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Northern Skies

The Sky This Month - May 2007

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Wed, 2007/05/02

Bizzion Galaxies

If you are a lover of distant galaxies, you must be full of joy at this time of year. Stretching from the Bowl of Ursa Major all the down to the highly populated grouping known as the Virgo cluster, literally hundreds of galaxies are available for your choosing. Depending on the light gathering power of your telescope, some might be out of your viewing range. But do not fret; there is a nice combo of semi bright and extremely faint grey smudges to choose from.  

The Sky This Month - July 2006

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Mon, 2006/07/03

Taming the Serpent

 

One of the largest constellations in the sky is Ophiuchus – the serpent holder. Located directly below Hercules, it lies on the meridian at about 9:30 p.m. at the beginning of the month. This huge area of sky covers close to a thousand square degrees and is home to no less than 13 globular clusters equal to or brighter than tenth magnitude. This means on nights of good seeing, you should be able to sweep up these treasures in simple binoculars.

The Sky This Month - December 2006

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Mon, 2006/12/04

Some Pretty Cool Galaxies

Public star parties are a great place to show the wonders of the night sky to children and adults alike. One of the most frequently asked questions asked is, you guessed it, “how far can you see with this telescope”? In response the term light year is defined as a rounded off figure of ten trillion kilometres. Turning our instruments skywards to a faint smudge, we rattle off the estimated distance (in light years) we have previously read in books or found on web sites. With distances of nebulae and star clusters are listed in the thousands of light years category while residing in our Milky Way Galaxy, however, remote galaxies would be the correct answer.

The Sky This Month - August 2006

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Wed, 2006/08/02

The Glorious Milky Way


If you have never experienced the true portrait of the Milky Way Galaxy unfold before your eyes far off in the countryside on a Moonless night, you are missing one of the grandest moments of your life. I recently had the chance to rent a cottage by the lake with my family for ten days, around new Moon. By 10 p.m. locally, the stars began to show themselves, one by one.

The Sky This Month - February 2010

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Mon, 2010/02/01

Chasing the Hare

The night sky as is a theatrical stage of mythological characters, unique stories of how they interaction with others. Amongst the wintry constellations is Lepus the Hare. Although Orion the Hunter is poised in battle with Taurus the Bull, he also liked to hunt our long eared friend.

The Sky This Month - April 2010

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Thu, 2010/04/01

The Change of Seasons

Now that our Canadian snow has melted for the most part, we welcome in Spring with open arms. For obvious reasons, those that did not get to do much winter observing over the past months, it is now time to dust off those scopes and enjoy a handful of seasons in one night. As April begins, we find the constellation Orion the Hunter and his wintry friends low in western skies – ready to take the plunge into twilight.

The Sky This Month - May 2010

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Sun, 2010/05/02

Corvus The Crow

Spring is a wonderful time of year for many reasons. There is the annual planting of flowers, reseeding the lawn or even painting the house or apartment. It is also known in the astronomy community as galaxy season. With semi dark skies, these distant islands containing hundred of billions of stars each, stretch all the way from Ursa Major (the Big Dipper) in the north, down through Coma Berenices, ending at Virgo in the south. If hunting galaxies is your passion, you have come to the right place. Hundreds of objects stretch across ninety degrees of sky.

The Sky This Month - June 2010

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
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Thu, 2010/06/03

Draco – Circumpolar Beast

The dragon of the night is out there. Not behind the bushes at your favourite out of town dark observing site, nor is it hibernating in an isolated cave. The dragon of the night hangs high overhead, wrapped part way around Ursa Minor in the north. With our beasty friend located between the two celestial bears, it never appears to set. Constellations and stars that are visible all year round are called circumpolar.

The Sky This Month - July 2010

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Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Thu, 2010/07/01

Ophiuchus, One Of The Originals

When the astronomer, mathematician and geographer Ptolemy drafted and introduced the original 48 constellations of the night sky to the world, Ophiuchus the Snake Holder made that famous list. Astrology depicts Ophiuchus holding a long snake that actually comprises two constellations – the snake’s head Serpens Caput on the west side and Serpens Cauda, the snake’s tail on the east side.

The Sky This Month - March 2010

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Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Sun, 2010/02/28

The Illusive Crab

If I were to hand the average person a star chart of the constellation Cancer the Crab and asked them to find it in the sky, I am sure they would be hard pressed in identifying it. Unlike bright celestial patterns such as Orion, the Big Dipper and so on, Cancer is not the easiest to recognize. However to the seasoned astronomer who know the sky like the back of their hand, Cancer is flanked with the Gemini Twins to its west and Leo (Major) the Lion to its east. Both of these bordering constellations possess bright suns.

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