Stars over Killarney 2022: from the Earth to the moon, Mars and beyond!

Stars over Killarney is an annual festival celebrating the connection between the beauty of Killarney Provincial Park with an element of astronomical knowledge.

This year’s theme is “From the Earth to the moon, Mars, and beyond!”.

Come join us on our exploration of how the Earth’s geology helps us to understand the moon and planets and, conversely, how a knowledge of our solar system can help us to unravel the Earth’s history and its possible future.

Killarney’s amazing geology


This year’s Stars over Killarney will start with an understanding of the role that geology plays in our daily lives.

Join our visiting professor, Dr. Osinski, as we will learn how to recognize the three basic types of rocks and how they were formed. [1]

Further, we will learn how finding these rocks gives us incredible clues to unlocking the secrets of how the land formed around us.

Do you know how craters are formed or how to make a comet?

scientist with children

Explore these wonders with our numerous drop-in workshops held through-out the campground. Our special youth program on cratering will be led by Dr. Sara Mazrouei as she takes us through the process of cratering both on the moon and the Earth. [2]

This hands-on workshop will allow children and people of all ages to understand cratering, and get a little dirty in the process.

Our comet making workshop will be conducted by retired astronomers Bill and Vicki Sherwood [3].

Two people standing on a stage performing a science demonstration. One person, in a lab coat, is behind a table that is covered with scientific implements. His head is down and he is working on a live-action demonstration. The other person, in front of the table is explaining the process to the crowd who are out of frame.

They will prepare a sample comet before everyone that resembles comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet studied in detail during the Rosetta spacecraft mission.

The moon and planets capture your imagination

Join Dr. Osinski as he takes you on our next voyage of discovery.


He will explain what it’s like to lead NASA and CSA astronauts, scientists, and engineers in the far north arctic as well as the deserts of North America so they can understand the geological processes that formed these amazing places and get a feel for field geology under challenging conditions.

We will learn how the recognition and understanding of the geological processes observed in these unique environments will prepare humanity for its next big leaps to the moon, Mars and beyond!

The heavens await you

From our observatory complex we will be graced by amazing views of the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn and other fascinating objects presented from our observatories by the York University Astronomer in Residence and our Discovery staff, as well as volunteers from the Royal Astronomical Society’s Sudbury Centre and the North Bay astronomy club using their amazing telescopes.


The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will join us as we use our Twin Observatory’s telescopes as well as theirs to show live images of the moon, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, as well as other fascinating objects in the night sky.

celestial images
Credit: Images taken with Killarney Provincial Park’s Telescopes within the Kche Waasa Debaabing and Waasa Debaabing observatories

In anticipation of their upcoming November concert series of Gustav Holst’s “the Planets,” we will enjoy the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s recording of the music as observe each world through the many telescopes that will be available.

The event will also feature a raffle and a warm-up tent where the Friends of Killarney will be selling warm beverages and astronomy guides.

Visiting the park and Science North

Camp in the park to take it all in, or make a day trip to the park to enjoy specific elements of the programming.

Visitors who are camping in the park or purchasing a day pass can enjoy the event at no additional charge.

Campers and day-use visitors with a Killarney Provincial Park permit valid for September 30 through October 2 will also receive 50% off admission to Science North and their planetarium!

Enjoy exhibits on astronomy, geology (including lapidary workshops) and experience the very best in science education at this world class science museum!

Visitors to Science North, with proof of purchase, will be admitted free of charge to the Stars over Killarney program throughout the duration of the event.

Calendar of events

Friday, September 30, 2022

9:00 p.m. Experience the wonders of the moon, planets, and stars from the Killarney Provincial Park Dark Sky Preserve with participation from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

9:30 a.m. – noon From the Chikanishing trailhead, we will embark on this popular trail but with from a field geology perspective led by our keynote speaker Dr. Osinski
2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Drop-in workshops:

  • Comet Making
  • Lunar Cratering
  • Stitch the Stars
  • Observe the Sun and Venus
7:10 – 7:25 p.m. Raffle tickets
7:30 p.m. Exploring Earth, exploring space, and training the next generation of astronauts presented by our keynote speaker – Dr. Osinski
8:30 p.m. Raffle for two small meteorites
9:00 p.m. Experience the wonders of the moon, planets, and stars from the Killarney Provincial Park Dark Sky Preserve with participation from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada

Sunday, October 2, 2022

10:00 a.m. Guided hike of Granite Ridge titled: “Humans — Soils, Rocks, Stars”

Note: programing may change depending on weather conditions and other factors.

Please check with the Park prior to the start of the programs.

Killarney was designated as a Dark Sky Preserve in 2018.

observatory with telescope platforms under starry sky

In addition to protecting the ecological integrity of the park’s nighttime ecosystems, the park’s extraordinary dark skies make it the perfect place for admiring the stars, space, and to understand our connection to the cosmos.

To find out more about the Earth’s geology as well as planetary science, check out this article!

Join us!

[1] Dr. Osinski is the Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and the NSERC/MDA/CSA/CEMI Industrial Research Chair in Earth and Space Exploration at the University of Western Ontario. He is also the Director of the Institute for Earth and Space Exploration, Director of the Canadian Lunar Research Network, and Chair of the Planetary Sciences Division of the Geological Association of Canada.

[2] Dr. Mazrouei is an active public speaker and science educator. She has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, New Scientists and other important publications. She is also the cofounder of the “Women in Space” Conference.

[3] William and Vicki Sherwood are retired astronomers who have been active in astronomy in both Canada and Europe. Vicki specialized in variable stars and has since presented on the importance of Dark Sky preservation. Bill has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and has also been active in preserving dark skies. Bill has become a noted speaker and presenter on comets, specializing in realistic comet making to audiences in Europe and North America.