What’s new?

Everything is new!

  • Feasibility Study for our first Observatory at the Takhini Hotsprings was submitted to the CDF on 15 July, 2017. Electricity by ATCO, and internet infrastructure will be installed this summer. As will some trenching to hide the cables underground, and to provide drainage around the observatory. We will also be submitting for the September 15th Tier II funds for $75,000. Hopefully we can get the full support to finish what we started so that it can be used as of September 2018!!

  • The Department Head of Continuing Education & Training at the Yukon College had accepted YAS’s non-credit Astronomy program proposal. We will be starting in September 2017. This will later include Astronomy at the College campuses across the Yukon.


  • Astrophotography: [6:30pm to 9:30pm] Wednesdays FEE: $195.00 [https://www.rasc.ca/astro-imaging-certificate]
    • Week 1  Introductions: camera basics and settings; evaluation of individual cameras; providing personalized ‘recommended accessories’ shopping lists. [assignment: photograph sunset/sunrise, twilight, and moonlit scenes]
    • Week 2  Introduction to dark-sky photography of the Celestial Realm: How to get your camera to see what you see in the dark; [assignment: camera on a tripod to image stars, constellations, aurora]
    • Week 3  Pictures using binoculars or a telescope: photographing the Sun, Moon and planets. [assignment: using a pair of binoculars or telescope for “through-the-eyepiece” photography]
    • Week 4  Imaging to see fainter and sharper: spectacular starscapes using a manual or motor-driven mount for your camera. [assignment: build and use a simple hand-driven sidereal platform; use your camera “piggy-back” and directly imaging through your motor-driven telescope]
    • Week 5  Optional Field trip at Observatory and Hotsprings (overnight at Hostel)

  • The Universe from your Backyard: [6:30pm to 9:30pm] Tuesdays FEE: $249.00 [see attached for certification]
    • Week 1  Introductions: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star; astronomical origins; dealing with common misconceptions; the seasons, finding your way around the sky, circular geometry [assignment: sun & shadow, 3-D season model]
    • Week 2  Introduction to the constellations and asterisms; stars (double/multiple/variable); the celestial coordinate system [assignment: identify constellations, identify bright stars, coordinate system activity]
    • Week 3  The Moon and reading charts [assignment: using a pair of binoculars, or telescope, to examine the Moon]
    • Week 4  The solar system Part 1 (naked-eye planets, telescope planets); observing tips [assignment: follow ETUG] activity]
    • Week 5  The solar system Part 2 (artificial satellites, asteroids, aurora, comets, conjunctions, eclipses, meteors, the Zodiacal lights); observing tips [assignment: follow ETUG] activity]
    • Week 6  Deep-Sky objects (nebula, star clusters, galaxies); observing tips [assignment: follow ETUG] activity]

  • Dark Sky Friendly Lighting-Retrofit-Compliance (CPD Course): [8:30am to 12:00pm] Friday December 7th FEE: $149.00 [RASC LPA certification] Audience: government-municipal property managers/consultants/engineers/ architects and conservationists
    • Understanding measurement and simulation techniques
    • Introduce the concepts of luminous flux, illuminance, luminance, and the reflectance equation
    • How to use a luxmeter, and a luminance meter
    • Using a digital camera for luminance mapping
    • How to design Dark Sky friendly lighting programs
    • What to specify, how to review and retrofit buildings to bring them into compliance
    • What is light pollution, why it matters, recent developments, and state of the art (including rising public outcry, human health effects, colour, glare issues, etc.)
    • Debunking the whole “security lighting” and crime idea
    • Responsible lighting design, both buildings, parking and roadways:  lighting levels, what good lighting looks like, specifying them etc.
    • Dark Sky bylaw/ordinances and what “state of the play” in various municipalities
    • Assessing a property for what lighting is warranted, and where
    • Activity: lighting simulation & predicting light levels

Air North has partnered with YAS, and Yukon Tourism & Culture, in order to offer a pilot flight that will take passengers into the Auroral oval at 36,000 feet. Using one of their Boeing 737s, the three and a half hour flight will fly north past the Artic Circle, head east towards Yellowknife, and swing back over Watson Lake to Whitehorse.

The Society will be providing all the scientific and astrophotography expertise for the project. More to follow!! See our FLIGHT TO THE LIGHTS event page.

Over the school holidays, the Society was invited to YuKonstruct’s Makerspace, teeming with a dozen pre-teens as they kicked off their March Break Maker Camp! The 5 day camp consisted of lots of hands on activities and made use of the makerspace’s awesome equipment. The camp participants got to experience laser cutting, bottle rocket building and blast off, 3D design and printing, carpentry, stop animation, robotics and more! Everyone went home each day with items that they’d built/designed/crafted/created.http://yukonstruct.com/2017/04/05/march-break-maker-camp-summary/

Dr. Christa van Laerhoven, PhD Planetary Sciences & RASC: Yukon Centre member, was interviewed April 19th, 2017 on CBC North Radio in Whitehorse. TOPIC: PHAs (Potentially Hazardous Asteroids) and the ‘near’ fly-by of 2014 JO25.

We have begun establishing links with our US counterparts in Alaska. The Fairbanks Astronomical Unit seems very open to collaborative efforts. I am curious to see where this new branch will lead us.


Attached is an Open Letter to ATCO Yukon Electric [rasc-yc-open-letter-atcofor demonstrating social and environmental responsibility through the adoption, and implementation, of night-sky friendly roadway lighting.  Specifically, we recognize the recent installation of appropriately designed warm-white (3,000K) International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) approved LED streetlights in Whitehorse. There is currently a row of the new dark sky approved street lights on Hamilton Blvd extension where it joins Alaska Highway.


Westar Lecture Series: In collaboration with CASCA, the RASC: Yukon Centre will hosted a FREE Westar workshop and lecture program in Whitehorse.  This initiative is 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.

Proposal to Yukon Education Minister: The Astronomical Program was submitted on 15 September 2016. We have been asked to look into developing and supporting the Astronomy courses in the curriculum for the coming school year!!

On May 4th 2016, the YAS became the 29th Centre with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, we are currently the Centre representing Canada’s north, for the RASC!!

A feasibility study for the Yukon Centre Observatory at the Takhini Hot Springs, funded by the Community Development Fund, is completed. Construction has begun, the dome is up!

The City of Whitehorse has approved the Observatory on Grey Mountain to be in the Draft Plan of Chadburn Lake’s new park.

The YAS is currently working on establishing an ALLSky camera project [YASCAN] in Whitehorse, and Dawson City!

The YAS newsletter, The Pulsar, is ready!! If any members have ideas for articles, please submit them to Catheryne Lord as soon as possible and electronically: yukonastronomicalsociety@gmail.com

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We can’t wait to meet fellow amateur astronomers, and everyone who is eager to learn and share about what goes on, up above the sky!