Archive for December, 2013

Looking for Winter sports gear?…….Try SPORTS JUNKIES!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

Around Vancouver you will notice more and more of the locals and visitors will be all bundled up with a big Snowboard or Ski’s under their arms as they make their way up to the local Ski resorts. The Season has begun with a flying start with colder temperatures than what we are usually accustomed to at this time of year, which has been great news for hills as they have been able to get a head start with the Snow making machines. At the time of writing, the majority of the runs at each resort is now open or will be ready and running very very soon.

If you are interested in any of the Winter activities such as Snowboarding and Skiing you may want to find out where the best places are to purchase Winter Sporting Gear, so please check out the list below as these will help you find the best places to purchase or even sell Snow gear for the season.

SPORTS JUNKIES
Sports Junkies have been in operation for 20 years now and are known as one of the most reliable and popular stores in the city that will specifically suit your needs for Winter Sporting Goods.

The list below covers most but not all of what is sold at SJ
Used skis, new skis, used snowboards, new snowboards, used ski boots, new ski boots, cross country skis, cross country ski boots, ski helmets, ski gloves, new ski jackets, used ski jackets, new ski pants, used ski pants, new snowboards, used snowboards, new snowboard boots, used snowboard boots, ski poles, new road bikes, used road bikes, new mountain bikes, used mountain bikes, new hybrid bikes, used hybrid bikes, new commuter bikes, used commuter bikes, new kids bikes, used kids bikes, bike helmets, bike locks, bike parts, bike accessories, bike shorts, bike jackets, and more and more!

SJ will also buy used goods that you would rather sell and leave behind for cash if it is too much for you to take home, a lot of their supplies are purchased from around the globe via closeouts, old inventories, samples, demos and more – anything to get you a great price on gear.

They also offer rentals and leases of skis, snowboards and snowshoes. They also have a busy bike service center as well as a Ski and Board service center in the winter months.

Mount Pleasant
102 Broadway W
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P3
Phone number (604) 879-6000

WEBSITE: http://sportsjunkies.com/

Where to capture the very best Christmas lights in Vancouver…

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

December is here, the Snow has arrived and the festive cheer is in full swing on the streets in the West End. We have already seen and listened to some great Brass Bands and Christmas Carols being sung on Davie St and Bute St near the new Park and Rainbow Crosswalk, it is just a few minutes walk away so keep an eye out for the Christmas cheer here…

This is the time of year when all the festivities focus their attention on outdoing each other with the very best lights to dazzle all the family, so here we will tell where to go to get the very best Christmas Light displays…

St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation’s Lights of Hope
The St Pauls Foundation of Light has been dazzling spectators that walk past the Hospital since 1998 and it is all for a very very good cause.
The aim of the lights is to help raise funds for the hospital itself, so it can purchase the very best medical equipment that it needs, it will enable them to increase funds towards better research and of the course enhanced Patient care for all those in need at St Pauls.
The lights are all assembled by Volunteers and my oh my are they beautiful….If you wish to check out the lights, head down towards Burrard and Davie and walk North on Burrard, it is just a 5 minute walk or so away from the Sunset Inn and Suites.

The hospital has a target goal to reach of $2.2-million – If you wish to help you can make a donation towards the campaign’s fundraising goal, call 604-662-HOPE or visit www.lightsofhope.com.

Festival of Lights at the VanDusen Botanical Garden in Vancouver
It may not seem the best time of year to visit Gardens in the deep of Winter, but wait, we think you should consider this one……The Festival of Lights creates the Gardens into quite a stunning wonderland, it is something that should be on your list when you come here especially as the Van Dusen Gardens are world famous and for good reason!
What is even better, you will be in the company of Elves, Candy-Canes and Hot chocolates to guide your way around this most serene settings.

vand dusen festival of lights map

Website: http://vandusengarden.org/

Bright Nights Christmas Train in Stanley Park
We have written about the excellent Christmas train and the bright lights before, but it is that good that we feel it should be recommended a visit to come on down…
Check out Stanley Park like you have never seen before, the kids especially will love this trip out to the enchanted Rain-forest that we are proud to show off in the city.
Partial proceeds from the sale of Bright Nights tickets go to the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund, which helps burn survivors and their families. $1.4 million has been raised over the past 14 years.

Website: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/bright-nights-train.aspx

Capilano Canyon Lights
A very popular attraction that is a must see location no matter what time of year, Capilano is quite incredible when all lit up on these very dark nights, it also boasts the largest lit up Christmas Tree too, Standing 46.4m (152 feet) tall the Douglas-fir will be adorned in thousands of sparkling lights…..Woohoo!

Website: http://www.capbridge.com/explore/canyon-lights/

Coal Harbour/Canada Place/English Bay
Although not on an official list a very good idea is to head down to the water as there will be trees, boats and yachts all decorated and decked up for the festive season, a great opportunity to see how the locals dazzle at Christmas time.

