The Northern Lights from Baptiste Lake, near Athabasca, Alberta by Joel Watson
The northern lights from Baptiste Lake, near Athabasca, Alberta (Joel Watson/Athabasca Advocate)

Editor’s report: Eyes on the skies

This is supposed to be the place where I introduce myself. Instead, I’d rather talk about you.

This is supposed to be a welcome column, the place where I introduce and talk about myself.

As the new managing editor, I have been tasked with connecting with you, learning about your interests and making sure they are reflected within these pages.

So instead, let’s begin with a note about you.

The northern lights from Baptiste Lake, near Athabasca, Alberta (Joel Watson/Athabasca Advocate)

If there is one thing I see in everyone who is involved with this magazine—readers, writers, photographers, producers or general supporters—it is an immense curiosity.

You are visual astronomers. You are photographers. You are pilots and writers and lawyers and doctors and scientists. You are wine aficionados and experts in medieval music. You study Shakespeare and Homer. You travel around the globe and take in the different worlds that can be seen here on our own planet. Your curiosity brings you to the stars, where you see so much more.

This is why working with SkyNews appealed to me so much. I, like you, have been staring at those stars since my youth. I have been reading about the solar system, deep-sky objects and exoplanets for some time, writing a bit about meteors, the Dominion Observatory and Earth’s magnetic field in more recent years.

The work I have done leads me to believe that one of the most important parts of learning and discovery is empowering those who are sharing the knowledge.

And so, I want to see you reflected within the pages of this magazine. In this edition, you can see this attempt through the piece about Messier March, which uses photos taken by astrophotographers across Canada. It is seen in Michael Watson’s spectacular photo of the Milky Way and accompanying description of how he took it. It is in the pieces about Canadians who have worked on the Hubble Space Telescope and Apollo 13.

I want SkyNews to follow a trajectory that helps amateurs learn about visual astronomy, and I want to detail what professionals do at the ever-expanding limits of humanity’s knowledge.

The photo above is from a lake in Athabasca County in rural Alberta. While I was the publisher of the community’s newspaper, a local reporter took the picture. I like how it shows that those with budding interests can do beautiful work; this was only the second time he had shot the Northern Lights.

He is, like you, among the people all across the country viewing the night sky.

Show us what you see.