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This Week’s Sky: May 10 to 16, 2021

The Moon will officially reach its new phase on Tuesday, May 11 at 3:00 p.m. EDT (or 12:00 p.m. PDT or 19:00 Greenwich Mean Time). While new, the Moon is travelling between Earth and the Sun. Since sunlight can only reach the far side of the Moon, and the Moon is in the same region of the sky as the Sun, the Moon becomes completely hidden from view from anywhere on Earth for about a day.


Tadpoles of IC 410 by Dan Kusz

May 6th 2021 at 18:09

Persistence and patience were the winning elements for the Photo of the Week on February 5, 2021. Gathering a whopping 21.7 hours of data over the course of three nights, two months apart, Dan Kusz captured the title with his image of IC 410. β€œIC 410 contains two remarkable inhabitants of the cosmic pond of gas and dust above and left of centre β€” the tadpoles of IC 410,” Kusz wrote.


Pacman Nebula by Kimberly Sibbald

May 6th 2021 at 15:58

With incredibly clear contrast between bright and dark nebulosity, the Photo of the Week on January 29, 2021, goes to Kimberly Sibbald for her image of the Pacman Nebula. Also known as NGC 281, the emission nebula holds the open star cluster IC 1590, and was first identified in 1883 by astronomer E.E. Barnard. Located in Cassiopeia, estimates published in 2014 put the object about 9...


2021 Astronomy Day events across Canada

May 5th 2021 at 12:23

International Astronomy Day is upon us again, and with COVID-19 gathering restrictions still in place in most places, astronomers across Canada are keeping their events online. If you’re looking for something to do, here’s a brief list of events occurring across the country. Are you holding an online event? Send an email to and we’ll add it to the post. On Saturday, May 15, 2021...


Planets at a glance: May 2021

For those of you who like to listen to your stories, click below to hear Susan Trishel MonsΓΈn reading Chris Vaughan’s summary of the planets movements this month. After sunset throughout the month of May, Mercury will be easily visible by Northern Hemisphere observers while it travels east of the Sun on the high side of a nearly vertical evening ecliptic plane; however, this will be a poor...


California Nebula by Paul Owen

April 29th 2021 at 19:58

With a tribute to warmer weather, Paul Owen won the Photo of the Week title on January 22, 2021, with his image of the California Nebula. The emission nebula, also known as NGC 1499, is located in the constellation Perseus and lieds about 1,000 light-years away from Earth. β€œThought I would start the new year off with a tribute to California,” said Owen, who lives in Hampton, New Brunswick.


Lion Nebula by Kimberly Sibbald

April 29th 2021 at 19:21

With a gently-coloured image of the Lion Nebula, or Sharpless 132, Kimberly Sibbald won Photo of the Week on January 15, 2021. The Lion Nebula is a faint emission nebula located in Cepheus near the constellation border with Lacerta. Sibbald captured the image data from Bortle 1 skies in Saskatchewan’s Grasslands National Park, shooting from August 19, 2020, to August 22, 2020. She said she used a...


This Week’s Sky: May 3 to 9, 2021

The Moon will officially reach its third quarter phase at 3:50 p.m. EDT (or 19:50 GMT) on Monday, May 3. At third quarter, our natural satellite always rises in the middle of the night and remains visible in the southern sky all morning. The Moon will appear half-illuminated, on its western side towards the pre-dawn Sun. Third quarter moons are positioned ahead of the Earth in our trip around the...


Canadian astronomers urge action on satellite constellations

April 28th 2021 at 15:03

SpaceX. OneWeb. Amazon. Telesat. These are a handful of the companies that plan to send up constellations of mini-satellites in the coming years to provide broadband access to underserved areas. There are certainly those in Canada’s rural or northern areas that could benefit from better internet β€” not least Indigenous peoples β€” but a new report by Canadian scientists warns that we need to make...


This Week’s Sky: April 26 to May 2, 2021

The Moon will officially reach its full phase at 3:31 GMT on Tuesday, April 27, which corresponds to 11:31 p.m. EDT on Monday, April 26. April’s full Moon β€” commonly called the Pink Moon, Sprouting Grass Moon, Egg Moon or Fish Moon β€” always shines in or near the stars of Virgo and Libra. Full moons always rise in the east as the sun sets, and set in the west at sunrise. When full...


