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Royal B.C. Museum and observatory host events for International Astronomy Day

Family-friendly activities begin Saturday outside the museum on Belleville Street with solar telescopes for safely viewing the sun
Camosun College astronomy instructor Jim Nemme looks at sun spots during International Astronomy Day in 2022 at the Royal B.C. Museum. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Earthlings fascinated with April’s solar eclipse and last weekend’s spectacular display of the aurora borealis will get a chance to peer closer into the heavens today when the Royal B.C. Museum and Dominion Astrophysical Observatory hold public events for International Astronomy Day.

Museum events run 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and the observatory’s Centre of the Universe will be open 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The Victoria Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is sponsoring family-friendly Astronomy Day activities, which will begin outside the museum on Belleville Street with solar telescopes for safely viewing the sun. Some exhibits will feature the April solar eclipse and aurora events.

Inside the museum will be astrophotography and displays from the University of Victoria’s physics and astronomy department, Camosun College and the Monterey Middle School Astronomy Club.

Royal Astronomical Society volunteers and Science Venture staff from UVic will have hands-on activities for children. All the astronomy presentations, displays and workshops are free, while admission applies for regular museum exhibits and astronomy-related Imax films.

Speakers at the museum will include Nathan Hellner-Mestelman, who will talk about the mind-boggling dimensions of the universe, Prof. John McDonald on the stars, Amy Archer on how the night sky guided thousands of people who took the Underground Railroad to freedom, and Simon Smith, who will tell the story of the Milky Way galaxy.

The Friends of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory and the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada Victoria Centre will host evening activities at Observatory Hill, 5071 West Saanich Rd. from 7:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. Visitors with tickets will be admitted to Observatory Hill starting at 7:15 p.m.

Entry to the observatory grounds for all public evenings is by ticket only. Tickets are free, but require reservations. While tickets for Saturday are sold out, some tickets may be available on the day. To check for tickets today or for future public evenings, go to

The Centre of the Universe exhibits and the observatory’s historic Plaskett Telescope will be open for tours.

Royal Astronomical Society of Canada members will have their personal telescopes set up for public viewing if weather permits.

There will be a presentation by Dominion Astrophysical Observatory astronomer Trystyn Berg on how the search for metals in distant objects tells us how stars and galaxies are changing over time.

Other public viewing events at the observatory are planned for this spring and summer on selected Saturdays.

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