public on choosing a new telescope. He has also taken the lead on organization of the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Party.
Alister has an incredible attitude: he is always quick to volunteer his time and knowledge to help out on many RASC projects, as well as initiating his own projects. It would be difficult to run Edmonton RASC the way we do without Alister’s participation. He is presently our National Council Representative; he has led the monthly astroimaging corner in the past; recently he has started offering introductions to the observer’s handbook at observers’ meetings; he is always quick to offer help and advice to new members and the public. Last year I commented that he was a close contender for the Service award, and I am happy to honour him with this award this year!