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

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?

Featured constellations: the Bears and a Dragon

In last month’s blog, we discussed some of the constellations that are prominent in the spring: Leo the Lion, Cancer the Crab, and Coma Berenices (Queen Berenice of Egypt’s hair).

This month, we will focus on two of the most well-known, as well as one of the longest, constellations visible in the night sky: Ursa Major, the Great Bear (Big Dipper) and Ursa Minor, the Little Bear (Little Dipper).

Continue reading Featured constellations: the Bears and a Dragon

From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 4

In the first three posts in this series (Part 1 – OriginsPart 2 – The Formation of Stars, and Part 3 – Planets and the Conditions Necessary for Life), we discussed our origins from the Big Bang to the formation of our solar system and the basic ingredients that allowed life to develop and flourish on our planet.

In this final installment, we discuss what may happen next. As in the first three articles, we will use imagery taken from our observatories in Killarney Provincial Park.

Continue reading From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 4

From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 2

In our previous post, we discussed the Big Bang and the formation of galaxies, globular clusters, and supernovae remnants using images taken from the observatories in Killarney Provincial Park.

In today’s post, we will explore how stars are born and start their lives.

Continue reading From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 2

From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 1

This post kicks off a four-part photographic journey into the history of our universe! Read on to explore the key events that led to the formation of our provincial parks and the natural world we live in.

Have you ever stared up into a starry sky and wondered “how did it all begin?”

Today we will discuss the origins of the universe, the evolution of galaxies and globular clusters, and conclude with a history of the first stars and supernovae.

Stay tuned for Part II where we detail how stars are born and live out their lives, Part III with the formation of the planets and our solar system, and finally in Part IV, we will discuss the future of the Sun and larger stars.

So let’s get started with our origin story!

Continue reading From the Big Bang to beyond: the astronomical origins of the universe – part 1

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, 2021:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — October

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 2022:

Continue reading Eyes on the skies — August