Thu. Dec 7th, 2023
From Earth to the Moon, Mars and beyond!

Stars over Killarney is an annual festival that celebrates the connection between the beauty of Killarney Provincial Park with an element of astronomical knowledge.

This year’s theme is “From Earth to the Moon, Mars and Beyond!”

Join us as we explore how Earth’s geology helps us understand the moon and planets and, conversely, how knowledge of our solar system can help us unravel Earth’s history and its possible future.

The amazing geology of Killarney


This year’s Stars over Killarney will begin with an understanding of the role geology plays in our daily lives.

Join our visiting professor, Dr. Osinski, as we learn to recognize the three basic types of rocks and how they formed. [1]

Additionally, we will learn how finding these rocks gives us incredible clues to discover the secrets of how the earth around us was formed.

Do you know how craters are formed or how a comet is formed?

scientist with children

Explore these wonders with our numerous drop-in workshops held throughout the campground. Our special youth program on crater formation will be led by Dr. Sara Mazrouei as she explains the process of crater formation on both the Moon and Earth. [2]

This hands-on workshop will allow children and people of all ages to understand crater formation and get a little dirty in the process.

Our comet-making workshop will be led by retired astronomers Bill and Vicki Sherwood. [3].

Two people standing on a stage performing a scientific demonstration.  A person, in a lab coat, stands behind a table covered with scientific instruments.  He has his head down and is working on a live-action demo.  The other person, in front of the table, explains the process to the crowd outside the frame.

They will first prepare a sample comet that resembles comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet studied in detail during the Rosetta spacecraft mission.

The moon and planets capture your imagination.

Join Dr. Osinski as he takes you on our next journey of discovery.


It will explain what it’s like to lead NASA and CSA astronauts, scientists and engineers in the far north of the Arctic, as well as in the deserts of North America, so they can understand the geological processes that formed these incredible places and get a sense of field geology under challenging conditions.

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We will learn how recognizing and understanding the geological processes observed in these unique environments will prepare humanity for its next big leaps to the Moon, Mars, and beyond!

The heavens await you

From our observatory complex we will enjoy stunning views of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn and other fascinating objects presented from our observatories by the University of York’s resident astronomer and our Discovery staff, as well as volunteers from the Royal Astronomical Society . Sudbury Center and the North Bay Astronomy Club using their amazing telescopes.

The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada will join us as we use our and their Twin Observatory telescopes to display live images of the Moon, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as other fascinating objects in the night sky.

celestial imagesCredit: Images taken with telescopes from Killarney Provincial Park

In anticipation of their upcoming November concert series of Gustav Holst’s “The Planets,” we will enjoy the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s recording of music while observing each world through the many telescopes that will be available.

The event will also feature a raffle and a warming tent where the Friends of Killarney will sell hot drinks and astronomy guides.

Visiting the park and Science North

Camp in the park to take it all in, or take a day trip to the park to enjoy specific elements of the programming.

Visitors who camp in the park or purchase a day pass will be able to enjoy the event at no additional cost.

Campers and day-use visitors with a Killarney Provincial Park permit valid from September 30 to October 2 will also receive a 50% discount on admission to Science North and its planetarium!

Enjoy exhibits on astronomy, geology (including lapidary workshops), and experience the best in science education at this world-class science museum!

Science North visitors, with proof of purchase, will be admitted free of charge to the Stars over Killarney program for the duration of the event.

Events calendar

Friday, September 30, 2022

21:00 Experience the wonders of the moon, planets and stars from Killarney Provincial Park’s Dark Sky Reserve with the participation of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.
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Saturday, October 1, 2022

9:30 am – noon From the Chikanishing trailhead, we will embark on this popular trail, but from a field geology perspective led by our keynote speaker, Dr. Osinski.
2:00 – 5:00 pm Walk-in workshops:

  • Kite making
  • lunar craters
  • Sew the stars
  • Observe the Sun and Venus
19:10 – 19:25 Raffle tickets
7:30 pm Exploring Earth, exploring space and training the next generation of astronauts presented by our keynote speaker: Dr. Osinski
8:30 pm Giveaway for two small meteorites
21:00 Experience the wonders of the moon, planets and stars from Killarney Provincial Park’s Dark Sky Reserve with the participation of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

Sunday October 2, 2022

10:00 am Guided walk along Granite Ridge titled: “Humans: Soils, Rocks, Stars”

Note: Schedule may change depending on weather conditions and other factors.

Please check with the Park before the start of programs.

Killarney was designated a Dark Sky Reserve in 2018.

Observatory with telescopic platforms under the starry sky.

In addition to protecting the ecological integrity of the park’s nocturnal ecosystems, the park’s extraordinary dark skies make it the perfect place to admire the stars, space, and understand our connection to the cosmos.

To learn more about Earth’s geology and planetary science, check out this article!

Join us!

[1] Dr. Osinski is a Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences and NSERC/MDA/CSA/CEMI Industrial Research Chair in Earth and Space Exploration at the University of Western Ontario. He is also Director of the Earth and Space Exploration Institute, Director of the Canadian Lunar Research Network and President of the Planetary Sciences Division of the Geological Association of Canada.

[2] Dr. Mazrouei is an active public speaker and science educator. He has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, New Scientists and other major publications. She is also co-founder of the “Women in Space” Conference.

[3] William and Vicki Sherwood are retired astronomers who have worked actively in astronomy in both Canada and Europe. Vicki specialized in variable stars and has since presented on the importance of dark sky preservation. Bill has worked at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy and has also been actively involved in preserving dark skies. Bill has become a leading kite speaker and presenter, specializing in creating realistic kites for audiences in Europe and North America.