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Outsider Diaries with John McPhee

John McPhee is a nature enthusiast and web editor at Local Xpress. His main interests are astronomy and birding but whatever catches his fancy in the outside world will find its way to this column. He’s also an avid amateur photographer, with a particular interest in long exposures of the night sky.

OUTSIDER DIARIES: Ode to Point Pleasant Park

OUTSIDER DIARIES: Ode to Point Pleasant Park

The park may not be the deep woods but 75 hectares of green space and 39 kilometres of gravelled roads and woods trails? Not so bad.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: The day the sun stands still

OUTSIDER DIARIES: The day the sun stands still

The sun is low in the northern hemisphere at this time of year for reasons both simple and too complicated for my mathematically challenged brain to absorb.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: In the company of the dead

OUTSIDER DIARIES: In the company of the dead

It’s a haunted time of year but all is calm and peaceful as we stroll the paths that meander through the grave markers. Yes, I love cemeteries.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: The starry, starry nights of October

OUTSIDER DIARIES: The starry, starry nights of October

There are celestial treasures hiding in the unassuming eastern night sky this month.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: A walk under Grandmother Moon

OUTSIDER DIARIES: A walk under Grandmother Moon

Beyond the science of the lunar cycle is the moon's deep cultural significance for people such as the Mi'kmaq.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: The dark skies of Kejimkujik

OUTSIDER DIARIES: The dark skies of Kejimkujik

Hundreds of night sky fans will gather this weekend at the national park and dark sky preserve.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: Secret codes and nocturnal encounters

OUTSIDER DIARIES: Secret codes and nocturnal encounters

Their mesmerizing now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t display is synonymous with summer. But there’s more to fireflies than meets the eye.
OUTSIDER DIARIES Planets in focus: Secrets of an astrophotographer

OUTSIDER DIARIES Planets in focus: Secrets of an astrophotographer

Art Cole of Hammonds Plains gives us the lowdown on taking detailed, colourful portraits of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: Finding light in the darkness

OUTSIDER DIARIES: Finding light in the darkness

It’s cold but not so cold that I have to don long undies and heavy duty footwear to prepare for an evening of stargazing. Yes, it’s springtime in Nova Scotia.
OUTSIDER DIARIES: Embrace the darkness and look up

OUTSIDER DIARIES: Embrace the darkness and look up

Light pollution robs us of the subtle beauties to be found in the night sky, whether it's the Milky Way’s ribbon of stars and glowing gases or the faint constellations of spring.