Archive for the ‘MAG Events’ Category

October Meeting

The meeting will be on the 17th a week later because of the Thanksgiving Weekend is the 10-12 of October.

To avoid a conflict with a not-to-be-missed astronomy talk in Halifax, MAG is joining with the RASC Halifax Centre as our MAG meeting.

The October meeting of the RASC Halifax Centre will be attendance at a special presentation St Mary’s University on

Saturday October 17th at 7:00 PM, in the McNally Theatre Auditorium – St Mary’s University, Halifax

The presentation by the noted astronomer Dr. Alex Filippenko

The Halifax Centre has been invited to participate by SMU and we will have a table and display set up in the ante room of the McNally to provide information to the public about the Centre and RASC and share our interest in astronomy. We will set up some telescopes for display and will also offer viewing outside the McNally after the presentation. Volunteers to man the table and bring some scopes are requested – please contact Paul Gray <>. It will be a fun evening!

Dr. Alex Filippenko will be the guest speaker for the inaugural Dan MacLennan Memorial Lecture on Saturday, October 17 at 7:00 pm in Saint Mary’s McNally Theatre Auditorium. One of the world’s most highly cited astronomers, Dr. Filippenko was a member of both teams that revealed the accelerating expansion of the Universe, a discovery that earned team leaders the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, and team members the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. Winner of UC Berkeley’s most prestigious teaching awards, and voted “Best Professor” on campus a record nine times, Dr. Filippenko has produced five astronomy video courses, co-authored an award-winning astronomy textbook, and appeared in more than 100 television documentaries.

Dr. Filippenko’s lecture Dark Energy and the Runaway Universe is the first in a series of annual astronomy lectures established by the MacLennan family to celebrate lifelong learning and the joy of discovery. After his retirement, Dan MacLennan attended astronomy classes at Saint Mary’s and discovered a new world view through the lens of Saint Mary’s University’s telescope. Using a camera purchased to photograph goldfinches and an old telescope from his target-shooting days, MacLennan captured high-quality images of sun spots and presented his work at the annual gathering of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

“While Dan was a reserved man who shunned the limelight, he quietly showed leadership in many of his life endeavours,” says Oriel MacLennan, Dan MacLennan’s daughter-in-law. “He enormously valued his time at Saint Mary’s and the opportunities presented him. This inaugural lecture, stellar indeed, would have been a source of quiet gratification for him. We are happy to help in advancing this cause.”

To follow the lead of the MacLennan family in fanning the flames of scientific discovery, after the lecture concludes, guests are invited to enjoy refreshments and view the night sky from telescopes set up on the front lawn of the McNally Theatre Auditorium (weather permitting). Students and professors from Saint Mary’s Department of Astronomy and Physics and members of the Royal Astronomical Society (Halifax Chapter) will be available to answer questions.

“We are very excited to host this event and to have Alex Filippenko as a guest on campus,” says Dr. Marcin Sawicki, Department Chair and professor in Saint Mary’s Department of Astronomy and Physics. “We appreciate the generosity of the MacLennan family in making this possible. I can’t think of a better tribute to Dan MacLennan’s passion for learning about the universe than a lecture series that, each year, will see world-leading astronomers giving public talks at Saint Mary’s University.

Nova East 2015

Date: August 14-16  Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Place: Smiley’s Park

Information and Registration:

Guest Speaker: Alan Dyer – Friday night and Saturday

Public Observing Saturday night, Astronomy Auction Saturday afternoon

June 2015 Meeting

Saturday, 13 June at 7 pm

475 Bluff Road, Avonport, N.S.

Topic: TBA

Last meeting until September – an exensive “What’s Up this Summer” will be presented by Roy Bishop.

May Meeting on 9th

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

Speaker: Sherman Williams

Topic: Celestial Demos & Misconceptions

Sherman has a lifetime of teaching experience, including introducing young people to features of the sky that most people never notice. In recent years he has given numerous presentations to students in the education program at Mount St. Vincent University. Sherman will demonstrate a few of those presentations and describe some common misconceptions he has encountered concerning the Sun and the night sky.

