Closed Early: Extra December Viewing: Saturday Dec 13th, 7-9pm

Closed as of 8:00pm: The viewing ran from 7-8pm, with much of it cloudy out.  We had clear sky at the start and the clouds moved in as we were aligning the telescope.  We did work the telescope manually from about 7:40-8pm and gave 2 people a chance to use the telescope on a star cluster and a double star, but not the other people here earlier which is disappointing.

If you’re checking thing out, please search on the “Gemini meteor shower” as they’re quite prominent tonight and you could spot some near or after midnight if the clouds clear up.  Check out www.astronomy.com for information on how to search for them.


We don’t normally try to organize a viewing in December as people’s schedules tend to be busier, but since we’ve had quite a few cancellations in the past months, we’re going to put one on.

If you’d like to go see the telescope at UPEI Saturday December 13th, 7-9pm, come on over.  Telescope dome on the rooftop of Memorial, UPEI.  We’ve got Brian from the local Charlottetown RASC group who has volunteered to help with the telescope and we’ll have a variety of different things available in Memorial 417 for both adults and children.

Mars will be up near the horizon close to seven but too low to get a viewing with our telescope.  It may or may not be possible to get a look at the planet Uranus (very far away as planets go and very dim), but we should have some good stars to check out.

Hope the weather forecasts holds as accurate. Right now it’s forecasted to be clear for Saturday evening.  Unfortunately, if the weather changes, there won’t be a “rain date”.  Watch this blog for any cancellation notice.

Upcoming Viewing: Saturday November 15th

The weather’s been cloudy or raining for seeming forever at this point (today it was rainy and sunny at the same time).  The weather for this coming weekend seems questionable, so we’re setting up a single public viewing (no Sunday backup) for Saturday November 15th and we’ll see how it goes.


Update: 5:07pm Sat Nov 15 — Due to the overcast skies, we will have to cancel this evening’s viewing.

We don’t normally have a viewing in December, but due to the recent string of cancellations, we will be trying to set one up.  Possible days include Tuesday December 9th or Saturday December 13th.  More details once volunteers have been lined up.

No public observing in Oct 2014, Chris Hadfield event at the Confederation Centre

Quick note to let people know that we won’t be having a public observing session in October, but hope that everyone enjoys this Thanksgiving weekend.  We do plan to have a public viewing in November, date Saturday November 8th or 15th (date and time to be confirmed).

Our telescopes will be heading over to the Confederation Centre, along with a couple of student volunteers, at the end of the month to help with Chris Hadfield’s event (includes telescope session).  I’d promote it more, but tickets have already sold out, so I’ll leave it with a quick link.

Book Launch Moon Observation

We will be bringing one of our telescopes for some Moon observation at an official book launch in Charlottetown tonight. The book is “Wereduck” by Dave Atkinson and the launch takes place at the Haviland Club starting at 6pm.

The skies are looking like they might be cloudy tonight which will prevent us from seeing the Moon, but we will have some Moon maps that you can take home for your own Moon observations on clearer nights.

When & Where to View Northern Lights

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) can be difficult to predict exactly, but when the Sun has had recent flare activity, seeing the Northern Lights is more likely.

On a night when the forecast is good for Northern Lights, the best viewing locations will be dark (i.e. little light pollution) and have a clear view of the northern horizon. If the aurora are active all night long, then viewing at midnight can be better than at other times, but going out when activity is high is the most important factor.

Auroral forecasts are given in Kp numbers, on a scale from 0 to 9. To have a chance of seeing the lights in PEI, the Kp level needs to be about 6 or above. These maps show where the lights will be visible for different Kp levels (the location must fall within the green band plotted on the map).

Various websites offer aurora forecasts (here’s one) or display the current “aurora oval”. There are also Twitter accounts like Aurora Alerts that tweet when the Aurora Borealis will be active and at what Kp level.