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Skywatching

Light pollution is stopping us from seeing the night sky properly

Light pollution is stopping us from seeing the night sky properly

Jan 27, 2023 / 4:00 am

We're a funny species. On one side, we like to lie on our backs by lakes in the woods, or at other dark places, and enjoy looking at a starry sky. Poets,...

The age-old question: Is there life on other planets?

The age-old question: Is there life on other planets?

Jan 20, 2023 / 4:00 am

One of the planets being studied with the James Webb Space Telescope is about the size of the Earth. However, it lies so close to its star that it only takes...

Hisses, whistles and clicks—the sound of the magnetosphere

Hisses, whistles and clicks—the sound of the magnetosphere

Jan 13, 2023 / 4:00 am

Quite a few years ago now, an ionospheric physicist and I were a long way up a dirt, logging road in Algonquin Park, in Ontario. The idea was to get a long way...

The era of really huge telescopes has arrived

The era of really huge telescopes has arrived

Jan 6, 2023 / 4:00 am

An optical telescope with a mirror 30 metres in diameter is being built. Also under construction is the largest radio telescope in history. This need for...

Listing the faint ‘fuzzies’ in space

Listing the faint ‘fuzzies’ in space

Dec 30, 2022 / 4:00 am

Comets are among the most beautiful sights in the night sky. For a few weeks maybe, they grace the sky before vanishing again. We see a glowing head followed by...

Astronomical highlights of 2022

Astronomical highlights of 2022

Dec 23, 2022 / 4:00 am

In this last article of 2022, it seems appropriate to mention two of the most exciting things in astronomy that happened this year. The first is the successful...

Celestial change that causes the winter solstice

Celestial change that causes the winter solstice

Dec 16, 2022 / 4:00 am

On Dec. 21, we will reach the winter solstice. The Sun will rise latest and set earliest, be lowest in the sky at noon and we will have the shortest period of...

Repeating high-energy explosions in space

Repeating high-energy explosions in space

Dec 9, 2022 / 4:00 am

The Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment radio telescope (CHIME), located at the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory just south of Penticton,...

Why we have the Centaur, the Phoenix and the Furnace in the night sky

Why we have the Centaur, the Phoenix and the Furnace in the night sky

Dec 2, 2022 / 4:00 am

All over the world, different races and cultures have impressed their myths on the stars. Heroes and objects from mythology are there in the sky as groupings of...

Our neighbouring black hole

Our neighbouring black hole

Nov 25, 2022 / 4:00 am

Black holes are rather menacing objects. Stars, planets, dust and any other material getting too close fall in. There is an intense flash of radiation and...

Learning more about 'white dwarf' stars

Learning more about 'white dwarf' stars

Nov 18, 2022 / 4:00 am

It might be surprising that “white dwarf” stars, the relics of stars like our Sun that have run out of fuel, are useful cosmic stopwatches. The...

Learning from impacts areas on the Moon

Learning from impacts areas on the Moon

Nov 11, 2022 / 4:00 am

If you look at the Moon through binoculars or a small telescope, two sorts of terrain stand out. There are lighter-coloured, mountainous regions that are...

Stars absorbing planets while leaving 'zombie' planets behind

Stars absorbing planets while leaving 'zombie' planets behind

Nov 4, 2022 / 4:00 am

It is widely accepted among the scientific community that over the next few billion years the Sun will swell into a red giant star, absorbing Mercury and Venus,...

Explosion detected in space was creation of a massive black hole

Explosion detected in space was creation of a massive black hole

Oct 28, 2022 / 4:00 am

On Oct. 9, orbiting observatories detected the biggest burst of gamma rays we have ever seen. It was so strong it affected our ionosphere. It came from the...

Looking at Wolf-Rayet stars in outer space

Looking at Wolf-Rayet stars in outer space

Oct 21, 2022 / 4:00 am

The amazing images produced so far by the James Webb Space Telescope have captured the attention of the media. They are easy to find on-line, just search for...

Successful move pushing asteroid off course

Successful move pushing asteroid off course

Oct 14, 2022 / 4:00 am

NASA has just achieved a major feat in astronavigation. A spacecraft has successfully impacted an asteroid that is orbiting another asteroid. This is not just a...

Looking at 'sunquakes' and 'starquakes'

Looking at 'sunquakes' and 'starquakes'

Oct 7, 2022 / 4:00 am

One of the programs at our observatory is monitoring activity on the Sun. This is done using two small radio telescopes. We do this because many of our...

A new look at Neptune

A new look at Neptune

Sep 30, 2022 / 4:00 am

When the James Webb Space Telescope was launched, we all had great expectations as to what the telescope would show us. The instrument is living up to those...

Gauging ‘planetquakes’ and ‘moonquakes’

Gauging ‘planetquakes’ and ‘moonquakes’

Sep 23, 2022 / 4:00 am

When the Apollo astronauts went to the Moon, among the instruments they installed were seismometers, devices for detecting vibrations in the...

The North Star is not the constant we think is

The North Star is not the constant we think is

Sep 16, 2022 / 4:00 am

Most of us know how to find the Pole, or North Star. We find the Dipper and follow the line indicated by the pair of stars opposite the handle. It is the star...

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