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, 2021:

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Featured constellations: Madoodiswan, Noondeshin Bemaadizid, and Madoodoowasiniig

In this month’s featured constellations, we will discuss two Anishinaabek constellations that are prominent at this time of the year: Madoodiswan (the Sweat Lodge) and Noondeshin Bemaadizid (the Exhausted Bather).

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The galaxies: a partially solved mystery – part 2

In our previous discussion on galaxies, we briefly described how we came to understand galaxies as unique oases of stars amidst the vast cosmic desert.

Now, we will embark on a journey to discover the origin and composition of galaxies and their diversity as well as a further understanding of our own galaxy — the “Milky Way.”

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Eyes on the skies — May

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.

Here are our astronomical highlights for May, 2021:

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The galaxies: a partially solved mystery – part 1

After a typical Canadian winter, we look forward to the spring season and the changes that go with it: fresh flora fragrance, natural forest lushness and the flowing water tranquility.

Spring also ushers in a new landscape of interesting objects visible in the night skies: the galaxies.

Continue reading The galaxies: a partially solved mystery – part 1

The Northern Lights

Seeing the magnificent Northern Lights is a bucket list item for any nature lover.

But did you know that the Northern Lights are caused by charged particles from the Sun?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, is the name given to an often-ethereal band or curtain of faint light seen towards the northern horizon. Generally, the light is so faint that the light pollution of even a small town can wash it out.

However, in the dark skies of many of our provincial parks, the Northern Lights can be spectacular.

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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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