Our diminishing night sky

Herschel Image of Andromeda Galaxy

Herschel Image of Andromeda Galaxy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Mario Carr

Light pollution is destroying the night sky.

Believe it or not back in the 1930s’ you could actually see the band of the Milky Way from downtown Toronto. Now you can barely see anything.

Astronomy writer Terence Dickenson spoke about this growing problem to a packed Sheridan College lecture hall at the AstroCATS Telescope Show on May 25 in Oakville.

As development eats away at our countryside, the glow of artificial lighting onto dark skies drowns out most faint celestial objects. Fortunately, dark sky preserves like the ones at Lennox and Addington County, or at the Bruce Peninsula are opening up so everyone can have a glimpse of the true night sky.

However, at our present rate of development, it could be a matter of time until these areas will also be affected.

To preserve our night sky we should limit artificial lighting, as much as possible, and ensure that all lighting is shielded from the sky and directed towards the ground. This we will also conserve electricity, reduce carbon emissions and could save millions of dollars. We all have a role to play, if we want to stop this problem.

Here are June stargazer events. Most are listed in the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers calendar.

Planet watching

Mercury can be seen low in the western evening sky after sunset and gets dimmer as the month progresses. Venus can also be seen in the western evening sky. Mars can be seen low in the eastern dawn twilight sky.

Jupiter vanishes into the evening twilight sky early in the month. Saturn can be seen dropping lower each night in the southwest evening. Uranus can be seen in the eastern morning sky.

June 10 – The crescent moon is near the pairing of Mercury and Venus low in the western evening sky at sunset.

June 14 – Hamilton Amateur Astronomers meeting 7:30-9:30 p.m., Spectator building, 44 Frid St., Hamilton.. Free admission with door prizes and everyone is welcome. An optional food bank donation of non-perishable goods will be collected.

Guest speaker will be McMaster Astronomer Dr. Christine Wilson who will talk about Galaxies like you’ve never seen them before – New views from the Herschel Space Observatory.

June 16 – First quarter moon

June 18 – The moon pairs with Spica

June 20 – Mercury is close to Venus low in the western evening sky at sunset.

June 21 – The solstice at 1:04 a.m. marks the beginning of summer.

June 23 – The full moon called the Strawberry moon will be the biggest one this year.

For more information, please see the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers web site at http://www.amateurastronomy.org or call (905) 627-4323.

Mario Carr is the club’s director of public education and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. He can be reached at mariocarr@cogeco.ca.

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About Mario Carr

Mario Carr has a Physics degree from McMaster University and hosts this blog. He is the director of public education for the Hamilton Amateur Astronomers and has helped to raise the profile of the group. He writes an astronomy column and appears on CHCH-TV to talk about the night sky. Mario is the founder of the Carr Marketing Group in Burlington, Ontario and can help with your marketing, communications, publicity and public relations needs. He can be reached at www.carrmarketinggroup.com or mariocarr@cogeco.ca.
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2 Responses to Our diminishing night sky

  1. Thanks for the link.

  2. Pingback: Stargazing along the Bruce Peninsula | The sky this month

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