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See the stars like you’ve never seen them before by visiting one of Canada’s Dark Sky Preserves – Edmonton Journal

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The Royal Astronomical Society has designated 20 Dark Sky Preserves in Canada. Thirteen of them are in the country’s national parks.


Hunter Bryant / Unsplash

If you’re like the majority of Canadians, you live in an urban area which means you rarely witness the glory of the night sky due to light pollution, but if you travel to one of the country’s Dark Sky Preserves, you will be awestruck by the celestial show above you.

Travelling even a relatively short distance from the city to escape the dome of light that blots out the stars overhead, you will begin to see the Milky Way and some of the astronomical delights overhead that have fascinated mankind for eons, but to truly see them in their full splendour, you have to get to a truly dark sky.

Thirteen of Canada’s national parks fit the bill as they are Dark Sky Preserves, locations where artificial lighting is rare and what exists is closely regulated to avoid the effects of light pollution. The Dark Sky designation is bestowed upon the preserves by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) and is defined as “an area in which no artificial lighting is visible and active measures are in place to educate and promote the reduction of light pollution to the public and nearby municipalities. Sky glow from beyond the borders of the Preserve will be of comparable intensity, or less, to that of natural sky glow.”

If you want to better appreciate the night sky, here are some of the more notable national park locations in Canada for star lovers.

Grasslands National Park (Saskatchewan)

Remote enough that it is nowhere near any major population centres and therefore immune to skyglow, Grasslands is the Dark Sky Preserve with the darkest skies in the country. Skyglow, which is caused by artificial light, is measurable and you can even do it with your smartphone. To learn about the impact of light pollution where you live, Globe at Night invites citizen-scientists to measure and submit their night sky readings.

Wood Buffalo National Park (Alberta/Northwest Territories)

Canada’s largest national park also happens to be Canada’s largest Dark Sky Preserve. Every year, the park hosts the Thebacha & Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival to encourage people to learn more about the sky above. There are telescope workshops for beginners and experienced stargazers, interesting guest speakers and Professor’s Quark’s Circus of Science for kids. This year’s festival is August 22 to 25, 2019. Oh, it’s also one of the best places in the country to watch the Northern Lights.

Waterton Lakes National Park (Alberta)

While 12 of Canada’s national parks are designated as Dark Sky Preserves, only Waterton-Glacier has the honour of being designated as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark Sky Association. As Canada’s only trans-border park, Waterton Lakes and America’s Glacier National Park also share honours of being an International Peace Park, Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parks Canada staff and volunteer astronomers host stargazing events with telescopes as well as theatre programs to better acquaint you with the night sky.

Jasper National Park (Alberta)

Jasper is a beautiful place in the daytime, but it’s equally beautiful at night when the stars come out and the night sky reveals its full beauty. In Jasper, October is Dark Sky Month and from October 18-27, 2019, the town and park play host to the Jasper Dark Sky Festival where an A-list lineup of scientists and guest speakers come to share their passion for the cosmos. Other festival events include star-watching parties, concerts under the stars, night photography workshops and lots more.

Fundy National Park (New Brunswick)

New Brunswick is blessed with several Dark Sky Preserves, including ones at Mount Carleton Provincial Park, Kouchibouguac National Park and Fundy National Park. It even has one of only two Urban Star Parks in the country at the Irving Nature Park in Saint John. At Fundy National Park, star lovers can come to the Fundy Star Party on August 30 and 31, 2019 to enjoy a guided walk through the stars with the New Brunswick chapter of the RASC.

Terra Nova National Park (Newfoundland)

Fort Walsh National Historic Site in Saskatchewan was the first Parks Canada property to be designated a Dark Sky Preserve back in 2004, but new ones are still being added with Newfoundland’s Terra Nova National Park joining the club in 2018. On August 23 and 24, 2019, visitors are invited to join the St. John’s Chapter of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada for their Dark Sky Celebration.

Bruce Peninsula National Park (Ontario)

On a good night, residents of Canada’s largest city can see about 30 stars in the night sky, but if they head north to cottage country, thousands of stars gradually become visible. If they make the four-hour drive to Bruce Peninsula National Park, they can experience the closest Dark Sky Preserve to Toronto. Another nearby option is Point Pelee National Park.

– Mark Stachiew is a Montreal-based freelance writer who shares travel news and tips at www.stachiew.com and curates a collection of cool travel gear at www.jetsetgeneration.com.

