SkyNews Mount Carleton column – web extras

 mcmahon_mount_carleton_dark_skyThis issue (Nov/Dec 2014) of SkyNews Magazine, I did a column on Mount Carleton Provincial Park, in New Brunswick. Here are some more features and amenities in the park that I didn’t have room to elaborate on in the column:

  • Accommodations
– Bed and Breakfast Du Repos (just west of the park)
– Auberge La Marie Louise (also west of the park)


  • Food

– The Mariner
– Au P’tit Cafe Corner
Continue reading “SkyNews Mount Carleton column – web extras” »

More info on Canada’s dark sky preserves (web extra from Sky & Telescope Aug ’14 issue)

Canada_Dark_Sky_Preserves_McMahon_2014This summer, I was thrilled to have my first U.S. astronomy article published – a back-page piece on Canada’s dark sky preserves for  Sky & Telescope magazine. Below, you’ll find info and links to every single one of Canada’s “astronomy parks”, as well as info on Continue reading “More info on Canada’s dark sky preserves (web extra from Sky & Telescope Aug ’14 issue)” »

The great family telescope review, Part 1

family telescope reviewA few months ago, I set out into the Canadian wilderness with a selection of Sky Watcher telescopes from EfstonScience in Toronto, and a pair of Canon image-stabilized binoculars (more on that here.)

Recently, I (centre, in the image above) took several families Continue reading “The great family telescope review, Part 1” »

Rebooting Celestron’s Sky Scout starfinder

A Celestron Sky Scout mounted on a Sky Watcher ED80 telescopeLast year, I got a Sky Scout personal planetarium – the handy GPS-based device from Celestron, which allows you to point at an object in the sky that you’re curious about, press the “Target” button, and see text scroll across the devices’ screen telling you what you’re looking at. In many cases, you can also choose to have a voice read you a short audio documentary on what you’re Continue reading “Rebooting Celestron’s Sky Scout starfinder” »

Fun with night-vision: 5 unconventional uses

A few weeks ago, I was looking for the Andromeda Galaxy in a loaned night vision monocular and a pair of “Navy SEAL-style”night vision goggles from my backyard on the outskirts of the small town of Port Hope, ON.

While out there, I figured I’d take our 3-year-old miniature schnauzer, Winston, out for his final business transaction of the night. At the same time, our 3-month old mini, Frankie Jenkins (Above, also known as “the trainee”) decided to hop out into the yard for a tinkle… Continue reading “Fun with night-vision: 5 unconventional uses” »

5 reasons to get image-stabilized binoculars

image_stabilized_binoculars_efstonscience_compositeFive years ago, when I really started exploring the night sky from Canada’s wild spaces, I started looking for the ultimate portable telescope. What I found wasn’t a telescope but two telescopes (really small ones at least) enhanced with the same gyroscope or electronic-optic-steadying technology used in camera optics. Continue reading “5 reasons to get image-stabilized binoculars” »

Test-driving a wilderness astronomy dream-setup

A month or so ago, when I took possession of a suite of Sky-Watcher telescopes supplied by EfstonScience of Toronto, the notion of how I would use any of these instruments was farthest from my mind (my first thought was to take the largest of the set and go on an “observing spree” of normally-faint deep space objects.) Continue reading “Test-driving a wilderness astronomy dream-setup” »

Holiday stars over Canada’s best hot spring

radium_sky_hot_springs_2011If someone had asked me last week where you should go if you hate seeing things like stars, planets, nebulas and galaxies, I would have told them to head to BC’s Kootenay mountains.

But after years of trying to go stargazing from Canada’s largest, least crowded, least stinky hot spring, the clouds parted for more than a few hours and we FINALLY Continue reading “Holiday stars over Canada’s best hot spring” »

Canada’s newest public observatory

Back in June, I was in Cypress Hills Interprovincial park on the Alberta/Saskatchewan border to research an upcoming column for Sky News magazine – a column (“Wilderness Explorer”) that you can now read and see imagery of in the current issue of the magazine Continue reading “Canada’s newest public observatory” »

Exploring the water of our solar system

I had the chance a few days ago to use some of my latest goodies from in an interactive astronomy session I did at the 2011 Latornell conservation symposium Nov 16.

The astronomy event was attended by a total of approximately 80-100 people as part of a slate of evening activities at the symposium, which regularly attracts more than 1,000 delegates from conservation authorities from around Ontario and Canada Continue reading “Exploring the water of our solar system” »