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.