Best eclipse for 12 years in North America!

It may not be the Rolls Royce of solar eclipses – a total eclipse of the Sun, with “ring of fire”, Baily’s Beads and all the trimmings. But today’s annual solar eclipse – the BMW SUV of astronomy events, let’s say –  is well worth Continue reading “Best eclipse for 12 years in North America!” »

Web links for Sky News magazine column on Gordon’s Park

Nestled among 100 acres of cedar-bordered meadows on the world’s largest freshwater isle, Gordon’s Park on Ontario’s Manitoulin Island is possibly the darkest reasonably-accessible place in the province. Continue reading “Web links for Sky News magazine column on Gordon’s Park” »

Web links for Sky News magazine column on Jasper

athabasca_falls_jasper_dark_skyIn the May/June 2012 issue of Sky News: The Canadian Magazine of Astronomy & Stargazing, I look at Jasper National Park and Dark Sky Preserve (the world’s largest dark sky preserve, by a factor of 10!) in the Canadian Rockies.

If you haven’t read the column (Wilderness Astronomer) about this incredible “Disney World of dark sky preserves”, you can grab it on news stands (including those at WalMart) subscribe, or buy an online edition here.

If you have read the column and are here to check out the as-promised web-links, here you go!:

Recommended stargazing sites:

Here are the sites I’ve researched and recommend in the magazine:

ALSO: Jasper is such a large dark sky preserve and is so full of amazing observing sites, it actually has its own jasper observing site resource guide wilderness astronomer sky news magazine column peter mcmahon

Best Jupiter, Venus, Moon conjunction “for years to come”

moon_venus_conjunction_w_jupiter_below_March_26_2012A few weeks ago, as Venus was getting high in the sky, you may remember that Jupiter and Venus have been jockeying for position around the Moon as it all appears from here on Earth (here’s a look at some of the photos I took of this Continue reading “Best Jupiter, Venus, Moon conjunction “for years to come”” »

Daytime stargazing on March Break

peterborough-museum-march-break-astronomy-2012As is often the case, I found myself this March with dozens of kids who weren’t mine, wanting something cool to do for the day.

Since I (and they) were at the Peterborough Museum and Archives (2 hrs northeast of Toronto) during the first day of their March Break kids program, I figured I should bust out some science and Continue reading “Daytime stargazing on March Break” »

Telescope test-drive Part 2: The Great Family Astronomy Tailgate Party

family_astronomy_event_efstonscienceA few months ago, I set out into the Canadian wilderness with a selection of Sky Watchertelescopes, and a pair of Canon image-stabilized binoculars furnished by my gear sponsor EfstonScience of Toronto (more on that here.)

With this gear, I recently took several families out to some Eastern Ontario conservation areas to have them put this gear – and the Continue reading “Telescope test-drive Part 2: The Great Family Astronomy Tailgate Party” »

Sky News column web extras: Bruce Peninsula

**Links mentioned in the March/April 2012 Wilderness Astronomer column in the print edition of Sky News Magazine**

In addition to the fabulous features of the Bruce Peninsula and surrounding area chronicled in Sky News Magazine, I’d like to share with you an aspect of the region’s dark-sky success story we didn’t have space to get into in the print edition.

A magic bullet for dark sky success

More and more across Canada and North America, astronomy club members are being joined coast to coast by families, environmentalists, business leaders, marketing experts and Continue reading “Sky News column web extras: Bruce Peninsula” »

Meteors over Canada’s shipwreck capital

Wrapping up our rattlesnake tour of Canadian stargazing destinations, we stopped by Bruce Peninsula National Park/Fathom Five National Marine Reserve and Dark Sky Preserve.


Though it has fewer venomous snakes than Grasslands dark sky preserve, the ones here near the harbour town of Tobermory are a protected species (you can actually get in trouble with authorities for harming them.) Thankfully, no snakes emerged and our 20-lb mascot Winston was snuggled up in the motel far from any dangerous tall grass.

Meanwhile, local astronomy guru Rod Steinacher was kind enough to spend the night showing me around the local stargazing haunts and he did NOT disappoint! Continue reading “Meteors over Canada’s shipwreck capital” »