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.


  • Aug 7
  • Sept 11 (Note: This is the second Friday in September)
  • Oct 2
  • Nov 6
  • Dec 4

Meeting Agendas

Friday August 7:

1. New Horizons fly-by of Pluto : Geological Speculations by Simon Hanmer

Given the minimal data received from the New Horizons (NH) Pluto fly-by to date, NASA is understandably coy in its interpretations thus far. However, never one to let a lack of data get in the way of a good story, Simon Hanmer will throw caution to the wind and speculate on the geological significance of the information currently available from the NH mission - and there’s lots to speculate about !”.

Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

2. Finding and Observing Pluto by Brian McCullough

Tips for finding and observing Pluto by Ottawa Centre member Brian McCullough.

3. Update on RASC Observing Programs by Bill Wagstaff

National Council Representative Bill Wagstaff will present an overview of the various observing certificate programs offered by the RASC, and will discuss recent changes to the requirements for these certificates.

4. And back by popular demand ...

... Novice and Advanced observer challenge objects. This month we will focus on the Moon.

Friday September 4:

1. Historical Figures in Astronomy - Gerard Kuiper

When many people think of Gerard Kuiper (1905-1973), the Kuiper belt immediately comes to mind. This region, far out in our solar system, containing 100s of thousands of small bodies composed of volatile. Its existence was hypothesized by Kuiper well before its discovery in 1992. But Gerard Kuiper is much more than the Kuiper belt. He lived a fascinating life. Here to tell his story is Carmen Rush, widely known in the Ottawa RASC for her well-researched and riveting accounts of historical figures in astronomy.

Gerard Kuiper.jpg

Gerard Kuiper
Image credit: University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

2. 2015 - A Canadian Crater Odyssey by Chuck O'Dale.

Geologists claim that there are over 300 undiscovered meteorite impact craters on Earth. On a recent trip across Canada Gillian and I passed by many of these impact craters. We hope to give you an impression on how many times that we have been blasted from outer space in the past.


Friday October 2: An RASC Ottawa Centre Special event. Hold this date in your schedule! Details will be posted here soon.

Friday November 6:

The Ottawa Centre is pleased to welcome Ivan Semeniuk, an award-winning science journalist and broadcaster. He is currently the Globe and Mail's science journalist and the host of OASIS channel's astronomy series Cosmic Vistas.

Three Roads to Dark Matter by Ivan Semeniuk

Over four fifths of the matter in the universe is an unseen, unidentified substance known as dark matter. Discovered by astronomers in the 20th Century, dark matter has become a focal point for experimental physicists in the 21st Century. Scientists are now closing in on the elusive stuff with major experiments underway on three fronts -- in space, in deep underground laboratories, and in the heart of the world's largest particle accelerator. The coming 18 months are expected to be crucial because it is a period during which dark matter will either be found, or a range of possible explanations will be eliminated.

Ivan Semeniuk.png

A long time science journalist and broadcaster, Ivan Semeniuk was previously Nature's Chief of Correspondents in Washington DC, bureau chief for New Scientist magazine in Boston and a columnist and field producer with Discovery Channel's science show Daily Planet. He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT in 2007-2008 and journalist in residence at the University of Toronto's Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics in 2009-2010. In May he was awarded the 2015 Sanofi Pasteur Medal of Excellence in Health Research Journalism.

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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