peter_mcmahon_headshot_2014PETER McMAHON

Manager / senior presenter

Peter is an award-winning science journalist who has worked for CTV News (where he currently serves as a TV science commentator), Discovery Channel, and written for MSN.ca, The Toronto Star, CAA online, and Frommer’s Travel.

peter_mcmahon_portfolio_2014-2015He’s also written print science features for such magazines as Canadian Geographic,  Reader’s Digest,  Today’s Parent, Air Canada’s in-flight magazine enRoute, OWL Magazine, the U.S. magazine Sky & Telescope, and Sky News: The Canadian Magazine of Astronomy and Stargazing where he writes the “Wilderness Astronomer” column each issue and serves as a contributing editor.

peter_whistlers_theatre_jasper

Peter presenting in front of 200 people at Jasper’s Whistler Campground amphitheatre

An avid “Wilderness Astronomer”, Peter was the first to propose that Jasper National Park become a dark sky preserve, and worked with Parks Canada to have it designated the world’s largest astronomy park as of March 2011.

In February of 2010, he covered health science stories at the Vancouver Winter Games for CTVolympics.ca

Peter has spoken on science communication and astronomy at countless universities, science centres, conferences, and national parks, as well as delivering science communication workshops at Science North/Laurentian University’s Science Communication program and The Banff Centre.

Peter’s second installment in the Machines of the Future science experiment book series – Space Tourism (Kids Can Press, 2011) is an Official Selection for the prestigious U.S. Junior Library Guild. His next two books – The Space Adventurer’s Guide and a guide to the First Nations Constellations of North America – are due to be published by Kids Can Press, and OWL Kids Canada respectively, in 2017 and  2018.


matt_parker_jasper_planetariumMATTHEW PARKER 

Presenter / observing expert

Matthew has been avid amateur astronomer and astrophotographer here in Jasper National Park for more than a decade.

“I love all kinds of astronomy,” says Matt. “But my favourite are double and multiple stars.”

jasper_stargazingAn accomplished observational astronomer and expert on all manner of astronomy gear, Matthew is also a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, and The International Dark Sky Association.

When not scoping out the skies with customers in our dome or through telescopes all over Jasper, Matthew mixes a mean beverage at the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, where he serves as a senior bartender and unofficial staff welcome ambasador.

“I spend as many hours as I can under the dark skies out here,” he says.

“And I love to talk about my discoveries. Ask me anything!”

 

jasper_planetarium_staff_bio_kate_matthewsKATE MATTHEWS 

Associate astronomer

Born & raised in Ontario, Kate moved to British Columbia at 19 to discover her passion for all things outdoors. From snowboarding to downhill mountain biking, and even some bobsledding in between, Kate began her search outside for adrenaline of all forms.

It wasn’t until moving to Jasper that Kate’s interests in the great outdoors and beyond really kicked off.

sagb2starcloudKate has been at the planetarium since May 2016 and loves learning about the planets, stars and galaxies visible over Jasper Dark Sky Preserve.

“Every day, I find out about something interesting to tell our visitors,” says Kate. “For example, 10,000 light years from Earth, a massive cloud contains enough ethyl alcohol to fill 400 trillion, trillion pints of beer.”

“As new stars heat up, ethyl alcohol can attach to specks of floating dust and as the dust moves toward the budding star, the alcohol heats, separates, and turns to gas.”

“The Sagittarius B2 dust cloud at the centre of our galaxy contains ethyl formate, which helps give raspberries their taste and reportedly smells like rum.”