Every summer the Bruce Peninsula Biosphere Association runs a free public outreach program that consists of star talks, and as many as 13 volunteer amateur astronomers who show the public objects in the night sky through their own telescopes. The Bayside Astronomy Program provides summer employment for students, cultural and scientific knowledge for seniors, students and the general public; and promotes protection and preservation of one of our most important assets, our dark skies. For how you can play your part to keep our Dark Sky Community dark --see our website for the pamphlet Dark Sky Friendly Lighting
The program is offered primarily at the Lion’s Head Marina on Fridays and Saturdays from July 1st weekend through to Labour Day weekend, as well as at Miller Family Camp on Mondays, Summer House Park on Wednesdays and Singing Sands Park on Sundays
The Biosphere also hires one to two university students who act as Program Managers and provide the star talks. They also write articles in the local press, sell raffle tickets for fund raising, manage and operate telescopes owned by the Biosphere, run the program at our remote locations and often fill in hours when the skies are cloudy by fighting Phragmites (thus also preserving the environment). They are mentored in science, writing, and public speaking by the Dark Sky Chair Mike Warkentin as well as our program leads Doug and Paula Cunningham.
For the past 8 years, this has been one of the most popular tourist attractions on the Bruce Peninsula, bringing in over 2500 people from all over the world, at no charge.
The experience provided to the students is priceless, and our student last year has since gone on to become a research assistant in astrophysics at the SNOLAB in Sudbury searching for solar neutrinos, a position she would never have received without her successful Bayside Experience.
In 2019 we hired 2 program managers for the first time (pictured: 2019 Program Manager Dhvani Doshi ) and also purchased a new 8” telescope for the program to shorten lineups at the scopes. Our Facebook page continues to provide educational material during the pandemic and we hope that the program will be back on track again in 2021 once we have a vaccine! Please join us next summer and “Be Starstruck”.
Please visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/baysideastronomy/, for updated scheduling and the theme of the week.
Would you like to see Saturn’s rings, or Apollo’s 11’s landing spot on the moon? Do the ideas of Star Nurseries, Planetary Nebula and Coloured Stars intrigue you? Do you want to know how to distinguish stars from the planets? Join us and discover the wonder and mystery of our Peninsula’s dark skies by taking part in the Biosphere’s Bayside Astronomy Program.
Every Friday and Saturday at dusk in the summertime at the Open Air POD (Peninsula Observation Deck) just steps from the Lion’s Head Marina. Telescopes and astronomers are on hand, eager to share their knowledge (and the sights) with you.
Sessions are offered in the summer at Miller Lake Campground on Monday nights and Summer House Campground on Wednesday nights. Additionally, we’re at the Bruce Peninsula National Park’s Singing Sands every Sunday night.
The program is lead by astronomers and former local teachers Doug and Paula Cunningham, who along with our dedicated volunteers and our summer students, provide their scientific knowledge and fascinating stories and myths about the night skies as they operate their scopes. Due to the generosity of our volunteer astronomers, Scotia Private Client Group, a grant from Canada Summer Jobs and Ridgewood Capital Asset Management, the Biosphere Association is able to offer the program at no charge. A bonus for you is that amateur astronomers bring their own telescopes so that these scopes combined with the Biosphere’s three telescopes means few or short lineups!! We are looking forward to seeing you, your guests and families at dusk during our beautiful summer evenings here on the Bruce.