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Venus has a rendezvous with Jupiter

(August 24, 2016)

Just after sunset on the evening of Saturday, August 27 look for a bright "star" just above the Western horizon. That "star" is actually the planet Venus. But wait, there's more... you are actually watching not one, but *two* planets! Jupiter will appear to pass so close to Venus on this night that their individual spots of light will appear as one unless you look at them through binoculars or a telescope. If the sky is clear, take note of the position of the setting Sun at 8 pm EDT, and then start looking for Venus and Jupiter in this same direction 15-20 minutes later. The pair moves quickly towards the horizon: by 8:30, they will be only 4 degrees above the horizon (about the width of three fingers held at arm's length); and by 9 pm, they will have set.

Conjunctions like this between Venus and Jupiter are not rare; but they don't happen every year either. And although they seem very close in the sky, Jupiter will actually be four times further away than Venus is from us, for an *additional* 735 MILLION km!

Join us Saturday, August 27 at 7-10 pm for an evening of live music and stargazing (weather permitting) at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts. We will try to catch the Venus-Jupiter conjunction, and then look at Mars, Saturn and possibly a few objects far beyond those in our Solar System.

Wishing everyone clear AND DARK skies,

--Ian Shelton, DDOD Chair

The David Dunlap Observatory lies nestled in the heart of Richmond Hill, Ontario, a city of 200,000 just north of Canada's largest city, Toronto. The 190-acre oasis of mature forests, pastures and springs is home to two distinct deer herds and an abundance of other wildlife, including a coyote pack, foxes, voles, rabbits, honey bees, many species of butterflies, and birds including hawks, owls, doves, crows and songbirds. The property represents the last and largest urban open green space in southern Richmond Hill.

Originally deeded to the University of Toronto by the philanthropist Jessie Donalda Dunlap in memory of her husband David, the Dunlap Observatory opened on May 31st, 1935. Its magnificent 74-inch telescope was the second largest in the world at that time and has been used through seven decades to conduct much groundbreaking research, including the discovery of the first known black hole, Cygnus X-1.

In 2007, the University of Toronto wrested control of the land from Jessie Dunlap's heirs through a protracted legal case spanning 4 years. They then broke the public covenant that the land would remain a park and a research and outreach centre in perpetuity by selling the property to a developer intent on replacing most of the greenspace with hundreds of houses.

The DDO Defenders have been working hard to represent the public and inform all levels of government about what will be lost if the developer is allowed to proceed.

On April 12th, 2012, after six long and anxiety-ridden months of Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) mandated mediation following a four year hard-fought and very public battle, an agreement was reached in March between the mediation parties to the David Dunlap Observatory Lands OMB case.

Minutes of Settlement were drawn up for signing by all parties to the mediation -- the landowner, Corsica Development Inc. (a subsidiary of MetrusDevelopments Inc.), the Town of Richmond Hill, the Region of York, the Toronto and Area Conservation Authority (TRCA), and the David Dunlap Observatory Defenders (DDO Defenders) Inc. This historic document was ratified by Richmond Hill Town Council on Thursday, April 12th. All mediation parties had been sworn to absolute secrecy under a strict gag order until Council signed off on the agreement, but now the silence has finally been broken and the details of the settlement agreement can be made public. (read more)

For further information or to offer support, please contact:

Ian Shelton - Chair, DDO Defenders Inc.
sn87a@hotmail.com or (905) 762-0072

The Minutes of Settlement is posted at the Town of Richmond Hill - DDO webpage.

Please support our Community Advocacy

The DDO Defenders are deeply committed to preserving the David Dunlap Observatory, surrounding Lands and the Dunlap Legacy. Our mandate is to ensure that the campus continues to operate as a world-class astronomical and astrophysical research facility and a centre of excellence in public Outreach, Education and Experiential Learning regarding all aspects of Science and the Natural World.

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DDO Defenders
240 Bantry Avenue
Richmond Hill, ON
Canada L4B 4H9.

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Call us at (905) 762-0072