Archive for the ‘MAG Events’ Category

May Meeting – 12th

Minas Astronomy Group –– May Meeting
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
Saturday, May 12, 7 p.m.

Speakers: Melody Hamilton, Judy Black, Dave Chapman, Jerry Black

Chile’s Atacama Desert: Our Southern Sky Experience

During a human lifetime, Earth’s rotational angular momentum, a vector quantity, is nearly fixed relative to the distant stars. As a consequence, for observers in Nova Scotia (latitude 45 degrees north) Earth itself blocks our view of 15% of the Universe. Assuming that atmospheric absorption prevents adequate views within 8 degrees of our horizon, 20% of the Universe is effectively blocked from our view. You would think that with 80% of the Universe viewable from Nova Scotia, why would anyone undertake a trip south of the equator merely to see that missing 20%? And why Chile? Come to MAG on May 12 to find out!
Four MAG members journeyed to northern Chile to observe and image the splendours of the southern skies, most for the very first time. Come hear their stories and share their images.

April Meeting

Speaker: Roy Bishop
Topic: Lunar Waves — Tidal Bores
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
Saturday, April 14, 7 p.m.

Our Moon is the main cause of ocean tides. In addition to the varying level of the sea, at a few places on Earth, including the Bay of Fundy, conditions are such that a rising tide will announce its arrival, not by slowly creeping higher, but by suddenly rolling into view as a tumbling, noisy, hydraulic jump, commonly called a tidal bore. An understanding of water waves, gravity, and lunar cycles not only enhances our appreciation of visits to the sea coast, it makes tidal bores far from boring, and can even add interest to washing dishes in the kitchen sink.

March 2018 Meeting

Saturday, March 10, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
Speaker: Bill Sproul

Topic: The Sun – Its Effect on Radio Communications

Civilization was radically transformed by radio technology in the 20th century, and the Sun is responsible in many ways for the behavior of radio waves. My presentation will discuss the effects of the Sun on radio propagation, beginning with a brief discussion on the Sun, followed by a more detailed discussion on solar phenomena and their effects on radio.

Bill Sproul is an amateur astronomer, electronics enthusiast, and licensed amateur radio operator (call sign VA1BIL). He operates a high frequency radio station and has made contacts with other amateur radio stations around the world.

Feb 2018 Meeting

Saturday, February 10, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker #1: Roy Bishop

Topic: Origin of the Chemical Elements

Summary: Recent spectral data from old stars in dwarf galaxies, together with optical and gravitational wave observations of the collision of two neutron stars, have given additional insight into the origin of the heavier elements.

Speaker #2: Gertrude Bishop

Topic: Contemplations about the Universe

Summary: The astronomer Neil DeGrasse Tyson put it this way:
“At one time or another every one of us has looked up at the night sky and wondered: What does it all mean? How does it all work? And, what is my place in the universe?

I will share some of my thoughts about the universe, and invite you to share your insights, as stargazers.

January 2018 MAG Meeting

Saturday, January 13, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Sherman Williams

Topic: Charles Messier


Charles Messier (1730-1817) was a French astronomer and comet-hunter, whose famous Messier list of objects is a bucket list for amateur astronomers, especially for those in the Northern Hemisphere. Many of his famous observations were made in Paris and he was buried in a Paris cemetery.

In October, 2017, my wife, Beverley, and I went to France and Holland; our travels included some time in Paris. Charles Messier was among our topics and places of interest to explore. Research gave the name of the Paris cemetery in which his grave exists; some comments suggested that it had been lost and the name was unlisted. Fortunately, recent efforts of some astronomy enthusiasts have relocated his grave. Even though his name is still not on the cemetery list, location references from their visits have been shared. We chose to see if we too, could find it.

On further research I discovered that Messier’s observing place which resulted in his famous list, was within easy reach of our location. Also, I came across a copy of an English translation of Messier’s first publication of his now famous list; it includes his personal comments. On MAG night I hope to present highlights from this delightful experience.

December Meeting – 9th

Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
Saturday, December 9, 7 p.m.

Speaker: Larry Bogan

Titles: Finding a Target for New Horizons, and What’s in the Milky Way Halo?

Part 1: I found the occultation measurements of 2014 MU69 fascinating and since they used amateur astronomy equipment, I thought others might be interested.

Part 2: The halo of the Milky Way is usually ignored so I thought I would see what we know about it.

