Ottawa RASC Meetings

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Public Astronomy Meetings ... Fascinating topics, Fascinating people

If you love Astronomy then you have come to the right place! Every month the Ottawa Centre of the RASC hosts a free astronomy meeting that is open to everyone.  Each meeting is packed with interesting speakers addressing a range of astronomy topics well suited to the amateur astronomer and enthusiast.

Do you have an interest in astronomy but don't know where to start?   Come to our meetings. They are a great place to get connected to the amateur astronomy community in Ottawa and start your journey of learning and discovery.

Already deeply in to astronomy? Perfect - you will find many like-minded people with your level of experience who share your passion for the night sky.

Regular features of the Meetings

  • At least two interesting speakers!
  • The Sky this Month - a 10 minute overview of interesting things in the night sky in the coming month.
  • 10 Minute Astronomy - A short review of current astronomy news.
  • Member photos - come enjoy the beautiful gallery of astronomy images taken by our members.
  • Door Prize - each month we hold a draw and give away several astronomy-themed prizes to lucky winners. The draw is open to everyone and is free.
  • Announcements on free public outreach and recreational astronomy events in Ottawa.

Meeting Schedule for 2014

Meetings are scheduled each month typically, but not always, on the first Friday of every month. The meetings run from 8 to 10 pm.

  • Next meeting: Aug 8 (Note: This is the 2nd Friday of August)
  • Sept 5
  • Oct 3
  • Nov 7
  • Dec 5

Meeting Agendas

Friday August 8:

1. Black Holes and Their Earthly Look-A-Likes. Black holes are one of the most fascinating predictions of General Relativity, and while we have good reason to believe they exist (and indeed, where a number of them are), they are by their very nature excessively difficult to study. To circumvent this limitation, physicists have started to look for analogous objects in more accessible places. In this talk, Ottawa Centre member Peter Hayman will briefly outline three examples of black hole analogues (optical, sonic, and hydrodynamic), name a potential future application, and show you where you can find a black hole analogue right at home.(20 minutes)

Webmaster note: Peter Hayman is leaving for McMaster University in September for his postgraduate studies in Theoretical Physics. Please join him for this special presentation before he leaves us.

2. Central Uplifts in Craters on Mars. Mars presents a great analogue location for the study of impact cratering processes. On account of its thin atmosphere, impact craters are better preserved, which is not possible on Earth due to erosion. A variety of impact craters are present on Mars including complex impact craters, which are characterized by an uplifted central region. The central uplift is of interest to planetary geologists because it is here where rocks from the depths are exposed to the surface and these outcrops may offer samples of early Martian crust. The study of central uplifts on Mars will contribute to a better understanding of impact cratering processes on Earth and other planetary surfaces, and will advance our knowledge of the composition of early Martian crust. This presentation will review what we have learned from studying central crater uplifts on Mars. Presentation by Bianca D'Aoust, Masters Student in Geology & Planetary Science at the University of Western Ontario. (20 minutes)

Mars Alga Crater central uplift 1.png

Friday Sept 5:


1. Impact Craters on our planet, how do we identify them? Hint, not by looking for circular structures. Here are two structures that are circular (sort of), which one is the result of a cosmic impact?

Presentation by Ottawa RASC member and terrestrial (for now anyway) impact crater explorer Chuck O'Dale.

2. Historical Figures in Astronomy. Kristian Birkeland was a Norwegian scientist who was the first to scientifically explain the Aurora Borealis. Come take a journey back in time to the early 1900's to learn how Birkeland risked life and limb to discover the secrets of the Northern Lights!

Ottawa RASC member Carmen Rush is back with another talk in her series on historical figures in astronomy. Join Carmen as she presents another spellbinding account of the scientists that help advance modern astronomy.

Meeting Location and Admission

Meetings are typically held in the main auditorium of the Canadian Science and Technology Museum. Address is: 1867 St Laurent Blvd, Ottawa, Ontario.

Directions to the museum are available here.

Admission to RASC meetings is free. Meetings are open to everyone. You do not have to be a RASC member to attend. Please note that during meetings the rest of the museum is closed.

Please note that there is a $3 charge for parking at the museum during the meetings. Please buy the parking passes at the automated pay stations and post the pass on your car dashboard in a visible location.

Other Information

  • Did you miss a meeting? Perhaps you can't attend because of another commitment? No problem - our meetings are now broadcast live over the Internet and also recorded. Click here to watch current and previously recorded meetings!
  • Members are invited to deliver presentations on subjects of interest at the meetings. A presenter's guide is available here.
  • The Helen Sawyer Hogg observatory is located on the grounds of the museum, and contains a classic 15-inch refracting telescope. The observatory and telescope are open to the general public after some of the meetings (weather permitting).

Meeting Agenda Archives

Past meeting agendas are posted here.

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