About Pine River Observatory

About Pine River Observatory

Pine River Observatory is my mobile and somewhat virtual astronomical observatory. My primary summer observing sites are along Ontario’s west coast – the shore of Lake Huron south of Kincardine. However, being mobile, I’ll set up just about anywhere it makes sense to take a look at the night sky. During the winter months that’s most often in the Hamilton area.

My favourite lakeside observing site is at Lurgan Beach, 44° 5’37.58″N;  81°44’23.24″W.

Blue Haven Cottage is the summer headquarters for Pine River Observatory.

Blue Haven Cottage is the summer headquarters for Pine River Observatory. The cottage, which I share with my sister and her family, was built by my father.

About Me

I’m a biologist by training and career, but have always loved physics and astronomy. Much of that love was kindled when I was a child. I was privileged to have loving and supportive parents and grandparents, who stoked my scientific curiosity, put up with my occasionally strange behaviour (like bringing home all sorts of animals and plants I’d find at the cottage, trying to build sailboats, and, ultimately, following my dreams to become a scientist), and made sure I spent a lot of time with the beautiful dark sky of the Lake Huron shore. Sadly, increasing development even in that area is putting out a lot of light pollution and making it harder to really see the sky as it should be seen. However, there are still great sights to be seen, and images captured. Sometimes the lights produced by our civilization can make for dramatic night-time landscapes.

Professionally, I serve as Head of Science at Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario. This blog is a private undertaking and is in no way affiliated with RBG. All opinions expressed are my own.

Happy observing!

David Galbraith
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

View David Galbraith's LinkedIn profileView David Galbraith’s profile

To contact me, please write to me at sasajewun[at]gmail[dotcom]

  • I sometimes use Sasajewun as a user name, and have had the gmail address above for some time. “Sasajewun” is an Algonquian word meaning small brook or river. It is also the name of a lake in Algonquin Park, the site of the Wildlife Research Station where I undertook research for my graduate degrees. The night skys were beautiful there… and still are.
Kincardine Sunset

A lovely Kincardine sunset, 1 August 2012. “Ontario’s West Coast” – the shore of Lake Huron – is a very popular vacation spot and a great place to live. Pine River Observatory’s main summer observing site is a few miles south of Kincardine.

4 thoughts on “About Pine River Observatory

  1. I need suggestions for a 4 year old boy that is obsessed with plants since 2 he uses anything to make planets he knows all planets gallexy constallations he also lives in Huron twp. Thinking about getting him a telescope

    • Hello Liz, Thanks very much for your comment! I think 4 is a little young for a telescope, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s going to take him time to get used to actually finding things in the sky; it sounds like he’s doing great already, but until he’s actually used a telescope a bit, buying one may be a step ahead of things. Unless you or someone else can guide him, and perhaps take him to dark locations, it might get frustrating fast. Second, telescopes are expensive. You could start with the sort of toys you see at places like Canadian Tire, but they will quickly be set aside as hard to use. My first suggestion is to see if you can get your son together with members of the Bluewater Astronomy Society (http://www.bluewaterastronomy.info/). They have a wonderful observatory in Wiarton, and also have other events in Grey-Bruce. Check out the coming events on their web site. If the weather is good I think they’re opening the observatory this week. Some of them may have advice, too, about developing interests in astronomy in young children. I haven’t had that experience personally! Second, rather than going for a telescope early on, a lot of astronomers advise families to start with binoculars, which are compact, multi-purpose, and let you see lovely wide-angle sights at night – especially clusters of stars. Another great option from astronomy clubs like Bluewater is that they often have pretty advanced telescopes members can borrow. Finally, I suggest that you talk to some pros. If you are ever in Kitchener, get out to KW Telescope (http://www.kwtelescope.com – 25 Manitou Drive, Kitchener, Ontario N2C 1K9). They have a huge range of good equipment, from the most basic for young learners right up to professional equipment, and none of it is in the class I’d call “toy.” The staff are great and I am sure they could give you plenty of advice. Good luck! – David

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