SkyNews web-extras for ‘Best-of’ 20th anniversary article


In the special 20th anniversary issue of the May/June 2015 issue of SkyNews: The Canadian Magazine of Astronomy & Stargazing, I rounded-up the top events, experiences, and amenities in Canada’s dark sky preserves.

As mentioned at the end of the article, here’s some more info and photos from such preserves as Wood Buffalo, Jasper, Mont Mégantic, and Continue reading “SkyNews web-extras for ‘Best-of’ 20th anniversary article” »

SkyNews Wood Buffalo column – web extras

This issue (Sept/Oct 2014) of SkyNews Magazine, I did an extended (4 pages, instead of the normal 1-2) on Wood Buffalo National Park, in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories/Alberta border (world’s largest dark sky preserve, larger than Switzerland or the moon Mimas – with aurora-viewing is superior to that near cities such as Yellowknife.)

Continue reading “SkyNews Wood Buffalo column – web extras” »

Kouchibouguac SkyNews dark sky column – web extras


In the September/October 2013 issue of SkyNews magazine, I took the first look at the dark sky preserves of Eastern Canada. Over the next year, I’ll have reports from a dark sky preserve in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and five in New Brunswick, including the one spotlighted here, Kouchibouguac National Park.

As promised, here some additional photos and information on observing sites, accommodations, and Continue reading “Kouchibouguac SkyNews dark sky column – web extras” »

Peterborough Planetarium debuts custom wilderness environments

peterborough_planetarium_portable_inflatable_constellation_characters_BIG_groupScience journalist/author/”Wilderness Astronomer” Peter McMahon and accomplished astrophotographer and amateur astronomer Rick Stankiewicz are proud to announce the opening of The Peterborough Planetarium – Durham and The Kawarthas’ newest attraction and educational facility.

Views under the dome will eventually include photorealistic horizons from many of Canada’s dark sky Continue reading “Peterborough Planetarium debuts custom wilderness environments” »

Staff training at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge


Thanks to Stefanie Hamilton and the rest of the Jasper Park Lodge staff for putting me up for two weeks during year two of Dark Skies month here.

Over the last two years, Continue reading “Staff training at Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge” »

Stargazing at Old Fort Point

jasper_old_fort_point_sundog_tours_oct_6For those who were on my dark sky tour last night in the Canadian Rockies (and those who are wondering where this is) a stellar time seemed to be had by all on a very crisp and clear October 6.

Thanks to Michael and Paul from Sundog Tours in Jasper for bringing me in, Kevin, who shepherded me through my first bus tour, the Sundog tour staff, and everyone who came out to take a look through the scopes.
Cleak skies, guys!


Could this be the world’s first cross-border dark sky park?

waterton_lakes_dark_sky_preserve_cranford_campground_stargazingIt all started when a group of astronomy club members from Montana couldn’t make a planned guided stargazing weekend for visitors to Waterton Lakes National Park in Southern Alberta: “OK we’ll hire you…the free guys can’t make it” was basically the opening email from Parks Canada.

After sorting out the details and doing some last-minute promo, I was off to the Rockies to wrangle some crowds of skygazers in cattle country. The hook: We’re under some of the darkest skies in the Canadian Rockies (the southern end of Jasper’s Icefields Parkway being the darkest) among one of the most beautiful Continue reading “Could this be the world’s first cross-border dark sky park?” »

Portable telescope demos on CBC Peterborough

June 14, I had the fun task of demonstrating some of the kids science experiments I’m offering for kids who sign up for one of my 2012 Summer Discovery day camps at the Peterborough Museum and Archives. (00:09 – 01:44)

At the same time, I also demoed some of the portable stargazing gear we’ll be using (02:12 – 10:14) which you can also use during a car, shoe, or canoe-based camping trip during the Awesome Astro Adventure camp.

Click to check out all the Continue reading “Portable telescope demos on CBC Peterborough” »

Transit of Venus from Canada’s bird-watching paradise

venus_gazing_point_pelee_lineup_west_beach_peter_mcmahonI was lucky enough to be invited to view the Transit of Venus (next one’s in 2117 in case you missed this one) at Point Pelee National Park – one of North America’s premiere birdwatching locales and a recently-minted dark sky preserve.

After hours of white knuckle weather forecasts, the skies cleared and we got to see the beautiful sight of the second Continue reading “Transit of Venus from Canada’s bird-watching paradise” »

The “nearly-foolproof” guide to viewing the Transit of Venus

venus_transit_2012_nasaJune 5 will be the last of two recent opportunities (the last was 2004) to see the disc of Venus pass across the face of the Sun as seen from Earth.

Before this month’s passage and the 2004 event, we last saw such a transit in 1884.

The next transit of Venus after Tuesdays? It’ll be Continue reading “The “nearly-foolproof” guide to viewing the Transit of Venus” »