What to look up for in 2018

The only interesting January event for viewers in Montreal will be the so-called Blue Moon on the 31st. There will be another in March.

For eclipses, lunar or solar, this is a good year to move to Asia, Africa, or Greenland.

The two best meteor showers of 2018 are predicted to be the Perseids in August and the Geminids in December.

The Perseids are usually a good show–esp if there is no moon in the sky which will be the case in 2018 as the crescent moon sets early.  The best night will be that of the 12-13, but the days before and after that also offer good viewing. The best nights are over a weekend, so with all this going for it, rest assured it will rain all week.

I have braved the cold for the Geminids —  and it was darn cold that night!– but it was not all that exciting. There were fewer meteors than an average Perseid shower, but OTOH, they were very bright. And some years are better than others, so you never know!

There is a neat little interactive video showing how earth orbits through the dust left behind by the Swift-Tuttle comet. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/best-bet-meteor-showers-for-2018/

For more 2018 events, click http://www.seasky.org/astronomy/astronomy-calendar-2018.html

Traffic Woes in 2018

Traffic planners advise motorists to stay abreast of the closures by consulting the project’s website or using Waze or Google Maps, which will be updated with the road closures.
Our first meting of 2018 will be on the 14, if the hotel confirms our proposed meeting dates. Lots of time to figure out how the heck we are all going to actually get to our hotel!By all accounts, traffic and detours will be even worse in 2018, and we all know how bad it was in 2017.

The Turcot Sector will be the worst, of course. If you have to get through this disaster zone, be sure to consult www.turcot.gouv.qc.ca before you leave home.

This site will show the construction sites on the island: http://www.quebec511.info/fr/Carte/Default.aspx

It is expected that René-Lévesque will be heavily used as an alternate, so keep that in mind also.


Read more from the Montreal Gazette below

No Turcot relief until middle or end of 2019

Gridlock expected to be the norm for drivers in much of downtown core

Expect regular traffic jams downtown, especially during the weekends for roughly the next two years.

That was the take-home message from traffic planners who met reporters Wednesday to brief them again about upcoming road closures in the Turcot Interchange, used by 300,000 motorists daily. And they were more clear about an end date for the work to demolish and rebuild the expressway: midto late 2019, meaning nearly two years of traffic chaos slated for the downtown core.

Starting Monday, the westbound Ville-Marie Expressway will be completely closed, including the entrances from Fort and Lucien L’Allier Sts. Westbound traffic will be diverted to the eastbound side, and the only two access points to those lanes will be on Hotel-deVille Ave. near city hall (which can be accessed from both St-Antoine St. and Viger Ave.), and a temporary access at Rose-de-Lima St. at the corner of St-Antoine.

The closures will probably affect anyone driving in Montreal either directly or indirectly, as gridlock is expected to spread to alternate highways and local streets. Traffic planners expect Atwater Ave., René-Lévesque Blvd. and St-Antoine St. will be among the streets affected.

For Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and Westmount residents, the St-Jacques St. exit off the VilleMarie near the MUHC superhospital will be closed. Accessing the Champlain Bridge from the VilleMarie will be impossible, as the Highway 15 South entrance will also be closed.

At least one local traffic observer was alarmed about the planned closures.

“My suspicion is that a lot people will use René-Lévesque and some of the lateral routes that can’t really handle (that traffic),” said Rick Leckner, a former radio traffic reporter. “So, really, what has to be ensured is that there is very strict monitoring all the time.”

The news is particularly bad for anyone who drives in and out of downtown on weekends, as the Ville-Marie in both directions will be closed virtually every weekend this fall and winter while the existing roadway is demolished. But it gets worse.

On some weekends, the closures will extend on Highway 20 all the way to 1st Ave. in Lachine, and Highway 20 West will be inaccessible from Highway 15 North.

Continue reading Traffic Woes in 2018

Zines, and even more Zines!

Between holidays, time to relax with some zines that came in over December. Enjoy!




Revenge of Hump Day 2017-12-20

Revenge of Hump Day 2017-12-13

Revenge of Hump Day 2017-12-06

Revenge of Hump Day 2017-11-22

Revenge of Hump Day 2017-11-15

MT VOID 1993

MT VOID 1992



MT VOID 1991

MT VOID 1990

MT VOID 1988

BCSFAzine 525 [300 DPI]



CCDecember 2017-v03

Tentative Meeting dates for 2018

These are the dates for 2018 meetings. However, please note that we have yet to confirm with the hotel.

