Eyes on the skies — July

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

July has finally arrived. Summer is the perfect time to escape the noise, air, and light pollution of the larger urban areas and head to the peace and serenity of a provincial park.

July also hosts a number of beautiful constellations, full of interesting stories to tell.

Here are our astronomical highlights for July, 2020:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — July

Featured constellations: Madoodiswan, Noondeshin Bemaadizid, and Madoodoowasiniig

In this month’s featured constellations, we will discuss two Anishinaabek constellations that are prominent at this time of the year: Madoodiswan (the Sweat Lodge) and Noondeshin Bemaadizid (the Exhausted Bather).

Continue reading Featured constellations: Madoodiswan, Noondeshin Bemaadizid, and Madoodoowasiniig

Eyes on the skies — June

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

June formally ushers in summer, that time of the year when Canadians leave the confines of their homes and make their way to the wilderness. And stargazing is a uniquely memorable part of our experience.

Perhaps that’s because so many Ontarians live in areas with light pollution. City dwellers seldom see the stars and then, only the brightest ones. But to miss the stars is to lose our connection with the beauty and mysteries of the skies.

Heading outside? Here are our astronomical highlights for June, 2020:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — June

Eyes on the skies — May

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics with a focus on what can be seen from the pristine skies found in our provincial parks.

While spring “technically” begins in March, most of us living in cold climates tend to celebrate May as the true start to the season.

Here are our astronomical highlights for May, 2020:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — May

Do the skies need our protection?

Stars as seen in midnight’s gaze
Stars shining upon shoreline’s haze
Guiding us, teaching us with stories manifold
About ourselves, stars speak, from birth till old.
Their permanence ties us to days gone by
But to hide their secrets, they still do try
To gaze upon them brings dreams of futures bright
But to see them vanish, is to lose much delight.

~Bruce Waters

At Ontario Parks, we’re committed to the protection and preservation of our province’s biodiversity. The night skies in their natural splendour are an important part of that protection.

Continue reading Do the skies need our protection?

Eyes on the skies — April

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This space (<– see what we did there?) will cover a wide range of astronomy topics.

For those of us in Ontario, April is that transition month between winter and spring weather. The snows start to melt away, the lakes start to open up and, by month’s end, the first buds may appear on the trees.

Here are our astronomical highlights for April, 2020:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — April

The Milky Way Galaxy

On a clear dark summer or winter night, you can see a cloudy band of light traversing the sky.

This light is known as the Milky Way.

The Milky Way actually has nothing to do with dairy. Instead, it’s the term for the light of hundreds of millions of stars that are so far away we cannot see them as individual points of light. Instead, we see their combined glow as a fuzzy, glowing band of light.

Continue reading The Milky Way Galaxy

Featured constellations: the Bears and a Dragon

In last month’s blog, we discussed some of the constellations that are prominent in the spring: Leo the Lion, Cancer the Crab, and Coma Berenices (Queen Berenice of Egypt’s hair).

This month, we will focus on two of the most well-known, as well as one of the longest, constellations visible in the night sky: Ursa Major, the Great Bear (Big Dipper) and Ursa Minor, the Little Bear (Little Dipper).

Continue reading Featured constellations: the Bears and a Dragon