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group shot awards picnic summer 2019 at the David Dunlap Observatory by Peter Visima

2019 Awards Citations

Submitted by hotair@compute… on 2 November 2020

2019 RASC Toronto Centre Award Recipients

Each year the volunteer efforts of a handful of worthy Toronto Centre members are recognised by being named a recipient to one of several awards. The full description of the awards are noted on the Awards and Achievements page. This year however, the award plaques could not be presented in person as many of our regular activities were interrupted due to restrictions caused by COVID-19 pandemic. They were announced during an online speaker night (check out the 30 Sep 2020 video recording on YouTube starting at 57 seconds). Presented below are the full citations of each recipient for 2019. Congratulations are extended to all of our worthy award recipients! 


Andrew Elvins Award (outreach/promotion) 

Kersti Meema. The Toronto Centre recognises Kersti for her enthusiastic support of its outreach efforts through her leadership of the First Light program, as well as her participation at events held at the David Dunlap Observatory and the Ontario Science Centre.


Jesse Ketchum Award (equipment builder) 

There is no recipient nominated for this award for 2019.


Charline Norgrove Award (service to the TC)

Lora Chow: Lora has been the E.C. Carr Astronomical Observatory’s booking agent for several years. She works tirelessly scheduling who will be in the house and who is camping. Another duty Lora takes on is setting the annual CAO supervisor schedule after consulting with our volunteers on which weekends they are available. Although she doesn’t observe herself, she can be seen at public outreach events at the CAO helping in any way she can. Lora is a quiet, behind the scenes type of person and deserves to be recognised for her dedication to the RASC Toronto Centre.

Sue Kralik: Sue established herself in the role of greeter at the Ontario Science Centre Solar Observing Program shortly after joining the Toronto Centre. She has attended most of the Saturday Morning Solar Observing sessions for many years, welcoming guests, answering their questions, sharing information about the Toronto Centre and ushering them to the telescopes. Sue does not own or operate observing equipment, nor is she interested in acquiring technical skills. For Sue, outreach is all about quietly connecting with people to make them feel they have come to the right place to explore all things astronomical. The Charline Norgrove Award is presented to Sue Kralik in recognition of her efforts to inspire, encourage and support both members of the public and her fellow Toronto Centre volunteers at outreach events.

Millie Rayakovich: Millie’s love of astronomy shines through as she happily helps other members and the public to discover the night sky. She is an enthusiastic volunteer at public outreach programs at the Ontario Science Centre, E.C. Carr Astronomical Observatory and David Dunlap Observatory. She has participated cheerfully at CAO work parties and made other participants feel welcome there. Millie is very welcoming to new members and encourages all members in their astronomy efforts.


Ostrander-Ramsay Award (writing in astronomy) 

Chris Vaughan is a prolific writer. In addition to contributing to and the SkyNews web site, Chris writes his regular Skylights blog for amateur astronomers. These detailed reports with infographics and featured photographs discuss what's visible for the next week. He covers the Moon, planets, satellite flyovers, visible comets, and so on. Chris also discusses interesting, well-placed deep sky objects. Invariably he wraps up with a listing of public and online events where people can enjoy and learn astronomy. It is all written in an understandable and palatable format.


Bertram J. Topham Award (observer) 

Throughout 2019, Ron Macnaughton attended various GTA dark sky sites and then reported on his experiences in presentations at Recreational Astronomy Night meetings and postings to the Toronto Centre’s email forum. He continues to share his enthusiasm for observing the night skies with other members and contributes to the National Education and Public Outreach Committee. 


Raymond Thompson Award (imaging) 

Richard Sewards has been a regular participant and mentor at Toronto Centre astroimaging workshops, most recently at the 2019 event at CAO. He provided reviews of imaging software as well as hands-on instruction at both the camera and the computer.  He also made many important contributions to the development of the Toronto Centre’s imaging observatory, the SLO, including procedures to access its telescope, gather data and process images. The RASC Toronto Centre recognises Richard for his enthusiastic efforts in creating and using his own excellent astro-images to encourage and mentor his fellow members in all sorts of astro imaging equipment, software and techniques with the 2019 Raymond Thompson Award.


Bert Winearls Award (service to the TC)

Blake Nancarrow has been one of the Toronto Centre’s active volunteers for many years. While members of the RASC know him for his Binary Universe column in the JRASC, Toronto Centre members read his monthly posts on choice binary stars and enjoy his occasional contributions to Recreational Astronomy Nights. Blake does a lot of volunteer work behind the scenes as well. Over the past year, he has been our Volunteer Coordinator and one of the support crew for our livestream sessions on the YouTube channel. Blake has acted as our Information Technology (IT) and web services lead for several years. He also helped with the DDO and CAO Committees, participating in outreach activities and management of their IT resources, and is Toronto Centre’s liaison for the upgrade of the RASC National Office’s online membership services. The variety and depth of his contributions to the Toronto Centre are most deserving of recognition through this year’s Bert Winearls Award.