Roger Nelson – Astronomy Experience

Roger’s interest in astronomy goes back to his youth when he dedicated himself to learn the sky while living on a farm in rural Manitoba. When he was 10 years old, Roger had received a small telescope as a Christmas Present. Later when a teenager, Roger set the hobby aside as he lived in an area with no Astronomy Club to participate. He did not have funds to purchase a larger telescope and the support of an organization and mentors to help him build his own instrument was not there.  He also had difficulty finding like minded people to encourage and support his interest. As an adult, he resolved to take the hobby up again when he could do it as part of an organization that would help to get him started.

When Roger moved to Regina in the 1980’s; with the encouragement and support of his wife Grace, Roger joined the Regina Astronomical Society (RAS).  At the time, the RAS was in a state of disarray and was having difficulty attracting membership and interest.  It did have an observatory with a 4″ refactor!  Roger agreed to take the leadership of this organization and while expanding his knowledge and observation experience, he worked to breath new life into that organization over a 4 year period.   Through his efforts he was successful in restoring the long defunct Regina Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) in 1989.

In 1990, Roger moved to Calgary and promptly joined the Calgary Centre of the RASC.  As a member of the Calgary Centre, Roger immersed himself in the Observing programs of the Centre.  He also built a 10″ Newtonian Reflector telescope with the support and mentor-ship of other members who had skills in telescope construction. Time and life experiences caused Roger to step away from the RASC for a decade and he returned in 2005 to take up a role serving as a Councillor for the Calgary Centre, and participating in Observing and public Education programs of the Calgary Centre.   There was another break for a couple of years and Roger returned in 2013 to serve for 3 years as a National Council Representative for the Calgary Centre, the Secretary and most recently a Councillor again.  In this time Roger had moved his interest to Astronomical Imaging,

Most recently, Roger has become concerned about the level of effort placed by the RASC on “In-reach” in terms of supporting the interests of members in exploring scientific pursuits as apposed to outreach programs in public education & promotion; information and education on advances in Astronomical Science,  and; “Astro-Tourism.”  It is Roger’s firm belief that a healthy, thriving, balanced astronomical society will include active work and participation in all four of these areas by its members and the Society must place importance on delivering support for this.

Astronomy Memberships and Accomplishments

Royal Astronomical Society (1989-1997, 2005-2010 & 2012-present)

  • Member of Calgary Centre 1990-present
  • Member of Regina Centre 1989-1990
  • Calgary Centre Secretary 2014-2016
  • Calgary Center Councilor 1992-1993, 2005-2007, 2016-present
  • 1992, 2007 & 2018 GA Organizing Committees
  • Where’s the Science Program
  • Active volunteer 1990 to present
  • Calgary Centre National Council Representative 2012-2015 (Attended the General Assemblies in 2013, 2014 & 2015)
  • National Advisory Council Co-Chair 2013-2015
  • Calgary Observing Group Chairman 1993-1994
  • Calgary Centre Observing Committee 2017-present
  • Help in organization the first Messier Marathon at the WCO.

Awards: Bolide Award 2016

Certificates: Messier Certificate (RASC) 1992

Working on the following Certificates: Explore the Universe, Finest 110 NGC’s


 Regina Astronomical Society (1986-1990)

  • President 1986-1990
  • Activities: Lead the group in activities and build engagement and activities over a 4 year period.
  • Authored updates to By-Laws and Constitution
  • Achievements
  • Telescope for rent/loan program
  • Davin Dark site acquisition
  • Partnership with the Science Centre
  • Partnership with the Western Development Museum to preserve the old observatory
  • Built the group from a dozen members to over 30
  • Arranged to have the Society become the Regina Centre of the RASC

Mount Kobau Star Party Society

  • Webmaster (1995-present)
  • MKSP Facebook Page
  • Attended the event in 1992, 2007&8, 2012, 2014, 2016

Personal Projects

  • Observing Log Book
  • Herschel 400
  • Other Observing Certificates
  • Local Group Picture Album
  • Observing Certificates
  • Occultations and Eclipse Events and Expeditions
  • 2017 US Solar Eclipse (Idaho); 1979 Solar Eclipse (Winnipeg); Planning Expedition to S. Texas for 2024 Total Eclipse.
  • Star Parties (ASP and SSSP)