SaturDay Star Parties
The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre with the support of Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics, National Research Council of Canada
SATURDAY STAR PARTIES 2018
at the NRC's Dominion Astrophysical Observatory
This year's dates are April 21st to September 1st inclusive, come rain, come shine!
(this site and the ticket sales site will be updated approximately monthly to make tickets and speaker schedules available for the next month)
April 21st - Astronomy Day at the Royal British Columbia Museum, organized by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada
May 5th - Re-enactment night celebrating the centenary of First Light at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory on May 6th 1918
The June 9th event will be one of the rare occasions with a cost to the admission ticket.
Please refer to our Guide to the Centre of the Universe to find the activities listed below.
April 21st 2018 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:30pm
Gateway to the Stars: Science, Civic Identity, and Tourism at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (DAO), Victoria B.C. 1903-1941 – Dan Posey
The Canadian astrophysics program rapidly developed between 1903 and 1914, leading to the wartime construction of what was hoped to be the world’s largest research telescope. Following its announcement the Victoria observatory quickly developed into a widely visited tourism destination, operating an extensive public outreach program. Throughout the 1920s Dominion Astrophysical Observatory staff produced several discoveries on the forefront of astrophysics, further boosting the institution’s public image.
Dan Posey is a graduate of the University of Victoria’s history MA program, a board member of the Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, and a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Victoria Centre.
April 28th 2018 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:15pm
Introduction to the Night Sky – David Lee
The night sky can be a bewildering maze of disconnected dots, flashing streaks of light and predictable events that appear just like clockwork. But most of all it is filled with mystery and beauty. Come and learn what’s up in the sky and how best to view it.
David Lee is an avid photographer who over 20 years ago turned his camera upwards to the sky capturing astronomical images of the solar system and beyond. Through the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada he has been an advocate of astronomy and the sciences through its public outreach programs. Currently working in the Information Technology sector he hopes to retire soon to become even more of a tourist of the night sky.
May 5th 2018 – 8:30pm repeats at 9pm
The Improbable Telescope: From the Shadow of War to the Edge of the Country the Incredible Story of the Plaskett Telescope – Scott Mair
Who would build a telescope on the rainy West Coast during the First World War? The incredible dream of John Stanley Plaskett, how it came to be and it’s impact on the world of astronomy.
Scott Mair is an award winning science educator: Canada’s prestigious Michael Smith Award for science promotion and the first Canadian to win the National (US) Association for Interpretation’s Master Interpreter Award. Scott learned to love dinosaurs while curator of education at Alberta’s Tyrrell Museum, the mountains as a chief park interpreter with Alberta Parks, traffic while at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles and stars as the founding director of Victoria’s Centre of the Universe.
May 12th 2018 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:15pm
History of the Hubble Space Telescope – Chris Gainor
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched 28 years ago in 1990. After overcoming problems caused by a defective main mirror, Hubble has made discoveries that have revolutionized our view of the universe we live in. This talk will cover the history of Hubble based on a book the speaker is writing.
Chris Gainor is a historian specializing in the history of space flight and aeronautics. He has four published books and is currently writing a history of the Hubble Space Telescope for NASA. He is also First Vice President of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
May 19th 2018 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:15pm
Watching the Cold Universe from Chile: Why ALMA Matters – Gerald Schieven
The Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) is a giant multinational observatory located in the high desert of northern Chile, and made up of 66 telescopes designed to study cold gas and dust in unprecedented detail. In this talk we’ll learn what and why ALMA is, what it’s like to work there, and about some of the astonishing discoveries ALMA is making.
Gerald Schieven is an astronomer at NRC. A native of Ontario, Gerald got his PhD from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. He has worked at Queen’s University in Kingston, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory in Penticton, and the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, before moving to Victoria in 2008 to lead the Canadian support of ALMA operations.
7:45 – 8:00 p.m. “Out of this World” Interactive Presentation – Auditorium
8:00 – 8:15 p.m. “Stories in the Skies” – Planetarium
8:15 – 8:45 p.m. “Meet the Telescope” Tour – Plaskett Dome
8:45 – 9:30 p.m. Children’s Activities – Information Area
- Make and Take Craft Tables
- Family Scavenger Hunt
- iPad Interactives
- Night Sky Viewing