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Dark Sky Viewing Area | Print |

About

Southern Ontario, the most populous part of Canada, is rapidly losing its dark skies. The glare of city lights makes it increasingly difficult to witness the unimpeded beauty of the night sky.

Luckily for stargazers, astrophotographers and astronomers, there is Lennox & Addington County.

Located just a few kilometres north of Erinsville near the Sheffield Conservation Area, the L&A County Dark Sky Viewing Area is the most southerly point in Ontario where the night sky is so pristine, offering a night sky experience very similar to what was available more than 100 years ago.

The site includes a large concrete pad for camera or telescope setup, or placement of lawn chairs for general stargazing. While the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area is ideal for amateur astronomers and astrophotographers, it is designed for anyone wishing to observe the natural wonder of the stars.

The viewing area is open from dusk until dawn, and you need not make reservations - just come and enjoy. Enthusiasts from near and far are encouraged to bring along binoculars or a telescope and witness - perhaps for the first time - how the night sky is meant to be seen.

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Tips for stargazers visiting the site...

1. For ideal conditions during your visit at the L&A County Dark Sky Viewing Area, choose an evening following a day with deep blue skies which indicates low humidity and clear air.

2. As pretty as the moon is, for dark sky viewing with lots of stars and views of the Milky Way, choose a moonless or close to moonless night.

3. Bring binoculars or a telescope if you have one. A reclining lawn chair is an ideal accessory, along with warm clothing and a blanket.

4. It really is dark, so bring a SMALL, DIM flashlight to see where you are walking.

 

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7980 County Road 41, Erinsville
N 44° 33’32.92  W 77° 06’59.61

Find out about our current dark sky
viewing conditions by visiting:

ClearDarkSky.com
TheWeatherNetwork.com
Moonrise, Moonset & Phase Calendar
Spot the Station - ISS Tracker
This Week's Sky on SkyNews

Find us:
facebook_s

For more information:

Tel: 613-354-4883
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

'Best of Ontario' for
'Places to See the Stars'

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Portable washroom facilities
are now available!

 

 

Directions


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L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area
7980 County Road 41, Erinsville

From Highway 401:

  • Take Exit 579 (Napanee, Kaladar)
  • Head NORTH along County Road 41 for 36 kilometres.
  • You will pass through the communities of Selby, Roblin and Erinsville.
  • The L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area will be on your LEFT, just before the entrance to the Sheffield Conservation Area.

 

From Highway 7:

  • Upon reaching Kaladar, head SOUTH at the intersection of County Road 41 and Highway 7.
  • Follow County Road 41 for 11 kilometres.
  • The L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area will be on your RIGHT, just past the entrance to the Sheffield Conservation Area.

 

VIEW THE LOCATION IN
GOOGLE MAPS...


Light Pollution Map

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Above is a light-pollution intensity map based on satellite data. White and red areas have intense light pollution while black regions contain minimal pollution. The map shows that the L&A County Dark Sky Viewing Area is located within the minimal pollution area, making it the most southerly location to view truly dark skies in Ontario.

Map courtesy P. Cinzano, F. Falchi (University of Padova)


Photos

Terence Dickinson is one of Canada's leading astronomers and science writers and lives in Lennox & Addington County. Editor of the popular SkyNews magazine, Mr. Dickinson has also written fourteen books - including the very popular Nightwatch: A Practical Guide to Viewing the Universe. The publications are widely regarded as some of the best resources available for beginners in astronomy.

Mr. Dickinson was a strong advocate and provided invaluable knowledge to the creation of the Lennox & Addington County Dark Sky Viewing Area. Below is a selection of amazing photographs taken by Mr. Dickinson from the site.

 

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"Our Galaxy's Core"
by Terence Dickinson

"The Night Sky"
by Terence Dickinson

"Starry Starry Night"
 by Terence Dickinson

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"Dr. David Levy at L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area"
by Terence Dickinson
"Centre of the Milky Way Galaxy"
by Terence Dickinson
"Couple Observing the Universe"
by Terence Dickinson

More L&A Photos

The "Shoot the Stars in L&A County" photo contest was held in 2010. More than 50 high quality entries were received, and all were taken within the borders of Lennox & Addington, confirming that L&A is a premier location for shooting the night skies.

Below are the top 6 photos that were received. Click on each image to enlarge.