December is a busy month for Celestial Sky watching….

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Time to geek out again!

There has been a lot of talk in the media as of late about the possibility of a Comet of the Century making a grand appearance this month, yet, as it happens it seems like this particular celestial visitor for many was an incredible dud as it didn’t transpire to be the X factor Comet many had hoped for. However, all is not lost as since the confirmation of Comet ISON‘s demise after it passed perilously close to the Sun there is another Comet to take a look at if you are keen enough!

Move over ISON – Comet Lovejoy is in town!
Comet ISON was clearly the star attraction over the last few weeks, and in all the excitement and attention that was being paid to ISON many astronomers were also paying attention to Comet Lovejoy which is currently gracing our skies in the early hours of the morning very close to The Big Dipper (or otherwise known as The Plough).
For any visitors who come here from the Southern Hemisphere the name Lovejoy may seem to be quite familiar – this is because the Australian and amateur astronomer Terry Lovejoy has been pretty good at spotting new Comets over the last few years…notably this one back in 2011 which wowed people in the South with an amazing display before its own ultimate demise – C/2011 W3 (Lovejoy).

Video and pictures of the 2011 Comet Lovejoy.
http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/comet-defies-death-brushes-up-to-sun/story-e6frea6u-1226228904311

This has no connection to the current Comet that has a similar name, the current Lovejoy Comet and its official Scientific name is C/2013 R1 (Lovejoy) and as we have mentioned before, if you have a keen eye and know your constellations you will find the Comet to be very close to the ‘handle’ of The Big Dipper which is one of the most recognisable constellations to spot.

Please look at the links below to see the final passage of Comet ISON and current pictures and information for Comet Lovejoy.

The last hurrah of Comet ISON: http://www.space.com/23803-comet-ison-fate-visibility-uncertain.html

Comet Lovejoy most recent image


Its location in relation to the Big Dipper

Take a look at Planet JUPITER and the Planet VENUS which are both now shining at maximum Magnitude and at its most striking!
Our Sister planet and the Second Rock to the Sun is now performing a truly stunning display before it slowly starts to move its way pass the Sun and start to fade.

Jupiter which is the ‘daddy’ of all our planets and is now rising higher in the overnight sky, and, as the seasons move by it will be the most dominant feature second only to the Moon. If you are looking at Jupiter on the right day and you have sharp vision, there is a slight chance you will be able to make out some of the Planets largest ‘Moons’ a pair of binoculars will greatly increase your chances of seeing this.

Venus has been gracing our Skies for most of this year and if you look South to South West not too long after Sunset you will see the planet at its most dazzling. Venus is about to start to move towards the Sun as it Orbit brings about the transition from Venus being the ‘Evening Star’‘ where it will wander during the early part of next year to become the veery bright ‘Morning Star’.
As the nights have been unbelievably clear around Vancouver, we do suggest that you wrap up and take a look above you, with the New Moon at its current phase – this means for anyone who loves astronomy will get to see the stars brightly without the Moon stealing the show.
If you are looking at Venus from the open country that is away from any kind of Light pollution, the planets light and glare is so bright that it can actually cast shadows, its over the next few weeks that you may be lucky enough to witness this incredible phenomenon.

The Mighty ORION Constellation and the PLEIADES Star cluster
Now that the darkest days of Winter are well and truly upon us, we do get to witness some of the most stunning and most recognisable structures of the night sky – the most obvious of them are the Constellation of ORION THE HUNTER and the PLEIADES Star Cluster also known to many as the SEVEN SISTERS

Orion is very famous due to the 3 stars that form a straight line and are imagined to be Orions Belt. This is a great constellation to view especially if you are just getting interested in Astronomy. It is also a great chance for you to spot a Nebula with the naked eye. A Nebula is the remnants of a Star that previously died in an explosive fashion, what you are left with is the Gasses and other Elements that the former star stripped away before succumbing – with the Nebula that is located just below the belt of Orion and is the middle fuzzy Star that forms Orions Dagger, f you take a closer look at this object with a decent pair of binoculars you will see that it is in fact not a living Star but a a ball of Red Gas and new baby stars that are have been created from the original material of its expired parent Star. Once you have spotted this, it is easily noticeable with the naked eye alone….pretty cool.

ORION CONSTELLATION

PLEIADES STAR CLUSTER

If this is a subject that you like and would like to visit some tourist destinations with a flare for Science then you really will enjoy visiting SCIENCE WORLD and the H.R MACMILLAN SPACE CENTRE…click on the links below for further information on Exhibits and events…

SCIENCE WORLD: http://www.scienceworld.ca/

SPACE MUSEUM: http://www.spacecentre.ca/

We will finish this blog with some of the latest stunning footage from the International Space Station:

http://sploid.gizmodo.com/the-best-space-station-time-lapse-yet-has-an-incredible-1475534367