1. If you need directions to 475 Bluff Road, ask: <>
2. The night will be dark. Bring a flashlight in the event you may have to park next door at #465.

November Meeting

Minas Astronomy Group –– November Meeting

Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
Saturday, November 11, 7 p.m.

Speakers: The Gray family

Title: Spectacular Summer

Part 1: Kathryn and Nathan Gray will describe their adventures at Starmus IV. Held in Trondheim, Norway, Starmus IV was a 6-day festival that brought Science, Art, Music and Space Exploration all together under one banner. From Keynote speaker Stephen Hawking to the hands-on Virtual Reality displays to the City-wide program, Starmus IV was the largest and most exciting yet! Kathryn was invited to take part as a guest speaker, so how could the Gray family not go!

Part 2: Kathryn , Paul and family will present “The Great American Eclipse Road Trip”, highlights of a family journey to Nebraska to see their first total solar eclipse.

1. If you need directions to 475 Bluff Road, ask: <>
2. The night will be dark. Bring a flashlight in the event you may have to park next door at #465.

October Meeting


Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
This Saturday, October 14, 7 p.m.

Speaker: Roy Bishop

Topic: Astronomical Events during the Summer of 2017

Several significant events have occurred since our last meeting, some
local, some of planet-wide interest. For our first meeting of the
2017/18 season — a review.

If you need directions to 475 Bluff Road, ask:

June MAG Meeting

Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
Saturday, June 10, 7 p.m.

Speaker: Larry Bogan

Topic: Visits to two Observing programs at New Mexico Observatories
1. APOGEE at Sloan Digital Sky Survey operations
2. Solar Patrol at Holloman Airforce Base

Last winter, I was fortunate enough to get to know one of the
astronomers at Apache Point Observatory (a fellow soaring pilot) and
was invited to an observing session. We also went to see a world wide
solar activity monitoring program run by the US Air Force. I will
describe the visits and the background of the programs going on there.

I have recently purchased a Skywatcher Star Adventure mount and will
bring it for show and tell.

Our speaker:
Larry Bogan, together with Roy Bishop, founded Minas Astronomy Group
23 years ago this autumn. Larry holds a doctorate in physics from
Cornell University, and he has taught for many years at Acadia.
Larry’s interests include astronomy, canoeing, gliding, solar heating
design, birding, and Monarch butterflies. He is an active and long-
term member of the Blomidon Naturalists Society, Nature Nova Scotia,
and Minas Astronomy Group.

May Meeting – 13th

Minas Astronomy Group –– May Meeting
Saturday, May 13, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Randall Rosenfeld

Topic: Truth at the Eyepiece

Truth at the Eyepiece – assimilating the past to the present, and is
there a future for astrosketching? I will examine:
i)  approaches to accurate graphic representation of what is seen at
the eyepiece in different periods (including technique and intended
use), from before to after the invention of photography;
ii)  how we look at what were once thought to be accurate
representations of astronomical phenomena;
iii)  extrinsic factors which can colour perceptions, and account for
some of the disjunctions we experience when comparing “accurate”
representations from various epochs;
iv)  and concluding with possible lessons about how we observe now.
Besides its intrinsic interest, it would allow me to refer to some of
Roy’s previous work!

Our speaker:
R.A. Rosenfeld, from Toronto, is the Archivist of the Royal
Astronomical Society of Canada, a position he has held since its
creation in 2008. He was trained at the University of Toronto and the
Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies as a palaeographer and
codicologist, and researched and published on the tools and
technologies of communication ca. 500-1500, as well as on historical
performance practice (musicology) ca. 1100-1600.
Since 2008 he has published over fifty articles on various
astronomical artifacts (with a particular interest in the graphic
records of observations and how they were made) in a variety of
journals. He is a contributor to the second edition of Springer’s
Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers (2014). In 2012, he was the
recipient of the RASC’s Simon Newcomb Award, and the RASC’s
President’s Award. He is one of the recipients of the American
Astronomical Society’s Historical Astronomy Division’s 2017 Donald E.
Osterbrock Book Prize. He was elected to the Canadian Astronomical
Society/Société Canadienne d’Astronomie (CASCA), and the
International Astronomical Union named Asteroid 283990
Randallrosenfeld (2004 SG2) in his honour. He has twice placed second
in the Annual Griffith Observer Writing Contest (2008 & 2013). He was
the 2016 Peter Sim Memorial Lecturer (Calgary Centre RASC). He is
also a member of several professional early-music ensembles.

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