Milky Way and Perseid meteor by Hagen Hohndorf

April 22nd 2021 at 19:01

Hagen Hohndorf’s view of the Milky Way and a Perseid meteor streaking through it over Skaha Lake, British Columbia, won our Photo of the Week on January 8, 2021. β€œFacing south across Skaha Lake from light-polluted beach along north shore,” Hohndorf said he took one single 30-second exposure on August 10, 2020, processing it in DeepSkyStacker and Photoshop. He also noted that Saturn and Jupiter are...


Saturn-Jupiter conjunction by Daniel Borcard

April 22nd 2021 at 18:29

Daniel Borcard’s clear image of the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction, pictured December 18, 2020, won our Photo of the Week contest on January 1, 2021. Borcard captured the conjunction from his backyard observatory in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, QuΓ©bec, on December 18, 2020. Using a TEC140 ED F/7 APO refractor, he shot the image background with the gas giants’ moons with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III at ISO 200...


Saturn-Jupiter conjunction by Warren Finlay

April 15th 2021 at 18:18

With extra points to ingenuity and inventiveness, Warren Finlay’s picture of β€œThe Hand of Adam” pointing at Saturn-Jupiter nearing conjunction won Photo of the Week on December 25, 2020. Shooting from his backyard in Sherwood Park, Alberta, on December 16, 2020, Finlay said he carved the ice sculpture in the foreground. β€œThe hand is based on Rodin’s Adam and was carved from a single block of 11...


This Week’s Sky: April 19 to 25, 2021

When the moon completes the first quarter of its orbit around Earth at 2:59 a.m. EDT (or 6:59 GMT) on Tuesday, April 20, the relative positions of the Earth, sun, and moon will cause us to see it half-illuminated – on its eastern side. At first quarter, the moon always rises around noon and sets around midnight, so it is also visible in the afternoon daytime sky. The evenings surrounding first...


Canada is on board for James Webb Space Telescope

April 14th 2021 at 10:00

Ten Canadians have been selected to lead teams that will use the James Webb Space Telescope for scientific observations, with another 72 serving as co-investigators. Webb is the next generation of space observatory, orbiting in a stable location between the Earth and the Sun β€” a Lagrange point β€” to peer far into the Universe. Its work will be vast, encompassing areas like studying exoplanet...


Lunar eclipse: May 26, 2021

April 13th 2021 at 08:00

This astronomical event occurs when the Earth crosses between the Sun and the full Moon, casting a shadow on the Moon. Usually, the white part of the Moon that you see is lit by sunlight that reflects off of its surface. During a lunar eclipse, some sunlight reaches the Moon, but it first goes through the Earth’s atmosphere. Our atmosphere filters out most of the Sun’s blue light...


Mars gallery and map by Daniel Borcard

April 12th 2021 at 20:30

During this contest, Canadian astrophotographers have had ample opportunity to catch Mars in its full glory. The corresponding Photo of the Week contest submissions have certainly not disappointed the judges. Shooting from Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan, QuΓ©bec, Daniel Borcard stunned the panel with his exquisite Mars gallery and self-produced planetary map, winning Photo of the Week on December 18, 2020.


How do I see the zodiacal light?

April 12th 2021 at 20:00

In 1834, Canadian pioneer Catharine Parr Trail saw a strange sight in the sky: a β€œsplendid pillar of pale greenish light”, which she described as wider at the base than at the peak, according to the December 2017 issue of The Journal of The RASC. Trail was likely looking at a phenomenon known as the zodiacal light. We now know this strange light occurs when sunlight is reflected upon the dust...


Annular eclipse: June 10, 2021

April 12th 2021 at 08:00

A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon crosses between the Sun and the Earth. It blocks the Sun’s light briefly, casting a shadow on the Earth. When the Moon is smaller in our sky than the Sun, it creates an annular or β€œring of fire” eclipse, meaning a thin ring of sunlight occurs around the shadow of the Moon. For more on why this happens, check out Page 30 in the May/June 2021 edition of SkyNews.