Our tour of Canada leads us to Saskatchewan today, where we’ll hear about the great things happening in Saskatoon and Regina this year. I’ll also tell you about some upcoming events elsewhere.
The RASC Saskatoon Centre took advantage of Earth Hour on Mar 28, to set up at a local mall that had shut off its lights. Without any notice, within an hour 60 people came to check them out. This is a great illustration of the huge public interest in astronomy. We should have Earth Hour at least every week, so that city dwellers get to see proper dark skies …
The intrepid Saskatoon folk got even busier during 100 Hours of Astronomy. Their astronomy night on April 2 drew over 200 people, who got to see a piece of the Buzzard Coulee meteorite (by the way, you can help find Buzzard Coulee meteorites. On April 4, they set up at the Farmer’s Market building, where 250 people came to get information and observe the Sun. That night, they headed to the Beaver Creek interpretive centre, where Kathleen Houston gave a talk ontelescopes and moons to over 250 people—the place was apparently “packed to the rafters” (see Kathleen in full flow to the left). Well done Saskatoon!
Not to be outdone, the Regina Centre had a full schedule for Astronomy Day on May 2. This year, they decided to hold their events at the Chapters bookstore in south Regina (things would have been a little easier if Chapters had let the mall security know they were coming!). Over 100 people got to see the Sun in its full glory (though it would be nice to see a few sunspots …). Inside the store, astronomy displays drew 125-150 people, and the store had astronomy-related books nearby. Sounds like a great idea to me—talk to your local bookstore. That evening, they brought their telescopes outside the IMAX, and great views of the Moon, Saturn, and Mercury were enjoyed by many happy people (as you can see in the picture at left).
You can find out more about the Saskatoon and Regina activities (and others) on our webpages, and on theirs. I’d like to thank Patricia Gakis of the Saskatoon Centre and Ross Parker from the Regina Centre for sharing their news with me. Be sure to send us your reports and pictures, and you could be famous too! And speaking of Saskatchewan, don’t forget that the Saskatchewan Summer Star Party/RASC General Assembly 2009 Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Aug 13-16.
Now, about those upcoming events … on May 27, the Toronto IYA group is showing “Hawaiian Starlight: Exploring the Universe from Mauna Kea” (with gorgeous images taken at the Canada France Hawaii Telescope: see the trailer here, and astrophysicist Lawrence Krauss will be giving the Helen Sawyer Hogg public lecture on “Life, the Universe and Nothing” (appropriately, with the new Star Trek movie just opening, Lawrence Krauss is the author of “The Physics of Star Trek”. He is also a great lecturer, and I’m sure this will be a very entertaining talk). This reminds me that I must tell you about the University of Toronto’s CoolCosmos initiative—but that will have to wait till next time.
During June 26-28, Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park, together with the Bruce Country Astronomy Society, are hosting a Dark Skies Weekend to celebrate the official designation of the two parks as a Dark Sky Preserve (under the RASC). This is great news, and congratulations to everyone who helped to make this happen! Next time I’ll show you some gorgeous night sky pictures taken in the park.
That’s it for now. Lots more to come, so stay tuned. Thanks to everyone who has sent in reports and pictures from their IYA activities. Send us an email and tell us what you’re doing—and let me know what you’d like to see in my blog. After all, we do all this for you…
Clear (and dark) skies everyone!