In order to help centre members get out under the skies more, the Centre's Observing Committee oversees a schedule of events dedicated to Observing. Interested members meet on a regular basis at the home of various members with dark sky sites, on or near each new moon, on a Friday or Saturday evening. These Centre observing sessions have been going strong from the early 1990s until 2007. Thanks to all the volunteer coordinators from the past!
In addition to the novice, intermediate, and advanced observing programs (see links on left) there are many others such as those offered by the Astronomical League in the US. See the Astronomical League Observing Clubs page for more info.
There is a PDF booklet giving an overview of the RASC observing certificate programs here (442kb).
We switch leads each year to share the work and responsibility. 2013 was our 14th annual, counting the inaurugal DSNOS (Dark Sky Night Observing Session) at Presquile Park in 2000.
The event is basically the rental of an area (the Camp Sagonaska Boy Scout Camp in the Vandewater Conservation Area near Thomasburg Ontario) each year in September, generally around a new moon weekend.
Attendees can choose from weekend registration or a Saturday day pass. Typical events include a opening rocket launch on Friday, swap meet on Saturday along with a series of presentations in the afternoon, a group photo and a catered dinner.
Observing opportunities are daytime Friday from noon on, Saturday all day and Sunday morning; stellar observing Friday and Saturday nights.
A main feature is the low cost of the event with low camp rental rates and low dinner rates. The financial goal of the event is to not lose money, as we are not out to make a lot of money. Profits or losses are shared equally between Kingston and Belleville.
Most people camp in tents or small trailers in the field with their equipment, but there are also a limited number of bunks in the longhouse. The washroom facilities are primitive but we do our best to make your time spent there as inoffensive as possible
Typical attendance is between 20 and 30 people. The longhouse capacity for dinner is approximately 36 comfortably with maybe 50 as a hard upper limit. The field can easily accommodate 75-100 campers if not more.
Tree growth and increasing levels of light pollution is turning the event more and more into a social gathering moreso than a darksky observing session. The opportunity to see and share with others, their equipment, techniques and knowledge are the big draw for many.
A few years back Kingston did not have the volunteers needed to lead during our rotation, and Belleville stepped up to cover the gap. Thanks!
We are proud that the event has continued for this long and hope that it continues on into the future.
Thanks to all of the volunteers over the years!
Chairs: 2014-Mark Coady (BC), 2013-Mark Coady (KC), 2012-Mark Coady (BC), 2011-Mark Coady (KC), 2010- Mark Coady (BC), 2009- Kim Hay(KC), 2008- 2007-Kevin Kell (KC), 2006- 2005-Kevin Kell (KC), 2004- 2003- Robert Ayde(BC), Don Cooke(KC), 2002- Les Dempsey (BC), Kevin Kell (KC)
See the "Armchair Science" section in our Library for opportunities to contribute to science by working with
images. You can do things like classifying galaxies, searching for fast-moving asteroids, and searching for
Kingston, Ontario, Canada ( 44.2796°N, 76.5445°W)
The following give information on the current moon phase, as well as solar and auroral activity and forecast meteorological conditions for Kingston. The links at left give information on various KC, RASC, and other observing programs suitable for everyone from beginners to advanced amateurs.
What to bring: observing instrument (telescope or binocs), a chair or stool, star charts, red light, observer's handbook, thermos with warm drink, some snack food, your logbook.