Eyes on the skies — December

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.

December brings some of the darkest skies of the year.

Take advantage of this great opportunity to go out into our parks. Breathe in the peace and solitude of December days and the bounty of the starlit skies.

Here are our astronomical highlights for December, 2019:

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Health benefits of dark skies

Today’s blog comes from our Healthy Parks Healthy People Coordinator Sarah McMichael. 

My most memorable camping memory didn’t come from a crackling campfire, a panoramic lookout, or a stunning sandy beach.

It happened at 3:00 am at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As I stumbled out of my tent for a late-night bathroom break, I noticed something different about the sky above me. There were stars.

A LOT of stars.

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Celestial objects of interest in November

November is the perfect time for stargazing.

Even though the temperatures are cooling down, the early sunset and later sunrise provide us with almost fifteen hours of darkness in which to observe nighttime splendors. Plus, there are some exciting occurrences lighting up the skies all month long.

Why not take some time this month to view these celestial splendours?

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Eyes on the skies — November

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.

November usually brings our first snows and the opportunity for some great outdoor adventures.

The early sunset and later sunrise provides us with almost 15 hours of darkness in which to observe nighttime splendors.

Here are our astronomical highlights for November 2019:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — November

Stars over Killarney, 2019: an Indigenous astronomy learning experience

Today’s post comes from Bruce Waters, a former educator at the McLaughlin Planetarium and founder of the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory.

Astronomy is a field of science that embraces an inquiring mind, and knows that there are often many perspectives in which to learn, to study and to appreciate the cosmos and beyond.

In this International Year of Indigenous Language, Ontario Parks was fortunate to host a truly amazing event featuring Indigenous astronomy and cultural learning.

“[This] event was a great example of how collaborations that are built upon mutual respect can foster and support true Reconciliation,” said Luke Wassegijig, Wikwemikong Tourism Manager.

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Eyes on the skies — October

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.

October is a month of transition as the last few warm days depart and we prepare ourselves for winter.

But cold weather does not mean we should abandon the great outdoors. On the contrary, the peace and serenity found at this time of the year make a trip to any park all the more enjoyable.

Here are our astronomical highlights for October 2019:

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Preserving international dark skies at Quetico

Today’s post comes from Chris Stromberg, Acting Backcountry Operations Specialist at Quetico Provincial Park and Coordinator for the Heart of the Continent Partnership.

This past July, four teams of Ontario Parks and US Forest Service wilderness rangers / park wardens went into the woods to observe the nights of the new moon.

Along with their usual assignments of ensuring compliance, clearing portages, restoring campsites, and acting as park/forest ambassadors, they were out collecting sky quality metre (SQM) readings during the darkest hours of the evening.

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Featured constellations: a water bearer, flying horse and southern fish

In last month’s featured constellations, we discussed Sagittarius, Capricornus and Delphinus.

In our September edition, we discuss Pegasus the flying horse (moose or baseball diamond), Aquarius the water bearer, and Piscis Austrinus the southern fish.

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