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
Most of us live by our calendars to keep our schedules straight.
But did you know the calendar has astronomical origins?
While the constellations were, largely, created to help people remember significant star patterns, they have plenty of other uses. One of these is for the formation of the calendar.
Continue reading The astronomical origins of the calendar
Today’s blog comes from Senior Marketing Specialist Sarah McMichael-Chen.
My most memorable camping memory didn’t come from a crackling campfire, a panoramic lookout, or a stunning sandy beach.
It happened at 3:00 am at Lake Superior Provincial Park.
As I stumbled out of my tent for a late-night bathroom break, I noticed something different about the sky above me. There were stars.
A LOT of stars.
Continue reading Health benefits of dark skies
Stars over Killarney is an annual festival celebrated at Killarney Provincial Park. The event’s 2023 theme — Colours in the Cosmos — was inspired by the parallels between the beauty and the colour in provincial parks and the beauty and colour of the skies above.
And beautiful colour was found everywhere at this year’s event!
The program took a very hands-on approach, so what was being presented could easily be seen and captured by paintbrush or smartphone.
Continue reading Stars over Killarney 2023 recap: a marriage of culture, beauty, and science
In this month’s edition, we trace an ancient Greek myth across six constellations.
The story will start high in the sky, near Polaris the North Star, and plummet far to the south.
Continue reading Featured constellations: the epic of Andromeda and Perseus
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 2023:
Continue reading Eyes on the skies — November
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.
Continue reading The long road to Lake Superior Provincial Park’s Dark Sky Preserve
The opportunity to look up into a beautiful starry sky has forever been a part of the Quetico Provincial Park camping experience.
But did you know that on February 23, 2021, Quetico Provincial Park was officially designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association?
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
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.
Continue reading The Northern Lights
“The heavens wheel around you, displaying to you their eternal glory and still your eye is upon the ground.” – Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy
Many of us live in areas afflicted by light pollution, which prevents us from gazing at the heavens whirling around us.
However, most of our northern and many other parks afford visitors a spectacular view of the cosmos, rich in stars and the Milky Way.
Continue reading Colours in the cosmos: where the beauty of nature meets the science of the cosmos