Northern Skies

The Sky This Month - June 2007

The Herdsman and the Snake


Sometimes known as the Hunter or the Ploughman, the constellations Bootes is most commonly referred as the Herdsman. Taking on the appearance of a giant celestial kite souring amongst the stars, this constellation holds one very bright star. To locate it, following the stars in the Big Dipper’s handle which arcs down to the star Arcturus. This K0 supergiant shines 113 times brighter than our Sun and emits 215 times more radiation. It measure 26 solar diameters across or one quarter the size of the orbit of Mercury. Located 37 light years from us the light of this magnitude -0.1 star was used to open the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago.

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The Sky This Month - April 2007

The Bear and the Dog

With spring now upon us, nature is joyfully coming out of hibernation. Warmer weather settles in as animals such as the bear awaken from their winter slumber. Just like its shaggy hair cousin, the great celestial bear is up and about in northern skies. Even though it is circumpolar meaning it never sets, the Big Dipper in nicely overhead all night long.

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The Sky This Month - March 2007

Finally – A Lunar Eclipse

The typical wall calendar shows that this March 3rd will be a full moon other wise known as the Wolf Moon, and is scheduled to rise 5:50 p.m. locally. However, the magic to this event is the moon will be completely immersed in the earth’s shadow – a total lunar eclipse. Mid totality when the moon is deepest in our planet’s shadow, will occur at 6:21 p.m. (Eastern) after which the Moon will begin to slowly slide from the zone of darkness.

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The Sky This Month - February 2007

Many of our nightly constellations are bright enough to be located from semi urban areas without problem. On the other hand, practice does make perfect when trying to spot dimmer groups such as Cancer the Crab, the Little Dipper along with other fainter shapes. However, when it comes to Canis Major – one of Orion’s hunting dogs, there is no denying as to its locating in the sky.

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The Sky This Month - January 2007

A Winter Wonderland

Happy New Year everyone. Hope there were astro presents under the Christmas tree with your name on them. If so and for those of you that already have a telescope or even binoculars, January night skies await. Stepping outdoors on the next clear moonless night, your eyes immediately pick up the brilliant suns of Auriga, Gemini, Orion and Taurus. Eighteen of the brightest stars occupy these constellations and give the wintry sky a magical appearance.

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Ontario Fireball Captured by UWO Camera Network

Astronomers from The University of Western Ontario have released footage of a meteor, which was captured by its highly advanced video surveillance system, traveling through the evening sky east of Toronto on Monday evening (December 12, 2011).

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Deep Sky Gems Observing List Revised

As published in the December issue of the Bulletin, the "Deep-Sky Gems" list compiled by David Levy was very recently revised in order to complete its evolution into an RASC observing program with certificate. Now your brand-new Observer's Handbook 2012 is out-of-date, even before the year begins! To correct this and with the author's approval, we revised the DSG Handbook article as we expect it to look in the 2013 edition, and we have made the entire 4 pages available online as a PDF download.

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The Sky This Month - December 2011

The Fair Maiden - Andromeda

Whenever the name Andromeda arises in conversation or in print, we immediately visualize a majestic galaxy. The Andromeda Galaxy, aka M31 is located a mere 2.9 million light years - down the cosmic highway. This island of an estimated 400 billion stars can even be spotted naked eye from dark locations. M31 is flanked by two smaller galaxies known as M32 and M110. Mythology depicts Andromeda as the daughter of King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia and was sacrificed to the sea monster Cetus, but Perseus saved the day.

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The Sky This Month -November 2011

Of Fish and Whales


As we open the second to last month of 2011, we set our sights on a couple of watery creatures namely Pisces and Cetus. On the first of the month, they are located on the meridian at about 10 p.m. local time and well placed for galaxy hunting. Our two feature constellations reside in an area called “The Water” and is also home to other such starry patterns as Eridanus and Aquarius.

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The Sky This Month - October 2011

Aquarius The Water Bearer

Now that we are well into fall, many factors are in a sky gazers favour. We first have about ten hours of darkness (except when the moon is out). Couple that with very low temperatures that drive away mosquitoes as well as the absence of traditional summertime haze and humidity and we have the possibility of memorable nights ahead. This month, we will focus on Aquarius the Water Bearer. Its overall area lists as the 10th largest (980 square degrees) and can be found between Capricorn on the right and Pisces on the left. Aquarius is located in the southern part of the night sky.

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