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” »

Wild astro gear column in SkyNews magazine: web extras

In the July/August 2013 issue of SkyNews magazine, I took a break from specific stargazing locales in my Wilderness Astronomer column to recommend the top 5 “killer apps” – figuratively and literally – for stargazing in the great outdoors.

As promised, here below – some additional information on how to find and use these game-changing pieces of Continue reading “Wild astro gear column in SkyNews magazine: web extras” »

Kawartha Highlands column in Sky News magazine: web extras


In the May/June 2013 issue of Sky News magazine, I write in my Wilderness Astronomer column about a dark sky preserve that never-was.

At times, Ontario Parks calls it a “Provincial Park“…at other times, it’s a “Signature Site“.  Continue reading “Kawartha Highlands column in Sky News magazine: web extras” »

Web links for Sky News magazine column on Point Pelee

point-pelee-bird_sun_venus_transit_sunset_lake_erie_reflectionOn-assignment for Sky News magazine, I 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 – as of 2006 – an RASC-designated dark sky preserve.


Because of our location in this migratory bird-watching haven, we ended up with the added treat of seeing thousands of swallows, warblers, and other species flit occasionally in front of our telescope views. Continue reading “Web links for Sky News magazine column on Point Pelee” »

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

Learning Unlimited Etobicoke: From Wilderness Astronomy to Weird Science and beyond

Learning-Unlimited-UNIVERSE-of-SCIENCE-audienceWEBOver the past three months, I’ve had the honour and pleasure of presenting a weekly general-interest science lecture for Learning Unlimited Etobicoke, who have been offering speaker series’ since 1976.

From astronomy to medical science, to paleontology, to materials science, to research oddities, to Canada’s biggest science projects and beyond, we looked at Continue reading “Learning Unlimited Etobicoke: From Wilderness Astronomy to Weird Science and beyond” »

Family Telescope Test-Drive: Solar System edition

telescope_family_test_driveFor Part 3 of our family astronomy gear test drive, we sent one suburban Ontario family home with a SkyWatcher P130 refracting (mirror-based) telescope.

Over several clear moonlit nights this winter, Ron, Serena, Angela (age 10 ), and Emma (age 8 ) used this portable 5″ diameter scope (pictured) to check-out details on our Moon, cloud layers and moons of Jupiter, phases of Venus, and ice caps on Mars this past weekend, during its Continue reading “Family Telescope Test-Drive: Solar System edition” »

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” »