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.
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
June 23rd 2018 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:30pm
Deep (Machine) Learning with Neural Networks – the Second Industrial Revolution – Karun Thanjavur
Artificial intelligence (AI), specially Deep (Machine) Learning are already ubiquitous in everyday use, and have been called the second industrial revolution. Deep Learning algorithms, called Neural Networks, thrive on Big Data, the happy ‘problem’ we now face of the enormous amounts of data available in this digital era. In astronomy too, telescopes will soon routinely produce terabytes of data every night. Piggybacked on the impressive recent advances in high performance computing, neural networks are trained on these available large datasets to then perform a variety of human-like tasks, such as identifying subtle patterns, realtime decision making, forecasting based on experience, and so on. In this presentation I aim to provide an overview of this rapidly burgeoning field, explain in simple terms the working of a neural net, and illustrate the principles with a working model.
As a research astronomer, I am excited by the availability of huge public datasets, which I may harness for my own research questions using the proper data analysis tools. Given the enormous data volume, I have recently begun harnessing the powerful techniques of deep learning to tease out complex correlations and thus illustrate the underlying physical principles. These science explorations of the Universe, coupled with the equally fascinating world of Artificial Intelligence and Big Data, come after a full career as a mechanical engineer, specializing in control systems and robotics. Born and raised in a small town in South India, I completed my education up to a bachelor’s degree in engineering there, before moving to Canada to pursue graduate studies first in Robotics, and later in Astrophysics. Even though undergraduate teaching is the principal focus of my current position as a senior astronomy lab instructor at UVic, I work hard to keep my research interests alive. I also enjoy sharing the excitement of science and my research efforts with the public through many outreach initiatives.
June 30th 2018 – 8:30pm repeats at 9:30pm
How Things Might End -Thoughts on the various ways the Universe will unfold with time – Dr. Doug Johnstone
In this talk I will consider possible ways in which things might end, from the destruction of the Earth, the evolution of the Sun, rare but dangerous events within the Galaxy, and finally the evolution of the Universe itself. Beware!
Dr. Doug Johnstone is a Principal Research Astronomer at NRC’s Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics. For two years he was the Associate Director of the James Cleark Maxwell Telescope, a 15-m telescope on Maunakea devoted to observations of the sky at sub-millimeter wavelengths. Doug’s main research interests follow the formation of stars and planetary systems. He began his professional life as a theorist at the University of California, Berkeley, working on the evolution of circumstellar disks around young stars, back before extra-solar planet detections were common. Today, Dr. Johnstone’s research focuses on the formation and evolution of structure in molecular clouds, attempting to disentangle the physical processes through which a molecular cloud sheds into individual stars and planets.