Public Outreach

Yukon College Kids’ Camp @ the Yukon College

(July 18, 2017)

Boys & Girls Club of Yukon @ Takhini Elementary School

(July 06, 2017)

Non-Credit Astronomy Program @ the Yukon College

(May 15, 2017)

Yukon Centre Observatory @ the Takhini Hotsprings

(May 13, 2017)

Phase 2 is now complete!!

This will be the new home for the SCT 8-inch. Now members and the public will be able to use two domes, simultaneously. We will also synchronize them, so that both domes and scopes will point to the same object when doing night sky presentations!

The large dome will house an 11-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, while the smaller one will house an 8-inch SCT. These telescopes are a catadioptric design, meaning they use both lenses and mirrors. SCTs are primarily reflecting telescopes, but they use a corrector lens to eliminate aberrations that would result from the mirror design alone.

Lions Trade Show @ the CGC

(May 6 & 7, 2017)

RASC: Yukon Centre Outreach In the Philippines

(April 26, 2017)

What a beautiful country the Philippines is! Together with friends and relatives we had an opportunity last night for a fantastic stargazing on the beach! Jupiter was close to the zenith and showed amazing clarity of the bands. A small “crowd” also enjoyed views of the Jovian moons. Indeed, at times the line up was so intense around the scope that I had to realign the telescope and I did not even need a star map to find the amazing Omega Centauri besides the Southern Cross! For my surprise, Orion was still up after sunset, so had a quick look at M42 as well. This was my first time to observe the Southern skies, and was totally disoriented for a while, but was happy to show what I could to the number of people. No serious deep-skies but a lot of fun with the amazing people around me. Christian, our relative, took and posted this picture, and more to follow by me when I can upload from the camera! Can I call this small event as the first international astronomy outreach mission of RASC Yukon Centre? Mabuhay to my friends from the Philippines!

The Future Forum @ the Old Fire Hall

(April 25, 2017)

Is light pollution affecting your health, happiness and/or enjoyment of our night sky heritage? If this is a concern for you, please think about sharing that concern at the Downtown & Marwell Plan futures forum. It is a open house/drop-in format from 4 to 8pm at the Old Firehall. Speak-up if you think that Community Friendly responsible lighting should be part of our town planning.

Members of the Society did attend and expressed their interest in reclaiming the dark skies, expressing these issues directly to the City planners and more importantly, Mayor and Council.

CBC Radio North Interview

(April 19, 2017)

Dr. Christa van Laerhoven, PhD Planetary Sciences & RASC: Yukon Centre member, was interviewed on CBC North Radio in Whitehorse. TOPIC: PHAs (Potentially Hazardous Asteroids) and the ‘near’ fly-by of 2014 JO25.

Preserving our Night Sky Heritage

(April 06, 2017)

Riverdale Community Newsletter – April, 2017

The Riverdale Community Association board was given a presentation by the Yukon Astronomical Society on their Light Pollution Abatement work. The International Dark Sky Association works to improve public lighting in an effort to maintain dark skies; and to reduce the human health and wildlife impacts resulting from light pollution. Even Whitehorse has a significant light pollution problem.

Makerspace Camp

(March 20, 2017)

Over the school holidays, the Society was invited to present at YuKonstruct’s Makerspace.

March Break Maker Camp Summary

Streetlight Blues

(January 18, 2017)

Read about the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Yukon Centre (YAS) in What’s Up Yukon (Cover & Article on Page 7)


The Southern Sky, SOFIA, and the Māori

(November 28, 2016)


Dr. Ian P. Griffin, Director of the Otago Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand, gave a FREE public lecture and discussed Astronomy in the Southern Hemisphere, the Māori, & the SOFIA observatory.

Dr. Ian P. Griffin is a British astronomer, discoverer of minor planets and a public spokesman upon scientific matters. He is currently the Director of Otago Museum, Dunedin, New Zealand. Griffin was the CEO of Science Oxford, in Oxford, United Kingdom, and the former head of public outreach at NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute.

Dr. Ian Griffin, Radio Interview with CBC North – Midday Café

Westar Lecture Series

(November 14, 2016)

Discover the Universe

In collaboration with CASCA and Discover the Universe, the RASC: Yukon Centre (Yukon Astronomical Society) hosted a FREE Westar workshop and lecture program in Whitehorse.  This initiative was targeted to ‘kick-start’ and amplify astronomical literacy in the Territory; thereby facilitating teachers, and other youth leaders, at various levels, to better understand, and become more comfortable with, presenting Astronomy and any of its related topics.  It also assisted in the Society’s project to integrate Astronomy within the Yukon Education curriculum from K to 12.

This workshop provided access to Discover the Universe, an astronomy training program offered by Canadian astronomers. The goal was to help teachers and educators from across the country share this fascinating science with their groups. All of the activities and resources were offered online, and completely free! Teachers from accros the Territory attended the event.

Workshop Program

This free, one-day workshop offers:

  • An introduction to “Discover the Universe” by creator Julie Bolduc-Duval.
  • A “Solar System Essentials” informational session hosted by Dr. Van Laerhoven.
  • Q&A panel discussion with U of T astronomers.
  • Hands-on demo session with Stellarium, a free planetarium software.
  • Special session hosted by Shirley Adamson, a local elder from the Ta’an Kwäch’än First Nations council, on indigenous astronomy perspectives and Yukon sky stories.
  • Walk through of our specially-developed “Reasons for the Seasons” classroom investigation kit. This unique activity kit is comprised of both sky observing modules and in-class lab activities, and is designed to be suitable for all grade levels.
  • A comprehensive overview of free, online astronomy education resources.

The program for the day was developed to target new, 2016-2017 science curriculum for BC/Yukon.

Workshop attendees were invited to attend the free CASCA-Westar Public Lecture “Keep Calm & Orbit On” presented by Dr. Christa Van Laerhoven from the University of Toronto.  The public lecture given was about packing planets together. Recent surveys looking for exoplanets (planets that orbit stars other than our sun) have found a large number of planetary systems where the planets are placed much closer together than the planets in our solar system are. Dr. Christa Van Laerhoven talked about what factors go into making a planetary system stable or unstable, explore the limit of how close you can pack planets, and discuss the fate of our solar system.

Guest Speaker Christa Van Laerhoven is a Planetary Scientist and Orbital Dynamicist from the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics

In the Whitehorse Media

(November 9, 2016)

Read about the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Yukon Centre (YAS) in What’s Up Yukon (Cover & Article on Page 6)

Parks Canada: Kluane National Park Northern Nights Event

(September 23-24, 2016)



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Light Pollution: Preserving Yukon’s Natural Environment

(September 20, 2016)


Guest Speaker: Charles Ennis, National Secretary of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

TOPIC: “Light Pollution: Preserving Yukon’s Natural Environment

The nighttime environment is a precious natural resource for all life on Earth, but the glow of uncontrolled outdoor lighting has hidden the stars and changed our perception of the night.

Whitehorse Elementary Grade 6 Astronomy Outreach with Charles Ennis & RASC: Yukon Centre

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Society President, Anthony Gucciardo, Radio Interview with CBC North – Radio Canada ICI Yukon


(September 5, 2016)

objectives1The OSIRIS-REx mission will visit the asteroid Bennu, mapping it in detail and collecting a sample to return to Earth. Dr. Christa Van Laerhoven will describe the science goals of OSIRIS-REx and discuss why these goals are important.

Asteroids are the largely unprocessed leftovers of planet formation, and as such are one of the best avenues we have to understand the building blocks of planets. The OSIRIS-REx mission plans to visit the asteroid Bennu and collect a sample from Bennu’s surface that will be returned to Earth. Asteroids like Bennu can help us understand where the molecules that life depends on came from. Dr. Van Laerhoven will discuss the science the OSIRIS-REx mission plans to carry out and why that science is important for understanding our origins.

