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The Sky This Month - December 2011

The Fair Maiden - Andromeda

Whenever the name Andromeda arises in conversation or in print, we immediately visualize a majestic galaxy. The Andromeda Galaxy, aka M31 is located a mere 2.9 million light years - down the cosmic highway. This island of an estimated 400 billion stars can even be spotted naked eye from dark locations. M31 is flanked by two smaller galaxies known as M32 and M110. Mythology depicts Andromeda as the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia and was sacrificed to the sea monster Cetus, but Perseus saved the day.

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Montreal Planetarium Closes October 11th - New Planetarium to Open in 2013

The Montréal Planetarium, located on rue Saint-Jacques, will be closing on October 11 to allow the current team to plan and produce the programming for the new Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, which is slated to open in spring 2013. So families and astronomy buffs still have a few days left to visit this Space for Life, which presents the starry sky this month and multimedia shows for all ages. For the past 45 years, the Montréal Planetarium has been explaining and making the fascinating universe of astronomy and space exploration accessible to everyone.

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New RASC Website is Now On-line!

The RASC's main website at www.rasc.ca is now back on-line with a new look and feel. The biggest change that members will notice is that members-only content is now protected by a personalized username and password. This is the same password that you use on the Society's secure web portal at https://secure.rasc.ca. Here's what's new at www.rasc.ca:

 

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Planned Maintenance for RASC Website

The RASC's website will be upgraded beginning on Friday, November 18, 2011 at approximately 1:00 p.m. Eastern. This outage will completely replace the existing RASC website with a new platform.

 

This changeover will not affect the RASC's secure web portal at secure.rasc.ca, however, some links and other web components may not be immediately operational at the time of the cutover. Please bear with us as we complete the process of migrating the RASC website to a new and exciting web platform.

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Hamilton Centre Member Receives McNeil Medal from RSC

Dr. Doug Welch, a member of the Hamilton Centre and astronomy professor at McMaster University, has been awarded the McNeil Medal by the Royal Society of Canada.

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Prof. Andrew Fraknoi appointed Honorary Member

The National Council of the RASC is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Andrew Fraknoi of Foothill College, California has accepted the Society's nomination of him as an Honorary Member. Professor Fracknoi was nominated by Mary Lou Whitehorne, who has had occasion to meet Professor Fraknoi and recommended him on the basis of his work in Education and Public Outreach.

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RASC Designates Canada's Fundy National Park as a Dark-sky Preserve

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) officially designated Fundy National Park of Canada in New Brunswick as a new RASC Dark-sky Preserve through its National Certification Program on October 29, 2011. Fundy is the 14th Dark-sky Preserve in Canada to be designated by the Society.

 

Together with the RASC, Parks Canada Agency recognizes that natural darkness is an ecological resource in need of protection and both organizations are committed to lighting practices that preserve the beauty and wonder of the dark sky and night environment for all Canadians to enjoy.

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Life Member and Society Benefactor E. Clifton Carr

E. Cliffton (Cliff) Carr, a Life Member of, and major benefactor to, the RASC's Toronto Centre passed away unexpectedly on October 27, 2011. Mr. Carr made a substantial donation to the Toronto Centre that led to the founding of the Carr Astronomical Observatory (CAO) near Thornbury, Ontario and will be greatly missed by his many friends in the Society.

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David Thompson Observatory Construction Begins in Thunder Bay

Construction of the David Thompson Observatory at Fort William Historical Park here in Thunder Bay has begun. When complete the 15' Automated ProDome will house a 20" Planewave CDK, on a Planewave Ascention HR mount. The secondary scope is a 5" TMB Refractor. The facility is 100% owned by the Ontario Government.

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The Sky This Month -November 2011


Of Fish and Whales


 


As we open the second to last month of 2011, we set our sights on a couple of watery creatures namely Pisces and Cetus. On the first of the month, they are located on the meridian at about 10 p.m. local time and well placed for galaxy hunting. Our two feature constellations reside in an area called “The Water” and is also home to other such starry patterns as Eridanus and Aquarius.

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