So Long Stardust Blog

In December 2014, I wrote that the migration of to WordPress presented an opportunity for Stardust to evolve into a blog, with content curated by an editor but generated by contributors. A good blog, like a good newsletter, needs content but this idea has not gained any traction. As of this writing, the Stardust Blog has been put on hiatus.

Luca Vanzella

RASC EC VP wins an Award!

Our illustrious VP, Sharon Morsink, won an Alumni Centenary Award last fall at the 2014 University of Alberta Alumni Recognition Awards. She “logs hundreds of volunteer hours each year sharing her passion for science with thousands of school children and others from the community … she has opened a window to the mystery of the universe by hosting free, twice-weekly public viewings at the University’s campus observatory … help[s] raise scientific literacy in the community, leading to increased interest in careers in science.” Continue Reading →

Alberta’s Dark Skies

“In my mind’s eye, I can see the hungry people and hear the howl of the winter wind. Suddenly, a pack of wolves appears. I watch as they teach the tribe how to work together, how to hunt and what to eat. Come spring, the tribe will be strong and the wolves will be gone, but I will still see them working together – high overhead in the night sky, along the Wolf Trail. Continue Reading →

RASC EC Member in the Top Forty

In November 2014, Avenue Magazine unveiled the Top 40 Under 40 list, celebrating Edmonton’s best and brightest young leaders. The list includes Gregory Sivakoff, a stargazer intent on sharing his love for astrophysics – especially black holes, and who also happens to be an RASC member. Greg monitors 10 high-powered telescopes located across the United States to observe the interaction between black holes and surrounding stars. Continue Reading →

The Evolution of Stardust?

Stardust, the newsletter of the RASC Edmonton Centre, has played an essential role in the life of the Centre and forms a more or less permanent record of our activities. It started in 1954 as a one-page newsletter double-sided, typed and stenographed. In the early 1980’s, it sometimes swelled into a 32-page booklet, prepared on a CompSet typesetting machine producing rolls of developed paper which were waxed and physically laid out on boards, which then went to the printer to be photographed and printed. April issues became funny starting in 1990. Colour sneaked into the digital format in January 2007, prepared using open-source software and digitally transmitted to the printers. Throughout it all, Stardust has recorded star nights, star parties, telescope making, observing techniques, planet reports, meteor counts, optical theory, astrophotography techniques, the space program, Centre finances, news from NASA, findings of space probes, news from other RASC Centres, book reviews, observing reports, meeting minutes, for sale ads and creative ways to spend gaming proceeds for public benefit. Continue Reading →

RASC at the Jasper Dark Sky Festival

This year’s Jasper Dark Sky Festival was bigger than ever, with more days and evenings of observing, and lots of talks by famous people such as Jay Ingram and Chris Hadfield. In past years, the Dark Sky Festival has included evening observing sessions on the Friday and Saturday evenings, and solar observing and public lectures on the Saturday afternoon. Since there was a partial solar eclipse taking place on the Thursday afternoon, the event was extended to include the eclipse. I remained in Edmonton for the eclipse, where we had an excellent clear sky, and great view of the eclipse including the very memorable monster sunspot group. Many Edmonton RASCals were in Jasper for the eclipse. They also had very good weather in Jasper and were able to view most of the eclipse. Continue Reading →