Category Archives: News

Breaking astronomy news, star party announcements, etc.

Northern Lights Show in Canada Tonight


Canadian’s thawing out from a bitter ice storm may get rewarded with shimmering northern lights in the next couple of days.


The University of Alaska’s Geophysical Institute predicts much of Canada and the northern fringes of the U.S. should be able to see the northern lights. Chicago, Boston, Cleveland, Seattle and Des Moines might see the shimmering colours low on the horizon.


U.S. federal space weather forecaster Joe Kunches said the sun shot out a strong solar flare late Tuesday, which should arrive at Earth early Thursday. It should shake up Earth’s magnetic field and expand the Aurora Borealis south, possibly as far south as Colorado and central Illinois. He said the best viewing would probably be Thursday evening, weather permitting.


The solar storm is already causing airline flights to be diverted around the North Pole and South Pole and may disrupt GPS devices Thursday.


The northern lights are a result of charged particles from the sun interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. As particles from the solar wind enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere, they collide with the individual atoms of our atmosphere to produce the spectacular light show.

The aurora borealis is also called the northern lights since it is only visible in the North sky from the Northern Hemisphere. What you see is a bright glow observed in the night sky, usually in the polar zone.  The aurora borealis most often occurs from September to October and from March to April.


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Please do not axe the Sky at Night: Did you sign the Petition?

A petition started by Karen Barker went viral in the past 3 days. It was a petition stop the BBC from discontinuing the popular astronomy show ‘Sky at Night’.

The Petition: We started as a group of Open University students, who were made aware that the BBC was planning to cancel The Sky At Night.  This is something to which we strongly object.  Since starting the campaign to save S@N, the BBC has stated that it is still in discussions about the future of the programme.

As of Sep. 26, 2013 at 2:10 PM EDT, there were over 27,000 signatures. Mine is one of them.

Click Here To Sign It Too

Gravenhurst Muskoka Family Star Party

Gravenhurst Muskoka Family Star Party 2013

Get ready for a family star party in the Muskoka Region of Ontario. Between Friday, October 4th and Saturday October 5, 2013, there will be a star party at the Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Site.

Organized by local astronomy clubs, it will feature a talk and slide show by prolific Canadian amateur astronomer Terence Dickinson, author of the popular book “Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe” and “The Backyard Astronomer’s Guide”.

It will be held at the Gravenhurst KOA and Torrance Barrens Dark Sky Site.

Gravenhurst Muskoka FAMILY STAR PARTY

When: Friday, Oct. 4, and Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013

Where: Gravenhurst KOA, 1083 Reay Road and TorraRnce Barrens Dark Sky Site

Featuring ASTRO TALK BY TERENCE DICKINSON followed by telescope viewing at KOA and Torrance Barrens

• 25% discount at KOA, some cabins available 1-800-562-9883, e-mail contact direct for discount

• Hotels: Mariott 705-687-6600 and Howard Johnson 705-687-7707

• Local merchant coupons for attendees • Beautiful Muskoka seasonal events

For more information, contact Alan Keates at 705-687-4364 or e-mail