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News NotesCompiled by Martin Beech ( and OrlaAaquist (, Alive and Kicking?Last September, the Washington Post informed us that thelargest and most sensitive radio telescope on Earth wouldhave to close if it could not find outside funding for halfof its already reduced $8 million budget in the next three years.When I first encountered this bit of news, my first thought wasthat perhaps the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada couldget a proposal together to save the Arecibo Observatory. Then Iremembered that none of the RASC Centres, except Edmonton,has any money, so I put the thought aside. Two months later, wewere told that U of T was thinking of closing the David DunlapObservatory. Apparently, the RASC loves the DDO, because acall went out to Canadian amateur astronomers to help savethis historic observatory. The possible demolition of the DDOhas been in the RASC news circles ever since and probably bythe time that this publication of JRASC gets downloaded onyour computer we will have learned of its fate. But what aboutthe fate of Arecibo and the National Astronomy and IonosphereCenter, NAIC?Until I visited Dr. Russ Taylor at the University of Calgarylast December, I had completely forgotten about the possibleclosure of this outpost of radio astronomy. Russ told me abouta project, in which he was involved, to use the Arecibo telescopein conjunction with something called ALFA to carry out asurvey of the sky visible from Puerto Rico. I gathered from Russthat ALFA refers to a new Arecibo L-band Feed Array, whichis a cluster of seven cooled dual-polarization feeds that willallow large-scale full-stokes spectro-polarimetric studies of thesky with unprecedented sensitivity. I know that some of youwould have preferred ALFA to have been a new healthy type ofSwedish dog food, but a few of our hard-core readers will havejust received a significant adrenalin rush and will want to readthe above sentence a few times before continuing.In the past, use of the Arecibo telescope as a surveyinstrument has been limited by the relatively small field of viewin a single observation, but ALFA, with its seven feeds, has amuch larger field of view. This new system will have a broadappeal within the astronomical community and it is hopedthat it will drive research at Arecibo for the next 10 to 15 years.So, under the threat of reduced funding, scientists convenedin Washington on 2007 September 12 and 13, to identify keyscience that is possible with the new system and hopefullyto get the National Science Foundation to reconsider theirextreme budget cuts. A summary of this meeting is posted inthe NAIC Newsletter #42. According to this newsletter “muchThe Journal is a bi-monthly publication of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canadaand is devoted to the advancement of astronomy and allied sciences. It contains articleson Canadian astronomers and current activities of the RASC and its Centres, researchand review papers by professional and amateur astronomers, and articles of a historical,biographical, or educational nature of general interest to the astronomical community.All contributions are welcome, but the editors reserve the right to edit material priorto publication. Research papers are reviewed prior to publication, and professionalastronomers with institutional affiliations are asked to pay publication charges of$100 per page. Such charges are waived for RASC members who do not have access toprofessional funds as well as for solicited articles. Manuscripts and other submittedmaterial may be in English or French, and should be sent to the Editor-in-Chief.Editor-in-ChiefJay Anderson136 Dupont StToronto ON M5R 1V2, CanadaInternet: editor@rasc.caWeb site: www.rasc.caTelephone: (416) 924-7973Fax: (416) 924-2911Associate Editor, ResearchDouglas HubeInternet: dhube@phys.ualberta.caAssociate Editor, GeneralMichael AttasInternet: attasm@aecl.caAssistant EditorsMichael AllenMartin BeechPierre BoulosRalph ChouDaniel HudonPatrick KellyEditorial AssistantSuzanne E. MoreauInternet: semore@sympatico.caProduction ManagerJames EdgarInternet: jamesedgar@sasktel.netContributing EditorsMartin Beech (News Notes)Warren Finlay (Deep-Sky Contemplations)Geoff Gaherty (Through My Eyepiece)Doug Hube (Deep-Sky Contemplations)Richard Huziak (Variable Stars)Bruce McCurdy (Orbital Oddities)Philip Mozel (A Moment With…)Guy Nason (Carpe Umbram)Leslie Sage (Second Light)Gerry Smerchanski (Gerry’s Meanderings)David Turner (Reviews)Don Van Akker (Gizmos)ProofreadersOssama El BadawyMargaret BronsTerry LeederKim LeitchSuzanne MoreauMaureen OkunDesign/ProductionBrian G. Segal, Redgull IncorporatedAdvertisingJames EdgarInternet: jamesedgar@sasktel.netPrintingMaritime Digital ColourThe Journal of The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada is published at an annualsubscription rate of $80.00 by The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. Membership,which includes the publications (for personal use), is open to anyone interested inastronomy. Applications for subscriptions to the Journal or membership in the RASC,and information on how to acquire back issues of the Journal can be obtained from:The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada136 Dupont StToronto ON M5R 1V2, CanadaInternet: nationaloffice@rasc.caWeb site: www.rasc.caTelephone: (416) 924-7973Fax: (416) 924-2911Canadian Publications Mail Registration No. 09818Canada Post: Send address changes to 136 Dupont St, Toronto ON M5R 1V2Canada Post Publication Agreement No. 40069313We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada, through thePublications Assistance Program (PAP), toward our mailing costs.U.S. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to IMS of NY, PO Box 1518, Champlain NY12919. U.S. Periodicals Registration Number 010-751.Periodicals postage paid at Champlain NY and additional mailing offices.The Journal is printed on recycled stock.© 2008 The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. All rights reserved. ISSN 0035-872X46 Building for the International Year of Astronomy (IYA2009)JRASC April / avril 2008

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