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:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — May

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

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?

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

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

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 2020:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — November

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 2020:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — August