Tuesday, 9 April 2013

The Star Streaking Sky of Northern Cape Breton

Did you know that Northern Cape Breton has the least amount of light pollution in all of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia? You can barely see our region from space even when it isn't Earth Hour! The Park, Meat Cove, the hill behind my house, and many other areas are naturally unlit: making Northern Cape Breton a great location for star gazing and watching meteor showers streak through the sky.

I spent  plenty of nights on my front step lounging with my good friend Michael MacKinnon star gazing, meteor gazing and dream gazing; we have looked to the night sky as children, teenagers, young men and now with our children who are just as amazed by the diamond, twinkling sky as we are. The beauty of a falling star on a cold winter's night streaking above the drift ice; the explosion of shooting star during an outdoor music festival at the Bay St. Lawrence Community Centre bringing a round of applause from the raucous revelers, and the argument over whether that is a big pot or big bear with my Belgium friend, are all fond memories of my amateur star gazing adventures.

In fact, one of the highlights of my Philadelphia family's summer vacation was enjoying the famous Perseids shower in August. Sitting on their deck at night, at the end of Money Point Road in Bay St. Lawrence, at the foot of the Highlands, on a cliff, above a rocky cove filled with pristine water and wandering whales, we'd chance the spotting of a Lynx, but were guaranteed a brilliant display of star-shooting majesty across an unending, unpolluted Cape Breton skyline.

I am excited. April showers bring nighttime photo opportunities: a spring meteor shower is coming this month on the weekend of April 21nd, the Lyrids Meteor Shower. The best part about the Lyrdis meteor shower, is that even if it is cloudy or raining a little, there is nothing more peaceful than sitting by the edge of a cliff, in the dark, staring out over the ocean, while gazing at the sky. There are many starry showers throughout the year. The only way to truly experience these showers is under the brilliance of the naturally lit sky, in the crisp clean, starlit air of Northern Cape Breton. I implore you to stay up late or get up early to enjoy the star-filled night-sky of Northern Cape Breton, especially when those stars are shooting, falling and dancing in the dark. 

Here is good website for Meteor Shower Guides for 2013:

Star Showers of the World


  1. One of the most amazing things I have seen is the Milky Way stretched out above the NE Lighthouse On St. Paul's Island. The nearest light source {other than the lighthouse, when it flashed} was way off in Bay St. Lawrence.

    1. The Milky Way above St. Paul's Island sounds like a beautiful site. I've seen plenty of beautiful night-skies when I've been out in the boat after dark, but there is just something majestic about St. Paul's Island that both words and pictures fail to capture.