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RASC Mississauga Centre Meeting October 27

  • University of Toronto Mississauga 3359 Mississauga Road Mississauga, ON, L5L 1C6 Canada (map)

The October 27th meeting of the RASC Mississauga Centre will feature a talk on the Voyager mission to the outer planets.

Talk Title: Voyager at 40

Speaker: Randy Attwood, Mississauga Centre

The two Voyager spacecraft were launched in 1977 - 40 years ago. Over a period of 12 years, they explored the four outer planets - Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. The discoveries changed our understanding of our solar system.

This talk will look at the mission and the discoveries as well as some of the challenges Voyager engineers faced in taking late 1960's spacecraft technology - which lasted only a couple years in space - and extended the lifetime to the required 12 years to complete the mission - and beyond. Now the two spacecraft are leaving the solar system and providing information on the heliopause - the boundary between our solar system and interstellar space.


Randy Attwood is the Executive Director of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC). As Canada’s national astronomy organization, it can trace its roots back to 1868. With 5,000 members across the country, it is active in promoting astronomy research as well as education and public outreach. 

Attwood has been fascinated with astronomy and space exploration since the days of the Apollo missions. He is interested in astrophotography, he and his wife Betty travel the world to witness total solar eclipses and when it was flying, he witnessed twelve space shuttle launches.

Attwood is a Past President of the RASC, a Past President of the Toronto Centre of the RASC and the founder of the local Mississauga chapter of the Society. He is also President of the Earthshine Astronomy and Space Science Organization – a Mississauga not for profit charitable organization, which has partnered with the RASC to run public outreach astronomy programs at a local Mississauga park since 2009. Earthshine’s mandate is public outreach and it is working on generating support for a public science education facility in Mississauga, which would feature a planetarium and observatory telescope.

Attwood has been active in education and public outreach since 1980. He produced and hosted a local astronomy cable television show in the 1980’s.  He has appeared on local and national radio and television since 1981 to comment on various aspects of astronomical discoveries and space exploration – both manned and unmanned.  In 2012, the International Astronomical Union renamed asteroid 260235 “Attwood” in his honour.

 Randy Attwood with Voyager at JPL in California

Randy Attwood with Voyager at JPL in California

The meeting will be held from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. at The University of Toronto,Mississauga Campus, in lecture hall SE2074 in the William Davis Building. The meeting is open to the public and is free.  

Enter off of Mississauga Road. Park in lot 4 or the parkade, across from the fitness centre south of theDavis Building. Enter through the Fitness centre, walk up the stairs until you reach the main corridor then turn right. (If you need an elevator,follow the corridor to the right of the stairs, then go up to the main floor.) Look for the Mississauga Centre sign in front of the lecture room.

Post meeting plans: we usually continue the discussion post-meeting at a local bar – please join us!