November 2017 Monthly Meeting

by Ed Mizzi

On Nov. 2, 2017, the Hamilton Centre met for its regular monthly meeting. Attendance was very good with about 45 people present and everyone was looking forward to the lecture by Dr. Chris Talpas.

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. He was remiss in mentioning Orbit, Editor Roger Hill, great reading and one of the best ways to stay informed about the club. He also mentioned and recommended a new book he purchased, “2018 Guide to the Night Sky” by Storm Dunlop & Wil Tirion, which was advertised in the latest Skynews edition.

First up was Bill Leggitt, the club’s Treasurer. He announced that he would have a detailed account of our finances in December. He also advertised the 2018 RASC calendars, which would be for sale during the break and at the December 7 meeting.

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 member is Lesley Reinsborough-Degenhardt. Our total is now 114.

Then Ed Mizzi discussed outreach and also encouraged members to participate in these fun and enjoyable activities with the public. He listed several events that occurred over the past year, especially the most recent events, including the July 29 Sidewalk Astronomy session at Spencer Smith Park in Burlington, Bob Prociuk’s solar eclipse event on Aug. 21, a visit to the St. George Library and the corporate event, at L3 WESCAM in Burlington. Bill Leggitt discussed the great time that he and Eric Golding had at Westfield Heritage Village and that, despite the cloudy night, they had a super time discussing astronomy with many children and adults alike. Ed mentioned the next event, scheduled for Nov. 28 at Pearson High School in Burlington. Hopefully the rest of the 2017/2018 year will see similar fun events, with more members participating.

Next, Bob Prociuk took the floor to talk about the last stage in our observatory tree removal program, scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4, from 10 until 3. Andy Blanchard would rent a large chipper machine for the day and he offered to provide a hot lunch for us. Bob encouraged members to get involved and help out, even if for an hour or two.

Ed Mizzi then told attendees about Astronomy on Tap T.O., an event that occurs periodically at the Great Hall in Toronto. It involves hearing from several experts in our field but in a more relaxed venue where the audience members can sip on a cold beverage and participate in the evening’s events.  November 10, 8 PM to 11 PM.

Then Ed invited Andy Blanchard up and he announced a potential new program of having the RASC symbol on vehicle licence plates. RASC National is looking for support for this and by a show of hands, many Hamilton Centre members were very interested in purchasing new plates with the symbol included. Colin Haig, National President, said he would poll other clubs and his executive would then decide on next steps.

We then took a 10 minute break to give people a chance to stretch, chat and purchase calendars from Bill.

After the break, Bob Prociuk introduced the night’s speaker, giving an excellent summary of Chris Talpas’ life story regarding his love of astronomy and tonight’s topic.

Dr. Chris Talpas then provided us with an entertaining and informative lecture entitled “Is there anyone out there? Thoughts on the likelihood of finding technological alien life.”  Chris used Earth as part of the basis for his findings and attempted to give us a sense of just how difficult it is for complex life to form in the Universe. The audience was very intrigued by what he had to say and many questions ensued, both during and after the talk. A big thank you to Chris, who has given other fascinating talks at previous meetings.

Bob thanked Chris 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:

– November Board meeting, at the observatory, Nov. 8, 8 PM. All members are welcome.
– December Monthly meeting, at the Legion, Dec. 7, 8 PM. Members and the Public are welcome.
– December Board meeting, at the observatory, Dec. 13, 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 18 people met at the Royal Coachmen to further discuss all-things-astronomy.

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