Star Gazing Parties

2013 Star Parties: 12-14 July and 9-11 August

Gaze at the sky at ARO like you have never experienced it before. Observatory's 8" Newtonian telescope to explore the heavens or bring your own equipment to capture stunning shots of planets and astronomic events. Enjoy the natural beauty of Algonquin Park while you set up your equipment by day and star gaze by night. Star gazing parties are held at the Observatory during the summer months. 


Day 1: Arrive ARO, Dinner

Drive through the picturesque North East of the park. Collect a vehicle permit at the Sand Lake Gate office at Kilometer 15 on Lake Travers Rd. Continue to the Observatory located at Kilometer 72. Guests are advised to plan to arrive in the early afternoon and before dusk when driving conditions can be more challenging and moose and other wildlife are more active on the road. Settle in to your room and enjoy dinner at the observatory house. After dinner, watch the original 1968 documentary on the construction of the observatory.

Day 2: Observatory Tour, Star Party

Enjoy a continental breakfast before exploring the observatory surrounds in the morning. Follow the walking trails to see the rapids on the Petawawa river, explore the ruins of the Turtle club lodge build J. R. Booth family in 1933, look for wildlife or relax on the observatory's sandy beach. Guests may also use the Observatory's kayaks and canoes to explore Lake Travers. 

In the afternoon, take our 90 minute behind the scenes tour of the Observatory including Canada's largest radio telescope, the 46m Thoth antenna and our atomic clock. After dinner, take in an informal talk on the observatory by one of the staff or visiting scientists. As night falls, gaze at the sky unimpeded by city light pollution. Weather and season permitting, see the Milky way, planets, stars and galaxies though the observatory's 8" optical refractor telescope. 

Day 3: Breakfast, Depart ARO

Enjoy a continental breakfast before departing the observatory. 

For pricing information on this package, please click here. Reservations are required in all cases. To reserve a room, phone Thoth's booking line 1 (905) 713-2884. Or, send an email with your requested dates and the number of people in your party to: aro@thoth.ca.

A guest's observing log

Here is an excerpt from one observers log:

H M13, the globular cluster in Hercules, was very easy with the unaided eye and mag 6.3 stars were distinct using direct vision with stars of 7th magnitude visible with averted vision.

The Milky Way, our home Galaxy was a bright neon white band always visible out of the corner of my eye no matter where I was looking.

The Merope Nebula in the Pleiades, M45, was not only visible but showed extended detail out past the chain of stars which is remarkable considering how low it was at 2 am.

The Helix Nebulae, our closest planetary nebulae, in Aquarius appeared like a giant version of M57, using an OIII filter showed a brilliant, bright smoke ring with annular detail Iíve only seen in photos.

I used my 5-inch refractor to hunt down IC1795 from the RASC Challenge Objects List; this object is listed as requiring at least 8-inches of aperture to see under a good sky.

Chris Beckett, Kitchener Waterloo RASC National Representative.

See Martian surface features (season permitting).