St. Catharines Astronomy Club
Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Niagara Centre
If you are interested in astronomy and stargazing and you live in St. Catharines, Ontario, you will definitely want to join the official astronomy club of the Niagara region. My passion for night sky photography is what lead me to this wonderful group of people in my area that share my interest in the stars above.
The official astronomy club for St. Catharines is the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) – Niagara Centre. This astronomy club was formed in 1958 by eight amateur astronomers from Niagara Falls, and by 1960, was incorporated into RASC; the national organization for professional and amateur astronomers. I joined the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Niagara Centre in 2011. Since then I have enjoyed numerous presentations and talks by club members. I have also learned a wealth of knowledge about astrophotography from the many talented amateur astrophotographers that are a part of this club.
Dark Skies at the Observatory
The club has it’s own observatory at a dark-sky location in the Niagara region. The centre conducts monthly observing sessions for club members, caled “Members’ Nights” at the Chippewa Creek Conservation Area Observatory (CCCA). To ensure dark sky viewing conditions, scheduled observing nights are held near the time of a New Moon. A typical night at the CCCA involves viewing the planets currently visible, as well as deep-sky objects such as the Orion Nebula, Andromeda Galaxy, and the Hercules Globular cluster to name a few.
These astronomy photographs were taken by Trevor Jones using a small refractor telescope, a tracking mount, and a Canon DSLR Camera (Canon Xsi). Although you cannot see nearly as much colour and detail of these stunning deep-sky treasures with the naked-eye alone, to see these objects in “real-time” through a telescope eyepiece is a breath-taking experience.
Star Gazing and Presentations
The club hosts several astronomy presentations and public star-gazing nights throughout the year. These are great opportunities for the club to give back to the community and share the wonders of our universe with people young and old. The club hosts meetings every month from September to June at the Niagara Falls Public Library.
If you are interested in joining the club, you can visit the official RASC – Niagara Centre website for complete details. I am currently the RASC – Niagara Centre Webmaster and Newsletter Editor. To see some of the events we have held, as well as some of the amazing astronomy images taken by our members, have a look at the latest edition of The Niagara Whirlpool Newsletter.
If you are interested in the equipment needed to photograph the night sky at the CCCA Observatory, or right in your own backyard, please visit my equipment page. You can also learn about my image processing techniques by reading one of my astrophotography tutorials. Lastly, to keep up to date with my latest images you can follow my Facebook page. Clear skies. – Trevor