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.


  • June 5
  • July 3
  • Aug 7
  • Sept 4

Meeting Agendas

Friday June 5:

1. Celestial Navigation

Once people sailed beyond the sight of land, the problem of getting back to a safe harbor became a matter of life and death. The sky was something a navigator could rely on, but how could the sky reveal location? In this presentation, Tim Cole will look at some of the great developments in that long quest, and review the techniques that still work when the GPS receiver's batteries go dead.

Tim Cole was awarded the Ottawa RASC's Best Presentation of the Year award in 2014 for his talk on Astrolabes.


Source: ("Sekstant". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -

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. 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. 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.

Friday September 4:

1. Historical Figures in Astronomy

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 account of historical figures in astronomy.

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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