Jan 14
Feb 11
Mar 11
April 8

May— https://www.startrektour.com/ possible field trip to Ticonderoga, New York Shatner’s will be there on May 4th and 5th
You may need to buy tickets ASAP, esp if you want the meet and greet.  If we choose not to go to the Ticonderoga event to see Shatner, then the next possible date is the 13th or 27th, but the 13 is Mother’s Day.
Also May 4-6 is Boreal weekend, and that event is in Montreal this year.

June 10
July BBQ 22
Aug 12
Sept 9
Oct 14
Nov 18
Dec 8  Holiday Feast


Duck-Like Dinosaur Is Among Oddest Fossils Yet Found

The exquisite fossil, which was rescued from poachers, is one of the few known dinosaurs that lived on the water.

More than 70 million years ago, a creature roaming Earth’s ancient wetlands may have looked like a duck and hunted like a duck—but it was really a dinosaur related to Velociraptor.

Described based on a nearly complete skeleton still embedded in rock, Halszkaraptor escuilliei is an unusually amphibious theropod that lived in what is now Mongolia during the late Cretaceous. At the time, the area broadly resembled today’s Egyptian Nile, with nourishing lakes and rivers that coursed through an arid, sandy landscape.

Like modern aquatic predators, this dinosaur’s face seems to have had an exquisite sense of touch, useful for finding prey in murky waters. Its small teeth would have helped it nab tiny fish, and its limber backbone and flipper-like forelimbs suggest that it cut through the water with ease.



Jenna Coleman returns as Queen Victoria

If you liked Jenna Coleman in Dr Who, you will love her in Victoria. It is a bit disconcerting at first– I kept expecting to see the TARDIS materialize in the palace.  🙂 But she is an excellent actress and makes a believable young queen.  Pretty soon, you’ll forget she was ever only a companion.

And ladies, if you have not seen Rufus Sewell as the “smouldering” Lord Melbourne, do tune in to PBS to watch the reruns of season 1. 

Season 2 begins January 14th, 2018

Doll 123/Ladies in Waiting
Sunday, Dec. 17 at 09:00 pm
Brocket Hall
Sunday, Dec. 24 at 09:00 pm
The Clockwork Prince
Sunday, Dec. 24 at 10:00 pm
An Ordinary Woman
Sunday, Dec. 31 at 9:00 pm
The Queen’s Husband
Sunday, Jan. 7 at 9:00 pm
The Engine of Change
Sunday, Jan 7 at 10:00 pm
Young England
Sunday, Jan 14 at 8:00 pm


Why do meteoroids explode in the atmosphere?

Why do meteoroids explode in the atmosphere?

Researchers identify new and previously overlooked mechanism for air penetration that helps explain why meteoroids explode.
Photographer Marat Ahmetvaleev was taking panoramic photos of the winter landscape when he captured this beautiful image of the Chelyabinsk meteoroid as it exploded over Russia in 2013. M. Ahmetvaleev/NASA APOD
On February 15, 2013, a near-Earth asteroid with a diameter of 66 feet (20 meters) entered Earth’s atmosphere traveling at around 40,000 miles per hour (60,0000 km/h). Within a few seconds, the cosmic projectile detonated 12 miles above the Chelyabinsk region of Russia, releasing as much energy as about 30 Hiroshima atomic bombs. This created a gigantic fireball — known as a superbolide — that caused shock waves to propagate outward for dozens of miles, damaging several thousand buildings and injuring 1,500 people.

Though the progenitor of the explosion had an initial mass of over 10,000 metric tons, only about 0.1 percent of that mass is believed to have reached the ground, indicating that something in the upper atmosphere not only caused the rock to explode, but also caused it to disintegrate much more than expected.

A relatively small meteor streaked through the sky and eventually exploded over the Chelyabinsk region of Russia on February 15, 2013. With a blast energy equivalent to roughly 500,000 tons of TNT, the explosion created shock waves that caused damage to thousands of buildings and injured nearly 1,500 people.

Today, a team of researchers published a study in Meteoritics & Planetary Science that proposes a new and previously overlooked mechanism for air penetration in meteoroids, which could help explain the powerful breakup of the Chelyabinsk meteoroid.

According to the paper, as a meteoroid hurtles through Earth’s atmosphere, high-pressure air in the front of the object infiltrates cracks and pores in the rock, which generates a great deal of internal pressure. This pressure is so great that it causes the object to effectively blow up from the inside out, even if the material in the meteoroid is strong enough to resist the intense external atmospheric pressures.

“There’s a big gradient between high-pressure air in front of the meteor and the vacuum of air behind it,” said the study’s co-author Jay Melosh, a professor of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at Purdue University, in a press release. “If the air can move through the passages in the meteorite, it can easily get inside and blow off pieces.