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Fireball over Japan part of larger asteroid that might one day hit Earth – Newshub

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Watch: A mission to Bennu, an asteroid many believe will hit the Earth, is currently underway. Credits: Video – Newshub; Image – Arecibo Observatory

A fireball that lit up the Japanese skies in 2017 was a part of a big one which might one day slam into Earth, scientists have worked out.

The asteroid that burned up in the atmosphere over Kyoto in April that year was smaller than a ping pong ball, but its parent 2003 YT1 is about 2km across – the length of Auckland’s Queen St. 

Astronomers in Japan wanted to know where the tiny asteroid of 2017 came from, so mapped its trajectory closely – and found it matched up with 2003 YT1.

The mother asteroid was discovered in 2003, and orbits the sun in the same region of space as Earth. It’s classified as a potentially hazardous object, with a 6 percent chance of hitting the Earth sometime in the next 10 million years.

It’s not clear how the baby split off 2003 YT1, but as the latter is a loose clump of rocks that spins around every couple of hours, astronomers say it’s possible it was just flung into space.

2003 YT1 is so big it even has its own moon, which is wide enough to fit a couple of rugby fields. 

It was deemed a minor planet in 2007, but is yet to be given a catchier name. 

The astronomers’ findings were detailed in a paper uploaded to arxiv.org last week.

Newshub.

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Asteroid alert: Astronomer spots a 'potentially hazardous' 990m rock flying towards Earth – Express.co.uk

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According to the astronomer, anyone with a 200mm telescope should be able to spot the rock on Friday.

But does the “potentially hazardous” asteroid pose any threat to the safety of the planet?

NASA said: “An individual’s chance of being killed by a meteorite is small, but the risk increases with the size of the impacting comet or asteroid, with the greatest risk associated with global catastrophes resulting from impacts of objects larger than one kilometre.

“NASA knows of no asteroid or comet currently on a collision course with Earth, so the probability of a major collision is quite small.

“In fact, as best as we can tell, no large object is likely to strike the Earth any time in the next several hundred years.”

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Christina Koch and Jessica Meir Execute First All-Woman Spacewalk – Science Times

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(Photo : NASA)

Friday, Oct. 18—NASA makes history once again as astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch become the first to participate in an all-women spacewalk.

The walk, streamed live by NASA on Youtube and on NASA television, lasted for seven hours and seventeen minutes. This included a five-minute call from US President Donald Trump, where he congratulated the two women for this historic achievement.

The pair was successful in replacing a power controller that failed after the installation of new lithium-ion batteries last Oct. 11 in the International Space Station’s truss structure. They also made preparations for future spacewalks.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan assisted the spacewalkers. Morgan provided airlock and spacesuit support while Parmitano controlled the Candarm-2, ISS’s robotic arm.

Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya was the first woman to conduct a spacewalk, about 35 years ago. Now, Koch and Meir make history for being part of the first all-women spacewalk. This occurs more than 50 years after humanity’s first steps on the moon. NASA astronaut Tracy Dyson hopes that this would be just a first and that this instance could become a common occurrence in the future.

“In the past, women haven’t always been at the table,” says Koch in an interview. “It’s wonderful to be contributing to the space program at a time when all contributions are being accepted when everyone has a role.” Koch also comments on how historical moments like this inspires and motivate people, which is an important aspect of this story.

Koch and Meir were part of NASA’s class of 2013, where there was a total of eight astronaut trainees. This class was notable for having an equal number of males and females in the class—a first for NASA. Six years later, NASA has 12 female astronauts and 26 male astronauts within its ranks.

This historic moment happened later than it’s supposed to be. Back in March, Koch was scheduled to participate in a spacewalk with colleague Anne McClain, but NASA had to postpone the mission after realizing that they didn’t have appropriately sized spacesuits for the two. This story created a lot of buzzes—even inspiring a Saturday Night Live skit. This delay, many believed, highlighted the challenges women face in space exploration, and, to an extent, in the scientific community.

Anne McClain is a classmate of Koch and Meir for NASA’s class of 2013 and is the first openly LGBT astronaut in space. Out of the class’s four female astronauts, their classmate Nicole Mann remains to be the only one who’s yet to participate in a spacewalk. Mann is currently assigned to Boe-CFT, the first test flight of the Boeing CSG-100 Starliner, which is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program

A 30-minute in-space news conference will be held on Monday, Oct. 21, to review the first all-women spacewalk. Both Koch and Meir will participate in this conference while on-orbit. Viewers may watch the conference, which will be aired live on NASA Television and on their website.

©2017 ScienceTimes.com All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science times.

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