Archive for the ‘MAG Events’ Category

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.

February Meeting

Time: Saturday, February 11, 7 p.m.

Place: Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Laura McLarnon

Topic: Space Medicine: A History and Look Ahead

Prolonged periods of weightlessness produce numerous detrimental effects such as muscle and bone loss, vestibular disturbances, cardiovascular and haematological changes. Some of these effects are irreversible. The early space program was a race to the Moon. NASA developed an aggressive, step by step program where each program built on the success of the previous one. Most physiological effects of microgravity were expected to a certain degree. Data needed to be gathered to further explore the effects of microgravity in order to build countermeasures to ensure the safe return of each and every astronaut. I will discuss the physiological effects of space flight and the countermeasures that have been implemented. I will also look ahead to a possible Mars mission and the new challenges ahead.
The Management has arranged a full Moon for this weekend, so if you might be parking next door at Roy & Gertrude’s home (#465), moonlight will light your way along the adjoining path after the meeting. The Management has also kindly shifted a penumbral lunar eclipse one day early so as not to coincide with the MAG meeting, ensuring full moonlight Saturday evening. (At 20:44 AST Friday, nearly all of the Moon will be within Earth’s penumbral shadow, making moonlight only about half as bright as from a normal full Moon.)

January Meeting

Time: Saturday, January 14, 7 p.m.

Speaker: Blair MacDonald

Topic: An Astrophotographer’s Sky – Adventures in Summertime Astro-imaging.

Over the last few summers I’ve gotten to do some imaging from our family cottage located on the Mira River in Cape Breton. You would think that summertime imaging at the cottage would be relaxing, but you might be surprised.

Meet at:  Avonport, 475 Bluff Road
NOTE: Snow conditions this Saturday might rule out parking along the side of the Bluff Road (even when there is no snow the Bluff Road is not the safest place to park). If you might be parking next door at Roy & Gertrude’s home (#465), remember to bring a flashlight to light your way along the adjoining path.

December Meeting

Topic: The World of Sundials –Dave Chapman

Time: Saturday, December 10, 7 p.m.

Place: Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

For the purpose of telling time, sundials have been superseded by clocks and watches, but a well-made sundial can be much more precise than the typical mass-produced garden ornaments one finds today. Best known as a local “lunatic” for his observations of the Moon, our speaker Dave Chapman is also a “Sun worshipper” through his interest in sundials. Dave will explain the basics of sundialling (with an absolute minimum of math and geometry) and then take us on an international tour of sundials he has discovered and photographed during his travels. Everyone in attendance will be able to take home a small sundial craft project for their post-talk amusement. Dave is a Life member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) since the early 1980s (but had a brief tenure as a youth member in the late 1960s). Currently he is 1st Vice President of the RASC Halifax Centre, and he is a past President and past Librarian of the Centre. Nationally, he serves on the RASC Observing Committee and has just finished a 5-year term as editor of the Observer’s Handbook. Recently, the RASC announced the new Explore the Moon beginner’s observing program, based on Roy Bishop’s lunar maps and feature lists, and developed by Dave Chapman and Patrice Scattolin (Centre francophone de Montréal).

Roy will precede Dave’s talk on sundials with a short presentation on that mysterious figure, the analemma.
NOTE: If you might be parking next door at Roy & Gertrude’s home, remember to bring a flashlight to light your way along the adjoining path.

November Meeting


Meeting at Avonport Meeting Centre – 475 Bluff Road at 7 pm

MAG Events
  • No events