Northern Skies

The Sky This Month - October 2019

The Great Square of Pegasus

Autumn is a fantastic time to enjoy the night sky. With longer night time hours, the lack of mosquitoes and decent temperatures, we can take advantage of late summer and early winter observing. Fall is a great time to locate the many objects of Pegasus. Taking on the appearance of a baseball diamond, the “Great Square” can be seen low in the east.

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The Sky This Month - February 2020

High Flying Chariot

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The Sky This Month - January 2020

Mysterious Betelgeuse

The latest buzz amongst astronomers is the noticeable dimming of the star Betelgeuse. This orange coloured beacon is located to the upper left of the iconic constellation Orion the Hunter. The supergiant star is less than 10 million years old and is already at the end of its short stellar life as this type of star burn hard and die fast. By comparison, our sun is halfway through its estimated10 billion year life span.

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The Sky This Month - December 2019

The Geminid Meteor Shower

Winter in Canada has its obvious challenges of keeping the snowy walkway clean as well as driving in snow and ice during our daily commute. And even though a clear moonless night reveals a gorgeous starry sky, the cold can cut short or even ruin a perfectly good observing session. This scenario often occurs during one of the best meteor showers of the year – the Geminids.

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The Sky This Month - November 2019

The Transit of Mercury

For thousands of years, the naked eye planets have been observed as they slowly moved across the starry sky. The word planet comes from the Greek meaning “wanderer” and for good reason. Today’s telescope transforms these dots into detailed worlds such as the rings of Saturn, the polar caps on Mars and the four Galilean moons orbiting the banded clouds of Jupiter.

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The Sky This Month - October 2019

The Great Square of Pegasus

Autumn is a fantastic time to enjoy the night sky. With longer night time hours, the lack of mosquitoes and decent temperatures, we can take advantage of late summer and early winter observing. Fall is a great time to locate the many objects of Pegasus. Taking on the appearance of a baseball diamond, the “Great Square” can be seen low in the east. 

 

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The Sky This Month - September 2019

Aquarius

The constellation Aquarius is one of the original forty-eight constellations catalogued by Ptolemy in the 2nd century and appears on the ecliptic (zodiac). Also known as the “Water Carrier or Cup Carrier” this constellation is found in the southern part of the sky and measures less than 1,000 square degrees in area. The brighter stars that make up the asterism range in magnitude from 3.1 to 4.5, allowing Aquarius can be seen from the suburbs. 

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The Sky This Month - August 2019

Aquila The Eagle

The southernmost star of the Summer Triangle named Altair resides 16 light-years from earth. Referred as the “sweet sixteen star”, Altair rotates at 210 kilometres per second or a 100 times faster than our sun. This deforms the star causing it to be a bit wider at the equator and oval-shaped. This first magnitude sun is the brightest star of Aquila the Eagle. In mythology, the eagle belonged to the god Jupiter.


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The Sky This Month - July 2019

The Glow of Billions

Travel out of the city on a clear moonless night, leaving the dome of light pollution behind you. Stepping out of your car, you are instantly greeted by thousands of stars. This is the true sky that many people never have the chance to see and enjoy from city limits. The night sky is a thing of beauty to grasp. no matter what season – even winter. It is, however, summer and early fall that we see an extra bonus high above.

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The Sky This Month - May 2019

Eta Aquarid Meteor Shower

The month of May month begins with the May 4 new moon and will provide dark sky conditions to enjoy the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower. The entire shower takes place from April 19 to May 28 with the peak occurring on the morning of May 5. The parent comet 1P/Halley which also produces the Orionid meteor shower in October will produce about 40 meteors per hour and vapourize in the atmosphere at 67 km/sec.

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