R.A.S.C. (Royal Astronomical Society of Canada)
Society has a long history, going back to 1868, when eight amateur
astronomers founded an astronomical club in Toronto. An expanded group
obtained a charter in 1890, and the name "The Royal Astronomical
Society of Canada" was adopted in 1903 with the permission of Edward
VII. In the early years, the meetings of the Society were held in the
homes of the members. As the membership increased, the meetings were
moved to the University of Toronto. In 1906, a branch was formed in
Ottawa, and thus the idea of Centres of the Society came into being.
There are now 26 Centres in Canada, from coast to coast, and about 4900
members in all. New Centres may be established anywhere in Canada where
there is sufficient continuing interest. At the annual General Assembly
of the Society, members of the Centres come together to share their
interest in an atmosphere of fun and fellowship.
Society is governed at both the national and local levels by capable
individuals from many walks of life serving as unpaid volunteers. They
manage the Society in a fiscally responsible manner and have kept it
free of debt. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is a registered
charitable organization (number 0283895-21-13) and issues official
receipts to donors for income tax purposes. Donations to the national
organization can be directed either to the Centennial Fund (to support
new initiatives) or to the Peter MacKenzie Millman Endowment Fund (to
further long-term growth).
Centre of the Society conducts a variety of activities of interest to
its members and to the public. At regular meetings, well-known
professional and amateur astronomers give lectures on topics of current
interest. In addition, there are slide and film programs, and study and
discussion groups. Some members take part in regular observations of
variable stars, lunar occultations, sunspots, meteors, comets and other
phenomena. Others develop special skills in astrophotography. Many
Centres have built their own observatories for these purposes. Some
members purchase a telescope; others learn how to construct their own.
Most Centres have programs of public education, including special star
nights during the mild summer months when hundreds of people have an
opportunity to look through telescopes - many for the first time in
their lives. Members learn about the activities of their Centre through
a regular Centre newsletter.
observational and educational work of amateur astronomers is of
tremendous value to the science of astronomy. In addition, the Society
has been influential in the establishment of observatories and
planetaria in a number of Canadian cities.
The National Office and the Centres
National Office mailing address is:
203-4920 Dundas Street West ,
Toronto M9A 1B7
Office hours are Monday to Friday; 1:00 pm -
National Office contains the astronomical reference library of the
Society; including an excellent collection of periodicals, historical
books and a number of slides and videos. The videos may be borrowed by
members and Centres by writing to the librarian.
of the Society are located in cities from St. John's to Victoria and
include Francophone Centres in Quebec and Montreal. Members may also
join the Society directly as unattached members. The local Centre in
this area is the Niagara Centre.
Niagara Astronomical Society was formed in 1958 by eight amateur
astronomers who resided in and around Niagara Falls. As it quickly grew
in numbers and expanded throughout the region, it was renamed the
Greater Niagara Astronomical Society (GNAS)
1960, the membership had grown large enough for the Society to be
incorporated into The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC), the
national organization for professional and amateur astronomers.
GNAS became "The Niagara Falls Centre of the RASC" (later renamed the
Niagara Centre to reflect the regional distribution of the membership)
and, in recent years, has seen its membership grown substantially. The
Centre holds monthly meetings from September to June at the main branch
of the Niagara Falls Public Library, 4848 Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls, Ontario; these
provide members and guests with an opportunity to discuss astronomical
activities, telescopes, and other equipment.
normally include slide presentations by local members and a lecture,
usually by a professional astronomer or an amateur from another Centre
or club, on some related topic. Details of meeting dates and times, and
other Niagara Centre events are listed in the Home Page. A
complete list of upcoming Niagara Centre actvities may be found on the Events Page.