Presidents Message

Welcome both visitors and returning members to the website of the Thunder Bay Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

If you are new to astronomy or have been active as an astronomy enthusiast on your own this site is here to help put in touch with others who share your interest in astronomy. With over 50 members there’s likely someone that shares your interests and skill level.

I can speak from personal experience as I started in this club so many years as a novice. I had very little experience in observing or handling of astronomical equipment, but with the help and guidance, I gained experience and knowledge and grew into my present role. I now have the opportunity to return the favour.

Our astronomy club is now in it’s 27th year and one of 28 Centres located across Canada from St. John’s, Newfoundland to Victoria, British Columbia. Currently we have over 50 members of various ages, interests and expertise.

The Year Ahead;

In 2014-15 membership year will build on the momentum from the successes of the past membership year. Although there are no (new) major projects planned there is still a lot going on. One of the main focuses this year will be to get back to basics and that means observing! Another focus of the year is activities from members for members.

The centre is continuing to develop and strengthen it’s relationship with Fort William Historical Park and seek new partnerships with other community organizations. As we grow and gain new partnerships, we can continue to do what we do best a share our hobby with others. With new partnerships, come new opportunities and new benefits of being a member.

Why we are here;

Our purpose is to promote the advancement of astronomy and allied sciences through public awareness and education. We are open to anyone who has an interest in astronomy. We wish to introduce people to this worthwhile and fulfilling hobby as well as its opportunities for scientific pursuits.

We hold monthly meetings at Confederation College on the second Tuesday of each month excluding July and August, at 7:00 PM. The general meetings include topics such as what to see in the night skies this month, operation and using binoculars and telescopes, latest news in astronomy, and many other presentations. These meetings are open to everyone. You are welcome to join us and see what we are all about. Check the TV screens at the main entrances of the Shuniah Building for the room number.

In addition, we conduct many events such as public and member observing sessions, group presentations and displays for a wide variety of organizations. During the summer, star parties are held at several provincial parks. At certain times the club is involved with special projects such as telescope making and workshops.

Membership is open to all novice and experienced sky gazers. You do not need to own a telescope or binoculars. Thunder Bay Centre members have access to and borrowing privileges from a library of astronomy books, magazines and other materials including telescopes. Membership benefits also include our monthly newsletter “The Northern Sky”, the Canadian astronomy magazine “SkyNews”, the Astronomical Society’s “Journal”, and the indispensable “Observer’s Handbook”.

The past year;

The past year was a huge success for our club. We hosted many public events and formally opened an observatory. Here’s a quick look at a few of the past years highlights.

Scouts’ Greywolf Camp:
The summer astronomy talk circuit got kicked off this year near the beginning of June. The Centre was invited to do a talk followed by an observing session to a mixed group of kids ranging in age from the very young to early teens.

The day started out with rain and I was worried that the day would be a total loss. As the day progressed the weather cleared and by the time my talk was over the skies had parted and we were able to do some observing.

Sherbrooke School:
This was an end of year special treat for a group of elementary school students. It was a mid-day affair an unfortunately meant that there would be no viewing following the talk.

It was the standard intro to astronomy talk that many of you have seen in some fashion over the years. It was nice to cover the basics of astronomy with a young group of minds, while at the same time filling a traditional presentation that the Centre has normally given.

East Loon Lake Campers Association:
In mid July came the 3rd presentation of the summer to a group from the East Loon Lake Campers Association. They invited the Centre for a talk/observing session, which I was more happy to do. However the weather itself was no help an like most of the summer it was cloudy.

Turn out for the talk was good and probably had about 40 or so come for the talk. The Centre has already been invited to come back again next summer with a request knowing which equipment to use.

This was the first year that I am aware of that the Centre has made an appearance at the Blueberry Festival. I gave two presentations over the long weekend to festival goers. I was joined by Kriby and his wife for the observing part of the evening which was big help and made for a smoother evening for the guests.

For once the weather did agree (for the most part) and we were able to see a few gems of the night sky.

The Centre’s annual excursion to Quetico Provincial Park came mid-August. This years pick was to still be close to the peak of the Persieds Peak while not having the Moon washing out the entire night sky.

It rained Friday night and was cloudy most of Saturday. John Ross came by Saturday afternoon for some solar observing but alias the weather did not part until late Saturday evening. Like true to form Quetico Park has never left us with a weekend without at least one night of clear skies and this year was no different.

I gave the same talk Saturday night as Friday night as both nights had completely fresh faces. The temperature dropped fast so by the time it was dark the bugs had waned for the evening. Of course the dramatic temperature drop also brought on heavy dew and brought an early end to observing.

Another enjoyable year in the shadow of the sleeping giant was had by all. Although the cloudy rainy summer weather persisted through the long weekend, we did make the most of it. Centre members Dave Gallant & family, Randy Martin and his honey and the lone wolf (being myself) put on a successfully informative weekend.

Although it was cloudy there were a few solid breaks that allowed for some observing. Saturday evening we had evening viewing on the beach with 20 or so campers. The following afternoon Dave and Randy brought the Sun into focus for a number of the campers.

Thank You to Dave and Randy for coming out and doing a presentation and holding the observing sessions.

If you have any questions about our Society please contact us by leaving a message under “Contact” on the left side of the page. You may also try our National site @ www.rasc.ca.

Brendon Roy,