2015 Awards Citations

Winners of the 2015 Bert Winearls Award
Publish date: 
Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bert Winearls Award
This award is given posthumously to Dr. Geoff Gaherty. Geoff did so much to help the Centre over the years. He delivered “The Sky This Month” presentations at monthly Toronto Centre meetings for a number of years. These presentation encouraged members to get outside and observe the sky. He helped new members get over the “new to astronomy” hurdles thereby making it easier for people to get involved. He demystified the complexities of variable star observing helping amateurs contribute meaningful observations to the astronomical community through the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). He helped members get their telescopes operating at their best. He wrote regularly for the Journal of the RASC and for the RASC Observer’s Handbook to reach a wider audience. He was a great supporter of the RASC and observers everywhere.
This Centre will greatly miss Geoff but his passion will continue through the efforts and enthusiasm of everyone he inspired.

Andrew Elvins Award for Promotion of Astronomy
Having taken over coordination of the Toronto Centre’s education and public outreach activities, Ian Wheelband has taken it in new directions, including events for youth. He organized the NOVA programme in 2015. Ian took Toronto Centre EPO to points east with enthusiastic volunteers in the Durham region, and he grabbed the bull by the horns by coordinating EPO events at the E.C. Carr Astronomical Observatory. He is enhancing our programmes and trying to improve the quality throughout. While there have been some challenges, Ian is committed to effectively supporting EPO in the future, with a fresh approach, a pragmatic perspective, and a positive attitude. Ian remains very active in the Centre in other areas, being a CAO supervisor and a member of Council.

Bertram J. Topham Award for Observing
Many members of the Toronto Centre want to learn how to observe the night sky but don’t know where to start, especially when it comes to choosing the right equipment. The Centre’s Telescope Loan Program (TLP) gives our members a chance to try different types of telescope systems before they buy their own.  Managing the distribution and maintenance of the TLP collection requires a lot of effort and dedication by its managers, Marc Teitelbaum, George Slavinski and Peter Richards.  Their work over the last year in expanding the TLP resources has supported the increasing interest in observing activity, which was Bert Topham’s focus.

Jesse Ketchum Award for Astronomical Equipment
Allard Schipper is a maker or a do-it-yourselfer. He has demonstrated on many occasions an interest in building his own astronomical equipment, accessories, and custom software applications. He shares and demonstrates his findings to fellow members. His design and construction of a unique portable reflector telescope using resources at the Toronto Tool Library (TTL), a facility that provides highly specialized tools and equipment not normally accessible to people, was particularly impressive. The relationship with TTL was a reciprocal one where his enthusiasm, volunteer support at the RASC Toronto Centre, and knowledge of astronomy was shared with the TTL people. Allard, in addition to continuing his support of the web site and social media, has also started delivering The Sky This Month presentations in 2015.

Ray Thompson Award for Astronomical Imaging
Stephen McKinney is one of the Toronto Centre’s most experienced astro-imagers.  He freely shares his knowledge of the technology and techniques of imaging the sky with members through presentations at Centre meetings, online postings to the Toronto Centre Yahoo list and mentoring at the E.C. Carr Astronomical Observatory.  Despite a busy professional and family life, he continues to advance his interest in astro-imaging while being in active in a variety of Toronto Centre activities.

Ostrander-Ramsay Award for Astronomical Writing
In 2015, Carolyn Sue Kralik presented an item at one of our Recreational Astronomy Nights, “The Other Herschel: Caroline, the First Lady of Astronomy”. Sue also published her presentation in the SCOPE newsletter for the benefit of members who have difficulty attending meetings. But Sue is better known as “The Other Editor” for her duties as copy-editor for SCOPE. Sue has been correcting our subject and object pronouns since 2009. She has also been responsible for mailing out all printed copies of SCOPE six times annually. Sue was first brought to our attention as the principal of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic School in Sharon by Geoff Gaherty in 2005, after a very successful star party at the school. We thank you, Sue!

2016 RASC Gold Medal
York University: Richard Bloch
University of Toronto: to be announced