Ottawa·Audio

#Popscope's amateur astronomers stargaze across Ottawa

The Ottawa chapter of a semi-regular pop-up stargazing club shared in views of the skies with passersby at its latest meeting in Hintonburg Square.

'We basically just grab our telescopes whenever ... and set up shop on the corner of the street'

Adrian Ocneanu sets up a telescope in Hintonburg Square. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Adrian Ocneanu sets up his telescope at twilight as other stargazing enthusiasts trickle into in Hintonburg Square for the latest pop-up astronomy workshop.

The group is called #Popscope and the goal is to share in views of the skies with members, as well as those who wander by the public set-up by happenstance.

"We basically just grab our telescopes whenever, every now and then, and set up shop on the corner of the street," he said Thursday at the latest event in Hintonburg. "We just gather around and do this for fun."

Folks walking by might stop with the intention of a quick peek through a telescope but end up staying much longer, Ocneanu said.

"They just don't want to go anywhere and we just start chatting," he said. "I've heard so many intimate stories, I could say, from people I probably won't meet ever again. It's unexpected."

Astronomy lovers take part in stargazing in different locations across Ottawa as part of the group #Popscope. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

Ocneanu said looking up "from this little rock of ours" helps put the universe into sharper focus.

"We live this long," he said, snapping his fingers.

"It feels like it's a long time, human life. It's not. And to be sitting here on this little pebble, marble in space, suspended in nothingness, going around some star, and to have the conscious(ness), to have the brains to grasp it — that's the mind boggling part."

The group was looking at craters on the moon, as well as Jupiter, Mars and Saturn on Thursday.

Ocneanu said it's necessary to do a bit of "urban navigating" around buildings to see the planets.

Popscope will set up a telescope on Bank Street during Glowfair on June 17-18.

Listen to the full story on #Popscope with Giacomo Panico on CBC Radio's In Town And Out.

A group of amateur astronomers set up telescope pop-ups in urban Ottawa, then invite passers-by to get a closer look at the night sky. 8:15