Photos: Stars From Space

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 12, 2013 – 5:51 pm -

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are avid stargazers just like the rest of us down here on Earth- expect they have a much more exotic perch to watch the stars.

Check out some of the cooler shots of familiar constellations and star clusters posted on social media by the residents of the orbiting laboratory.   Surprisingly the astronauts use regular off-the-shelf DSLR cameras to capture the starry sky and the results are really incredible.

Visit my photo gallery at National Geographic News.


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Video: Weekly Space News Interview

Written by The Night Sky Guy on November 18, 2012 – 3:18 pm -

Check out some of the cool space news coming out this week I highlight on my weekly CTV News channel interview.


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Space Station and Planets Galore!

Written by The Night Sky Guy on June 23, 2012 – 6:00 pm -

Next couple of night are great for spotting the International Space Station making flyovers right across North America. Best of all you don’t need a telescope or binoculars to see it – and you don’t have to be in the dark countryside either. You can watch it glide over your driveway or backyard even in big cities! How cool is that?

You can go to my Sky Tonight page and scroll down to the city links to get your personal viewing timetable OR you can go to spaceweather.com and enter your zip code or postal code and you can generate your timetable.  It’s as easy as that.

And if that ain’t enough… here is this week’s Night Sky episode too…now all you need are some clear skies and you are set ;-)

Don’t forget you can always get late-breaking, instant stargazing news anytime by joining my fanpage on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or get email alerts sent directly to your inbox


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Meteor Shower this Weekend

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 20, 2012 – 5:21 pm -

Skywatchers should get ready for some April showers but of a cosmic kind. This weekend should offer the best view of the Lyrid meteor shower in years, with a dark moonless night during the peak of the annual sky show.

The annual Lyrid meteor shower is set to peak overnight from April 21 into April 22, and with the moon out of sight at that time, it should make for great viewing under dark skies.

Lyrids is expected to produce modest number of  shooting stars -  falling at rates of 15 to 20 per hour – with the best performance centered  between 2 am and 4 am on April 22.

Read the rest of my viewer’s guide to the Lyrid meteor shower at National Geographic News.

Skywatching EXTRAS: If you do get stuck in the light polluted city and/or get clouded out this weekend for the sky show then you can still experience the Lyrids virtually at least with NASA. The Space Agency will have all sky cameras looking out for shooting stars during the overnight period and will also have a meteor expert on hand to can answer any of your questions.

According to the NASA website, “If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an early spring weekend, make plans to stay “up all night” with NASA experts to watch the Lyrids brighten the skies. On Saturday, April 21, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. EDT — meteor experts Dr. Bill Cooke, Danielle Moser and Rhiannon Blaauw from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will answer your questions about the Lyrids via a live Web chat.”

Here’s the the NASA link.

Also while you are making those wishes on all those shooting stars, watch out for the International Space Station too.  The orbiting lab will be making flybys over most North American and European cities the next few evenings too.  To get your viewing times for your neck of the woods then click here.


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Spot the Space Station in the Sky

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 13, 2012 – 5:30 pm -

Tonight and over the next few nights are great opportunities to see the International Space Station  fly over your backyard looking like a superbright star zipping across the heavens. In fact it should look like the brightest object in the night sky after only the moon and comparable to planet Venus in the west!  Generally the passes will last a couple of minutes and it will appear like an unblinking, bright, white star gliding across the sky  Exact viewing times and directions of where you will see the station in the sky depends on your location – they are different for each city or town.

iss-visibilitytable-explanationSo best thing to do is click on the Space Station icon on the right-hand sidebar or go to my Sky Tonight page and click on your city of choice or choose Elsewhere, and get your customized viewing table.

For an explanation of how to read your viewing timetable chart click on the image to the left. It is a sample chart for Toronto that gives you a brief rundown on what the main sections mean.

If you have never seen the station now is a good time to find it because it will be so bright in the sky.


