Dark Skies

Visual wonders of the night
 

   In many cities, only 30 or so stars are now visible. Many thousands are visible here on the Bruce. This is why in 2004 the Municipality of the Northern Bruce Peninsula proclaimed itself to be a Dark Sky Community.

 

   With very little light pollution, our sky is the perfect backdrop for seeing the Milky Way. It shines brightly with tremendous structure and contrast.

Star clusters such as the Pleiades, meteor showers, comets and one of the best displays of Northern Lights in Southern Ontario are all part of our heavenly sky. You can even see Andromeda, our neighbouring galaxy with the naked eye.

 

   Many of us dream of walking out our back door and being engulfed by a night sky so beautiful, so splendid, so overwhelming that a telescope is not even required to appreciate it. Our ancestors knew such a sky. You can see it too on the Bruce Peninsula.

 

  And, as a special treat, join us this summer at the Viewing Platform in Lion’s Head’s harbour for the new Bayside Astronomy Program. We will provide a guided opportunity to use a telescope to see the brightest objects in the sky; for example, the rings of Saturn and the landscape of the Moon. Imagine seeing Mount Hadley near the Apollo 11 landing site in the Sea of Tranquillity. 

Step under the stars and allow us to give you a tour of the night sky. Away from the glow of city lights, we have some of the darkest skies in Southern Ontario where stargazing is phenomenal. The Northern Bruce Peninsula is Dark Sky community, with two national parks that are designated by the Royal Astronomical Society as Dark Sky Preserves.

Have you ever wondered “What is that bright object in the western sky at sunset?” Have you ever been curious about that band of cloudy white light that stretches across the summer night sky. Would you like to figure out where you are on the earth and what time it is just based on the stars? Do you like time travel? If so, you need to visit Bayside Astronomy!

 

Bayside Astronomy is a free program that allows members of the public to learn about the importance and beauty of our dark skies and to view and learn about the constellations, planets, the moon, and other deep sky objects LIVE through telescopes. Offered by the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association along with the Bruce Peninsula Environmental Group and the Municipality of Northern Bruce, this FREE program begins with a short star talk at dusk, followed by viewing of the night sky through volunteer telescopes.

 

Come see Saturn’s rings, Jupiter’s moons and the Great Red Spot. Be wowed by viewing the Andromeda Galaxy over 2.5 million light years away. Speculate what life would be like in the middle of 300,000 stars in the Globular Cluster M13.

 

Bayside happens every Friday and Saturday night from Canada Day to Labour Day at the marina in Lions Head at sunset. It then goes remote to Miller’s Family Camp on Monday, Summer House Park on Wednesdays and Singing Sands in BP National Park on Sundays. Did we mention it’s free?

 

Come visit us at Bayside and check out our Facebook page www.facebook.com/darksky.astronomy. Be star struck!