Upcoming Events

David Levy—Comet Hunter (FREE public talk) PDF Print E-mail

A Nightwatchman's Journey:

My Life as a Comet Hunter

by Dr. David Levy

a FREE public lecture—all welcome

THURSDAY, 3 November

Saint Mary's University

Sobey Building SB255 (map)

7:30 p.m.


50 years ago, on 17 December 1965 near midnight, after taking the dog for a walk, I began my search for comets. That search is still going on. At the time I set it up as a lifetime project because I believed that it might take my whole life to discover a single comet. It turns out that I've been a bit luckier than that; as of today I have found 23 comets. Although none of these comets have dominated the sky from dusk to dawn with tails wrapping themselves around the North star, four of them have been particularly interesting. The one I found in 1988 was a fragment from a larger comet that split apart thousands of years ago, and two years later I found a comet that became fairly bright and visible to the unaided eye during the summer of 1990. In 2010, using the telescope Tom Glinos had in our backyard, my wife Wendee, Tom, and I reported a comet. However, because the object was not initially identified as a comet, it was named Jarnac after our observatory, which in turn is named after my grandfather's cottage near Ripon, Québec. Finally, comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 gave humanity its first glimpse into the mystery of the origin of life, as it slammed into Jupiter in the summer of 1994. This talk explores my life as a searcher of comets, and is accompanied by slides and musical selections.

NOTE: This is a special public lecture. The RASC Halifax Centre will also have its regular November meeting at the usual place and time on Friday 18 November. Stay tuned...

Planetarium: Andromeda and the Autumn Sky | Thu 27 Oct PDF Print E-mail

Time:        Thursday, 27 October at 7:15 pm
Location:   Dunn Bldg., Dalhousie University, 6310 Coburg Rd
Presenter:  Patrick Kelly
Title:        "Andromeda and the Autumn Sky"

Come and learn the basic constellations that can be seen at this time of year and how to locate the Andromeda galaxy. Over two million light-years away, it is the most distant object that can be seen with just your eyes. It will be much easier to see in several billion years when it will collide with our own galaxy!

Admission:  $5 (at the door); reductions for families (min age 8 years)
Reservations Required: e-mail  planetarium AT dal DOT ca
State number of adults and children aged 8 to 15.

The Show is about an hour long. Full details will be sent before the Show.
Please do not be late. No admission after the door closes.

Please note that shows are most suitable for ages 8 and up.

Course in Liverpool: A Practical Guide to Observing the Night Sky | Weds, Oct 12-Nov 16 PDF Print E-mail
Instructor – Tony Schellinck

Six Classes - Wednesdays, 2 – 4 pm, October 12 – November 16

This course is given at:  The Astor Theater – 219 Main Street, Liverpool   

After completing this course the participant should have a greater appreciation of what there is to see in the sky and how to find and observe objects.Topics covered include: how to find your way around the summer, fall, winter and spring night skies; how to observe the moon and planets; and what galaxies, globular clusters, open clusters, planetary nebula, diffuse nebula, double stars and interesting asterisms can be found. We will also cover how to view these objects using dark adapted eyes and averted vision,and practice observing using a variety of instruments from binoculars to telescopes.

This course is offered by:

Seniors’ College Assoc. of Nova Scotia

Courses are offered purely for enjoyment. No previous knowledge required. No tests or exams. Just for fun. Everyone Welcome.

To register for courses and get more information on our program go to


or contact the SCANS office at 902-444-7588.
SCANS - Seniors' College Association of Nova Scotia

Continue your life-long learning by joining the Seniors’ College Association of Nova Scotia, a registered non-profit organization dedicated to providing non-credit ...

MEMBERSHIP COST:  $135 + HST ($155.25) per year, payable by cheque, cash, or PayPal.

Burke-Gaffney Observatory Public Open Houses - Friday Nights PDF Print E-mail

Join us for a peek through the telescope at Saint Mary's University's Burke-Gaffney Observatory.

Detailed information about our Public Open Houses is here.

The scheduled upcoming dates are:

  • Friday, October 14 at 9pm
  • Friday, October 28 - cancelled due to staff vacation
  • Friday, November 11 - cancelled due to Remembrance Day holiday
  • Friday, November 25 at 7pm
  • Friday, December 9 at 7pm
  • Friday, December 23 - cancelled due to holiday closure

Reserve tickets here (please read carefully the information at the top of that page).

We understand the frustration you may have in trying to get tickets, but we do not have a lot of clear nights in Halifax, can only accommodate about 24 people (and provide a good experience), and we do not have the volunteer or staff resources to schedule events more than twice a month for most of the year and weekly June to September.

Any other information can be obtained by contacting Dave Lane, Observatory Director.
We also offer private tours for organized groups of people. Details are here.