Thursday, April 17, 2014

Starry Nights Again!

Petitioners and Lana at public demo to save the Saanich Observatory,
August 24, 2013
Dear Friends of the Saanich Observatory,

I am very happy to share with you three pieces of good news about public access to the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and the Centre of the Universe.

1. Star-Gazing Saturday Night on International Astronomy Day!
On Saturday May 3rd, from 8-11pm, the Centre of the Universe will be open! Volunteers with the Royal Astronomical Society (RASC) will have their telescopes set-up for public gazing and there will be tours of the Observatory itself. The powerful Plaskett Telescope will be operational, weather permitting. There will be lectures by National Research Council (NRC) astronomers later in the evening.

This free evening event will cap a full day of astronomy activities at the Royal BC Museum. More information available at

2. Summer Camp is back at the Saanich Observatory!
 This July and August, UVIC’s much-loved Science Venture is offering eight week-long Astronomy Camps at the Centre of the Universe! If you have kids in grade 3-8, check out the “spaceTECH” or “astroLAB” camps. SpaceTech will teach campers how technology makes it possible to live and work in space. AstroLAB focuses on stars, planets, galaxies, and hands-on building projects. The goal of both camps is to deepen knowledge and inspire our youth to learn about astronomy, physics and space technology – in a fun way, and now at a truly awesome location! Registration opens April 22nd. More information at

3. Star-Gazing Saturday Nights this Summer!
The RASC is planning seven star-gazing evening events this summer! This is still tentative, but I expect it will be confirmed very soon. The dates on hold are July 5, 12 and 19, August 2, 9 and 16 and September 6. The plan is for a free evening event, rain or shine, with tours of the Observatory and, hopefully, viewing from the Plaskett telescope. RASC volunteers will be on hand to share their knowledge and will have their own telescopes set-up for the public to use. Stay tuned for finalized plans!

I want to acknowledge and thank the many people – at RASC, UVIC and the National Research Council -- who have put in long hours to make this all possible. This is a fantastic beginning to the next phase of public engagement and support for the Saanich Observatory. Community volunteers and the NRC continue to work together closely as they develop long-term plans for public access for 2015 and beyond.

Warm regards,


Visit for more information.