Wesley Fraser, planetary scientist and astronomer with the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory in Saanich, will discuss the latest observations made by the New Horizons spacecraft on its flight through the Kuiper Belt at the January meeting of the Nanaimo Astronomy Society. Photo submitted

Nanaimo Astronomy Society will look at the latest from the Kuiper Belt

Wesley Fraser, astronomer and planetary scientist, presents discoveries by New Horizons spacecraft

Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s first meeting of 2019 focuses on new horizons in space exploration.

Featured guest speaker Wesley Fraser, astronomer and planetary scientist with the Dominion Observatory in Saanich, will present some of the latest discoveries made by the New Horizons spacecraft, which is making its way through the Kuiper Belt where it did a fly by of 2014 MU69, also known at Ultima Thule, an icy object about 32 kilometres wide that appears to have formed from the joining of two objects that once orbited one another.

The New Horizons spacecraft, launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., in January 2006, has travelled 13 years to the outer reaches of the solar system to make the first close-up observations of an icy object in its breeding ground, according to a press release from the Nanaimo Astronomy Society containing an abstract of Fraser’s work and details of his upcoming presentation.

“In this presentation I will provide the modern view of the outer solar system and the objects found there,” Fraser said in the release. “This presentation will involve reference to running telescope programs, like my Colours of the Outer Solar System Origins Survey and the exciting results from the New Horizons.”

Fraser went on to say he will lay out the best current picture of the life of an icy body, how and from what the objects formed and how they came to be located in the Kuiper Belt.

Fraser was awarded his PhD in 2008 and is the principal investigator for a variety of telescope projects studying the Kuiper Belt, participating in preparations for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and actively hunting for the theoretical Planet 9, which might exist at the outer edge of the solar system. Fraser has recently moved back to Victoria from a lectureship at Queens University, Belfast, Ireland, and is continuing his at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and at the California Institute of Technology.

There will also be a short presentation by society member Art Charbonneau, ‘Are We Alone? The search for alien life.’

Also, weather permitting, Nanaimo Astronomy Society will celebrate the total lunar eclipse happening Sunday, Jan. 20, with a public viewing.

Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s January meeting happens Jan. 24 at Beban Park social centre, Room 2, at 7 p.m.

To learn more about the society, upcoming presentations and details of the public viewing of the lunar eclipse, visit www.nanaimoastronomy.com.

Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: No government interested in paying for rail right now

Rail advocates are ignoring the basic problem of affordability, says letter writer

Nanaimo Art Gallery announces new executive director

Former Prince George gallery director Carolyn Holmes to take on role

School district reveals restart plans for Nanaimo-Ladysmith

K-5 students will see two days of instruction a week, 6-12 students once a week

Missing man thought to be in Nanaimo

Nanaimo RCMP ask for public’s help in locating Kevin Golze, 45

Nanaimo painter inspired by medieval animal illustrations in new exhibition

Yvonne Vander Kooi to unveil ‘Bestiary’ via Gallery Merrick live-stream

Only four new COVID-19 cases, 228 active across B.C.

Health officials watching as activities ramp up

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Condition in kids with possible COVID-19 link being studied in Canada

This month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert to doctors about MIS-C

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

Trudeau acknowledges racial unrest in U.S.; ‘We also have work to do in Canada’

‘Anti-black racism, racism, is real; it’s in the United States, but it’s also in Canada,’ Trudeau says

RDN Transit to see rollout of 15 new HandyDart buses

Buses will have temporary protective barriers installed to prevent spread of COVID-19

United Way distributes $120,000 in federal funding to seniors in need during pandemic

Salvation Army, Eden Gardens, hospice society among groups granted money

Most Read