Awards for 2021 Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year

No-one can deny that 2021 was a very tough year. In the spring of 2020 we had all marched into our homes confidently to battle Covid, like the British troops who had marched off to Europe at the beginning of World War One: home by Christmas! A year later, and we were still pinned down in our homes, our modern trenches, suffering casualties every day, with no end in sight.

We needed some good news: and it was at that time, March of 2021 that our next award winner conceived of a project that would not only give us that news: it would do so in a lighthearted, entertaining way that would lift our spirits. He called it “News from Space.”

Presented at each Regular meeting, News from Space documents, in a fast paced, entertaining 10 to 15 minute series of seamlessly stitched together film clips, the triumphs and occasional foibles associated with humanity’s adventures into the great beyond.

And in a stroke of comic genius, these events are narrated by Walter Winchell, of all people! And it is comic genius because that voice—the voice of tabloid Hollywood sensationalism of yesteryear—not only captures and focuses our attention on what’s worthy up there, it also serves to bring down to earth the pompous and self-important who would exploit it. Billionaires in Space!

So, for lifting up our spirits so high every month—and it takes a lot of work to do so—the Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year goes to our Past President, Geoff Robertson.



Awards for 2020 Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year

A project takes a vision of where you want end up, planning and execution over a period of time. My old physics 30 teacher back at Shep, Mr. Wynn use to say a picture is worth a thousand words, and one mark on the test. Sometimes you can explain something to someone and they just don’t get it, but show them a picture and the light bulb goes on. We watch the sky, we know the movement of the Sun through the year. Ask someone where the Sun sets and they’ll say the west. Well yes it does set due west, twice a year. The rest of the time it sets westish. To illustrate this point this year’s winner took a series of sunset images from the same location to show the movement of the Sun through the seasons. The result was an image that was worthy of an Astronomy Picture the Day which was titled “Equinox in the Sky” For this effort the Franklin Loehde award for Project of the Year goes to Luca Vanzella.



Awards for 2019 President’s Award for Service to the Centre

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.

Awards for 2019 George Moores Memorial Award for Excellence in Public Education

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.

Awards for 2019 Observer of the Year Award

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.

Awards for 2019 Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year

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.


Awards for 2019 Bryce Heartwell Memorial Award for Excellence in Astroimaging

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.