Nanaimo Astronomy Society to host Vancouver Island’s first AstroFest

AstroFest will showcase Island’s amateur astronomical groups and activities

Take a virtual reality tour of the International Space Station when Nanaimo Astronomy Society gathers Vancouver Island’s astronomy-related organizations together for a first-ever Vancouver Island AstroFest.

AstroFest happens at Beban Park on Thursday, Feb. 28, and is a public open house where visitors can learn about events and activities NAS, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Victoria Centre, Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and Cowichan Valley Starfinders are involved with throughout the year. The groups host world-class speakers on exoplanets, star and galaxy formation and the latest discoveries about the cosmos, star-gazing events for club members and the public, and help people who are new to astronomy get started.

Also supporting AstroFest with displays and presentations are two private businesses: Island Stars Observatory, which offers guided tours of the night sky on Hornby Island, and Victoria-based Quarky Science, a science and nature store that aims to make science fun, interesting and accessible.

Janeane MacGillivray, NAS member who proposed the AstroFest idea, said the ISS virtual reality tour has been hugely popular with people of all ages who lined up at star party events in Victoria throughout the summer. The tour provides a visual and physical experience.

“That space station virtual reality tour has been a real show-stopper…” MacGillivray said. “It’s been very engaging to the general public who, maybe, have never thought about astronomy or space science.”

Collaboration among professional scientists is key to furthering research, learning and making new discoveries about the universe and mutual support between the scientific community and the Island’s amateur astronomers helps raise interest in that work in local communities. MacGillivray said NAS and the Royal Astronomical Society Victoria Centre realized AstroFest could have significant promotional benefits and offer an opportunity for the Island’s astronomy group members to get to know each other.

“But it isn’t just just for our club members to get to know each other. It’s definitely open to the public in outreach as well,” MacGillivray said.

For those scratching that itch to start observing the heavens, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will have reference guides for professionals, amateur sky-watchers, teachers or anyone who enjoys the evening skies.

“There are various ways people can enjoy being amateur enthusiasts … it could be anything from armchair astronomy – like reading books and looking at the internet and things like that – to participating as a citizen scientist in research,” MacGillivray said.

To learn more about Vancouver Island AstroFest and other Nanaimo Astronomy Society activities, visit the NAS website at www.nanaimoastronomy.com/.



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Nanaimo chamber receives B.C. Chamber of Commerce award

Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce lauded for community engagement, night market

Nanaimo residents train in rain at Active for Life Expo

Kettlebell, free running among activities on display at PacficSport VI event at Maffeo Sutton Park

Nanaimo Gem and Mineral Show rocking all weekend

Event being held Saturday and Sunday, May 25-26, at the Legion Branch 256

Nanaimo-Ladysmith students put their robots to the test in competition

High school students problem-solved at VEX robotics tournament this week

Bus loop will now remain in downtown Nanaimo until the end of the year

Shelters installed at temporary Port Drive/Front Street transit exchange

Nanaimo kindergarten teacher receives Prime Minister’s award

Departure Bay Eco-School’s Liz McCaw use of experiential learning methods earns her accolade

Nanaimo students press for action on climate change

Strike for Climate was held again Friday; students feel their concerns aren’t being taken seriously

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterey, Calif.

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Most Read