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.

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Eyes on the skies — September, 2017

Welcome to the Ontario Parks “Eyes on the Skies” series. This 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.

Many people consider September to be the finest month of the year to enjoy Ontario’s outdoors.

The bugs have all but left and the daytime temperatures are cooler, making the weather ideal for strenuous activities such as hiking or canoeing. To top it off, the leaves begin their beautiful transition through the colours of fall.

With the much shorter days, the nighttime skies are full of celestial splendors that we hope you will enjoy discovering in this edition of Eyes on the Skies.

Here are our astronomical highlights for September 2017:

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Summer star parties 2017

Humanity’s fascination with the celestial bodies dates back millennia.

And times haven’t changed.

Camper families love stargazing especially from mid-July to late August during the Perseid meteor shower. At peak time (August 11-12) — if the skies are clear — you can see up to 50-100 meteors an hour!

Star parties are held in our parks every summer, especially in Northern Ontario, where there’s less light pollution.

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Eyes on the skies — August, 2017

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.

August is here at last with its fine weather, fewer mosquitos, and longer nights.

All of the constellations and objects from July are still visible, but there are a few exciting new things to see this month. Take this opportunity to enjoy the latest edition of the blog while under the beautiful stars visible from our parks.

Here are our astronomical highlights for August 2017:

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See the stars at Killarney’s observatory

This post comes from Alyssa Deurwaarder, an assistant natural heritage education leader at Killarney Provincial Park. 

Did you know Killarney is the only provincial park with an observatory?

The park offers a variety of astronomy programs throughout the summer, and this year, for the first time, the observatory will be available for park visitors to use.

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Eyes on the skies — July, 2017

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, 2017:

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Eyes on the skies — June, 2017

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. Citydwellers 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, 2017:

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Eyes on the skies — May, 2017

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.

The lakes open to allow the first paddle strokes, and the songs of migratory birds can be heard throughout the land. Staying up through twilight lets you see the splendors of the evening sky whilst being serenaded by the lovely sound of the Spring Peeper chorus frogs.

Here are our astronomical highlights for May, 2017:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — May, 2017