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Comox Valley astrophotographer presenting a fundraising slideshow

Pelican nebula, photographed by local astrophotographer Les Disher.

Comox Valley astrophotographer Les Disher will present an astronomy slide show on April 20 in support of the Strathcona Wilderness Institute.

The event, titled “The View From My Backyard,” will be held at the Stan Hagen Theatre, and will be a fundraiser for the SWI.

Every clear night the sky puts on a show for the unaided eye. Whether it is the grandeur of the Milky Way band against a black velvet sky, stars twinkling as diamonds, a dazzling meteor shower, spectacular comets, or a big golden moon against the eastern horizon, there is always something to see. In addition, if one puts a camera to a telescope, objects normally invisible to the unaided eye and rarely seen can be discovered, adding to the splendours of stargazing.

Disher has been capturing deep sky celestial images since 1994 from his home near Courtenay, and various locations in B.C. and western North America. As an avid astrophotographer, he has been a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and his photos have received several awards. He has been a witness to the transition from the unique requirements of film astro-imaging to those of digital imaging.

Disher will put on a slide display of his celestial images that illustrate the majesty of the deep sky splendours to be found in the night sky and talk about his experiences taking them. He will also talk about the processes involved in taking and producing these images. The talk will be flavoured with interesting and humorous anecdotes and new and little-known facts. He will also do a few interesting and fun demonstrations to review of some relevant basic concepts.

The show will help raise funds for the not-for-profit organization Strathcona Wilderness Centre to operate two information centres in Strathcona Provincial Park: Buttle Hut (at Buttle Lake), and Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre (at Paradise Meadows near Raven Lodge). These centres inform visitors about trails and natural history, lead interpretive walks, and provide educational signs and interpretive maps. SWI also offers a TrailRider program for those with mobility restrictions.

The show runs from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $5 for youth (under 16). Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at