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"The Way" by Dave Deacon

"Polaris over Yarker" by Jay Dearborn

"Starhouse" by Troy Johnson

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"Night Falls" by Dave Harachka

"Funnel of Stars" by Jefta Monster

"Orion" by Malcolm Park

Dark Sky Highlights

THIS WEEK'S SKY

Compiled by SkyNews Magazine, learn about upcoming celestial events by visiting www.skynews.ca/this-weeks-sky. Also be sure to check out the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area on Facebook for news and details specific to the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area


TERENCE DICKINSON RECEIVES L&A COUNTY AWARD FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

Terence Dickinson received the Lennox & Addington Award for Lifetime Achievement in a location he helped to create.  At a special ceremony held at the L&A Dark Sky Viewing Area, Mr. Dickinson accepted the award amongst colleagues, family and friends... read more >>>

 

DR. DAVID LEVY VISITS THE DARK SKY VIEWING AREA

Dr. David Levy, one of the most successful comet discoverers in history, recently visited the Lennox & Addington County Dark Sky Viewing Area. "It was one of the darkest skies I've ever seen from southern Ontario," he said of his June visit... read more >>

 

TESTIMONIALS

 

AMATEUR STARGAZER LOVES THE DSVA

 My first time at Dark Sky Viewing Area was last year (2013) in April. It was cold and the moon was kind of out, and it was kinda lonely, BUT I had the time of my life! I was hooked and drove 3 hours from Brampton weekend in and weekend out during the summer. As the viewing population grew I had a greater time talking to knowledgeable people or educating those who didn't know. The area itself is nicely paved and has a line showing true north for those who need to know. It really is a jewel of darkness surrounded by light pollution. I can't wait to go back! Especially recommended when there is events there. You can learn alot from one of the best in the business. Mr Terence Dickinson.

Jason Bramble, Brampton

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REGULAR VISITOR DURING METEOR SHOWERS

We love the Dark Sky Viewing Area!  We have had a chance to see couple of meteor showers. We try to make it the past 2 years during summer! I love to lie down with my family and watch the stars and the magic they create! The meteors. Oh... our best was one where we counted almost 100 meteors !! Awesome experience!

Rupa Singhania

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IT’S WORTH THE DRIVE

After reading your article about the new Lennox & Addington County Dark Sky Viewing Area, I decided to check it out. I am from Ottawa, and as stated in the article, it is becoming more and more difficult to find accessible dark areas that are open to the public late at night for stargazing. I must say that I was impressed with how easy it was to find the Lennox & Addington site and how dark the skies are there. I took several photographs that night and plan to return.

Adam Moncrieff, Ottawa
From November/December 2012 issue of SkyNews Magazine

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DARK SITE REPORT

Here are my impressions of my first visit to the Lennox & Addington County Dark Sky Viewing Area described in the September/October SkyNews. After checking The Weather Network’s forecast for the nearby village of Tamworth and the Clear Sky Chart for the L&A County dark site (http://cleardarksky.com/c/LnAStONkey.html?1), I decided to book a room at a motel near Napanee and make the drive from Hamilton, with the intention of enjoying two nights of observing at the site.

I was not disappointed. This is a wonderful location with a nearly unobstructed view in all directions. As an example, I was able to see the rich Scorpius star cluster M7 when it was only about seven degrees above the horizon.

Expecting, but not necessarily wanting, to be on my own at the site that night, I was pleasantly surprised when a father and son from Stoney Creek, Ontario—a three-hour drive away—pulled in. They had been there the previous night and were busily setting up for an astrophoto session on their final night.

On my second night, three enthusiasts pulled in with nothing more than lawn chairs and a pair of 25mm binoculars. They simply wanted to enjoy the naked-eye view. Although I had observing plans for the night, I got just as much pleasure out of letting them look through my 10-inch Newtonian scope and showing them how to find certain objects in the sky. The view of the Andromeda Galaxy and its companion galaxies, M32 and M110—all contained within a two-degree eyepiece field—resulted in several “wows!” Using the binoculars, one member of the trio was overjoyed at being able to find, on her own, the double cluster in Perseus, the Andromeda Galaxy and M33. Meanwhile, a couple from Belleville showed up with their NexStar 6. They were soon in GoTo heaven. This was beginning to turn into a small star party. A great time under a very dark sky was enjoyed by all.

The smooth, concrete observing platform has room for 7 to 10 telescopes, and an equal amount of fairly flat ground surrounding the observing platform is just as useful for setting up. I highly recommend this observing site to anyone who wants to escape light pollution and observe under the night sky as it was meant to be seen. It’s a three-hour drive for me, but I plan to make that drive on a regular basis in the future.

