By James Pugsley
(YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES) Astronomy North volunteers hit the summer camp circuit in Yellowknife this year, inviting kids of all ages to discover the size of the solar system. A street map of Yellowknife became the ideal learning tool for this exercise, and a 1:430,000,000 scale model of the Sun and planets fit nicely on top of the community, with the Sun resting on the gymnasium floor of the Multiplex, Yellowknife’s community recreation facility. Kids were keen to put things into perspective, and learned the sizes of planets, as well as how far away they would be if the Sun was the size of a beach ball. In this illustration, we explored the distances to the Outer Planets if the Sun was the size of a beach ball (approximately 40 cm). It was a ton of fun, and faces were quickly filled with wonder. Nice work, team!
(YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES) The Astronomy North Society is setting up the ultimate outpost for northern skywatchers on Twitter! Beginning Monday, September 1, join AuroraMAX Photographer, Northern Sky Educator, Aurora Forecaster and Astronomy North Founder James Pugsley for the launch of Ice Road Astronomers, an exciting new Twitter feed for ice road astronomers in northern Canada and Alaska. This is the ultimate feed for northern sky enthusiasts, featuring aurora forecasting, nowcasting and photography, live tweets during geomagnetic storms, useful information about upcoming celestial events and tips on how to explore the northern sky when its -40° outside! Ice Road Astronomers unite next Monday night on Twitter!
(YELLOWKNIFE, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES) Well, the midnight sun has returned, which means the aurora forecasters at Astronomy North can finally get some much-needed sleep. In mid-May our aurora forecast shuts down for the summer, however keen aurora fans should still check the skies after midnight – it is still possible to observe brief outbursts of active auroras in May, June and July if the timing is right. Looking ahead, the Yellowknife Aurora Forecast will return in mid August when Canada’s northern sky is once again dark enough to see faint stars and diffuse auroras. Have a great summer, and thank you for following our forecast!
ECLIPSE AND AURORAS • On April 15, 2014 AuroraMAX cameras captured rare footage of a total lunar eclipse and the aurora borealis above Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. This time-lapse video was recorded over 3.5 hours and features the entire lunar eclipse and a collection of celestial treasures that are normally hidden by moonlight. Watch as totality reveals wave upon wave of diffuse and pulsating auroras, dozens of satellites, millions of stars and our neighbouring planet Mars (hovering a few degrees above and to the right of the moon). The darkness lasted for approximately an hour before the moon emerged from behind the Earth to once again flood the sky with light.