Friday, 27 May 2011

May Dinner Meeting

The KFN May Dinner Meeting is something we all look forward to, good food, good speaker, good books to be had in the Silent Auction.  Our Speaker this year was Terrence Dickinson, our local famous astronomer, author of several books including the popular astronomy guide Night Watch, a man whose pleasant demeaner and sense of humour draws a crowd, in this case to a sold out crowd of 104 plus 2 KFN members who came after the dinner just to hear his presentation.  He spoke about the mind-boggling numbers of stars in our known area of the universe, and the incredible distances between stars and galaxies.  He also spoke of a concern both to astronomers and environmentalists:  light pollution, and how the ever-expanding population centers make it more and more difficult to enjoy the view of nature above.  Fortunately we still have places within our area where we can see dark skies and marvel at the stars and Milky Way.  Mr. Dickinson  certainly inspires people  to get outside and look up at the evening sky. 

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Currently in the night sky:

The planet Saturn is putting on a show, its current position being opposite to the sun from planet Earth makes this favourite ringed planet bright in the evening sky.  Look towards the SSW and find Corvus, a quad-shaped constellation low on the horizon, with Spica a bright star in the constellation Virgo above and a few degrees to the left.  Go up from Corvus to the bright "star" above to see Saturn.  The photograph below was taken on May 23rd at 11:18 p.m., Saturn will move through the sky more westerly until June 14th when it reaches its turning point and heads back east in a slightly lower position.  Those of you fortunate to get one of the copies of the current issue of Sky News magazine that Mr. Dickinson handed out, look to pages 28 and 29.  There is  also information posted to the Sky News website at http://www.skynews.ca/ .  Now, if we can just get all this  rainy weather to move off so we can enjoy a bit of astronomy!



Photo taken with Canon 350D digital slr, 18-55 mm lens set at 21mm, camera set on barndoor tracker, IS0 400 at f 4.0, exposure time 215 seconds.

Photo and posting:  Rose-Marie Burke


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