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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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.

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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.

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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:

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Tips for night sky photography

One of the best parts about camping at one of our parks is the breathtakingly clear night sky. These clear skies provide the perfect backdrop to see the wonders of our solar system sprawled out above you.

Seeing these magnificent skies is one thing, but being able to capture them adds a whole other level to the experience.

Here are our top tips for night sky photography: 

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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.

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Summer star parties 2019

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

And times haven’t changed.

Star parties and night sky events 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 — 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:

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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?

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