Northern Prairie Star Party 2019
September 24 – 29, 2019
Black Nugget Lake

The sixteenth annual Northern Prairie Star Party will be held at the Black Nugget Lake campground south east of Tofield from September 24 to 29, 2019. Most of our group activities will occur on Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28.

This event is open to the public – registration fees apply. Camping fees apply if staying overnight.*

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

If you need more information or have questions, please email Rick Bramm.

Saturday Afternoon Program (September 28)

1:45 pm
Project-based astronomy:
A fantastic way to ignite students’ interest in science

Ian Doktor
Jasper Place High School physics and math teacher (with students)

Bio: Ian Doktor is a passionate science educator and amateur astronomer. He spends his nights doing Astrophotography, Photometry and Spectroscopy and his days teaching Astronomy and Physics at Jasper Place high school. Several of his students have been involved in a variety of science and Astronomy projects including Variable Star Observations, Spectroscope construction and Gravitational Torsion Balance building.

2:45 pm
Liftoff! The Story of the First Made-In-Alberta Satellites

Callie Lissina
Project Manager, AlbertaSat, University of Alberta

The successful launch of the Ex-Alta 1 satellite marked our province’s place in space in May 2017. The satellite was designed and built at the University of Alberta by the AlbertaSat team comprised of about 50 students, mostly undergraduate volunteers, guided by faculty members. The Ex-Alta 1 mission paved the way for the upcoming Ex-Alta 2 satellite and inspired graduating students to pursue their own ventures in the space sector. Ex-Alta 2 is now slated to launch in 2021 as part of a national mission run by the Canadian Space Agency. Come learn about our province’s first spacecraft and what the students who made it will be doing next.

Bio: Passionate about space technology, Callie has been designing and operating satellites with the AlbertaSat team for four years. She was one of the primary operators of the Ex-Alta 1 satellite and is now Project Manager of its successor, Ex-Alta 2. Drawing on this experience, in 2018 she and three of her colleagues co-founded a space company, Wyvern, which will provide Earth observation data from a satellite platform. She is a strong advocate for women in STEM and for educational outreach. Beyond engineering she enjoys training competitive dancers at an Edmonton dance studio. She is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Alberta, studying mechanical engineering.

3:45 pm
Solar system dynamics and the remaining outstanding
puzzles in our understanding of planetary formation

Brett Gladman
Full Professor, UBC and Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy

Bio: Brett Gladman graduated with a Bachelor of Science in physics at the University of Alberta in 1988, completing a thesis project on solar system dynamics under Professor Doug Hube. He completed his PhD in Astronomy at Cornell University in 1996 and continued with post-doctoral studies in Nice, France and Toronto. He became a faculty member of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of British Columbia in 2002. His research involves small-body detection and tracking using many telescopes around the world, large-scale celestial mechanics and studies of planetary formation and evolution.

Continue Reading…

Astro Café
Classic Telescope Night

Postponed: Classic Telescope Night

Apologies, but we have had to postpone this event. Don’t blow the dust off those classic scopes just yet – the event will be back.

Do you have a classic “trash” telescope”, such as:

  • a telescope that came in a box stating “525 x” (or higher) power?
  • a telescope that came in a box with deceptively wonderful images of what you might imagine you could see, like Saturn, Jupiter, Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy?
  • a telescope that was bought at a “department store” and came in a box like described above?
  • a telescope with a jerky, rickety, wobbly, flimsy or otherwise unstable tripod/mount?
  • a telescope with a primary lens or mirror 50 mm or smaller diameter?
  • a telescope of the type you were advised not to buy at the Astro Café “How to Buy a Telescope” presented by RASC?

Do you have a classic “good” telescope such as:

  • Celestron 5, 8, or 14 (1970’s orange tube)
  • Criterion Dynamax 8
  • Questar 3 1/2 or 7
  • Quantum maksutov
  • Criterion Dynascope RV-6
  • Star-Liner reflector
  • Cave Astrola reflector
  • Fecker
  • Astroscan reflector
  • old Meade refractor
  • Unitron refractor
  • Gotoh refractor
  • very old Tasco refractor

If the answer is “yes” to ANY of these questions, then bring your telescope to Classic Telescope Night, and show it off! We’ll line ’em up and compare views of the Moon at about 50x or 100x magnification.

Prize for worst view of the Moon thru a classic “trash” telescope!

