Welcome to the chronicles of a sidewalk astronomer in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
Sidewalk astronomy is done all over the world, usually by amateur astronomers who take their telescopes out to public places to show people the Sun, the Moon, the planets and more, all free of charge. Sidewalk astronomers not only want people to enjoy the views in the telescope; they want people to learn a little about our universe and our place within it.
This website provides a window into my journey as a sidewalk astronomer in Charlottetown. Along the way I hope I can help people find something which encourages them to take up the hobby, to enjoy the wonder and mystery of all the skies have to offer, and to share it with others. Perhaps something on this site will inspire you to turn your eyes to the heavens and let your mind and imagination explore all the possibilities. Come with me, and enjoy the skies above us.
To begin the voyage, you must decide that you will observe when Mother Nature permits, and not when you want to or when you schedule it on your calendar. Whether you gaze into space with your naked eye, with binoculars or with a telescope, clouds, wind, rain, cold, snow, dust-storms and myriad of other quirks of nature can prevent you enjoying the experience. Resolve to be flexible and take advantage of clear skies.
Here are a few things to do before you head out on your adventure into the cosmos.
The Clear Sky Chart is an astronomer’s forecast. At a glance, it shows when it will be cloudy or clear for up to the next two days. It is a prediction when Charlottetown, PEI will have good weather for astronomical observing. Check the Clear Sky Chart website for your location.
Don’t forget to check your local weather forecasts too. Sometimes they can be more recent than the Clear Sky Chart.
If you are star-gazing, you might want to check the moon phase. A full moon can easily wash out many of the dimmer objects you might otherwise see.
If you are a solar observer using a properly filtered telescope, take a look at Old Sol’s activity.
Now print off an evening star map (I suggest Skymaps.com) , use a planisphere or get a good astronomy book, and go outside to explore the universe.