Archive for the ‘MAG Events’ Category

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For the purpose of telling time, sundials have been superseded by clocks and watches, but a well-made sundial can be much more precise than the typical mass-produced garden ornaments one finds today.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

October Meeting

Because of the upcoming holiday weekend, our first meeting of the 2016/2017 season will be on the third Saturday.

Time: Saturday, October 15, 7 p.m.

Place: Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Melody Hamilton

Topic: Searching the Deep Sky Gems and Challenges

When one gazes up into a dark, moonless sky with unaided eyes, we see what ancient astronomers were familiar with….the Milky Way, fainter stars and a few “fuzzy” objects. With the use of our modern telescopes, amateur astronomers are able to distinguish one type of faint fuzzy from another. This is the challenge in the Deep Sky programs: finding, identifying, observing and recording these faint fuzzies.

June Meeting – 18th

The June meeting is delayed a week and will occur on Saturday on the 18th.
Meet at 7 pm in Avonport.

Speaker: Larry Bogan
Subject: The Solar Bubble and some on Recent Astronomy (more details later)

April Meeting

Minas Astronomy Group –– April Meeting

Spacetime coordinates:

t   =  This Saturday, April 9,  7 p.m.

R  =  Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Roy Bishop + ?

Roy and Larry founded MAG over 21 years ago, in November 1994.

Topic:  Images and Some Poetry
April’s presentation will be more informal than the one I gave last month. I shall present a selection of recent unique and beautiful astronomical images, from various sources including cameras on tripods, Earth-based telescopes, and cameras in space. Also, I hope to have one or two of our members present a few poems they have composed, suitably accompanied with images.

May Meeting

Saturday, May 14, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Laura McLarnon

Topic: Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vents and the Origin of Life

Summary: The discovery of deep sea hydrothermal vents in 1977 changed the perspective of the requirements for life on Earth. No fauna was thought to exist within the dark abyss of the ocean. In the 40 years since this discovery a better understanding of the types of vents and their ecological niches have allowed scientist to propose DSHV as a possible location for the synthesis of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. I will discuss the chemical environment present at White Smokers and how those conditions mimic the primordial conditions on Earth. I will then discuss the evolution of life from primitive bacteria / archea synthesizing chemicals leaching from the Black Smokers to complex multicellular organisms. I will show parallels between the evolution of the Tree of Life and the evolution of complexity at the vents.

March Meeting

Saturday, March 12, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Roy Bishop

Roy Bishop and Larry Bogan founded MAG over 21 years ago, in November 1994. Roy has had a keen interest in astronomy since childhood, although he has never taken a course in the subject. His formal background is in physics.

Topic: A Matter of Some Gravity

One hundred years ago Albert Einstein presented his General Theory of Relativity (GTR), a description of gravitation that replaced Newton’s theory of 1687. The GTR is the foundation of modern cosmology, the study of the nature and structure of the Universe. Besides giving a revolutionary insight into the nature of gravity, and being essential for GPS navigation, the GTR predicts the existence of gravitational waves. Almost 40 years ago indirect evidence for gravitational waves was found in the orbital decay of a binary pulsar. About the same time, apparatus to possibly detect gravitational waves directly began to be built. These detectors have become increasingly more sensitive as designs and technology have advanced. Success occurred late last summer. After traveling for more than a billion years, on 2015 September 14 at 06:50:45 ADT a burst of gravitational waves passed through Earth. You did not feel them but two detectors in the USA did, opening a new branch of astronomy. That discovery was announced last month, on February 11. As the Canadian reporter Ivan Semeniuk put it: “After countless generations of living in silence on the shores of a vast and restless cosmic ocean, the human species can finally hear the surf.”

February Meeting

Minas Astronomy Group –– February Meeting

Saturday, February 13, 7 p.m.
475 Bluff Road in Avonport

Speaker: Paul Gray

Paul is the president of the Halifax Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and is an experienced observer. This will be the 5th time Paul has spoken to MAG.

Topic: The Great American Eclipse!

In 2017 the shadow of the Moon will cross the lower 48 of the United States of America from the Pacific to the Atlantic. The last time that happened was in 1918! This will be the first eclipse of modern times for which millions of people across both the USA and Canada can simply drive to the path of totality during the warm summer vacation period. An event that many of us have not seen, a total eclipse of the Sun is often ranked as the top astronomical event anyone can witness, ranking 10 or 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. In this talk, Paul will look at the weather prospects, logistics and risk of becoming a chaser of the Moon’s shadow on August 21st, 2017. Where will you be?

MAG Events
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