Skip to main content

Northern Skies

The Sky This Month - September 2006

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Wed, 2006/09/06

Seasonal Change

As the days of September moves closer to the change of seasons at 00:03 hrs eastern on the 23rd, darkness creeps in earlier and earlier. After the 23rd, the hours of darkness will trump daylight hours. Here in Canada, the comfortable nights are coming to an end as the winter winds are only a couple of months away. Until then we have a good number of targets to nail down – so let’s get started.

The Sky This Month - October 2006

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Wed, 2006/10/04

October is well known for its wet weather. Cold, damp days are a sure indication winter is slowly creeping in. With this in mind, we will focus this month’s article on the watery constellation namely Aquarius – the Water Bearer and Pisces – the Fishes.

The Sky This Month - November 2006

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
Wed, 2006/11/01

The night sky is a vast and ancient collection of mythological stories and superstition. In fact, one of the most famous legends is known as the Royal Family of Constellations in which six patches of sky take part in this nightly play. To sum up the story, King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia sacrificed their daughter Andromeda to the sea monster Cetus to appease the Gods. Perseus – our northern hero was on his way back from slaying the Medusa with her severed head in a potato bag. Hearing Andromeda’s cry for help, Perseus arrived not a moment too soon. Quickly thinking, Perseus showed the head of snakes to Cetus and monster immediately turned to stone. Our hero and his damsel fly off on Pegasus– the winged horse.  As seen from 45 degrees north latitude, half of Perseus is a circumpolar, meaning that our hero will not dip below the northern horizon. The further north you travel, more constellation will not be lost. Buried within its borders are many fine celestial objects with the most famous being, the Double Cluster. These jewels are catalogued as NGC 884 and 869 which reside around7,000 light years (ly) from us. This duo is spectacular in binoculars and very low power binoculars.

The Sky This Month - May 2007

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
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

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
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

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
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

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
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

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
Gary Boyle, Ottawa
Post Date: 
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

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
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

Posted in
Written by Gary Boyle, Ottawa on
Author: 
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.

Syndicate content