Get Your Universe On!

Because we're all space cadets, at heart.

Our Previous Night Out
Date:Sunday September 7 2014
Time:10:00pm EDT
Conditions:Clear, light breeze, 9 degrees
Theme:The Lunar North Pole
The night sky here can be breathtaking: glittering with stars, like diamonds scattered on black felt. Every clear night, we haul out our big 10-inch telescope and invite you for a tour of the Universe. Together, we'll go to places near and far: to satellites, double stars, planets, galaxies and even further. Here's a snapshot of a recent nocturnal foray:

What Does the Big Dipper have in common with Tim Horton's?

OK, you're looking at the big dipper, in the northwestern sky. If you live in a city, then most of the fainter stars will be missing. If you can't see the constellation, put your mouse here. Tonight we talked about the dipper's astonishing secret: Mizar, at the bend in the dipper's handle (put your mouse here to see Mizar). Now take a good, close look at Mizar. It's TWO stars! The little star is Alcor, and has long been considered a vision test of sorts; if you can see Alcor without optical aid, then your eyes are still OK. Mizar and Alcor therefore appear to be a binary, or 2-star system. Things get strange, though, when you look through our scope at this "pair" of stars.

Here's how it looked in our 10-inch scope tonight:

But look: Mizar is itself a close double-- Mizar A and B-- too close together to see with the naked eye. It gets even weirder: amazingly, it turns out that Mizar A, Mizar B and Alcor are all double stars themselves. So the star at the bend of the dipper's handle is actually SIX stars! Alcor is a double star, but we call Mizar the Tim Horton's star, because it's a double-double!

We do this stuff all the time here! You're here to see the Bruce Peninsula, right? Why not see the whole universe too? Join us every clear night for a FREE telescope adventure. It's not uncommon for guests to stroll out to the telescope with a glass of wine, and have a peek into the great unknown. Are you ready for a glimpse into the infinite? The skies are waiting...

Get Your Universe On!

Because we're all space cadets, at heart.

Our Previous Night Out
Date:Sunday September 7 2014
Time:10:00pm EDT
Conditions:Clear, light breeze, 9 degrees
Theme:The Lunar North Pole
The night sky here can be breathtaking: glittering with stars, like diamonds scattered on black felt. Every clear night, we haul out our big 10-inch telescope and invite you for a tour of the Universe. Together, we'll go to places near and far: to satellites, double stars, planets, galaxies and even further. Here's a snapshot of a recent nocturnal foray:

The Peaks of Eternal Light

You've probably seen this round object a few times. Get ready for something different, though: the Moon is a spectacular sight in a telescope, unlike anything you can see with just your eyes. It's like having a 10-inch eyeball; there's so much light coming in! For most first-time viewers, the experience is visually overwhelming! Our last time out we looked at the Northern polar region of the moon (mouse here to see it), despite the fact that this region is tipped away from us right now. Since 1837, it has been speculated that a mountain near one of the moon's poles could be a "Peak of Eternal Light" i.e. the sun never sets on it. This astonishing idea has since gained some credibility, as a team from Johns Hopkins University has indicated that parts of the Peary Crater's rim may be candidates for this unique designation.

Here's a close-up of the moon's north pole:

In this dramatic close-up, we get a feel for the rough, bumpy terrain of the northern moon. The craters Plato and Goldschmidt serve as our "pointer" to locate Peary, as it is just to the left of where they point. Obviously, our view of Peary is edge-on, so it appears as a thin, bright line. There may be some peaks here that are always above the moon's terminator, like brightly-lit mountain-tops after sunset. Disregarding the occasional lunar eclipse, perhaps some of those elements really are blessed with eternal sunshine!

We do this stuff all the time here! You're here to see the Bruce Peninsula, right? Why not see the whole universe too? Join us every clear night for a FREE telescope adventure. It's not uncommon for guests to stroll out to the telescope with a glass of wine, and have a peek into the great unknown. Are you ready for a glimpse into the infinite? The skies are waiting...