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New Night Sky episode

Written by The Night Sky Guy on October 29, 2011 – 4:20 pm -

This week’s spot highlights Jupiter’s close encounter with Earth, inner planets play peekaboo after sunset and the space station makes evening flybys. What more do you want for Halloween weekend.


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Space Station Spotting

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 9, 2011 – 12:58 am -

Over the course of the next week or so the International Space Station will be  making bright flybys in the early morning hours up until dawn. Making it a grand sight is that construction is so near completion that the station is about as big as a football field so that it is very reflective to sunlight, making it superbright in the sky.

Just look for a bright white star glide across the starry sky in a out 2 to 4 minutes. Click on the Space Station icon on the right-hand sidebar or go to my Sky Tonight page and click on your city of choice or choose Elsewhere, and get your customized viewing table.

click image to enlarge

click image to enlarge

For an explanation of how to read your viewing timetable chart click on the image to the left. It is a sample chart for Toronto that gives you a brief rundown on what the main sections mean.

Amazingly there are times when the Sun hits the station just the right angle  making it brighten to levels that surpass the most brilliant star or planet – meaning only the Sun and Moon are only brighter! For skywatchers like you and me this means that it is really easy to spot even from within city limits – as long as you don’t have buildings blocking your way. How cool is that! The ISS will be best place for anyone living in North America and Europe so enjoy the show!


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New Night Sky Episode

Written by The Night Sky Guy on January 9, 2011 – 5:41 pm -

This week highlights catching the planets Mercury, Jupiter and the Moon, as well as spotting the International Space Station above your backyard.


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Weekend Sky Show

Written by The Night Sky Guy on July 2, 2010 – 4:01 pm -

Haven’t seen the space station yet? What are you waiting for! There has been no better time to catch sight of the 400 tonne orbiting laboratory fly above your backyard. You can see the International space station multiple times on any clear night the next few evenings. For more details check out my National Geographic article on spotting the station.

Check out my pictures I took of the ISS as it flew over my Montreal suburb home yesterday,  July 1st.

Space Station appears bright despite the blinding street lights in front of my suburban home. Making it even more interesting is the fact that this is looking towards downtown montreal - the ISS still is easy to spot.  Credit: Andrew Fazekas, Canon 450D, 400 ASA, 20s.

Space Station appears bright despite the blinding street lights in front of my suburban home. Making it even more interesting is the fact that this is looking towards downtown Montreal - the ISS still is easy to spot. Credit: Andrew Fazekas, Canon 450D, 400 ASA, 20s.

Space Station passing above my house on Canada Day, July 1st. Credit: Andrew Fazekas

Space Station passing above my house on Canada Day, July 1st. Credit: Andrew Fazekas


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Spy the Space Station

Written by The Night Sky Guy on April 30, 2010 – 3:29 pm -

All this weekend and throughout next week try and grab the next clear night and head outside to watch the International Space Station zip across your skies above. If you are lucky you may even be able to catch it twice in one night! This is one skywatching event you don’t need binoculars or telescopes to enjoy and you can even see it from light polluted city centres.  If you have never seen a satellite before this will be a great opportunity because the orbiting labs trajectory will take it up very high in the sky making it easy to see above buildings and trees. Also making it a grand sight is that construction is so near completion that the station is about as big as a football field so that it is very reflective to sunlight, making it superbright in the sky. Just look for a bright white star glide across the starry sky in a out 2 to 4 minutes. Remember that this satellite – with a crew of 6 astronauts - is traveling about 27,000 km per hour at 400 km above our heads.  It takes it only 90 minutes to make once orbit around our planet. When and where to watch?

Click image to enlarge

Click on the Space Station icon on the right-hand sidebar or go to my Sky Tonight page and click on your city of choice or choose Elsewhere, and get your customized viewing table.  For an explanation of how to read your viewing timetable chart click on the image to the left. It is a sample chart for Toronto that gives you a brief rundown on what the main sections mean. Just click on the Space Station Icon on the right-sidebar and click on you city listed or click elsewhere. The ISS will be best placed for anyone living in North America so enjoy the show!


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