AstroMIL: an astronomy celebration for all!

An image of a child looking through a telescope at the 2018 astroMIL event. (Credit: M. Boyce)
An image of a child looking through a telescope at the 2018 astroMIL event. (Credit: M. Boyce)

A major astronomy festival is organized every year at the Université de Montréal’s MIL Campus by the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets. Celebrating different astronomical events or themes, this day brings together many important players in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics, space exploration, science popularization and more from Montreal, Quebec and beyond.

 

2023 Edition

The tradition of AstroMIL, the celebration of astronomy on the MIL campus of the Université de Montréal organized each year by the Trottier Institute for Exoplanet Research in collaboration with numerous partners, continues this year, with the theme “Solar wink“! A unique opportunity to experience a partial solar eclipse with us, and to prepare for the great total eclipse of 2024!

Date: Saturday, October 14, 2023 | 11:00 am to 4:00 pm

Location: Campus MIL | 1375 ave. Thérèse-Lavoie-Roux | Outremont or Acadie metro station

 

Details

This year, the AstroMIL has the theme “Solar wink“, because coincides with the partial solar eclipse of October 14, 2023. A great opportunity to live this partial eclipse, to meet our Eclipse Ambassadors, to prepare for the Great Total Eclipse of April 8, 2024, and to learn more about this rare phenomenon, during which the Sun is hidden by the Moon.

On the program: kiosks and activities for the whole family, an astronomical photo exhibit, live eclipse presentations from elsewhere in Quebec and North America, drawing of prizes, exposition of telescopes and observation of the Sun (weather-permitting).

It is also your chance to pick up your pair of eclipse glasses, which will allow you to observe the Sun safely on that day, on April 8, 2024, and every day in between and thereafter!

See you on the MIL campus at 11 a.m.!

Thanks to our partners! Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec, the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic, the ASTROLab at Mont-Mégantic and several partners : AstroPoly, the Fédération des astronomes amateurs du Québec (FAAQ), the Société d’Astronomie de Montréal (SAM), the Société d’astronomie du Planétarium de Montréal (SAPM), the Société d’astronomie de la Montérégie (SAMO) and the Planck, le café étudiant de physique à l’UdeM.

Schedule

✨11 A.M. OPENING OF BOOTHS AND ACTIVITIES (ATRIUM)

Several partners are joining forces with the Université de Montréal to offer you information booths and fun activities related to eclipses. Come and learn more about science while having fun! Partners to be announced.

⚠️ 11:45 A.M. | PRESENTATION: HOW TO OBSERVE A SOLAR ECLIPSE SAFELY? (ATRIUM STAGE)

Our Eclipse Ambassadors will explain how to enjoy this unique astronomical spectacle!

ATTENTION: It’s dangerous to stare at the Sun without proper protection, at all time!

☀️🌑🌎 12:11 P.M. PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE BEGINS IN MONTREAL

Go outside (weather permitting) to view the Sun safely with solar filters. Between 12:11 and 1:17, the Sun will be progressively more and more hidden by the Moon. If the weather isn’t cooperating, we’ll be able to experience the eclipse from elsewhere in North America, thanks to a live projection!

🇲🇽 12:45 PM | PRESENTATION: ASTROPHYSICIST NATHALIE OUELLETTE LIVE FROM MEXICO (ATRIUM STAGE)

Live from Mexico, Université de Montréal astrophysicist Nathalie Ouellette describes the eclipse as she sees it from there, as well as her experience seeing a total solar eclipse in 2017.

☀️🌑🌎 1:17 PM PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE MAXIMUM IN MONTREAL (17%)

This is when the partial solar eclipse will be most prominent in Montreal. This eclipse is very modest here: at its maximum, only 17% of the Sun’s surface will be hidden by the Moon.

☀️🌑🌎 2:23 PM END OF PARTIAL SOLAR ECLIPSE

Between 1:17 and 2:23, the Sun will be less and less hidden by the Moon. Still an interesting spectacle!

🔭 2:45 PM | PRESENTATION: LIVE FROM THE PARC NATIONAL DU MONT-MÉGANTIC (ATRIUM STAGE)

Join scientific communicator Guillaume Poulin from the ASTROLab du Mont-Mégantic in the atrium for a live chat from parc national du Mont-Mégantic home to the largest telescope in eastern North America!

👍 3:30 PM | PRESENTATION: HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE ECLIPSE OF APRIL 8, 2024

The eclipse of October 14, 2023 is partial in Montreal. However, in a few months’ time, on April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will take place in our province. A total eclipse is a much more impressive and rare phenomenon than a partial eclipse. Get ready now with this presentation!

🎁 3:45 P.M. CLOSING REMARKS AND DRAW

Stay until the end to enter the draw for a chance to win one of our great prizes (prizes will be announced soon).

✨4:00 P.M. | CLOSING OF BOOTHS AND END OF ACTIVITIES

Past astroMILs

astroMIL activity passports from the 2017 (left) and 2018 (right) editions. (Credit: M. Boyce)

The first two editions of the astroMIL event took place during the peak of the Perseids meteor shower in August at the Université de Montréal’s “Projets éphémères”. Exoplanets were in the spotlight in 2017 with the theme “Voyage vers les nouveaux mondes” The 2018 edition, which coincided with the 40th anniversary of the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic, was centred around “Un œil québécois sur l’Univers“.

A panel on the scientific and sociocultural impact of lunar exploration at the 2019 astroMIL. (Credit: B. Seropian/UdeM)

The 2019 astroMIL was moved to July 21st to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission with the theme “La Lune, 50 ans plus tard“. The newly built MIL campus welcomed our guests for the first portion of the day which included booths, virtual reality activities and mini-conferences. The day concluded with a screening of the movie First Man, based on the life of the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong, and nighttime observations.

A screenshot of the 2020 astroMIL virtual event. The evening was hosted by André Robitaille (top left) with speakers such as astronomer Laurie Rousseau-Nepton (top right) and Samuel Rainville, UdeM Senior Advisor for First Peoples Relations (bottom).

In 2020, the event was moved online due to pandemic sanitary measures. In order to capitalise on the unifying and inspiring effect of astronomy, the theme was “Unis sous le même ciel“. In addition to astrophysics, the topics of eco-responsibility, sustainability and Indigenous knowledge were addressed. After a virtual talk, participants were invited to go outside to observe the Perseids with the help of two of our astrophysicists via a podcast episode.

The panel on “The Future of Space Exploration” at the 2021 astroMIL featured (from left to right) astrophysicist Nathalie Ouellette, geomatician Myriam Lemelin, astronaut David St-Jacques, and science journalist Marianne Desautels-Marissal. (Credit: B. Seropian/UdeM)

The Geminids shooting star shower replaced the Perseids for the 2021 astroMIL event in December. The theme “Le futur de l’exploration spatiale” was explored in a panel discussion featuring astronaut David St-Jacques, geomatician Myriam Lemelin and our own Deputy Director, astrophysicist Nathalie Ouellette. During this hybrid event, the public was able to learn more about the James Webb Space Telescope, future lunar missions and the life of an astronaut, as well as ask questions to our speakers.

The astroMIL event took a short break in 2022 so that our team could focus on the array of activities surrounding the launch and start of operations of the James Webb Space Telescope.

 

The AstroMIL is an event organized by the Trottier Institute for Research on Exoplanets at Université de Montréal, in collaboration with the Centre for Research in Astrophysics of Quebec, the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic, the ASTROLab at Mont-Mégantic and several partners.