Whether you are an experienced astronomer or a casual stargazer, you are bound to be captivated by the many events slated at the University of Calgary’s Rothney Astrophysical Observatory (RAO) in 2014.
Located 20 minutes southwest of Calgary—2.4 kms south of the Hwy 22 and Hwy 22x interchange—the RAO is one of Canada's best-equipped astronomical teaching facilities, providing university students with the opportunity to use research-grade telescopes, an integral part of the undergraduate astronomy curriculum.
In addition to serving astronomers in residence and world-leading astrophysicists, the facility also hosts about 3,000 elementary and high school students for educational programming annually and runs public outreach events monthly.
The RAO’s inaugural public evening of the year is set for Saturday, Feb. 1, from 8 to 11 p.m. The event will be highlighted by a talk by Associate Prof. Lisa Hughes from University of Calgary’s Department of Greek and Roman Studies.
Titled Mythology of the February Night Sky, Prof. Hughes’ presentation will discuss the ancient Greek interpretation of the February night sky, covering the clashes of the heroes, goddesses and the immortals as they were used as a system for identifying stars within the 48 constellations of classical Greece.
The RAO’s monthly public outreach activities are intended to increase awareness and knowledge of our astrophysical world. Future topics will include intergalactic space, astrophysical research, the summer solstice, and the exploration of planet Mars.
In addition to attending the scheduled keynote lectures, evening public outreach guests can also peek through professional telescopes operated by university representatives and members of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (Calgary centre).
Contributions of $20 per car (or $10 per person) are suggested at registration in support of the RAO’s educational programs.
The University of Calgary is an internationally-recognized centre for space research. In 2013, researchers from the Department of Physics and Astronomy were involved in three separate space mission launches to study asteroids and orbiting comets (NEOSSat), gather data on space environment and conduct auroral imaging (CASSIOPE), and map the Earth’s magnetic and electric fields (Swarm).
2014 Events at the RAO:
- Feb. 1: Mythology of the Sky (Lisa Hughes)
- March 1: Intergalactic Space (Jeroen Stil)
- April 12: Yuri’s Night (Don Hladiuk )
- May 10: Astrophysics on the Cutting Edge (Astrophysics Researchers)
- June 21: Summer Solstice (Phil Langill)
- July 24, 25, 26: Milky Way Nights, Late night observing for the public 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
- Aug. 21, 22, 23: Milky Way Nights, Late night observing for the public 10 p.m.–2 a.m.
- Sept. 20: Mars Open House (Zac Trolley)
- Oct. 11: Mysteries of Space Open House
- Nov. 15: Turn Out the Light and Take Back the Night
Click here for the printer-friendly poster.