If that parking lot is full when you arrive, park next door (#465) and take the path that begins next to the garage. Bring a flashlight, as it will be dark when you return to your car.

February Meeting

Speaker: Paul Gray
This Saturday, February 14, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Topic: 20 Years of Supernova Hunting

In 1994 two amateur astronomers from Nova Scotia decided to compete with the professional observatories and hunt for supernovae. At a time when only a few dozen had ever been found by amateurs and none had been found from Canada, it was no small task and would be the beginning of a long and eventful journey, both technological and involving a growing family. What started as a simple idea to find a supernova turned into a grand journey. Paul will highlight much of this during the talk and bring us to current day through what is considered to be the golden age of amateur astronomy.

January meeting cancelled

December Meeting

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

Speakers: Larry Bogan & Roy Bishop (they started MAG, 20 years ago!)


Larry: Gould’s Belt
Roy: What’s Up & Commentary on a Variety of Images

If the main parking lot is full when you arrive, park next door (#465) and take the path that begins next to the garage. The path will be illuminated (dimly) with a variety of Christmas lights.

The earliest sunset of the year occurred Tuesday (December 9).

November Meeting

Speakers: Cathy LeBlanc & Dave Chapman
Topic: In Search of the 13th Mi’kmaw Moon

t = This Saturday, November 8, 7 p.m.
R = Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Longtime RASC member Dave Chapman is teaming with Acadia First Nation member Cathy LeBlanc to present “In Search of the 13th Mi’kmaw Moon.” (Cathy is also a seasonal cultural interpreter at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site.)

This presentation is a progress report on a joint project by Cathy and Dave to investigate the traditional time-keeping customs of the Mi’kmaw nation, before contact with Europeans. Much of this knowledge—handed down by oral tradition—has been lost over the ensuing four centuries. Today, thanks to research by Cheryl Bartlett and others at Cape Breton University, the names of the moon-times have been resurrected and applied to the 12 months of the Gregorian Calendar—but there is more to the story!

In this talk, Cathy and Dave will present what they have discovered so far, using a research method known as “Two-Eyed Seeing,” whereby the traditional teachings guide the astronomical investigation and the astronomical facts are used to interpret the traditional teachings. This joint presentation by Cathy and Dave is sure to be memorable—don’t miss it!

If the main parking lot is full when you arrive, park next door (#465) and take the path that begins next to the garage. Bring a flashlight to help illuminate the path.

Roy  will have the 2015 Natural History Calendar (Blomidon Naturalists
Society) at Saturday’s MAG meeting.

The calendar has a complete tide table for Minas Basin (times and
ranges), astronomical highlights for the year, and much more
information. Produced in Nova Scotia by volunteers, all $ received
support the Blomidon Naturalists Society. Calendars are $15 per copy.
Buy one for yourself, and a few more as unique Christmas gifts.

Observing Session – October 11

  • Sunday, October 12, 2014
  • 7:15 p.m.
  • Old parking lot at Grand Pré National Park

Minas Astronomy Group, the Blomidon Naturalists Society, and Valley Family Fun
Join astronomers Roy Bishop, Larry Bogan, Pat Kelly, and Sherman Williams on SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12 at 7:15 for a tour of the night sky. Location: The old parking lot at Grand Pré National Park, on the east side of the road next to the dykelands. The tour will start with the planet Mars, possibly Saturn very low in the southwestern sky, and the brighter stars visible to the unaided eye. Later, Neptune and Uranus are on the agenda, together with star clusters and galaxies. (Delayed from Saturday which was cloudy).

Nova East 2014

The annual observing, talking, gathering, camping weekend will again take place at Smiley’s Provincial Park in Hants County. This year it on the weekend of 22 August to 24 August.

You can see the details and register at the website

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