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 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 2018
Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year

The Black Nugget Lake Observatory Committee

Rick Bramm, Susan Bramm, Warren Finlay, Kent Martens, Roman Unyk, Luca Vanzella for laying the foundation for the observatory dome at Black Nugget Lake, both literally and figuratively. Construction on the BNL observatory is still in progress, but the foundation was both a difficult and important problem that the committee solved!

Awards for 2017
Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year
Luca Vanzella

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.

Awards for 2016
Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year
BNLO Committee

The RASC Edmonton Centre’s has owned a member-built 18” Newtonian telescope since 1988. For many years, the telescope saw a great deal of use by members and was used extensively for public outreach events. However, in recent years the telescope was little used and sat in our storage locker. In 2016, the re-energized Black Nugget Lake Observatory (BNLO) Committee proposed a project to relocate the Club 18” telescope to the BNLO sea can to enable it to be used by Centre members at a dark site. The project was executed by the BNLO Committee with skill and enthusiasm in five months, in time for the Northern Prairie Star Party, where the telescope was dedicated as the Barry Arnold Memorial Telescope. I have since used the BAMT a couple of times and it is certainly a joy to drive out to a dark site where a large, already assembled telescope awaits star light.

The process for a dark site observatory originally started in 2005 when the BNLO pitch was first made to Beaver County Council. Including the time before that to get the original go ahead from Edmonton RASC Council, it’s taken one Jupiter year to get BNLO up and running with a telescope (which sounds a lot better than 12 Earth years!). This project has produced a fine result that nicely complements the previous work of dedicated RASC members over the years in building previous incarnations of this telescope and in preparing the BNLO site. And there is more to come.

I am happy and grateful to present the 2016 Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year award to the BNLO Committee: Warren Finlay (chair), Susan & Rick Bramm, Kent Martens, and Roman Unyk.

Awards for 2015
Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year
Paul Campbell

2015_project_of_the_year_awardOn Dec 7, 2014 this member posted his first solar image to the Astro List. It was start of a sustained project to photograph the Sun and map the positions and measure the sizes of solar features, in particular filaments. The project involved not only photographing the Sun but developing software to overlay a grid on the solar disk for positioning. Over the months of 2015, his processing of solar images improved steadily and he routinely posted many fine H-alpha images of the Sun, showing sunspots, active regions, prominences, filaproms, and even sequences of solar flares in progress. By October, he began posting videos of dynamic solar features in addition to near daily images. On Jan 2, 2016 he posted his year-in-review article summarizing the findings of 81 imaging sessions and measurements of 962 filament observations and the beginnings of a butterfly diagram for filaments. To me, this was a great project contributing to solar imaging and software to interpret the data embedded in the images, all reported on Astro as it progressed. I am happy to present the 2015 Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year award to Paul Campbell.

Awards for 2014
Franklin Loehde Award for Project of the Year
Luca Vanzella

2014 Franklin Loehde Project - Luca VanzellaThis was the easiest award to figure out this year. The persevering effort behind this task was nothing short of fabulous. Given the amount of time we’ve spent either face to face or on the phone together over the past couple years, I’m not sure how he had time to do it…but then he is semi-retired (or so it seems), so that gives one all kinds of time….right? In any case, his analemma is a great accomplishment and I am happy to present the Franklin Loehde award for project of the year award to Luca Vanzella.