Saturday, October 3, 2009
Tremblant Sous les Étoiles, Quantum to Cosmos in Waterloo
and SUPERnova in Vancouver
The numbers keep getting higher … there are now nearly 850,000 official “Galileo Moments” registered on the Canadian IYA website, and we have almost reached the goal of one million—but don’t stop now! Of course, it is very likely that this is an underestimate of the number of people who have had an astronomical experience this year. Equally impressive, however, is the wonderful breadth of IYA activities that have taken place all across the country, the imagination shown by events organizers and the enthusiasm of the participants. In this spirit, this blog will showcase IYA activities in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Waterloo and Mont Tremblant.
Before we start our cross-country tour, I want to give you a heads-up about Galilean Nights (GN), an IYA Cornerstone Project happening on Oct. 22-24. I’ll tell you more about this in my next blog, but the focus of GN is to show people around the world the objects that Galileo observed, especially the Sun, the Moon and Jupiter and its moons. Visit the GN webpage to find out more and to register your GN events and see the Canadian events that have already been registered.
Let’s go to Winnipeg first, where the RASC Winnipeg Centre and the Planetarium of the Manitoba Museum teamed up for a great week of IYA activities in August. Folklorama is the largest and longest-running cultural festival in the world, and this year, the Italian Pavilion chose IYA as its theme. The show was hosted by Galileo himself, and the pavilion featured a room dedicated to Galileo’s life, including a replica of his telescope and an English copy of The Starry Messenger. IYA volunteers entertained people in line and showed Jupiter to evening visitors. Despite several cloudy nights, over 700 people looked through a telescope during the week, and thousands more had a “Galileo Moment” inside the pavilion. Winnipeg Centre member Gail Wise attended five of the seven nights, bringing her total of IYA public events to more than 20 this year.
Next, we fly to Mont Tremblant, where the Club des Astronomes Amateurs de Laval, the Canadian Space Agency and the Mont Tremblant Ski Resort annually organize the largest star party in Quebec: Tremblant Sous les Étoiles (Tremblant Beneath the Stars). This year, the party was held on Aug. 14-15, near the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, and just under 6,000 people attended! These lucky people got to experience an incredible variety of things, including viewing the Sun, the Moon and Jupiter and its moons; talking to amateur and professional astronomers; learning about solar flares, sunspots, northern lights and how to make a shoe-box solar telescope; and hearing a message from Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk, recorded on the International Space Station. And I imagine they got to see a few Perseids too. As you would expect, all this couldn’t have happened without the hard work of a lot of people, a few of whom are pictured below. The other photos show some of the fun that was had during the party. Thanks to Bernard Goudreault for the images and to Michel Renaud and Jean-Marc Richard for supplying me with information.
Now I’ll tell you about a very exciting science festival, Quantum to Cosmos, taking place Oct. 15-25 at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. There’ll be lectures and panel discussions on the quantum world, cosmology, the nature of reality, new technologies, science fiction, evolution and more! There’s also a science fiction film festival, hands-on exhibits and presentations, science in the pub, concerts and school tours. In other words, there’s something for everybody. Visit the Quantum to Cosmos website for all the details. Unfortunately, all the lectures and panel discussions are sold out, but the other events are still open—and the lectures and panel discussions will be streamed online live and on demand.
Finally, the arts roundup. The RASC Vancouver Centre has produced some wonderful 10-minute videos (“Telescopes & Orion,” “The Stars, Our Sun & Ursa Major,” “Light Pollution, Messier Marathons & Boötes” and “The Moon, Astronomy for Kids & Lyra”), and more are coming! You can find them HERE. And for you jazz lovers in the Montreal area, Diane Nalini and her fellow musicians kick off her fall concert series at the Kosa Centre for the Arts on Oct. 2 and 3. See HERE for details. In addition to being a great jazz singer, Diane is an accomplished dancer and an assistant professor in the department of physics at Guelph University! Diane will perform songs from her new “IYA album,” Kiss Me Like That. And, to end, I think you should check out the space art of Christian Joore from Peterborough, Ontario. It is very striking, as you can see above.
That’s enough for this report. There’s lots more to come. Let us know what exciting IYA activities you’ve been doing HERE, and check out the reports we’ve already received HERE. All the best for the fall and the last quarter of the IYA.
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