Get Your Universe On!

Because we're all space cadets, at heart.

Our Previous Night Out
Date:Sunday September 7 2014
Time:10:00pm EDT
Conditions:Clear, light breeze, 9 degrees
Theme:The Lunar North Pole
The night sky here can be breathtaking: glittering with stars, like diamonds scattered on black felt. Every clear night, we haul out our big 10-inch telescope and invite you for a tour of the Universe. Together, we'll go to places near and far: to satellites, double stars, planets, galaxies and even further. Here's a snapshot of a recent nocturnal foray:

The Crater Theophilus, at 28% Illumination

OK, you've probably seen this crescent-shaped object a few times, but not like this. The Moon is a spectacular sight in our telescope, unlike anything you can see with just your eyes. This evening we looked at the terminator region of the Moon's surface, the dividing line between darkness and daylight, where the sunlight is very low-angle, creating lots of shadows and highlights. The terminator is not as dramatic on the moon as it is on the earth, where it sweeps across our surface as fast as 1000 miles/hour; on the moon it's more like about 10 miles/hour. Here on earth, only jets and rockets can stay ahead of the terminator; on the moon, you could run ahead of it!
So what's interesting near the terminator? The crater Theophilus, of course!

Here's a close-up of crater Theophilus:

When the moon is 28% illuminated, like tonight, it's a perfect time to explore Theophilus, a major impact crater on the Moon's near side. The low-angle lighting makes their details jump right out at you. At almost 3 miles(!) deep, this is one massive crater. That central bright point is a mountain, rising nearly a mile from the crater floor, complete with four separate peaks. You've got to see this in a telescope, because these pictures don't do justice to what you actually see out on a dark night.

We do this stuff all the time here! You're here to see the Bruce Peninsula, right? Why not see the whole universe too? Join us every clear night for a FREE telescope adventure. It's not uncommon for guests to stroll out to the telescope with a glass of wine, and have a peek into the great unknown. Are you ready for a glimpse into the infinite? The skies are waiting...

Get Your Universe On!

Because we're all space cadets, at heart.

Our Previous Night Out
Date:Sunday September 7 2014
Time:10:00pm EDT
Conditions:Clear, light breeze, 9 degrees
Theme:The Lunar North Pole
The night sky here can be breathtaking: glittering with stars, like diamonds scattered on black felt. Every clear night, we haul out our big 10-inch telescope and invite you for a tour of the Universe. Together, we'll go to places near and far: to satellites, double stars, planets, galaxies and even further. Here's a snapshot of a recent nocturnal foray:

It's Jupiter Time!

Ahh... Jupiter, king of the planets. In reality, it's a giant gas bag, the solar system's vacuum cleaner, constantly inhaling wayward objects with its enormous gravitational influence. We had the pleasure tonight of viewing Jupiter for the first time this fall. We hope to view the giant planet all winter. When looking through the eyepiece of our telescope, be prepared to enter a world of wonder. In our age of Hubble images, nothing yet compares to seeing the night sky with your own eyes, through a telescope.

Here's what our 10-inch telescope reveals:

On Jan 5, Jupiter is at opposition, which is usually the best time to see it. If anyone lives on Jupiter-- which I find somewhat doubtful-- they're in for a treat on Jan 5: they'll see the Earth and Moon pass across the face of the Sun. Transits, as they're called, happen all the time in our solar system. We often see Jupiter's moons, and their shadows, passing across the planet's face. Here's a great shot of the shadows of Io and Ganymede crossing Jupiter on Jan 3 2013:

We do this stuff all the time here! You're here to see the Bruce Peninsula, right? Why not see the whole universe too? Join us every clear night for a FREE telescope adventure. It's not uncommon for guests to stroll out to the telescope with a glass of wine, and have a peek into the great unknown. Are you ready for a glimpse into the infinite? The skies are waiting...