Latest News

New Ways to Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

October 4, 2014
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ASX will be holding our monthly Star Talk on October 23 at 8pm. The speaker is Shelley Wright, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics and Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics at University of Toronto. The talk will be given in McLennan Physical Labs (60 St George Street). The room is number 102 on the first floor. This is a FREE event and open for all ages.

Shelley Wright received her Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Wright’s research focuses on both innovative astronomical instrumentation and observations using some of the world’s largest optical telescopes. Wright is the Project Scientist for a first light instrument for the future Thirty Meter Telescope. Wright also has been involved with SETI instrumentation and search strategies for over a decade.

Shelley Wright writes, “How common is life in the universe? Is there other intelligent life? These are some of the largest puzzles to understanding our place in the Universe. For over 50 years, astronomers have been conducting the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). These searches have primarily been focused at radio wavelengths, but in the last decade astronomers are thinking of new ways to search for extraterrestrial communication. Our SETI team is focused on carrying out the first SETI effort designed to detect infrared communication beacons from advanced civilizations. I will give an overview of humanity’s quest in finding extraterrestrial intelligence, as well as future methods and programs that are on the horizon.”

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Important Update for First Star Talk

September 10, 2014
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Due to unforeseen circumstances, the speaker for next week’s Star Talk will be unable to join us – but never fear, ASX has got you covered! Come out and get to know the ASX’s executive team, each of whom are never happier than when discussing astronomy. Check out a film on the Hubble Space Telescope and then have a look at the on campus telescopes on the top of McLennan Physical Labs. The event will be held in the same room (MP102) at the same time (8pm). We hope to see Dr. Sills at a later date, but we’ll see you there next week!

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Stellar Mergers and Interactions: Yes, Virginia, Stars Do Collide

September 4, 2014
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ASX will be holding the first Star Talk of 2014-2015 on September 18 at 8pm. The speaker is Doctor Alison Sills, a Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at McMaster University. The talk will be given in McLennan Physical Labs (60 St George Street). The room is number 102 on the first floor. This is a FREE event and open for all ages.

Dr Alison Sills studies weird stars in unusual places. The stars that interest her have had something happen to them during their life, such as a collision with another star or an interaction with their binary companion. These events happen more often in dense stellar clusters. Dr Sills uses a variety of computational tools to model the formation and evolution of these clusters and their stellar populations. Dr Sills grew up in Toronto and attended the University of Western Ontario for her BSc before studying at Yale University for her PhD. After postdoctoral positions at the Ohio State University and the University of Leicester in the UK, she returned to Ontario to take up a faculty position at McMaster University in 2001. She currently lives in Hamilton with her husband and two daughters.

Alison Sills writes, “I will discuss strong interactions between stars in a variety of environments. Despite the vast (average) interstellar distances, stars are social creatures and tend to live in pairs, multiples, or groups. Under these circumstances, stars can, and do, modify each other’s mass, radius, composition, and overall evolution through gravitational encounters ranging from wind mass transfer in a binary system to complete stellar collisions and mergers. I will show how such events can change our understanding of particular stellar systems, how they can explain the properties of many unusual objects, and how interactions could change the environment these stars live in. The emphasis for this talk will be on the modelling of these interactions, and I will demonstrate how a combination of stellar evolution, stellar dynamics, and hydrodynamics can bring some understanding to these complicated systems.”

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Return of the Star Talk Series

August 20, 2014
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Return of the Star Talk Series


Hi stargazers! We are pleased to announce that our talk series, Star Talks, will be returning this year. These monthly events combine a lecture from a local professor with observing at UofT’s two dome telescopes. This free talk will take place on the UofT campus, and is open to people from all astronomical backgrounds (including none at all!). Our September talk will be held in about a month, so stay tuned for updates!

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ASX Annual General Meeting

March 30, 2014
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On April 2 at 6 pm, ASX will hold its Annual General Meeting in the Bahen Center, room 2175 (40 St George St). The 2014-15 executive team will be elected, we will watch a documentary about space, and pizza will be served. If you are a student, alumnus, staff, or faculty member of the University of Toronto and you are on this mailing list, you are eligible to vote and to run for an executive position. The executive positions and voting procedures are explained below. If you wish to run for an executive position, message before 11:59 pm on April 1 and state your three top choices for executive position in ranked order. If our secretary does not respond within 24 hours, email again to ensure that he has received your message.

Voting Methods
Voting will follow the procedure outlined in the ASX Constitution, section 6.2. Please read this section and come prepared with a different 3 minute speech for each position you wish to run for. After each candidate has spoken for a given executive slot, each present voting member will write down their preferred candidate on a secret ballot. The candidate with the most votes wins. In the event that a candidate wins multiple elections, that candidate will be elected to the office they ranked highest when they declared the intention to run, and the second-most popular candidate in the other elections they won will be elected to that office. For example, if person A declares an intention to run for President first and for Vice-President second, and A wins both elections while person B comes in second in the Vice-Presidential election, then A becomes the new President while B becomes the new Vice-President. The main benefit of this method is that you do not lose your opportunity to be an executive simply by losing one election.

Role Descriptions
Each current executive wrote a description of their role to be circulated to the entire club, and those descriptions are enclosed below. To supplement these descriptions please see section 6.1 of the ASX Constitution. The descriptions for President, Vice-President, and Finance Director are omitted because, as per section 6.2.f), you may only run for those positions if you have held another ASX executive position for at least 6 months.

Outreach Director cultivates and maintains relationships with exterior astronomy and space organizations and affiliations. Ensures that communication between ASX and our affiliates is strong when necessary. Also engages members and directly oversees all projects that fall under “outreach”.

Projects Director is responsible for overseeing all projects assigned by the executive and reporting on them at meetings.

Secretary writes all emails sent to the ASX mailing list, including newsletters, responds to all emails sent to the account, takes the minutes of all meetings, and serves as ASX’s secondary contact person.

Symposium Director organizes the annual symposium. The Symposium Director’s tasks include choosing a topic, finding potential speakers, contacting speakers, contacting sponsors, booking a room, and managing tickets.

Observing Director organizes ​telescope observing sessions after ASX talks. We do this to ensure that those attending get to see the cosmos for themselves after the lecture, with the help of a telescope that is otherwise not readily available to everyone.

Marketing Director handles all things visual, from handouts to posters, and is responsible for all graphics used by and associated with the society.

Symposium Coordinator works with the Symposium Director to oversee and manage all activities and tasks related to the Annual Symposium

Events Coordinator takes care of special ASX events throughout the year not associated with the annual symposium. This year, the coordinator was responsible for organizing a new series of lectures called Star Talks.

Webmaster manages social media content on the website and Facebook page, and posts information regarding space and space exploration events happening at U of T.

If you have any questions about this year’s ASX AGM, please email and our secretary will respond as quickly as possible.

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