Prize for best view of the Moon thru a classic “good” telescope!

Friday, July 12, 2019
9:00 – 11:00 PM

On the lawn at the RASC Observatory at TWOSE.

*** Weather Permitting ***
This post will be updated with “Go” or “No Go” on the morning of July 12.

FREE event open to the public

RASC Regular Meeting June 10, 2019

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Zeidler Dome
FREE and open to the public.

7:00 PM Pre-meeting mix and mingle.
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

“From Aunt Effie’s Farm to the Moon: The Apollo Program in Context.”

Dr. Robert Smith 

In December 1903, Orville Wright, in the presence of a small group of people, piloted the Wright Brothers’ experimental airplane for a flight of around 12 seconds in length that had carried him roughly 120 feet. Brief though it was, this was the first successful flight by a heavy-than-air flying machine. A mere 66 years later, in Jul.y 1969, as part of the Apollo Program, humans were walking, in view of many hundreds of millions of people around the Earth, on the surface of the Moon. In this talk, Robert Smith will examine how and why this astonishingly rapid development came about, as well as discuss the overall significance and place of the Apollo Program in history.


Astro Café
May 15, 2019
How to Use A Telescope

How to Use a Telescope

FREE event open to the public.

Are you having trouble using your telescope? Bring your telescope to a FREE workshop: How to Use a Telescope and experts from the RASC will help you learn how to use it. Let us show you how to make the most out of your telescope. Discover how to properly set up your telescope, how to find objects in the sky, what accessories would be useful to you and how to take care of your telescope.

Weather permitting, we can go outside to try out telescopes. Sunset is at 9:27 PM at which time the Moon will be in the Southeast at an altitude of 28 degrees.

Astro Café – How to Use a Telescope

Wednesday, May 15, 2019
8:30 PM to 10:30 PM

Windsor Park Community League Hall*
11840 87 Ave

FREE event open to the public.

* Note: Outside shoes are not permitted inside the hall.

RASC Regular Meeting May 13, 2019

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Zeidler Dome
FREE and open to the public.

7:00 PM Pre-meeting mix and mingle.
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Photometry at Jasper Place High School        

Photometry is the study of variable stars.  These are stars that change in brightness for a variety of reasons including transiting exoplanets, star spots or intrinsic instability. At Jasper Place High School we have been observing variable stars and using a number of different tools to create light curves for some of them. Using Skynet, Muniwin, and AAVSO resources we took photos, identified variable stars and processed images of BL Cam. BL Cam is a rapidly pulsating variable star in the constellation Camelopardalis with a period of less than one hour. We already have plans for future projects to observe exoplanet transits! We can’t wait to share what we’ve learnt.

Astro Café Apr 17, 2019

Finding your (Sky-Watching) Passion
in a
Universe of Possibilities

by Krista Stefan

Wednesday, Apr 17, 2019
7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Windsor Park Community League Hall*
11840 87 Ave

Members Only event.

For a person just starting to dip their toes in the hobby of Astronomy, the vast amount of information and range of activities available can seem overwhelming. How do you get started? What do you need? How do you know what’s even possible? This talk will try to help those who have a general interest take those first steps towards anything from perusing a casual interest to jumping into a life-changing passion for Astronomy.

* Note: Outside shoes are not permitted inside the hall.

RASC Regular Meeting April 8, 2019

RASC Regular Meeting
TELUS World of Science – Zeidler Dome
FREE and open to the public.

7:00 PM Pre-meeting mix and mingle.
7:30 PM Guest Speaker

Globular Clusters and their Weird Binary Stars

Dr. Craig Heinke                       

Globular clusters are old, dense conglomerations of stars, which are also unique physical laboratories.  The denser globular clusters have stars packed so tightly together that stars occasionally collide with each other.  More often, binary stars (pairs of stars orbiting around each other) have their orbits disrupted by other stars, leading to the replacement of one star in the binary with the intruder star and the formation of unusual binaries.   Binaries including extremely dense dead stars, like neutron stars or black holes, can produce X-ray binaries, where the dense star steals mass from its companion. As the matter spirals down from the companion to the dead star, it heats up to millions of degrees and emits X-rays, permitting us to study these exotic systems.  I will discuss what we learn from studying these unusual objects in different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum, from X-rays and gamma-rays to optical, infrared, and radio waves.