November Meeting

Date: 9 November, 2019

Time: 15:00 - 17:00

Location: 475 Bluff road, Avonport, Nova Scotia

  Avonport, 475 Bluff Road – Saturday,  9 November, 3 p.m.
NOTE:  The meeting will begin at 3 p.m.
Topic:  Telescope Tales — 6 Decades of Observing

Speaker:  Prof. Telescope (aka Dave Chapman)
SUMMARYProf. Telescope will review the several telescopes he has observed with over the years, from age 10 to the present day. He will briefly describe how they work (without math), what he observed with them, and where they’ve travelled. Each telescope has a fascinating story!
Prof. Telescope will bring along a few of his small telescopes for participants to examine up close.
BIODave Chapman has been skygazing since he was 8 years old, when his father took him outside and showed him the constellations. He read all the astronomy books in the children’s library, and had to get his mother’s permission to borrow from the “adult” library. He received his first telescope as a birthday present at age 10, along with a book by Patrick Moore. His first recorded observation was the Moon. In Winnipeg, he bought his first RASC Observers Handbook in 1963 for $1, never guessing he’d be that book’s editor half a century later. 
As a teenager, he joined the RASC Ottawa Centre and became active in the Observer’s Group (which met separately from the main meeting every month). There he observed with Ken Hewitt-White, Rolf Meier, Chris Martin, Rob Dick, and others. He started (but did not complete) his Messier List in 1968. His first quasi-scientific publication concerned his observations of the minor planet Pallas in binoculars, published in the Centre newsletter, Astro Notes, when he was 15.
In the 70s Dave was at university studying physics, and he became less active in astronomy. He observed his first total solar eclipse in New Brunswick in 1972. There is photographic proof that he attended the RASC GA in Ottawa in 1973, but he can’t remember even a shred of that experience. Comet Kohoutek was a huge disappointment. His RASC membership lapsed. 
Fast forward to 1977, when Dave moved to Dartmouth with his M.Sc. degree to start his scientific career with DND. His office-mate was an RASC Halifax member, and he slowly got back into astronomy. Dave joined the RASC Halifax Centre in 1983, bought a good pair of binoculars, and started observing again. Finally, he earned his Messier Certificate in 1986. That year, he also earned the Simon Newcomb Award for an essay on Venus. 
Dave has served the Centre as Librarian, President, and Vice-President. In 2009 he was the Communications Officer for the local astronomy community active in International Year of Astronomy, from which the Astronomy Nova Scotia webpage emerged. In 2015, the RASC honoured him with a Service Award.
Dave earned his certificate for the Isabel Williamson Lunar Observing Program in 2010. Earlier, in 2004, he noticed the Lunar X phenomenon on the Moon and is credited with bringing it to worldwide attention. He was the main creator of the 2016 Explore the Moon observing program for beginners.
Nationally, Dave served on several RASC committees: Awards, Observing (member and Chair), and Publishing. At different times, he wrote two columns for the Journal of the RASC, plus other articles. He is an Assistant Editor of JRASC. He was Editor of the RASC Observer’s Handbook for the 2012–2016 editions. After that, he played a large role in revising the Explore the Universe Guide.
With others, Dave helped Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site become an RASC Dark-Sky Preserve in 2010, and continued to support that initiative by co-organizing the annual Dark-Sky Weekend there. He has negotiated a Partnering Agreement between RASC Halifax and Kejimkujik (Parks Canada).
Since 2013, Dave has worked on the Mi’kmaw Moons project with his project partner Cathy LeBlanc. Dave and Cathy won second prize in the Griffith Observer Science Writing Contest in 2016 for their essay “In Search of the 13th Mi’kmaw Moon” (also available online in the February 2017 JRASC). They are currently working on publishing a book on this topic. In 2019, the project (with Halley Davies and Curtis Michael) created a set of Mi’kmaw language videos that teach viewers how to pronounce the 12 names.
In 2018, Dave earned the RASC Wide-Field Astroimaging Certificate. 
Dave also created several other astronomy videos with creative partner Halley Davies: Constellations and Sky Stories, The Transit of Mercury, How to Use a Starfinder, The Magnificent Sky, and 3 videos describing the seven RASC Observing Programs. 
He has previously presented to MAG on the topics of observing the southern skies, lunar observing, Mi’kmaw Moons (with Cathy LeBlanc), sundials, and how telescopes work.

After the meeting, members are invited to enjoy dinner at the SURF restaurant, 5 km south on the Bluff Road, near Hantsport.

Comments are closed.

Next Meeting

There are no upcoming events.