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:

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Does the darkness need our protection?

Today’s post comes from our Natural Heritage Education Coordinator Brad Steinberg.

Not many researchers like being kept in the dark…

…except, that is, for scotobiologists!

Scotobiology is the science of darkness, a research topic that is growing in importance. Many birds, amphibians, insects and plants (and us!) have evolved to rely on uninterrupted periods of darkness during the night.

Continue reading Does the darkness need our protection?

Eyes on the skies — April, 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.

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. Because of Daylight Savings Time, we now have later sunsets and sunrises, and more time to enjoy the activities of the day.

Here are our astronomical highlights for April, 2017:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — April, 2017

Eyes on the skies — March, 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.

March is one of the most glorious months to be camping or just outdoors, enjoying our parks. On March 20, the earth passes through Spring Equinox, the day that formally marks the beginning of spring and affords equal hours of sunlight and darkness.

Here are our astronomical highlights for March 2017:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — March, 2017

Eyes on the skies — February, 2017

Welcome to the new 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.

The month of February brings the promise of both warmer weather and clearer skies. So grab a cup of tea or hot chocolate, dress warmly, and spend the day outdoors.

And when the sun goes down and the stars start to shine, don’t forget to head back out to enjoy the season’s beautiful night skies!

Here are our astronomical highlights for February, 2017:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — February, 2017

Eyes on the skies — January, 2017

Welcome to the new Ontario Parks “eyes on the skies” series. This “space” 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.

The cold, crisp days of the New Year often reward us with fantastically beautiful nights, rich with bright stars and interesting sights.

Of the 17 brightest stars seen from Ontario, nine of them are visible during winter nights and many interesting objects await the observer who is prepared to brave the cold.

Here are our astronomical highlights for January, 2017:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — January, 2017

Summer star parties

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 9-13, 2016) — 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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Soak in the summer nightlife

August nightlife at Ontario Parks promises to be exciting!

Take in the Perseid Meteor Shower, which produces 50-100 meteors an hour at its peak. Meet “spirited” characters from Ontario’s past on a ghost walk. Solve a park mystery and maybe even hear wolves howl.

We’ve collected a few favourite evening events; which one speaks to you?

Continue reading Soak in the summer nightlife