March/April 2022

Current Issue

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Skies across Canada

Gorgeous dark skies stretch across wide swaths of this vast country. We asked amateur astronomers around Canada where their favourite stargazing locations are and what they’ve seen there

Dr. Bondar with a medium-format digital camera, photographing from a helicopter over Wood Buffalo National Park, Northwest Territories. (Roberta Bondar) | SkyNews
02 —

Our home planet

Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar talks about her focus on Earth after her journey to space

Sometimes the geology you’re interested in is down some back road that looks perfectly reasonable on a map, but it is not reasonable in reality — as we found out in New Mexico in 2010. (Christa Van Laerhoven) | SkyNews
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Outer space on earth

A planetary scientist looks at places you can go near home that look like spaces beyond our atmosphere

The Géar80 comes with a foam-lined aluminum case with room for the adjustable reducer or for a star diagonal and one eyepiece. (Alan Dyer) | SkyNews
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Canada’s new apo

Géar80’s new telescope delivers premium optics and first-class fittings. A review

The Milky Way stretches across the sky. I took this image with a Canon EOS Ra and a Sigma 24mm f/1.4 lens, stacking nine 90-second exposures, each at ISO 3200 (tracked). | SkyNews
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Astrophotography on the road

How do you shoot for the stars away from home? An astroimaging pro explains how to take shots from afar without taking away from the final product

The curtains of an early evening aurora starting to dance in the twilight and with the western sky lit by moonlight from the waxing gibbous Moon low in the sky and off-frame to the right. This is from the Cameron River viewpoint near Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. (Alan Dyer)
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Chasing the northern lights

If you really want to check the aurora borealis off your bucket list, plan to travel north to chase the lights. Here are my choice destinations in Canada

Aurora borealis, as seen from the boreal forest in Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, on November 1, 2020. (Jeanine Holowatuik) | SkyNews
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Capturing the aurora

Have you ever wanted to capture the northern lights? Here are some essential planning tips

This north-up image of NGC 2903 in Leo was captured in March 2021 by Chris Parfett. It spans 30 arcminutes from top to bottom. | SkyNews
08 —

Spring galaxies

Some sights that you can barely glimpse from home become really impressive when observed at a dark-sky site

The clocks move forward for most Canadians this month as the lengthening days hasten the departure of the winter constellations in the west. Spring arrives at 15:33 UTC on March 20, and from this date through the end of the month, observers under dark skies can look for the ghostly wedge of the zodiacal light along the ecliptic in the western sky after evening twilight. A last-quarter Moon obscures the Lyrid meteor shower in the early hours of April 22, but look for a few bright meteors if you’re up early. But mostly, the action lies in the morning skies as bright planets collect and perform their daily gravitational minuet above the eastern horizon before sunrise. The August 24, 2016, conjunction of Mars (in the middle) and Saturn (above Mars), with both planets above the star Antares in Scorpius, all low in the southwest over the Bow River, at Blackfoot Crossing, Alberta. This is a panorama of two 20-second exposures, taken with a Nikon D750 and 24mm Sigma lens at f/2 and ISO 1600. (Alan Dyer) | SkyNews
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Planets' morning mingle

All five bright planets appear as spring arrives. Read about the meetups in "Exploring the Night Sky"

Warren Finlay at his scope in Australia on the night of March 15-16, 2018, during his southern sky bimarathon. | SkyNews
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A truly celestial marathon

If finding all 110 Messier objects on one night isn’t enough, try doing it while running a full marathon in a "bimarathon"

Messier objects 81 and 82 — also known as Bode’s Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy — sit around 11.8 million light-years away in Ursa Major. The two are among the wealth of objects found in the northern night sky. (Chris Parfett) | SkyNews
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Splendours of the north

Canada’s skies harbour a plethora of beautiful targets for your telescope

Apollo 16 astronauts Charles Duke (left) and John Young while on their trip to Sudbury, Ontario. (NASA) | SkyNews
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Sudbury’s Apollo ties

50 years after Apollo 16, Chris Gainor talks about an Ontario connection