Dr. Christa Van Laerhoven, Radio Interview with CBC North – Midday Café

In the Whitehorse Media

(August 11, 2016)

Read about the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada – Yukon Centre (YAS) and the observatory update in What’s Up Yukon (Article is on Page 5)

Whitehorse: Camp F.I.R.E. Recreational Day Camp

(July 6, 2016)

Camp F.I.R.E. is a recreational day camp, programming offered by the Boys and Girls Club of Yukon, which runs between the hours of 8:30 am to 5:15pm, Monday through Friday. Camp F.I.R.E. stands for Fun, Interesting, Recreational, and Educational. The programming is dynamic, entertaining, and engaging and is fuelled by their participants’ interests as well as innovative programming pioneered and honed by their staff. For this pilot year, they are providing six weeks of programming with different themes for each week. The program is being offered at Whitehorse Elementary School for children ages 6-12.

The RASC: Yukon Centre was asked to assist in the theme: SPACE. It was very successful, and all participants received a take-home package from the RASC!! In all, there were five participants and two support staff members. The following programme was offered to the campers:

  • Introduction and Astronomy video
  • Picturing an Astronomer
  • Birthday Moons
  • Constellation Detective
  • Toilet Paper Solar System
  • The Sun
  • Launching a Foam Rocket


JUNO Mission – Jupiter Orbit Insertion

(July 4, 2016)

If you can’t be at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, or in orbit around Jupiter for Jupiter Orbit Insertion, the next best place to be might be at the Yukon College, hosted by the RASC: Yukon Centre, in front of a large screen networked to NASA’s Eyes on the Solar System programming. NASA will provide live TV commentary which not only include interviews and live views from mission control, but also a presentation about the Eyes on the Solar System.

Eyes on the Solar System has developed a module dedicated to the Juno mission to Jupiter. In this online, interactive visualization, the RASC: Yukon Centre can ride along with the Juno spacecraft, in real-time, as it arrives on July 4th, or, travel backward or forward in time from launch to its planned fiery end of mission in February 2018, using the classroom’s Smart Board.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will arrive at Jupiter to study our solar system’s largest planet. From a unique polar orbit, Juno will repeatedly dive between the planet and its intense belts of charged particle radiation, coming about 5,000 kilometers from the cloud tops at closest approach. Juno’s primary goal is to improve our understanding of Jupiter’s formation and evolution. The spacecraft will investigate the planet’s origins, interior structure, deep atmosphere and magnetosphere. Juno’s study of Jupiter will help us to understand the history of our own solar system and provide new insight into how planetary systems form and develop in our galaxy and beyond.

Juno Spacecraft

Come join the RASC: Yukon Centre, at the Yukon College, for an out of this world Event on July 4th 2016 in Room 2402, to celebrate Juno’s arrival at Jupiter after an extraordinary 2,800 million kilometer journey, and to witness, as Juno arrives in Jupiter’s orbit, at speeds exceeding 250,000 km/h, making this spacecraft one of the fastest human-made objects ever made! Christa Van Laerhoven, a member of the YAS and a CITA planetary scientist and orbital dynamicist will be on-hand to guide the presentation as the spacecraft performs its Jupiter Orbit Insertion!

