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

  • 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

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

  • Dec 5


  • Jan 9 (2nd Friday of the month)
  • Feb 6
  • Mar 6
  • Apr 10 (2nd Friday of the month)
  • May 1
  • June 5
  • July 3.

Meeting Agendas

Friday October 10:

1. Voyage to Mars. It finally happened. Our intrepid planetary geologist Simon Hanmer has travelled to Mars. We all knew he would eventually make it to Mars. With his usual infectious enthusiasm, Simon will share an account of his trip to Mars! (30 minute presentation).

2. Egyptian Pyramid Alignment. Many questions are raised when a visitor first encounters the ancient Egyptian pyramids ... how could something so immense be constructed? ... what tools were used? ... how could they built to last several millennia? One lesser known but equally impressive fact about the great pyramids of Egypt is that they are aligned with near perfect accuracy to the cardinal directions (north, south, east, west). In one case, the side of a pyramid is aligned to less than 3 arcminutes to the North-South direction! Theories have emerged that try to explain how the pyramids could be engineered with such accuracy - some border on science fiction. Ottawa RASC member Mike Moghadam will share his findings from a review of research and will focus on one very intriguing theory that suggests that the answer to this mystery might be in the sky above us (20 minutes).

Pyramid alignment.png

Friday November 7:

1. Exploring Epsilon Aurigae. Every 27 years something very interesting happens to Epsilon Aurigae - it dims from an apparent magnitude of of +2.9 to +3.8. But there are several hundred thousand variable stars and related systems that dim in the night sky, so why should Epsilon Aurigae attract our attention? What makes Epsilon Aurigae interesting is that the dimming can last up to 730 days!  Richard Alexandrowich shares his findings from a review of the latest research (15 minute presentation).

2. The topic of the second presenter will be posted soon.

Friday December 5:  *** An RASC Ottawa Centre Special Event *** 

The RASC Ottawa Centre is delighted and honoured to host Bob Berman, an accomplished author, journalist and astronomer, for a very special evening.

What is the Universe? This one hour illustrated presentation explores how discoveries since 1998 have led us to new models of the cosmos that have curiously not reached general awareness. Examining the odd realities of light and color, we'll also probe the nature of "empty space," time, the recent discovery of a large-scale flat topology to space, and its implications for an infinite universe. We'll see whether this may demote the Big Bang to a local event in the 'hood -- and how we astronomers might handle infinity and other cosmological aspects that cannot be visualized.

Bob Berman is one of the world’s most widely read astronomers. Since 1989, his celebrated "Strange Universe" feature has appeared monthly in Discover and now Astronomy magazines. Berman is also the long-time astronomy editor of the Old Farmers Almanac.

Bob Berman is the author of eight popular books, including "Secrets of the Night Sky" (Morrow, 1995; paperback HarperCollins 1997) which was a Main Selection of the Astronomy Book Club; Biocentrism (co-authored with Robert Lanza, MD, Ben Bella, 2009), The Sun’s Heartbeat, (Little, Brown 2011) and his newest and (he says) his favorite: Zoom: How Everything Moves, also published by Little Brown. During the 1980s, Berman ran the summer astronomy program at Yellowstone Park for the National Park Service and Yellowstone Institute.

Bob Berman

Berman founded the Catskill Astronomical Society in 1976, and is director of Overlook Observatory, near Woodstock, New York. He was adjunct professor of astronomy and physics at Marymount college from 1995-2000.

As a lecturer who leads groups three times each year to celestial events such as auroras and total eclipses, Bob has spent five years overseas, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and is known for his unique blend of humor, informality, and encyclopedic sky-knowledge. He’s lectured for innumerable academic, state, and US federal agencies such as National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

Meeting Location and Admission

Our next meeting: November 7th in the main auditorium of the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum located here. There is a $3 parking fee in the museum #2 lot.

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 Canada Science and Technology Museum, and contains a classic 15-inch refracting telescope. The observatory and telescope are open to the public after some of the meetings (weather permitting).

Meeting Agenda Archives

Past meeting agendas are posted here.

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