The Top 10 Most Influential People in Space History at June’s Meeting

General Meeting for June 9th 2017.

With space exploration making it’s way back to public interest with the recent flyby of Pluto, new Chinese space stations, talk of manned missions to Mars, top-secret US Air Force space planes and private companies like SpaceX making leaps and bounds in rocket technology, we often overlook the men and women behind​ the shiny rockets and high tech space probes. Join Kevin as he counts down his list of the 10 Most Influential People in space history – the scientists, engineers, politicians, and of course the astronauts themselves, who’s efforts have resulted in the success of humanity’s journey from home to explore the cosmos.
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A Canadian Observatory Maker Success Story!

General Meeting for May 12th 2017.

This Spring SkyShed is launching POD MAX, a “mid sized” observatory at 12.5′ in diameter, and the POD MAX funding program – The Starships Project. Wayne will be focusing on these endeavors and how they will further aid the astro community, and STEM education.
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Pauline Barmby, April 7th HAA General Meeting

Astronomically Big Data with Pauline Barmby

General Meeting for April 7th 2017.

This talk will focus on the past, present, and future of big data in astronomy. “Big data” is the hot new thing in finance, health care, advertising and more. But as one of the first observational sciences, astronomy has been dealing with big data for thousands of years. New and imminent facilities for capturing and storing astronomical observations will lead to what some call the “tsunami of data” in astronomy. Techniques like machine learning and citizen science are needed to get the most science out of these enormous datasets. I’ll tell you about how big our big data in astronomy really is, and about some of the discoveries that it has enabled.

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March 10 HAA General Meeting

The Tale of Disks around Massive Stars

General Meeting for March 10th 2017.

Massive stars, young or old, are interesting celestial objects with fascinating mysteries. In this talk, we will explore some of the mysteries of the disks around massive stars and how their formation, dissipation and structure affect our understanding of not only the planet formation but also the star formation process.

Dr. Parshati Patel received her Hons. B.Sc. in Physics and Astronomy from University of Toronto, M.Sc. in Astronomy and Planetary Science from the Western University and her Ph.D. in Astronomy and Planetary Science & Exploration from the Western University. During her graduate studies, she studied protoplanetary disks around young, massive pre-main sequence (Herbig Ae/Be) stars as well as circumstellar disks around massive main sequence stars. She is currently the Public Education and Outreach Program Coordinator at the Centre for Planetary Science and Exploration at the Western University.

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Ways to Avoid Chromatic Aberration, General Meeting for February 10th

General Meeting for February 10th 2017.

Barry Sherman will be discussing Chromatic Aberration and ways to mitigate this issue in your telescope optics. Barry will also include a few sample telescopes which suffer from heavy Chromatic Aberration and other issues so that you can stay away from these types of telescopes. Bernie Venasse will then open the floor in an open forum style chat to learn what you think of the club. We would like to hear your thoughts, comments and ways to improve your club.

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Useful Links from the January 2017 Observing Talk

Links for the leap second mention at tonight’s The Sky this Month:

…and for the International Occultation Timing Association. The focus of the IOTA has shifted from grazes to pure occultations where the double-ness of a star can be measured. In some cases this is the only way to know the star is a double.

To see how eclipse totality duration varies depending on observing locations see this page with detailed contour maps:


Photo Credit: Mercury Transit – Bill Tekatch

Caring for your Telescope Optics Plus Favourite Astronauts

General Meeting for January 13th 2016.

Bernie Venasse will be speaking about caring for your telescope optics which includes a video from Sky and Telescope. Bernie Venasse is HAA Chairman and has been an active astronomer since the days of Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. He is an active member of the British Astronomical Association, The International Dark Sky Association, the Astronomical League and Astronomers without Borders.

Kevin Salwach will also be speaking on his favourite astronauts. Kevin Salwach is an HAA Councillor-at-Large, and has been a member of the club since 2009. Also a member of the British Astronomical Association and the International Dark Sky Association, Kevin is a devoted backyard astronomer and avid naturalist. He can frequently be found exploring the night sky with his 10″ Dob from his home on the West Mountain here in Hamilton.

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Building an Observing Tower in the Muskoka Forest, December General Meeting

General Meeting for December 9th 2016

Dr. Gord Williams will be talking about the design and construction of the observatory he made at his cottage in the Muskokas, and the challenges and victories involved. He will also share some collected stories about astronomy, and the visual treats he has observed over the years.

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Astronomy Observing Tips, November General Meeting

General Meeting for November 11th 2016

Almost every day someone enters the store asking how to pick out a telescope and then how to use one. Experienced observers seem to struggle as well. Here are some tips on how to make your observing session fun and productive.

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Toronto/Yale/Harvard Dragonfly Telephoto Array, Dr. Roberto Abraham

Exploring the ghostly side of galaxies with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array

Annual General Meeting, October 14th 2016

“Exploring the ghostly side of galaxies with Dragonfly” with Dr. Roberto Abraham, University of Toronto professor, Dept of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Bigger telescopes are usually better telescopes…. but not always. In this talk I will explore the ghostly world of large low surface brightness structures, such as galactic stellar halos, low-surface brightness dwarf galaxies, and other exotica such as supernova light echoes. These objects are nearly undetectable with conventional telescopes, but their properties may hold the key to understanding how galaxies assemble. I will describe why finding these objects is important, and why it is so devilishly difficult.

I will also describe a bizarre new telescope (the Toronto/Yale/Harvard Dragonfly Telephoto Array, a.k.a. Dragonfly) which is now being used to explore the low surface brightness universe and is testing some of the most fundamental predictions of galaxy formation models. Dragonfly is comprised of 48 commercial 400 mm f/2.8 telephoto lenses which utilize novel nanostructure-based optical coatings that minimize scattered light and ghosting. I’ll showcase some our early results, mainly focusing on the properties of ultra-faint stellar halos. I’ll also report the discovery of gigantic stellar disks underlying nearby galaxies, and will describe the discovery of a new class of ghostlike galaxies that are as big as the Milky Way but have about 1/1000 of its mass.

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