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, 2022:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — July

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

Quetico: an International Dark Sky Park

On February 23, 2021, Quetico Provincial Park was officially designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association!

The opportunity to look up into a beautiful starry sky has forever been a part of the Quetico Provincial Park camping experience.

Imagine yourself lying on your back gazing up into a wide-open sky filled with a million points of distant light (like the sky captured above by David Jackson!). You take a deep breath of clean air and stare upwards in wonder.

Continue reading Quetico: an International Dark Sky Park

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 are an important part of that protection.

Continue reading Do the skies need our protection?

7 ideas for romantic in-park dates

Valentine’s Day can be about more than roses and champagne.

Why not surprise your loved one(s) with a trip to the great outdoors? It’s a great opportunity to get in touch with nature and spend some quality time together.

If you’re not sure where to go, we’ve got you covered! Take a look at some of the romantic activities here at Ontario Parks:

Continue reading 7 ideas for romantic in-park dates

Featured constellation: Orion

For thousands of years, humans have looked up at the stars. The stars helped them try to understand their purpose, and the role they play in our lives.

To help memorize the different stars, patterns of connect-the-dot figures were created by many different cultures. Today, we recognize 88 official patterns or “constellations” of stars.

Today we will explore one of the most well-known constellations: Orion.

Continue reading Featured constellation: Orion

Eyes on the skies – January

Welcome to the 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 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:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies – January

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 2021:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — November

November’s digital download

Sneaking out of your tent in the middle of the night to stare up at the stars… is there anything better?

There’s no substitution for witnessing a starry sky firsthand, but this month’s FREE digital download is a good start!

Have you ever looked up at the night sky and wondered “how did it all begin?” Check out our series about the astronomical origins of the universe.

Continue reading November’s digital download