- DDOD Outreach
- Why DDOD
Using the Crescent Moon To Find Mercury
(January 30, 2014)
The New Moon of January 30th marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year. Welcome everyone to the Year of the Horse! As the crescent Moon moves into the evening sky, it can be used to find the rarely seen planet Mercury, now at its best.
If the sky is clear on Friday January 31, start looking for the very young, thin crescent Moon just 13 degrees (low) above the southwest horizon after sunset (5:27pm EST in Richmond Hill). By 6 pm, Mercury should appear as a bright star 5-1/2 degrees to the left of the Moon. As the evening grows darker, the Moon and Mercury will become more visible. But don't wait too long to look, as they both set at ~7 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, look for the Moon now well above Mercury.
Venus continues to dominate the southeastern predawn sky.
Our student Norman Maddeaux in the current Introductory Astrophotography course succeeded in capturing the crescent Moon and the crescent Venus
on January 29th using just his own camera, zoom lens and tripod
(i.e.- no telescope needed).
--Ian Shelton, DDOD's Vice Chair & Resident Astronomer
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:
- Karen M. Cilevitz - Chair, DDO Defenders Inc.
firstname.lastname@example.org or (416) 990-6694
The Minutes of Settlement is posted at the Town of Richmond Hill - DDO webpage.