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1978

1978 Calendar of Events

January
10
...there was a display of astronomical equipment and astronomical photographs. [Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.2]
January
24

...our Centre members enjoyed a talk by David Levy, who had been one of our members for only about three months and who was already giving his second talk. It was indeed a fascinating presentation, this time on the topic, "The Great Comet of 1861". David had been able to glean many historical details about this interloper in the inner solar system; they were a part of the Master's thesis on which he was working and concerned the appreciation of this spectacular sight by Gerard Manley Hopkins, one of the finest of Victorian English poets. [Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.2]

February
7

I [Leo Enright] presented a talk on the topic, "The Astrolabe: Its History and Use". [Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.2]

February
21

Dr. A.V. Douglas spoke on "The I.A.U. And Its Triennial Congresses". See David Levy's review in Regulus March 3, 1978. (This article was also reprinted in NNL 1978 June L42-3).

Our guest speaker on Tuesday, February 21, 1978 was someone very special indeed. It was our own Honorary President, Dr. A. Vibert Douglas, who had been National R.A.S.C. President in 1943 and 1944, and had founded the Kingston Centre in 1961. Although she did not then frequently attend Centre meetings because of her declining health, she maintained a strong interest in the Centre. It was a rare and special treat to have her speak on her topic, "The I.A.U. and Its Triennial Congresses". She was a widely recognized authority on the history of astronomy, having already been associated with the R.A.S.C. for well over fifty years, and having known, and worked with, some of the outstanding figures in astrophysics of the twentieth century; in fact, she was one of them. In the 1920's and before, she had collaborated with Arthur Eddington (later Sir Arthur Eddington), the great cosmologist and early exponent of relativity. She had worked at Yerkes Observatory when the world's largest refractor was adding to our knowledge of the universe.

There could have been no Canadian better equipped than Dr. Douglas to speak to us on the topic of the I.A.U., because no Canadian had attended as many of its triennial congresses. In fact, probably no more than a half-dozen individuals anywhere had attended more of these conventions. She was able to recount stories of wellknown scientists she had met at some of those early meetings. She recalled the 1924 I.A.U. Congress at Cambridge, Mass., that included a side trip to view a total solar eclipse at Magog, Quebec, a trip that was unfortunately not rewarded with good weather.

Dr. Douglas mentioned some of the unfortunate post-war political wrangling that was part of both the Zurich and Rome meetings held in the late 1940's and early 1950's, but there were many positive experiences connected with her attendance at so many of them, such as the enjoyable side trip to the Russian observatories in the Caucasus at the time of the 1958 I.A.U. Congress in Moscow.

Though one might think that she would be content to conclude merely with a summary of the many I.A.U. Congresses that she had attended, Dr. Douglas was still looking forward to at least one more. At the end of her talk, she announced that, when the seventeenth I.A.U. Congress would be held the following year, 1979, in Montreal, it would be her twelfth, and she hoped that it would be our first.

I [Leo Enright] know that her talk had a profound effect on at least two people in that audience, both of whom probably resolved at that instant to do everything within their power to be in Montreal the following year. I definitely wanted to attend some of the triennial events of the organization that governs the protocol and the recognized international conventions of astronomy world-wide. The I.A.U. had now grown from about a dozen committees, known as Commissions, to over fifty such groups, and it would be meeting in Canada for the first time in August, 1979. Yes, in fact, both David Levy and I did subsequently attend some of the events of the Seventeenth I.A.U. Congress, and it was a fascinating experience. It was proof that Dr. Douglas's talk of February 21 had been a powerful introduction some of the astronomical achievements of her era.

[Reference: Regulus Jan 2003, pg.3]

1978
March
7
At our last meeting, on March 7th, the tradition of fine and interesting talks was continued with the presentation by David Levy. David's talk on "Observing Variable Stars", so well and thoroughly presented, came from someone who has had an obviously long and happy acquaintance with Variables. Read a full review in Newsletter March 1978 #2.
1978
March
21
Because of unfavorable weather conditions we were not able to hold a Public (or Semi-Public) Moon Observing Night in conjunction with our meeting of Tuesday, March twenty-first. Better luck next time! We were able to elect our officers for the year beginning in September.
[Reference: Newsletter, April 1978 #2]
1978
April
4
During the meeting of April fourth, Leo gave a talk entitled Faint Light in The Night Sky. It concentrated on the following: (1) Zodiacal Light, (2) Gegenschein (or Counterglow) (3) Interplanetary Light, (4) Nightglow, (5) Integrated Starlight. Once again weather conditions meant it was not the most favorable observing night ever recorded.
[Reference: Newsletter, April 1978 #2]
April
18
 
May
2
 
May
16
 
1978
May
30
Leo ...pointed out what a remarkably different configuation the planets, Venus and Jupiter, made on the three successive nights, May 27th, 28th, and 29th...
[Reference: Newsletter, June 1978 #2]
June
13
 
June
27
 
September
7
 
September
20
 
October
5
On October 5th we heard Peter Jedicke of the London Centre talk on the "Colonization Of Space". His presentation was very interesting and very well received. [Reference: Newsletter, mid-November 1978, page 3.]
1978
October
19
On October 19th, David Levy talked to us about a project in which he had been involved, "Teaching Astronomy to Young Children". A lot of work had gone into his talk which he shortened and afterward delivered at a convention of the American Association of Variable Star Observers in Boston during the weekend of September 28th - 29th. [Reference: Newsletter, mid-November 1978, page 3.]
November
2
 
November
16
 
1978
November
30

...A motion was passed unanimously to purchase a ten-inch mirror and start construction of a telescope for our centre, the project to be completed before May 1st next year...

...It was also decided that the centre would start a nova-search project. Certain small areas of the sky marked off in an atlas were chosen by individuals who would be responsible for doing a thorough search of the chosen area or areas...
[Reference: Newsletter, December 1978, page 3.]

December
14
 
1978
December
21

There was some talk of a "Christmas party" at David's place on December 21st. Final confirmation may come at the meeting on December 14th. (Thanks again to David for having so many Centre activities at his place.)
[Reference: Newsletter, December 1978, page 4.]

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