My Astronomy Experience
My name is Roger Nelson, and I would like to share this astronomical story.
My interest in astronomy goes back to my youth when I dedicated myself to learn the night sky while living on a farm in rural Manitoba. When I was 10 years old, I received a small telescope as a Christmas present. Later as a teenager, I set the hobby aside as I then lived in an area with no Astronomy Club to participate in. I neither had the funds to purchase a larger telescope, or the support of an organization, or mentors to help me build my own instrument. When I became an adult I started up again. I resolved that I would do my utmost to ensure that other youths who wanted to take this path, would not find it as hard as I had. And that they could find the support and mentorship required to expand their interest in the awesomeness of our Universe.
When I moved to Regina in the 1980’s; with the encouragement and support of my amazing wife Grace Nelson, I joined the Regina Astronomical Society (RAS). At the time, the RAS was in a state of some disarray and was having difficulty attracting membership. But it did have an observatory with a four inch refractor. I agreed to take the leadership of that organization and whilst expanding my knowledge and gaining more experience in observation. I also worked diligently to breathe new life into the organization for well over a 4-year period. Through these efforts, and the support of Regina’s Astronomical Community, the long defunct Regina Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) was restored in 1989.
In 1990, I moved to Calgary and joined the Calgary Centre and immersed myself in the Observation programs they had running at that time. I worked with others and built a 10″ Newtonian Reflector, we were lucky that we had some excellent individuals who had skills in telescope construction. More recently I have begun to move into the realm of Astronomical Imaging.
In 2018 I Joined the National Board RASC where I served as Director, National Secretary, and the Chair of the Information Technology Committee. At this time I am no longer a member of the RASC, but hope to have that resolved shortly.
Astronomy Memberships and Accomplishments
Royal Astronomical Society (1989-1997, 2005-2010 & 2012-2020)
- National Secretary and Director of the RASC 2018-2020
- Member of Calgary Centre 1990-2020
- Member of Regina Centre 1989-1990
- Calgary Centre Secretary 2014-2016
- Calgary Center Councilor 1992-1993, 2005-2007, 2016-2020
- 1992, 2007 & 2018 GA Organizing Committees
- 2018 GA Website Creator/Webmaster
- “Where’s the Science Program”
- Active volunteer 1990 to present (At the RAO, Star-nights and outreach)
- 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: National Service Award 2019; Calgary Centre Bolide Awards 2016/2018
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
- Published the newsletter
- Public Education and Volunteer programs for the Society
- Media contact for Astronomy for Southern Saskatchewan
- Telescope for loan program
- Davin Dark site acquisition
- Partnership with the Science Centre
- Partnership with the Western Development Museum to preserve the Observatory build by the original Regina Centre (1910)
- 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
- Member of MKSP Society (2017-present)
- Webmaster (1995-present)
- MKSP Facebook Page
- Attended the event in 1992, 2007&8, 2012, 2014, 2016,2019
Personal Astronomy Projects
- Built his own 10” Newtonian Telescope (1992)
- Publishing his Observing Log Book (currently at over 1200 Observations)
- Herschel 400
- 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) SINCE THE 1990s
Other positions outside of the Astronomy
- Lego Robotics Competition Judge
- Director of the Saskatchewan Science Centre
- Shareholder with (Grace Nelson) of The Blue Grid AB Ltd. an Internet and Information Systems Consulting Company.
- Past Treasurer of his Condo Corporation
- President of the University of Manitoba Students Union