New Brunswick

Stargazers search out other worlds at Fundy National Park

Nearly 1,000 professional and amateur astronomers made the trek to Fundy National Park in search of celestial stars and wandering planets during the summer.

The increasingly popular event may mean big things for the hobby at the park in the future

According to park staff, nearly 1,000 amateur and professional astronomers, including David Leeman, made their way to Fundy National Park for the annual stargazing party over the summer. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Nearly 1,000 professional and amateur astronomers made the trek to Fundy National Park this summer in search of celestial stars and wandering planets. 

Day and night time viewings of the skies proved to be the most popular it has ever been in the six year history of the park's stargazing party.

"We had closing in on a 1,000 people that participated in all the activities over the weekend," said Denis Doucet with Fundy Park. "It's been a real success from our point of view. Weather certainly helped, but I mean it's been growing in popularity every year as well."

Denis Doucet, of Fundy National Park, says this weekends event was the most successful in its six year history. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Dozens of telescopes were on-hand for the different events that spanned three days of the Labour Day long weekend. While stargazers benefited from the clear skies and favourable weather, astronomers say the park itself is part of the reason for excellent viewing conditions. 

Dark sky reserve

"It's a dark sky reserve," said David Leeman with the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. "That means no lights. Where there are no lights, or light pollution, your stars, galaxies, and the Milky Way all stand out much better."   

Leeman, who has been searching the skies for worlds far beyond our own for years says that the annual get together lets even small children enjoy what's far from earth. 

"We were looking at Mars, Saturn, the Andromeda galaxy, star clusters, nebulae, just a whole bunch of things." 

Doucet said the hobby has proven so popular for the park that they hope to have a new viewing platform installed for next year's event. 

"As it's Canada's 150th we also might have some other things in store for stargazers," said Doucet. "But the large circular viewing platform will be a highlight."

Dozens of telescopes of varying power could be found at Fundy National Park for the stargazing party this weekend. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Shane Fowler

Reporter

Shane Fowler has been a CBC journalist based in Fredericton since 2013.

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