Category: astronomy

HN Field Trip: Transfixed by the Winter Sky at Island Lake

On the early evening of 2023 January 14, we had ten of us out watching while Orion “came up sideways, throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains” last night. (Robert Frost, “The Star Splitters”) Thanks for coming out to Island Lake and sharing my enthusiasms about the night sky! Let’s do this again with a different part of the sky. (See below about the coming ‘green’ comet, Comet C/2022 E3 ZTF. If we get good viewing conditions, I’ll set up another field trip on short notice.) It was cool on January 14th, but the skies were remarkably clear. It seemed like none of us had seen the clear night sky for months! Sirius was an absolute glory to watch as it cleared the ridge across the lake, twinkling ecstatically and flashing brilliantly in the full glory across almost the whole rainbow of colours. It truly seemed to dance… Read more »

The Supermoon Eclipse — before the clouds eclipsed …

Four of us turned out at Island Lake to hope for clear skies — and we were in luck! Clouds covered the moonrise to the east, but the cloud-free western skies for sunset gave us hope. In the meantime, 5 cormorants flew to roost nearby in a remarkably flimsy dead tree, swaying in the light breezes. Muskrats dove in front of us, surfacing with winter vegetative clumps on which they munched while lying on the surface. At least three Killdeer called repetitively amongst themselves. Two Great Blue Herons foraged successfully in the shallows right beside us long into darkness.   The clouds stayed off low along the horizon to the east as the Moon rose above them. Shafts of high thin altocumulus rose westwards out of the bank of clouds. These shafts of cloud alternately covered and uncovered the eclipsing Moon, providing some gorgeous opportunities for photos. My trusty smartphone was pushed to… Read more »

Supermoon Eclipse this Sunday September 27th!

There is a special eclipse of the Moon Sunday evening, and despite the forecast of some cloud during the early evening hours, and the possibility of rain overnight, I’m going to head out to see it! Perhaps it will be cloudy, perhaps there may even be some showers, but I’m hopeful that there’s going to be either light enough cloud to see something worthwhile, or that there may actually be a break in the clouds during the critical hours just after dark as some weather models show. You are invited to join me. I’m going to park at Home Hardware and walk across Highway #10 at the lights. Once across the road, I go through the ‘gates’ and turn left along the new path that heads northwards parallel to the highway. I’m going to go close to the end of the first long bridge, which is about half a kilometre… Read more »