December 2017 Hamilton RASC Monthly Meeting

by Ed Mizzi

Bob Prociuk with Thanassis Psaltis at the December meeting

Bob and Thanassis Psaltis at the December meeting

On Dec. 7, 2017, the Hamilton Centre met for its regular monthly meeting. Attendance was very good with about 35 people present and everyone was looking forward to the lecture by Thanassis Psaltis.

Ed Mizzi began the proceedings with a welcome to everyone. He displayed a slide with the agenda on it and briefly introduced the topics for the meeting. He mentioned several club activities and advantages of membership and encouraged people to get involved.

A special visitor

Ed then gave a special welcome to a long-time friend of Colin Haig, Dr. Dick Berg, a professional astronomer who made the trip up from New York State just to attend our meeting. Colin said a few words about him and we asked him to discuss his background and astronomy interests. Then Ed and Colin officially welcomed him with 3 gifts, a RASC cap, toque and 2018 US version of the Astronomer’s Handbook. See

Bob Prociuk addressing the December meeting

Bob Prociuk addressing the December meeting

Club Updates

Ed introduced Bill Leggitt, the club’s Treasurer. Bill gave an excellent financial statement presentation about the last year, 2016/2017. Bill used both a slide show and a few Excel files to describe the club’s financial situation and where we are headed in the near and distant future. A motion was made to accept the financial report and was carried unanimously.  Minutes of this part of the meeting were recorded by Chris Talpas, our secretary. Thanks to Bill for making everything so clear and easy to understand.


Ed introduced Bob Prociuk, Board member, whose portfolio includes vice president and memberships. Bob discussed the benefits of membership at the Hamilton Centre and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He welcomed both new members and members of the public. Our newest members include John Reinsborough, Brynne Degenhardt, Emma Noel Ashworth, Anna Ashworth, Ethan Ashworth, Timothy Ashworth and Andrew K. Hughes. Our total is now 111.


Then Ed Mizzi discussed outreach and also encouraged members to participate in these fun and enjoyable activities with the public. Ed mentioned the event on Nov. 28 at Pearson High School in Burlington, where Ed did a talk during the day to 2 grade nine science classes and then those students and their teachers met at 6:30 PM for a mini star party in the back field of the school. Bob Prociuk, Erin Vassair and Ed Mizzi teamed up to show the students objects in the night sky, with the Moon being the “cool” object of the evening. Hopefully the rest of the 2017/2018 year will see similar fun events, with more members participating.

Other topics

Ed Mizzi then described a program discovered by Board member Troy McCoy, called Gaia Ground based Observational Service for Asteroids (Gaia-GOSA). Members can easily get involved in assisting this program with the goal of gathering photometric light curves of a selection of asteroids. Sounds like an exciting science project.

Ed then introduced another Board member, Muhammad Basil Ahmad, to give a brief preview of the speaker he obtained for our Jan. 4 meeting. Ian Shelton will be here to discuss Super Nova 1987A and his personal connection to this incredible event. Thanks to Muhammad for securing January’s speaker.

We then took a 10 minute break to give people a chance to stretch and chat with fellow members.

Guest Speaker

After the break, Bob Prociuk introduced the night’s speaker, giving an excellent summary of the work that Thanassis has been involved with at the university and a brief introduction to his topic.

Thanassis Psaltis, a graduate student at McMaster University, then provided us with an entertaining and informative lecture entitled “Rust and stardust: The lives of the stars and the origin of the elements”. The audience was very intrigued by what he had to say and many questions ensued, both during and after the talk. Thanassis used several cool analogies from the real world, to help describe the concepts he spoke about. A big thank you to Thanassis for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit and enlighten us with his knowledge.

Bob thanked Thanassis with a gift of appreciation for the time he spent both preparing and providing his findings

Ed then adjourned the meeting but not before informing members of three upcoming meetings:

– December Board meeting, at the observatory, Dec. 13, 8 PM. All members are welcome.
– January Monthly meeting, at the Legion, Jan. 4, 8 PM. Members and the Public are welcome.
– January Board meeting, at the observatory, Jan. 10, 8 PM. All members are welcome.

Thanks to all who attended. Thanks to Abigail Hughes for taking photos of the proceedings.

Following the meeting, about 12 people met at the Royal Coachmen to further discuss all-things-astronomy.


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