Sky News column web extras: Bruce Peninsula

Posted in Dark sky preserve tour, Dark sky preserves, Destinations, News with tags , , , , , , on February 8, 2012 by Peter McMahon

**Links mentioned in the March/April 2012 Wilderness Astronomer column in the print edition of Sky News Magazine**

In addition to the fabulous features of the Bruce Peninsula and surrounding area chronicled in Sky News Magazine, I’d like to share with you an aspect of the region’s dark-sky success story we didn’t have space to get into in the print edition.

A magic bullet for dark sky success

More and more across Canada and North America, astronomy club members are being joined coast to coast by families, environmentalists, business leaders, marketing experts and Continue reading


The great family telescope review, Part 1

Posted in Destinations, Events, Gear, Photos with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by Peter McMahon

family telescope reviewA few months ago, I set out into the Canadian wilderness with a selection of Sky Watcher telescopes from EfstonScience in Toronto, and a pair of Canon image-stabilized binoculars (more on that here.)

Recently, I (centre, in the image above) took several families Continue reading

Rebooting Celestron’s Sky Scout starfinder

Posted in Gear with tags , , , , on February 2, 2012 by Peter McMahon

A Celestron Sky Scout mounted on a Sky Watcher ED80 telescopeLast year, I got a Sky Scout personal planetarium – the handy GPS-based device from Celestron, which allows you to point at an object in the sky that you’re curious about, press the “Target” button, and see text scroll across the devices’ screen telling you what you’re looking at. In many cases, you can also choose to have a voice read you a short audio documentary on what you’re Continue reading

Fun with night-vision: 5 unconventional uses

Posted in Gear with tags , , , , on January 31, 2012 by Peter McMahon

A few weeks ago, I was looking for the Andromeda Galaxy in a loaned night vision monocular and a pair of “Navy SEAL-style”night vision goggles from my backyard on the outskirts of the small town of Port Hope, ON.

While out there, I figured I’d take our 3-year-old miniature schnauzer, Winston, out for his final business transaction of the night. At the same time, our 3-month old mini, Frankie Jenkins (Above, also known as “the trainee”) decided to hop out into the yard for a tinkle… Continue reading

5 reasons to get image-stabilized binoculars

Posted in Gear with tags , , , , on January 22, 2012 by Peter McMahon

image_stabilized_binoculars_efstonscience_compositeFive years ago, when I really started exploring the night sky from Canada’s wild spaces, I started looking for the ultimate portable telescope. What I found wasn’t a telescope but two telescopes (really small ones at least) enhanced with the same gyroscope or electronic-optic-steadying technology used in camera optics. Continue reading

Test-driving a wilderness astronomy dream-setup

Posted in Gear on January 17, 2012 by Peter McMahon

A month or so ago, when I took possession of a suite of Sky-Watcher telescopes supplied by EfstonScience of Toronto, the notion of how I would use any of these instruments was farthest from my mind (my first thought was to take the largest of the set and go on an “observing spree” of normally-faint deep space objects.) Continue reading

Holiday stars over Canada’s best hot spring

Posted in Dark sky preserve tour, Dark sky preserves, Destinations, Photos on January 1, 2012 by Peter McMahon

radium_sky_hot_springs_2011If someone had asked me last week where you should go if you hate seeing things like stars, planets, nebulas and galaxies, I would have told them to head to BC’s Kootenay mountains.

But after years of trying to go stargazing from Canada’s largest, least crowded, least stinky hot spring, the clouds parted for more than a few hours and we FINALLY Continue reading

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