The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, with its headquarters in Toronto, is a national society of 5000+ members that began in 1868 with only 8 members. Most members belong to one of 29 Centres located across the country. The Society is unique in accepting both professional and amateur astronomers as members. The organization supports men, women and youth with a passion for astronomy and in their quest to learn more about our universe.

The RASC is highly regarded internationally and many RASC members have received distinctions for their activities. Members of the Halifax Centre of the RASC have traditionally been very active in the local community and also in the national society.

Numerous Halifax Centre members have been acknowledged for their service. Some have received the Society's highest honour of Fellow of the RASC.

Halifax's astronomical history is long. The First Nations inhabitants of the Maritimes can trace their use of celestial bodies for daily time-keeping and navigation across several millennia. European arrivals in Halifax and Louisbourg also put astronomy into practical use. Read about this in the flyer produced by Randall Rosenfeld for the RASC 2015 General Assembly, Halifax: Astronomical History & Heritage.

The roots of the RASC Halifax Centre date back to 1951 when, with the help of Father M.W. Burke-Gaffney of St. Mary's University, the Nova Scotia Astronomical Society (NSAS) was founded. The NSAS became the Halifax Centre of the RASC in January 1955. To read more about our history as a Centre, click here.  

The Centre has about 180 members, most of in Nova Scotia but many live in several outlying communities, other provinces, and even other countries. Individuals, families and youth are all part of this vibrant Centre that believes in and practices inclusivity and diversity.

Bylaw #1 & Objectives

The Centre's objectives (PDF) were approved by Special Resolution in February 2017 and amended bylaws (PDF) were approved by Special Resolution in January 2019.

Position Descriptions 

Approved Position Descriptions for each elected position on the Board of Directors and the appointed positions are provided.


Approved Halifax Centre Board Minutes of Board of Directors meetings from 2015 to present.

Policy Documents 

Several Policy Documents have been developed and approved by the Board of Directors, such as Terms of Reference for the Board of Directors and its committees, Privacy Policy, etc.

Membership is open to anyone interested in astronomy. Benefits include:
  • Observer's Handbook (annual) ‚ÄĒ print publication
  • Explore the Universe Guide ‚ÄĒ print publication
  • Journal of the RASC (6/year) ‚ÄĒ National electronic publication
  • SkyNews, the Canadian Magazine of Astronomy and Stargazing (6/year) ‚ÄĒ print version
  • Nova Notes (5/year) ‚ÄĒ Centre electronic newsletter
  • Borrowing from the Halifax Centre's Library
  • Access to and use of the St. Croix Observatory¬†(near Windsor)
  • Use¬†of Centre-owned telescopes


Astronomical Connections

Some members have a minor planet (asteroid) named after them. In alphabetical order, we congratulate the following Nova Scotian RASC members who are included in the "Main Belt Section of the RASC Halifax Centre Asteroid Club."* Further details on these and other asteroids are available through the links to the RASC (asteroid name) and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Small Body Database Lookup (designation number). 
Carlyle Smith Beals: (3314) Beals, Designation 1981 FH, absolute magnitude: 12.91
Dr. Roy Bishop: (6901) Roybishop, Designation 1989 PA, absolute magnitude: 13.74
David Chapman: (10047) Davidchapman, Designation 1986 QK2, absolute magnitude: 13.79
(Note: Asteroid was named in October 2021; websites not updated to reflect the naming of 10047)
James Edgar (associate member): (22421) Jamesedgar, Designation 1995 XC5, absolute magnitude: 15.12
David Lane: (117032) Davidlane, Designation 2004 JN20, absolute magnitude: 15.28
Daniel Majaess: (304233) Majaess, Designation 2006 RE3, absolute magnitude: 16.22
Simon Newcomb: (855) Newcombia, Designation A916 GP, absolute magnitude: 11.77
Joshua Slocum: (246913) Slocum, Designation 1998 SU63, absolute magnitude: 16.36
Dr. David Turner: (27810) Daveturner, Designation 1993 OC2, absolute magnitude: 14.47
Mary Lou Whitehorne: (144907) Whitehorne, Designation 2004 YS3, absolute magnitude: 16.08
The following communities and institutions also have named asteroids: 
Annapolis Royal: (516560) Annapolisroyal, Designation 2006 XL67, absolute magnitude: 17.08
Acadia University: (5547) Acadiau, Designation 1980 LE1, absolute magnitude: 12.50
Saint Mary's University: (6898) Saint-Marys, Designation 1988 LE, absolute magnitude: 12.56
* courtesy of Mary Lou Whitehorne

New members are invited to join the RASC Halifax Centre online using the national RASC website. Be sure to request affiliation with Halifax Centre.

Current members can renew their membership online. Log in then choose "Renew." Use the Log in menu item in the top menu bar to open the Dashboard on the RASC secure site. Click on "Renew" in the Useful Links dropdown list.

If you prefer to not join or renew online, you may request that the RASC Membership Coordinator & Office Administrator (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) contact you for renewal information. If renewing, provide your RASC membership number. 

Email Discussion List

Members of the Halifax Centre are invited to join our email discussion list.  This is by far the best way to keep up to date with late-breaking astronomical news and gatherings of fellow observers at the St. Croix Observatory