Event Information:


  • Presentation about the Juno spacecraft (7PM to 7:30PM)
  • Talk about the mission (07:30PM to 8:15PM)
  • Jupiter Orbit Insertion (JOI)burn begins at 8:18PM
  • The burn is scheduled to end at 8:50PM
  • Closing remarks (8:50PM to 9PM)

A Mission of Many Firsts:

  • First space mission to operate a solar-powered spacecraft at Jupiter
  • Farthest solar powered spacecraft from Earth
  • First space mission to orbit an outer-planet from pole to pole
  • First space mission to fly as close as 2,600 miles to Jupiter’s cloud tops
  • First mission to be designed to operate in the heart of Jupiter’s radiation belts
  • First mission to carry a titanium radiation vault to protect the spacecraft’s most sensitive instruments from a planet’s intense belts of radiation
  • First spacecraft to fly 3D-printed titanium parts (Waveguide brackets)
  • Will be the fastest spacecraft to enter orbit around a planet at 209,214 km/h or 130,000 mph (129,518 mph/57.9 km/s) relative to Earth
  • Will take the highest-resolution images of Jupiter in history

Watching JUNO’s Orbital Insertion at the Yukon College with fellows from the Yukon Science Institute and Christa Van Laerhoven through NASA Live TV! Juno was successful in entering Jupiter’s orbit, barring the extra second of burn! The outreach was a success and well attended for the  JUNO Mission: Jupiter Orbit Insertion at the Yukon College. Next Juno outreach will be in August!!

Juno Outreach Event

Whitehorse: Active Living Summer Camp

(June 20, 2016)

Blast Off!

The Society was invited to animate one of  the many theme related activities offered by the Active Living Summer Camp Program. Approximately 40 children aged 5 to 12 were introduced to astronomy topics such as: our Solar System, the constellations, space travel through water rocket construction and launch, the search for life in the Universe, the Moon and its phases, and the various objects seen in our Yukon night sky! All the children also got to touch actual meteorites, and look through a 9-inch refractor telescope!!


Synthesis of Elements in Stars

(June 6, 2016)

Guest Speaker: James Edgar

20151109_James_EdgarAll stars are born from hydrogen and during their lives they produce elements through nuclear fusion. High-mass stars end their lives as supernovae, perhaps the most cataclysmic events in the universe, producing the heavy elements. This talk merges James Edgar’s love of woodworking, astronomy, genealogy, chemistry, physics, and poetry from Northern Ireland, although the main thrust of the presentation is about how elements form within stars.

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In the Whitehorse Media

(June 6, 2016)

YAS becomes the 29th Centre of the RASC!!

Lancée en octobre 2015, la Yukon Astronomical Society (Société d’astronomie du Yukon, YAS) a célébré le 6 juin dernier son affiliation à la Société royale d’astronomie du Canada (SRAC).  Cofondatrice de la YAS, la Québécoise Catheryne Lord est passionnée d’astronomie depuis son plus jeune âge. « Je voulais même devenir astronaute jusqu’à ce que je découvre les maths et la physique…»

Read full article in: Aurore Boreale

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International Astronomy Week

(May 9-15, 2016)

During the week, astronomy societies, planetaria, schools, universities and other organisations from all over the world organise events to promote interest in, and knowledge of, astronomy. The organisers promote the week using extensive contacts with the media and all the major astronomical organisations, many of whom provide funding. Events range from talks, visits and in particular the opportunity for children and adults alike to observe the sky through a range of equipment. National Astronomy Week is sponsored (and funded) by some of the most significant science organisations in the world, including the Science & Technology Facilities Council and the Royal Astronomical Society.

On May 9th 2016, between 07:00 am and 01:00 pm, the Yukon Astronomical Society will inaugurate this year’s International Astronomy Week by offering all Yukoners a chance to witness a very special event, from a top of the mound at Shipyards Park: a close-up view of the transit of Mercury across the Sun!

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The Society will be setting-up some filtered telescopes, and the public is encouraged to come-out and view the transit with our Society members; be it directly, through a telescope’s eyepiece, or remotely, by networking their Smartphone, iPad, or tablet to the Wi-Fi camera attached to one of our telescopes.

Come and witness the wonders of our Universe!!


