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.

Meeting Features

  • Several 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 Prizes - each month we hold a draw and give away several astronomy-themed prizes to lucky winners. The draw is open to everyone who attends the meeting and is free.
  • Announcements on free public outreach and recreational astronomy events in Ottawa.

Meeting Schedule

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


  • May 1
  • June 5
  • July 3
  • Aug 7

Meeting Agendas

Friday May 1:

1. A Botanist on Mars Paul Sokoloff, Research Assistant in Botany with the Canadian Museum of Nature

This past November Paul Sokoloff spent two weeks as a crew member on Expedition 143 to the Mars Desert Research Station in southern Utah. This Mars Society-run outpost serves as an analog to the conditions that would be encountered by an actual manned mission to Mars (dry, cold, and remote), and is a counterpart to another research station on Devon Island, in the Canadian High Arctic. Simulated missions at these stations serve as a dress rehearsal for future trips to the red planet, allowing us to test equipment, experiments, and crew dynamics without leaving Earth. During this talk Paul will discuss the research project and outreach efforts he led at MDRS, and answer the question “What’s a botanist doing on Mars anyway?”

Mars Desert Research Station.PNG

Mars Desert Research Station

2. A Review of the Latest Advances in Modern Cosmology

By Al Scott

There is little doubt that we are in a golden age of Cosmology. Recent discoveries in the late 20th century have heralded a new understanding of the evolution and structure of our universe. Topics such as dark matter & dark energy, the flat universe, the multiverse and black holes have increasingly become part of public discourse. However, they are often used with only a superficial understanding of the theory and concept. In this talk, Ottawa RASC Centre member Al Scott will review the major discoveries in modern cosmology and provide an overview for the uninitiated.

Friday June 5:

1. Observing Locations in the Ottawa Region

We all have our favourite places to observe the night sky. Some convenient locations are close to us in Ottawa while other observing sites with darker skies are a few hours drive from us. In this talk, Ottawa Centre member Shane Finnigan will review all the best observing locations in Ottawa and surrounding region that are frequented by many of us.

Note: A detailed summary of Shane's presentation including maps, directions and photos will be placed on the Ottawa Centre web site after his talk.

2. Next Generation Satellite Technologies Ryan Anderson, Senior Engineer, Advanced Systems, Telesat.

For over 40 years, Telesat has been on the leading edge of innovation in space and satellite communications. From launching Anik A1, the world’s first domestic communications satellite, to the dramatic recovery of Anik E1 and E2, to the first commercial use of Ka band for broadband internet access on Anik F2, Telesat is a proven industry leader.

Presently, Telesat is making use of the latest technologies to provide the most reliable and cost effective services around the globe: all-electric propulsion, flexible payloads, high throughput spot beams, and innovative orbits are some of the technologies that are driving innovation in Satcom. Telesat's future programs will take advantage of these advancements and continue to push the limits of the technology.

Anik F2

Friday July 3:

1. Habitability of Planets in Red Dwarf Systems by Richard Alexandrowich.

An overview of this presentation will be posted soon.

Friday August 7:

HESA's Mars Express Mission - Hi-Res and “Perspective” Imaging of Mars : Erosion & Deposition The European Space Agency has placed a treasure trove of high resolution images from its Mars Express Mission in the public domain. With optical resolutions in the range of 10-30m per pixel, these images contain astounding detail and have been rendered in oblique perspective, giving the viewer the firm impression of “being there”. As part of an on-going mini-series of three presentations, Simon Hanmer has already talked to us about images from this archive related to martian Topography in general. In this talk, he will present and comment on hi-resolution ESA images that illustrate processes associated with Erosion & Deposition on the martian surface.

Meeting Location and Admission

Our meetings are held in the main auditorium of the Canada Aviation and Space Museumlocated here. There is a $3 parking fee for museum parking.

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!
    A higher quality video of the meeting is also posted on YouTube approximately three weeks after the meeting. Click here to find it and links to earlier meetings.
  • Members are invited to deliver presentations on subjects of interest at the meetings. A presenter's guide is available here.

Meeting Agenda Archives:

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