Archive for the ‘Astronomy Talk’ Category

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

June 2014 Meeting

Speaker: Roy Bishop
Topic: The Optics of the Eye

Saturday, June 14, 7 p.m.
Location: Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Both in everyday life and for viewing the heavens, our eyes provide our primary contact with the external world. Even astronomers who rely on photographs and data recorded by various electronic sensors depend upon their eyes when interpreting the information received. Roy will address several topics, including: the optical design of the eye, why you have to look directly at a printed word to read it, why in terms of the electromagnetic spectrum we are almost blind, why the eye pupil is black, why the role of the iris is not to adjust the illumination on the retina, and seven reasons why you do not see the image on your retinas.

Note: Following this month’s meeting, the next meeting of MAG will be in September.
Also, do not forget the Nova East Star Party on the weekend of August 22-24:

May Meeting

7pm Saturday, 10 May
Avonport at 475 Bluff Road
Speaker: Roy Bishop
Topic: What Makes the Stars Shine?

Life on Earth is composed of star stuff, and the nearest star sustains that life. The stars are clumps of mostly hydrogen and helium, clumps with masses neither too small nor too large. Atomic nuclei play a crucial role in the life of a star, giving each star a long but finite life, and orchestrating the demise of a star. In turn, quantum mechanics and the strong, weak, and electromagnetic forces play key roles in determining what atomic nuclei are possible. As Obi-Wan Kenobe put it: “You must learn the ways of the force.” Roy will attempt to weave these various topics together, and end with some observations on a dying star whose dimming light has been shining on each one of us during the past few months.

March Meeting on the 8th

Time: Saturday, March 8, 7 p.m.
Location: Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Keith Walker
Topic: Building Baie Ste. Marie Observatory

Though largely about the design and construction of his observatory, this presentation will also serve to introduce Keith to the group. He has had a lifelong interest in astronomy and will show the fruits of his labour, with several astrophotographs taken at the observatory.

Keith have been interested in astronomy since literally before he can remember. For most of his life, he has been a keen armchair astronomer. It is only in the last four years that he have actually begun practising on a regular basis. His dream for years was to be able to take photographs of deep space objects, and is now enjoying fulfilling that dream.

The Baie Ste. Marie Observatory is in St.Bernard, Nova Scotia. Keith has a website showing his observatory and it function. See

8th February Meeting

Saturday, February 8, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Chris Young
Topic: “ One Sky, Many Stories”

Backyard and armchair astronomer Chris Young will provide a
presentation which looks at star patterns and night sky stories of
cultures other than those of our western culture. From the arctic to
Africa and the pacific we share many, if not most, of the stars we
see from Nova Scotia. Come find new delights in gazing at the night sky!
Suitable for all audiences (unlike the Greek myths!).

Chris is Secretary of the RASC Halifax Centre

January 2014 Meeting

Saturday, January 11, 7 p.m. - Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Speaker: Dr. Randall Brooks

Topic: Beyond the Fog

There have been more observatories in Nova Scotia than you would
guess. Today ‘s observatories are mostly for observing pleasure
punctuated with some photography and even original research. But
BBGO (you’ll have to wait to discover what that means!),
observatories supported surveying and mapping, navigational
requirements and some institutions’ teaching of how the celestial
firmament supported their religious values. Some observatories were
even internationally significant. Learn where these were, who
operated them and the stories about their purpose.

NOTE: Bring a flashlight to the meeting!
Use the parking lot at #475, and if that is full, park at my home
next door (#465), not along the Bluff Road. If you do park next door,
a path to the meeting begins beside my garage. No need to walk on the
Bluff Road, but you will need a flashlight to follow the path.


November meeting

Where: 475 Bluff Road, Avonport, N.S.

When: Saturday, Nov 09 at 7 pm AST

Speaker #1: Nathan Gray
Topic: My Supernova Discovery

Nathan Gray is a family member of the RASC through his father Paul
Gray. Nathan has been looking to the sky since he was a young boy
attending summer star parties at camping weekends with his parents.
He has attended the Mount Carleton Star Party twice, the Dam Star
Party near Fredericton 6 times, Starfest in Ontario twice, Nova East
three times, and one General Assembly of the RASC. He enjoys looking
at the Milky Way and constellations in the night sky, and more
recently began supernova hunting. Having seen his sister search for
and find a supernova, Nathan has wanted to do the same, with his
sights set on her world age record for discovering a supernova. Last
week (October 30th), after several months of searching, Nathan found
his first supernova at the age of 10 years, 9 days, beating his
sister by more than 30 days.

Speaker #2: Roy Bishop
Topic: Comet ISON

Comet ISON is presently near the orbit of Venus and diving toward the
Sun. No one knows if ISON, a Sun-grazer, will survive its perihelion
passage on November 28, and if it does survive, how bright it will
appear in our dawn sky in early December. By our next meeting
(December 14) we will know whether “The Great Comet of 2013″ hype was
justified. Roy will describe ISON’s path through the Solar System,
and where, when, and how to view it.

NOTE: Bring a flashlight to the meeting! Here is why:
Use the parking lot at #475, and if that is full, park at my home
next door (#465), not along the Bluff Road. If you do park next door,
a gravel path to the meeting begins beside my garage. No need to walk
on the Bluff Road, but you will need a flashlight to follow the path.
(The solar lights along the path do not last long at this time of year!)

June 2013 Meeting

Saturday, June 8, 7 p.m.
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road


  • Larry Bogan will talk on “Supernovae and their Remnants”
  • Roy Bishop will do “What’s Up”, describing interesting items in the sky for
    the next three months, and will give an update on Comet Panstarrs,
    now that Earth has passed through the plane of the comet’s orbit.

Use the parking lot at #475, and if that is full, park at my home
next door (#465), not along the Bluff Road. If you do park next door,
there is a new, shorter route from your car to the meeting: a gravel
path that begins beside my garage. After dark, the path has lights
along it. No need to walk on the Bluff Road!

NOTE: This is our last meeting until September.

May Meeting

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

Place: Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

“What’s Up” :Larry Bogan
Speaker: Roy Bishop
Roy will omment on a variety of astronomy-related
images, including some new discoveries, the European Southern
Observatories in Chile, the continuing passage of Comet Panstarrs
through the inner Solar System, and a selection of recent images that
are simply unique and beautiful.

Reminder re parking: Use the parking lot at #475, and if that is
full, park at my home next door (#465), not along the Bluff Road and
not on the grass (which is soft this time of year).

If anyone needs directions to 475 Bluff Road, email Roy Bishop

April Meeting – Rocks from the Sky

Minas Astronomy Group — April meeting
Saturday, April 20, 7 p.m.
(delayed a week because of weather)
Avonport, 475 Bluff Road

Topic: Rocks from the Sky
Small, Large — Good, Bad

Speaker: Roy Bishop

Earth itself is composed of rocks from the sky. Presently millions of such bodies are still in the sky, several tonnes of which land on Earth every day. Occasionally one of these is large enough to make headlines, such as the Chelyabinsk meteor this February. Large visitors to the inner Solar System that reach naked-eye visibility, such as Comet Panstarrs, also make the news every few years. The geologic record makes it virtually certain that some of the large objects still out there have Earth’s name on them. Whether or not we can prevent them from impacting Earth depends . . . .

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