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Northern Skies

The Sky This Month - April 2015

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Wed, 2015/04/01

A (short) Total Lunar Eclipse

The Messier Marathon

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Tue, 2015/03/17

Messier Marathon


As we peer up at the night sky, drinking in photons from celestial objects far, far, away, one easily takes on the relaxed position with no schedule. As the months goes by, we greet our favourite Messier object as they emerge from the dawn sky into the blackness of the night. This game is repeated throughout the year until we have recovered all 110 Messier objects. There is however a very tight window of opportunity where all Messiers can be found on a single night.

The Sky This Month - March 2015

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Sun, 2015/03/01

Orion’s K-9’s


As we finally leave winter behind this month and jump into spring, we cannot help but notice the days getting longer. As we tick our way through the calendar, our sun’s angle moves a bit farther north, rewarding us with more than three minutes of light per day. However for astronomers this translates into shorter and shorter nights. It is not until the month of June that we only begin observing at about 9:30 p.m. and later local time but for now, our observing window is still on our side.

The Sky This Month - Febuary 2015

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Sun, 2015/02/01

Auriga

I hope many of you had a change to see and image Comet Lovejoy last month. As anticipated it was a naked eye object when seen under dark country skies. Using the finder chart and simple binoculars, it was even quicker. Lovejoy only has a gas tail that only revealed itself in long exposures.

The Sky This Month - January 2015

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Thu, 2015/01/01

Icon Orion

I am sure some of you have received or bought your first pair of binoculars or telescope for Christmas. Although not essential to enjoy the night sky, they do allow you to locate and enjoy those hard to see objects. Teamed with a good set of star charts and a red filtered flashlight, one can learn the constellations and more so the brighter objects what adore the night sky.

The Sky This Month - December 2014

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Sun, 2014/11/30

The River Eridanus

Eridanus the River is a long but narrow constellation found at this time of year above the southern horizon or at least its top half as seen from Canada. Starting close to the celestial equator, the entire asterism stretches down almost sixty degrees. Unlike the brilliant suns of the constellation Orion to the left, Eridanus lacks any bring stars and only range in brightness from magnitude 3.2 to 5.0 except for magnitude 2.9 Cursa. They are however unique in their individual life stories.

The Sky This Month - November 2014

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Sat, 2014/11/01

The Lizard And The King

Breaking news: Not one but two supernovas have been discovered on consecutive days. First we have a magnitude 13.9 explosion occurring in the spiral galaxy NGC 4080 that was discovered on Oct 28. Located 49 million light years in the constellation Coma Berenices, this magnitude 13.7 galaxy is located at R.A. 12h 40m 52s, Dec. +26d 59m 47s.

The Sky This Month - October 2014

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Wed, 2014/10/01

A Month of Eclipses

This month we bid farewell to the constellation Scorpius and quite soon – Sagittarius. Both were the focal point of every star party this past summer. To witness the middle our home galaxy on a moonless night is beyond words. I hope you had the opportunity to see the beauty of the night and all it has to offer. But even though these two are sliding into the southwest skies, all is not lost.

The Sky This Month - September 2014

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Mon, 2014/09/01

The Summer Triangle – part 2

We now continue our tour of the famous summer triangle. Half way between the Double-Double and Deneb is a dense magnitude 9.5 open cluster identified as NGC 6819. Pretty well any telescope will reveal about 30 stars but larger instruments are required to pick up the many fainter suns. NGC 6819 is located some 7,200 light years and thought to be around 2.3 billion years old.

The Sky This Month - August 2014

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Fri, 2014/08/01

The Summer Triangle – part 1

The night sky is a collection of patterns known as asterisms which, when connecting the dot (stars) takes on the shape of objects, people, and animals. The larger boundaries of each asterism make up the individual constellations. The summer triangle is the connection of three bright stars from three completely different asterisms. To the far left we have the star named Deneb or the tail of Cygnus the Swan.

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