Important Update for First Star Talk

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

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

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

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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The 2014 (7th Annual) National Canadian Space Commerce Association Conference “New Manufacturing for NewSpace”

From the Canadian Space Commerce Association:

Date & Time: Thursday, March 13th, 2014, 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM, with a Networking & Social Event at 7:00 PM

Location: Hyatt Regency Toronto, 370 King Street West, Toronto, Canada

Confirmed Speakers:
Lou van Amelsvoort – President, Space 1 Systems Inc
Alex Babut – CEO, Enceladus
Mark Barfoot – Managing Director, Hyphen Services
Alex Barlow – Business Development Manager, Mentor Works Inc.
Drew Cox – Inventor and developer
Stewart Davis – Chief of Operations, CRP Group USA
Robert Godwin – Owner and founder of Apogee Space Books and the Space Curator at theCanadian Air & Space Museum
Estelle Havva – Aerospace Sector Team Lead and Industrial Technology Adviser, National Research Council, Industrial Assistance Program (NRC IRAP)
Andy Pratico – Business Development Manager, Synergy Resources
Yaroslav “Yarko” Pustovyi – Backup Payload Specialist for STS-87
Nicole Verkindt – CEO, OMX Marketplace
Mihaela Vlasea – Researcher, University of Waterloo, Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, Additive Manufacturing Laboratory
Peter Visscher – Space and robotics manager, Ontario Drive and Gear (ODG)

Space manufacturing, the production of manufactured goods in an environment outside a planetary atmosphere, has always been understood to have potential advantages over Earth-based industry because of its unique micro-gravity and vacuum environments, which allow for industrial processes that cannot be readily reproduced on Earth. But now, new techniques developed using computer-aided design methodologies, solid free form fabrication (including 3D printing), selective laser sintering and other fast developing technologies promise not just to revolutionize Earth based manufacturing, but space exploration as well.
What can space companies learn from domestic manufacturers today? What are the timelines, constraints, costs and opportunities for profit in this area and what can the manufacturing industry learn from space entrepreneurs?
Find out on Thursday, March 13, 2014 at the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) National Conference, focused on the business and political issues surrounding “New Manufacturing for NewSpace.”

More Info:
For fees and registration, please visit:
Early Bird Registration ends March 7, 2014

Call for speakers – Start-Up Liftoff
CSCA is looking for two speakers on the topic of their start-up commercial space venture modeled on the format of the O’Reilly’s Ignite Talks under the motto “Enlighten Us, But Make It Quick!”. Anyone who is interested should submit an abstract with contact information and a 5-minute presentation for consideration, to:

Exhibitor and Sponsorship Opportunities
If your organization is interested in being a CSCA conference exhibitor or sponsor (refer to CSCA’s Sponsorship Package, for details), please email

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