Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Heavenly Experience

The latest transit of Venus took place on June 5th, 2012. If you missed it, next occurence will take place in 105 years.

Although the afternoon was partly cloudy, the clouds cleared around the sun and the Venus appeared as expected, around 6pm EST. I’m always amazed, how exactly the astronomers can calculate these events. (But I guess, it must be more straightforward than to forecast weather for the next day).

I was lucky to get a ticket to the Dunlap Observatory in Richmond Hill. The David Dunlap Observatory is located in eastern portion of Richmond Hill, Ontario, and houses the largest telescope in Canada. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Toronto Centre, operates the 74-inch reflecting telescope, but the large building with moveable dome was closed for this event.

The grounds opened at 5:30pm, and each visitor received protective sun shades. The filter on the shades looks like an aluminum foil, in effectiveness comparable to a welding shade between #10 and #14, and it is so dark, that you can’t see anything through it. If aimed squarely in the direction of the sun, one can see the sun (which when viewed this way, is surprisingly, a much smaller circle than you would think – smaller than the moon image).

Weather was great, the DDO grounds spacious, green and clean, and the volunteer astronomers very friendly and helpful. The main thing, there was lot of equipment available to observe the spectacular event.

This young couple is setting up their big gun – a 1200mm Orion telescope.

Many telescopes had cameras attached to it, and one could observe the magnified image either through the viewfinder or the back screen on the camera. This telescope was quite strong and you could see just a magnified portion of the sun. At that magnification, the sun moves very fast. The telescope had to be rotated slightly every few minutes or so to keep the Venus visible. Both celestial bodies were moving nicely in sync.

Here we have a smaller telescope, coupled with a larger camera screen, and Venus is visible as a small dark dot in the top portion of the big circle.

The next picture shows the administration building with two of the observatory telescopes built on the top.

One of the telescope on the building was connected to a camera that was feeding the images to a large computer monitor beside the building.
The transit began around 6:00pm when Venus appeared as a small dark spot in the right upper corner of the sun. You can see also some light clouds in the lower portion of the monitor.

The celestial body moved very slowly and the whole transit was supposed to last about six hours. Unfortunately, around 7:15pm the clouds moved in and put a stop to the show.

Great opportunity for a pleasant and memorable family outing and once-a-life learning experience for children. Actually, I had more fun observing the things around the telescopes than through the telescopes.

All pictures were captured with Canon T2i, and Tamron 17-50mm/2.8 DX lens.

Read Full Post »

Power Hockey Cup 2010

On August 7th, I was invited to watch and photograph the Powerhockey event at Ryerson University. The Toronto Power Wheelchair Hockey League (TPWHL) hosted the 2010 PowerHockey Cup at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada from Aug. 6th through Aug. 9th, 2010. The tournament was attended by the Calgary Selects, Carolina Fury, Michigan Mustangs (WCHL), Minnesota Stars, Minnesota Saints, Ottawa, Toronto Rock, and the host Toronto Lake Raiders.

PowerHockeyâ„¢ is based on basic hockey rules with a few adaptations to allow everyone in a power wheelchair the ability to participate. Relatively new sport, it provides a competitive sports opportunity for persons not possessing the physical upper body strength needed to participate in other sports (such as wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, quad rugby, etc.). Participants not only get to be a part of a fast paced exciting game, they build life long positive attributes such as teamwork, good sportsmanship, strategy, self-confidence and self-esteem.

All games in the tournament were filmed by a professional crew, and simulcasted on http://www.gretzky.com. I used Canon 2Ti camera with a 50mm and a 200mm prime lens, both for action shots and video recording at 1080p. All pictures and footage were captured in the available light, without any flash. I was very pleased with the video quality of this camera. The little built-in microphone on the camera delivered also amazing sound quality. When filming outside, the recorded sound is usually compromised by the wind or even slight movement of the air, but inside the gym this was not a problem and sound quality of the clip is surprisingly clean. Make sure, you check out the short video clip below.

This year, Minnesota Saints team took home the 2010 Power Hockey Cup.
Below are some pictures from the game between Ottawa and Minnessota Saints teams.

Click here to see a video clip

Power Hockey Book
Link to Powerhockey.com

Read Full Post »