Astronomy Day

(May 14, 2016)

Is a world-wide event observed each spring and fall. The first Astronomy Day this year is May 14th, 2016 and the next will be October 8th, 2016; Astronomy Day next spring will be April 29th, 2017. Local astronomical societies, planetariums, museums, and observatories will be sponsoring public viewing sessions, presentations, workshops, and other activities to increase public awareness about astronomy and our wonderful universe.


Astronomy Day was born in California in 1973.  Doug Berger, then president of the Astronomical Association of Northern California, decided that rather than try to entice people to travel long distances to visit observatory open houses, they would set up telescopes closer to where the people were – busy locations – urban locations like street corners, shopping malls, parks, etc.

His strategy paid off.  Not only did Astronomy Day go over with a bang, not only did the public find out about the astronomy club, they found out about future observatory open houses.  Since the public got a chance to look through a portable telescope, they were hooked.  They wanted to see what went on at the bigger telescopes, so they turned out in droves at the next observatory open house.


Astronomy Day events take place at hundreds of sites across the United States.  Internationally England, Canada, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, the Philippines, Argentina, Malaysia, Iran, Ireland, New Guinea plus many other countries have hosted Astronomy Day activities.  Each location plans and executes events that work best for their local area.  To locate the nearest event or to list your events see:

Whitehorse: Yukon Family Literacy Centre

(April 30, 2016)

On Saturday April 30th 2016, parents and children of all ages were invited for the Drop-In S.T.E.A.M program at the Canada Games Centre. Between 11 am and 3 pm, families were treated to interactive and fun activities focused on science, technology, engineering and art. The YAS participated and had two members (Erin & Paolo Nicolardi) organize astronomy related games and activities from rocket building to puzzles, and alien art!!

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In the Whitehorse Media

(April 5, 2016)

Galileo Galilei, the father of modern astronomy, once said that “all truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.”

Read full article in: Yukon-News



(March 7, 2016)

Dr. Christa Van Laerhoven: Planetary Scientist and Orbital Dynamicist from the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics introduced the new study of exoplanets.


Whitehorse: Copper Ridge Cubs / Scouts Yukon

(March 2, 2016)

Thanks to our special guest Catheryne Lord from the Yukon Astronomical Society. On March 2nd 2016, Copper Ridge Cubs learned some constellations, how to find the north star, and some facts about the Milky Way, and how Northern Lights are formed.

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Chadburn Lake Park Project

(February 12, 2016)

Anthony and Viktor were there to let the City know why they LOVE Chadburn Lake Park! The plan is to have the city support the YAS Observatory and Dark Sky Park projects. Thanks to all who told us why they think these projects should go forward  #chadburn! Learn about the Park Management Plan at

Anthony & Viktor were there representing the YAS
Anthony & Viktor were there representing the YAS


City of Whitehorse



In the Whitehorse Media

(December 10, 2015)

The first article about the YAS in a local newspaper! Merci Aurore boréale!

Les éclipses et autres phénomènes célestes vous passionnent ? Sachez que la Yukon Astronomical Society (Société d’astronomie du Yukon) vient de faire son apparition au territoire, avec l’objectif de rassembler les passionnés du ciel et de l’espace !

The eclipses and other celestial phenomena fascinates you? I want you to know that the Yukon astronomical society (Astronomy Society Yukon) has just made its appearance in the territory, with the aim of bringing together the passion of the sky and space!
 Read full article in: Aurore Boreale
Thomas Jacquin (YAS member) and his homemade 10" Dobsonian telescope
Thomas Jacquin (YAS member) and his homemade 10″ Dobsonian telescope

551 Whitehorse Lions Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron

(December 8, 2016)

Tuesday night on December 8th 2015, the YAS hosted their first youth workshop with 551 Royal Canadian Air Cadets in the gym, at Whitehorse Elementary! Topics touched on what to observe in the winter sky, observation tools, where astronomy can take you, and more! Viktor and Anthony discussed that a few astronauts started with the Air Cadet Program, and are currently doing amazing things with their training: Chris Hadfield and Jeremy Hansen.

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