Eric Shepherd, Hamilton
From November/December 2012 issue of SkyNews Magazine

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SITE OFFERS VERY EASY PUBLIC ACCESS FOR DARK MAG 6.5+ SKIES

I was only able to get one night out of this year's Orionids near their peak, but it was a good, productive session. I went to the new L&A County Public Dark Site near Kaladar.  Located next to Highway 41, it offers very easy public access for dark mag 6.5+ skies, and I was curious to see this spot even though it's a fairly long 2 hour drive.  When I arrived early to set up, the sky was solidly overcast.  The predicted clearing eventually came much later, after 11pm.  By then, I could go ahead and set up my cameras and equipment just as the Moon was setting.  I was surprised to see four other observers join me (from Ottawa, Belleville and even as far away as Montreal).  One of them showed up after 2am to enjoy the winter constellations.  It was a nice night, with average (3/5) transparency, and a gegenshein barely visible happening to be in the darkest part of the sky.  The temperature was comfortable except for a humidity rise (with dewing/frost) near the end.  I faced the south-east and kept my field of view centred at 50 degrees for the entire night.  It was a good night with activity seen from every active source.  With five hours of recording, I got a total of 144 meteors (82 Orionids, 12 North Taurids, 8 South Taurids, 7 Epsilon Geminids, 5 Leo Minorids and 30 sporadics).  My general impression was that of a very typical Orionid return.  A lot of faint stuff.  Only two negative magnitude Orionids were seen.  The best meteor appeared at 2am EDT.  It was a very impressive golden-yellow mag -3 Leo Minorid that shot 40 degrees into the south, leaving behind a 2 sec train.  It was bright enough to capture the attention of other observers who were busy with their scopes or cameras.

Pierre Martin, Ottawa

 

Travel Deals

L&A County Travel Deals

Back again for another vacation season, Lennox & Addington County has put together some exciting deals to help you save a few dollars when visiting our great county. A number of our great accommodation providers are offering discounts when you spend the night in L&A.

Beginning this May, quote code "L&A 2014" when making reservations (by telephone only) at any of the locations listed on our "Travel Deals" page to receive a special discount or deal. Whe you check in, you'll also receive some information about fun things to do in the area during your stay.

Whether you're visiting Lennox & Addington for our great cycling, motorcycling, dark skies, geocaching, or whatever else - you qualify for the travel deal!

Check often for updates and information!

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O'Neill's Cottages & Campground

200 North Beaver Lake Road, Erinsville
Telephone: 613-379-5111
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it (email communiciation preferred)
Website


O’Neill’s Cottages & Campground is a small, family owned and operated business located on beautiful shores of Beaver Lake near Erinsville, Ontario. Only 11 km to the south of the L&A County Dark Sky Viewing Area, it is the closest camping option available. If you are looking for quiet, family-oriented activities to do during the day while you wait for night to fall, then this is the perfect place for you. Fish, swim, boat, or just lounge around while reading SkyNews Magazine before you head to the Dark Sky Viewing Area to take in the wonder of the stars at night. There are a limited number of rough campsites available for rental, so please call ahead to check availability and to make reservations.

 

Eat, Shop, Stay & Play

Dining

Lennox & Addington County offers dining choices to suit any taste. With dozens of dining establishments offering delicious home-cooked meals to fine dining opportunities and everything in between, our restaurants will be sure to satisfy your cravings.

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Shopping

When you visit Lennox & Addington County, enjoy a relaxing pace in the backdrop of inspiring heritage and rural charm. Our towns, villages and hamlets each have their own unique attributes and shopping opportunities. Plan a great shopping day in L&A County.

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Accommodations

Looking for a comfortable night's stay in a spacious hotel or a cozy bed & breakfast? Or maybe you would like to experience a rustic camping adventure. Whatever you're searching for, L&A County has a wide range of options that we're sure will work for you.

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Attractions

When visiting Lennox & Addington County, be sure to take the time to visit some of our great local attractions. From scenic gardens to historic tours and everything in between, we're sure you'll find something fun to keep you entertained.

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N 44° 33’32.92

W 77° 06’59.61
 

© 2014 L & A Tourism
County of Lennox & Addington
97 Thomas Street East
Napanee, ON K7R 4B9
CANADA
tourism@lennox-addington.on.ca
T: 613.354.4883
F: 613.354.3112