While our monthly events and many outreach programs are open to the public, becoming a registered member of the RASC comes with a whole host of additional benefits. Starting amateur astronomers will benefit from a copy of our annual Observer’s Handbook, a subscription to SkyNews magazine, as well as our loaner scope program and access to our observatory in Glenlea, Manitoba. Our active membership also participates in many private functions and star parties throughout the year, to which all members are welcome.
Annual membership is handled by the RASC’s National office, and can be done either online, over the phone or through the post. When filling out your application, make sure to state your affiliation with the Winnipeg RASC Centre. Additional discounts are available for Family memberships and Youth memberships.
The Observer’s Handbook
Membership includes a free copy of the year’s Observer’s Handbook, which is a valuable asset to the amateur astronomer. The Handbook contains information on all of the year’s upcoming astronomical events (Eclipses, meteor showers, periodic comets, etc.), as well as a comprehensive collection of astronomical reference data. The Handbook has been published annually since 1907, and has come to be regarded as the standard reference for data on the sky in North America.
Whether you’re an amateur astronomer with your first telescope, a teacher needing information for an astronomy-related lesson, or simply someone who has an interest at looking at the night sky while out on a camping trip, the RASC Observer’s Handbook will have an article that will suit your needs.
Being a registered member also gives you a free year’s subscription to SkyNews, the premier Canadian magazine dedicated to astronomy and stargazing. SkyNews is a bi-monthly publication which specializes in discussion of our hobby, and showcases the work and photography done by amateur astronomers across Canada.
Loaner Scope Program
Interested in observing the night sky, but want to try doing so with specialized astronomical equipment? We’ve got you covered! The Winnipeg Centre maintains a number of telescopes for use by our members. Through this program, you can give observing with a telescope a shot to see if it’s something you’d like to pursue further, without having to drop a big chunk of change on a nice telescope. It’s also for those in our ranks who may not be able to afford the kind of high-end equipment in use with some forms or astronomy, or do not have the room to permanently store a large piece of observing equipment in a dorm or apartment. If you already have your own equipment, but just want to try something different, we might just have something for you.
Loaner telescopes are available to any member in good standing, and can be checked out for periods up to one month.
The Winnipeg Centre operates an observatory at the University of Manitoba’s Glenlea Research Station, just a 15 minute drive away from the city. Our main instrument is a 12″ Meade LX200, which is housed in an Ash-Dome instrument shelter. The observatory site is fully equipped with a concrete pad for setting up telescopes as well as tables for charts and accessories to be laid out on. Included on site is a warm room and a composting toilet.
The warm room houses a Windows computer used for CCD imaging, photometry, and star chart generation. These facilities are available for year-round member use. The dome can be used by members in good standing for at least one year, and after completing a short training program.
Our membership doesn’t exist just to carry out monthly meetings and observing events. As a member, you will be invited out to many gatherings and functions that get more in-depth into astronomy than our regular public outreach programs. We hold many impromptu stargazing sessions as sky conditions allow, and organize regular star parties, where our membership gathers in selected astronomical dark-sky preserves for weekends of fun. Perhaps the biggest of these is our annual Spruce Woods Star Party, held at the end of each summer in Spruce Woods Provincial Park near Carberry, MB.
RASC membership also includes a variety of discounts with select companies across North America. Save up to 25% on the lowest discountable rates on Budget Rent-a-Car vehicle rentals in Canada and the US, as well as 10% off from the best available rates on stays at any Delta Hotel and Resort across Canada. We also have an exclusive RASC group home & auto insurance program, where you can save up to 60% off of your current car or home insurance.