May 28th, 2024

Try the night sky for a break from COVID concerns

By Submitted Article on April 1, 2020.

Gary Boyle


As we try to cope with the COVID-19 crisis, we must find ways to reduce stress levels and anxiety. Aside from listening to online music and reading books, try stepping outside on a clear night and drink in the night sky.

The celestial landscape had been the entertainment of civilizations for thousands of years before the invention of the telescope in 1608. The next clear night, look for the brilliant planet Venus high in the western sky. Follow the movement of the moon as it moves across the sky from night to night. Try your hand at photography with a digital camera (pixels are free). There are many smartphone apps to help with constellation recognition.

Better yet, try to head out of town to country skies on a clear, moonless night. Looking up at the canopy of 2,000 stars in awe and amazement helps clear the mind. The power of experiencing nature firsthand cannot be put into words, it must be experienced.

Amongst an array of online entertainment, the Ottawa Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada (RASC) will be delivering its monthly meeting via Zoom Webinar on Friday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. EDT and you are invited to tune in. A link to the RASC and register with Zoom is found on my website:

Known as “The Backyard Astronomer,” Gary Boyle is an astronomy educator, guest speaker and monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He has been interviewed on more than 50 Canadian radio stations and local Ottawa TV. In recognition of his public outreach in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union has honoured him with the naming of Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle. Follow him on Twitter: @astroeducator or his website:

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