These figures from the study show how two computer-generated meteoroids break up over time while flying through the atmosphere. The left half of each image is a meteoroid with 10% porosity (a measure of empty space), while the right half of each image is a meteoroid with 30% porosity. M.E. Tabetah/H.J. Melosh
According to the paper, “This process of pressure internalization, new to meteoritic studies, would not have been recognized without a two-material fluid dynamics code.” This unique computer code allowed researchers to generate models that let both air and solid material coexist in any part of the calculation.

“I’ve been looking for something like this for a while,” Melosh said. “Most of the computer codes we use for simulating impacts can tolerate multiple materials in a cell, but they average everything together. Different materials in the cell use their individual identity, which is not appropriate for this kind of calculation.”

Though this process of air penetration is a very effective way for our atmosphere to shield us from smaller meteoroids, larger and denser ones will likely not be as affected by it. However, the more we can learn about how different meteoritic materials explode, the more prepared we can be for the next Chelyabinsk.


Space Weather News for Dec. 15, 2017

THE SUN IS DIMMING: Today at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, SpaceX launched a new sensor to the International Space Station named “TSIS-1.” Its mission: to measure the dimming of the sun. As the sunspot cycle plunges toward its 11-year minimum, NASA satellites are tracking a slight but significant decline in total solar irradiance (TSI). TSIS-1 will monitor this dimming with better precision than previous satellites as Solar Minimum approaches in the years ahead. Visit today’s edition of Spaceweather.com to learn more about TSIS-1 and natural variations in the sun’s electromagnetic output.

Remember, SpaceWeather.com is on Facebook!
Above: This plot shows the total solar irradiance (TSI) since 1978 as observed by NASA and European satellites. The sun’s electromagnetic output (top frame) waxes and wanes with the sunspot cycle (bottom frame).

Long Range Sensors Detect…

  1. Why is the Earth magnetized and Venus Not?
  2. Infant Stars Huddle near Black Hole
  3.  Most Distant Black Hole Yet
  4. The Geminid meteor shower peaks Wed, 13th of Dec
  5. This Week’s Sky at a Glance, December 8 – 16
  6. A “rock” comet is approaching Earth

Sky & TelescopeWhy is Earth Magnetized and Venus Not?
A new analysis reveals that the gigantic impact that led to the Moon’s formation might have also switched on Earth’s magnetic field. Read more…

Infant Stars Huddle near Black Hole

A team of astronomers has found signs of small stars forming within aSky & Telescope few light-years of the Milky Way’s central black hole. Read more…




3. Astronomers have  discovered a supermassive black hole scarfing down gas just 690 million years after the Big Bang.

Astronomers are like historians on steroids. They doggedly push back the curtain of cosmic time, peering back to ever-earlier eras in the universe. The latest discovery in this quest, announced today in the journal Nature, is the quasar J1342+0928. This black-hole-powered beacon blazes at us from a redshift of 7.54, or a mere 690 million years after the Big Bang.  Read more…

And in the chance we ever see a clear sky again:

4. Wednesday, December 13  The Geminid meteor shower should be at its peak late tonight, and there’s no Moon to interfere. Bundle up warmly. Bring a reclining lawn chair to a dark spot with no glary lights and an open view of the sky. Lie back, gaze into the stars, and be patient. Under a dark sky you might see a meteor at least once a minute on average. Light pollution cuts down on the numbers. See our article Fantastic Year for Geminid Meteor Shower.

You’ll see the most meteors from about 10 p.m. until dawn local time, when your side of Earth turns to face most directly into the oncoming meteoroid stream. But any that you may see early in the evening, when the shower’s radiant in Gemini is still low, will be long, dramatic “Earth-grazers” skimming into the upper atmosphere at a shallow angle.

5. This Week’s Sky at a Glance, December 8 – 16
See what’s in the Sky & Telescopesky this week. The asteroid 3200 Phaethon, source of the Geminid meteoroid stream, should reach about 11th magnitude from December 12th through 17th as it passes several million miles from Earth. Read more…

6. A “ROCK COMET” IS APPROACHING EARTH: You’ve heard of comets. But have you ever heard of a rock comet? They exist, and a big one is approaching Earth this week. 3200 Phaethon will fly past our planet on Dec. 16th only 10 million km away. Measuring some 5 km in diameter, it is large enough for amateur astronomers to photograph through backyard telescopes. Moreover, this strange object is the parent of the annual Geminid meteor shower, which is also coming this week. Sky watchers can see dozens of Geminids per hour on Dec. 13th and 14th as gravelly bits of the rock comet disintegrate in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Visit today’s edition of Spaceweather.com to find out how to observe the Geminids and their progenitor in the nights ahead.