There are those moments in life when pleasant and unique surprises are revealed. One of these unanticipated points in time was found near Yarmouth, at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory. A down-to earth way of observing the Nova Scotia night sky above.

Deep Eye Sky Observatory and the Milky Way Nova Scotia Night Sky

Deep Sky Eye Observatory under the stars – Photo Credit: YASTA | Tourism Nova Scotia

The drive from Yarmouth to Deep Sky Eye Observatory weaves 32 kilometres through lush countryside and may offer picture-perfect sunsets on the way! A magnificent introduction to the darkening skies.

Sunset over French Clearwater Lake on the way to Deep Sky Eye Observatory

Sunset over French Clearwater Lake on route to Deep Sky Eye Observatory

At arrival to the Deep Sky Eye Observatory, the probing lights of towns in the region fade far behind.

Deep Sky Eye Observatory – A Starlight Reserve & Destination

The Deep Sky Eye Observatory is located within a ‘Starlight Tourist Destination’ region designated by the Starlight Foundation, the first and only in North America.

This area, known as the Acadian Skies & Mi’kmaq lands, a UNESCO Starlight Reserve, has excellent sky quality with little light pollution. It is an example to the world of protection and conservation of the observable skies.

Acadian Skies & Mi’kmaq lands, a UNESCO Starlight Reserve

Acadian Skies & Mi’kmaq Lands, a UNESCO Starlight Reserve

Tim’s Visionary Story

Tim Doucette is the owner, operator, and presenter at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory.

As a child, Tim was completely blind due to severe cataracts in his eye lenses. Having surgery at a young age to remove his lenses, gave Tim about 10% vision compared to normal sight, due to lack of early childhood eye development. He describes the impaired vision as seeing in much lower resolution than normal vision.

Another added challenge for Tim is the permanent dilation of his pupils, allowing light into his eyes unimpeded. Tim must wear sunglasses, even on cloudy days to protect his eyes.

For Tim, the ‘equalizing’ factor is astronomy. The significantly high magnifications of telescopes allow Tim to see what those with normal vision see.

Except, Tim can see more!

Eye lenses are natural filters of ultraviolet light. This gives Tim an advantage when gazing into the night sky. He actually sees into the ultraviolet light spectrum. This allows him to observe more in the night sky than most everyone else.

Tim’s love of astronomy blossomed into a passion, culminating in his Deep Sky Eye Observatory and  Nocturnal Sky Theatre Experience.

The Nocturnal Sky Theatre Experience

Under the darkest of skies, visitors learn about celestial wonders and how to navigate the night sky.  

The experience begins in zero-gravity chairs (great recliners), followed by direct observance of the night sky, utilizing multiple telescopes. 

The full outdoor experience is about two hours in duration, with a maximum capacity of 26 people.

Deep Sky Eye Observatory - The Nocturnal Sky Theatre Experience

Nocturnal Sky Theatre Experience underway – Photo Credit: @jakesescapes | Tourism Nova Scotia

On our visit, we had a brief taste of the Nocturnal Sky Theatre Experience. Although the thick clouds did not allow for sky viewing that evening (add challenge of being the longest day of the year), we were very entertained and impressed with Tim’s ability to tell his unique story and describe the awesome star filled sky above.

His engaging screen presentation, including his incredible astronomical photos, and in-depth knowledge of our observable universe left us wanting to return.

Tim’s passion for astronomy and the preservation of Nova Scotia dark skies is inspiring. 

Tim Doucette presenting at the Deep Eye Sky Observatory

Tim Doucette presenting at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory

Stay Awhile Longer and sleep under the stars at Deep Sky

If the Deep Sky Eye Observatory and the Nocturnal Sky Theatre Experience aren’t enough, perhaps a night or two hanging out to observe the skies and enjoy the area are in order.

For this, on-site accommodations on five acres of woodlands are offered in two forms.

Sky Bubbles 

Sleep under the stars in style. Bubble-shaped glamping tents, with transparent roofs, allow for amazing night sky scenery while snuggled in bed protected from the outdoor elements.

Enter and exit these astonishing 16 foot diameter, 11 foot high abodes through an airlock to preserve the positive pressure within.

Spacing between the bubble tents allows for quiet stargazing and privacy.

Bubble Tent at Deep Eye Sky Observatory

One of the Bubble Tents under a dark, starlit Nova Scotia night sky – Photo Credit: Deep Sky Eye Observatory

The Sky Cabin 

A quaint, air conditioned cabin nestled among the trees is but a short distance from the observatory. Enjoy sunsets from the patio, gazing at the night sky through the loft skylights, and access to telescopic views at the observatory.

The cabin’s kitchenette, outside gas barbecue and picnic table make it a good fit for families.

While staying at one of these accommodations, guests can take in sunsets and campfires by the riverside firepit. Kayaks are provided for paddling on the peaceful Quinan River.

Twilight view of the quiet Quinan River

Twilight view of the tranquil Quinan River

How to Get to Deep Sky Eye Observatory

From Main Street in Yarmouth, turn onto Parade Street for 2.1 kilometres away from the shore.

Turn left onto Hardscratch Road for 0.8 kilometres then turn right onto Highway 103 and head 9.7 kilometres to Tusket.

Take the Exit 33 ramp then turn left onto Highway 308 for 17.1 kilometres. Turn right onto Frotten Road for 1.7 kilometres to arrive at your destination.

Map Yarmouth to Deep Eye Sky Observatory – 32 kilometres

The route from Yarmouth to Deep Eye Sky Observatory – 32 kilometres

 

For the best experience at the Deep Sky Eye Observatory, a clear sky is the ticket. Tim Doucette encourages checking the weather forecasts prior to visiting.

Generous cancellation policies exist for both the Nocturnal Sky Theatre Experience (24 hours for full refund) and the Sky Bubbles (48 hours for full refund less $25+tax administration fee). This affords a much higher probability of seeing the Nova Scotia night sky.

If you ever find yourself near Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, which I which is highly recommended, a visit to the Deep Sky Eye Observatory is a must!

“My mission is to take you on a journey into the cosmos.  To inspire you to gaze up at the stars and to give you a better understanding of the universe we live in.   My hope for you, is that you will gain a new appreciation for our planet and all who share a place on this tiny blue dot we call home.” 

~ Tim Doucette

With thanks to Deep Sky Eye Observatory and Yarmouth & Acadian Shores Tourism for hosting our visit. All opinions are our own.

 

For dark sky enthusiasts another article of interest.

Astronomical Sky Nights at Mount Lemmon

Other Nova Scotia reading

Marble Lady of Yarmouth – Nova Scotia Art Treasure