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?

Continue reading Celestial objects of interest in November

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

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 is an important part of that protection.

Continue reading Do the skies need our protection?

Stories in the stars / Pride in our hearts

Today’s post comes from Will Morin, a Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury and Bruce Waters, a former educator at the McLaughlin Planetarium and founder of the Killarney Provincial Park Observatory.

It’s time we learn the astronomical traditions of the diverse Indigenous cultures in the Americas.

Continue reading Stories in the stars / Pride in our hearts

Eyes on the skies — August

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.

Here are our astronomical highlights for August 2019:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — August

The long road to Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Dark Sky Preserve

Today’s post comes from Charlotte Westcott, a Discovery Program staff member at Lake Superior Provincial Park.

As the sun sets, the stars begin to appear. Like old friends, their familiar glow brings us home no matter how far away our house may be. Our friendly acquaintances, the constellations, trace their way across the sky. The white glow of the Milky Way emerges slowly to drown out its fainter neighbours.

Far away from the light pollution of major cities, Lake Superior Provincial Park’s night sky is one of the darkest in North America.

Continue reading The long road to Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Dark Sky Preserve

The Lake Superior Provincial Park Dark Sky Preserve

On July 17, 2018, Lake Superior Provincial Park was officially recognized as a nationally certified Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, becoming our second provincial park to earn this prestigious designation.

Continue reading The Lake Superior Provincial Park Dark Sky Preserve

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, 2019:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — July

Astronomy for beginners

Learning about the sun, moon, stars, planets, and beyond is a rewarding experience that makes your park visit all the richer.

Being able to identify the stars and constellations brings a familiarity with the mysteries of the cosmos. Knowledgeable observers may even use the stars to navigate, just as our ancestors have for thousands of years.

But where to get started?

Continue reading Astronomy for beginners