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.
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.
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.
We may attempt a make-up viewing sometime in September as our Moon night had to be cancelled due to the cloudy weather.
There is work being done to the roof of Memorial Hall at the moment that is impeding our access to the telescope. When we are certain that the work is finished and if we have sufficient volunteers available., we may be able to hold a public viewing the weekend of Sept. 20/21.
When more is confirmed, we will update you.
In the mean time, to satisfy your telescope viewing needs, if you see a gentleman with a telescope around town (often in the Indigo parking lot or at Victoria Park), he may very well be one of Charlottetown’s “sidewalk astronomers” who would be happy to share his views of the sky with you. He posts when he plans to do observing on the ticker on his website.
UPDATE: Clouds are moving in fast from the west and weather radar shows rain showers approaching. After that it’s predicted to be all clouds, so we won’t be seeing the Moon tonight. Sorry for any inconvenience, but that is our variable PEI weather!
Saturday, September 6, 2014 is International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). This annual event was created by a partnership of scientists, educators, and amateur astronomers from around the world to encourage a sense of wonderment and curiosity about Earth’s Moon. InOMN events will be held all around the world.
We will host a Moon observation event from 8:00-10:00PM that we encourage all to attend. Volunteers from the Physics Department and Charlottetown RASC will teach you about the Moon, help you identify some of the Moon’s features, and show you stunning telescope views of the lunar surface.
As with all our viewings, this event is weather dependent. Updates will be posted here in the event of cancellation, but as a general rule if you can’t see the Moon because of clouds, our telescope won’t be able to see it either.
To attend this event, meet in Memorial Hall room 417 (suggested parking lots: ‘B’ or ‘C’ on campus map). This room can be reached by the stairs or the elevator. To go up to our observatory, it is necessary to climb the stairs one floor plus up into the dome. However, for this event we hope to also have some binocular and small telescope viewing from ground level which will be accessible to any guests with mobility issues.