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News & Events

News & Events

Asteroid given the name “Thunder Bay”

January 17, 2017 – by Dave Gallant

The Thunder Bay Center of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) is pleased to announce that the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has accepted our proposal to name a minor planet (asteroid) after our home town.

The asteroid that was formerly known only as 1942 TB, can now also be referred to as 11780 Thunder Bay.

The right to name the asteroid was given to our center, as a bonus, after we were one of twenty successful groups that won the IAU’s NameExoWorlds contest last year. In that contest we successfully named a star in the constellation of Andromeda and its’ companion planet.  The names we chose were Veirtate (Truth) and Spe (Hope).

The asteroid is a main belt asteroid, approximately 5 km diameter that resides between Mars and Jupiter.  It was discovered on October 3, 1942, by Finland’s first female Ph.D. astronomer, Liisi Oterma.

“We are delighted that the IAU has chosen to recognize the volunteers of our Centre who work to bring astronomy to the citizens of Thunder Bay”, says centre president Brendon Roy, ”I hope it will be a source of  inspiration for the whole community.”

The IAU news release can be found here – https://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1701/


Green Lecture

Thunder Bay to Host Award Winning Night Sky Photographer Alan Dyer – October 14 & 15

October 6, 2016

14625460_10208827607466351_1317965122_nThe Thunder Bay Centre of the RASC is pleased to announce that award winning night sky photographer, and author Alan Dyer will be visiting Thunder Bay to give a public talk, as well as conduct a night sky photography workshop.

On Friday October 14, at 7:00PM, Lakehead University (Ryan Building RB1042) Alan will be giving a public talk entitled “The Amazing Sky”, that will explore the night sky through his pictures and stop animation movies.  An evening that is sure to entertain, and amaze you with some of the pictures that Alan has managed to capture.  Admission is free.

On Saturday October 15, at 1:00 PM, Lakehead University (Faculty Lounge UC1029G) Alan will be conducting a classroom session on night sky photography.  The session will run from 4 to 5 hours, depending on levels of interest and interaction.  Topics will include, but not be limited to: camera selection, settings, lens selection, composure, post processing techniques and software.  See here for sample course outline.  Course is aimed primarily at DSLR cameras, however post processing tips may apply to all camera types.  Feel free to bring your camera along.  Cost is $60, payable in cash or cheque at the door.

To see Alans work,  visit www.amazingsky.net  His bio can be seen here.


Thunder Bay Amateur Astronomers Name an Exoworld

December 15, 2015 – by Dave Gallant



Members of the Thunder Bay Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada have officially named a planetary system. They join over a dozen other astronomy groups from around the world who entered the International Astronomical Union’s (IAU) NameExoWorld contest, and had their entry obtain the most online votes.

A list of 20 potential star systems, known to have at least one planet orbiting the star, were chosen by the IAU for the contest. The local astronomers chose a star in the constellation Andromeda, that has one planet (about 5 times heavier than Jupiter). The star is visible to the naked eye from late summer to early winter. Prior to the contest, the star was called 14 Andromeda, and the planet was known as 14 Andromedae b. Now thanks to the centre’s winning entry, the star can officially be called Veritate, and the planet can be called Spe.

Veritate and Spe are latin words for truth and hope. From the Centre’s submission to the IAU:

The human race is driven by an innate need to explore the worlds around us and world beyond. We seek scientific knowledge as well as existential enlightenment to help us define and understand our place in the Universe. To the end, we have selected the themes of Truth and Hope, for it is these we seek when we explore the universe and discover new worlds. And with these discoveries of new worlds, perhaps we will find new truths and hope for our ultimate quest of finding out: why are we here? We have turned to the Latin language as one of the founding languages of human civilization to help us in our naming process.

As an additional honour the local center will also get to choose the name of a minor planet within our solar system. Thoughts at this time are that they will name it after their centre – RASCThunderBay.

Web links of relevance

IAU News Release – http://www.iau.org/news/pressreleases/detail/iau1514/

IAU Name Exoworlds – http://nameexoworlds.iau.org/


November 1, 2015 – by Dave Gallant

After a number of years of back and forth with the management and staff of Fort William Historical Park and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Centre and them has been signed by both parties.

In a nutshell, the agreement lets us use the telescopes, and the facilities of the David Thompson Astronomical Observatory, at predetermined dates as agreed to.  In exchange, the centre will provide them with operational assistance, and upkeep advice/assistance and help them with their program development during the year.

As a result, we have moved our meetings out to the learning center at the Observatory. It is hoped that after the meeting, on the nights that are clear we will be able to get out under the stars.

Many of the details are yet to be ironed out, but this is a great opportunity for the centre.