Archive for the ‘Astronomy Talk’ Category

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.

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.


MAG Events
  • No events