Welcome to the Kamloops Astronomical Society (KAS) Home Page.
We are a Kamloops based community astronomy club, and we welcome new members.
The objectives of the Society are to promote interest in, and the study and knowledge of, astronomy and allied sciences by lay and professional persons.
Our meetings are open to the public, but we encourage you to become a member and participate.
Annual membership fees are $20/student, $25/individual and $30/family.
For further information or to become a member, come to one of our monthly meetings or send an email using our contact form.
We hold monthly meetings to discuss Society events and present astronomy related talks from KAS members and guest speakers.
Who: Everyone is welcome... the general public and KAS members.
When: The second Wednesday of each month at 7:00pm
Where: Either at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) or at our Stake Lake observing site.
NEXT SCHEDULED MONTHLY MEETING:
MEETINGS HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY CANCELLED DUE TO THE COVID 19/CORONAVIRUS SITUATION.
Check back for updates as the situation evolves.
Note: We're scheduled to be in Room IB 1015 in the "International Building" (the building with the observatory on top). However if for some reason we're not in that room, please check other nearby rooms as sometimes we get 'bumped' to an adjacent room if there's a scheduling conflict! :-)
Stake Lake Observatory Viewing
Please note that the KAS Observatory at the Stake Lake Star Park currently does not have regularly scheduled hours of operation, and is entirely volunteer operated by KAS members.
The observatory is also closed during the winter months to minimize any foot traffic damage to the Overlander Ski Club cross country ski trails.
For inquiries about access to the KAS observatory, please contact the KAS to learn of any scheduled public viewing sessions.
Comet C/2020 F3 "NEOWISE"
Lots of people have questions about Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE), so I've put together a quick Q&A.
What is a comet?
A comet is a big (kilometers across) chunk of ice and rock that has been orbiting way out in the frozen outer reaches of the solar system. When it's orbit brings it to the inner solar system (closer to the sun, like the Earth) the energy of the sun heats it and causes the ice to vapourize, creating the long glowing tail of dust and gas that we see as the comet.
Does the comet shoot across the sky? Will it still be visible tomorrow?
Lots of people confuse a comet with a meteor. A meteor is something that falls into the earths atmosphere and burns up in a flash of light and is over in a few seconds. Conversely, a comet is in its own orbit around the sun and is generally a long way from earth. So it's path across the night sky takes weeks/months to traverse as it orbits the sun. Which means that you have a few weeks to watch it evolve from night to night.
Will the comet look as impressive to the naked eye as that photo taken with a camera and telescope?
Sadly, no... our human eyes are nowhere near as sensitive to the faint light from the night sky as our cameras are. So use binoculars if you have them, and it's still really cool to see a comet that's at all visible to the naked eye!
When and where do I look?
The quick answer is get out your binoculars and "look to the north" after sunset all night until sunrise. Scan low on the northern horizon, you'll see a 'star' with a tail of glowing gas pointing up from it. It doesn't matter where you're looking from... your backyard or a local park are equally good, but the best viewing will always be away from city lights where the night sky has the least "light pollution" that causes the sky to glow from all our electric lights.
Can you give me a more precise direction to look?
There are lots of online tools available to give a precise star chart. A great website to check is the "Sky & Telescope" magazine website, which has observing guides published every week. https://skyandtelescope.org/
My standard 'go to' web based tool is Stellarium Web.
Go to the Stellarium website and search for "Neowise" (or anything else in the sky you'd like to learn about). Play around with it... very handy web based online planetarium.
I need to know more!
Remember, there's a ton more information available online, just hit Wikipedia or Google and fill yer boots!
Observing Conditions, Clear Sky Charts, Moon Phases
Below are links to Clear Sky forecast charts for the BC Interior.
Click on the charts below for further information including how to interpret the charts.
Kamloops Clear Sky Chart
Stake Lake Observatory Sky Chart
Ashcroft Clear Sky Chart
Quilchena Ranch Sky Chart
Loon Lake Sky Chart (near Merrit)
Salmon Arm Sky Chart
Vernon Clear Sky Chart
Quesnel Clear Sky Chart