Last update Oct 12, 2017

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The BOEC was declared Canada's 15th Dark Sky Preserve in Nov, 2012. At the ES Fox Observatory, we have a large reflecting telescope (a 28-inch Webster, recently re-aluminized and working great!) and a 10-inch SCT on a GOTO mount that we use regularly in our public viewing sessions.

Click for maps to: ES Fox Observatory or Tom Thomson Art Gallery meeting locations.

Next public VIEWING EVENT (members and public welcome) is Oct 21 (8 pm) at Fox Observatory (Orionid meteor watch). Come dressed for a cool night.

Next BAS club meeting is Nov 1, 2017 (7 pm) at Tom Thomson Art Gallery.
(Members’ night)

For a review of the Oct 4, 2017 meeting, see Meeting Recap

OCTOBER 2017 StarGazerNews is now available on NEWSLETTER page.

Or Click Image:

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ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2017 -the complete list- is available here: ASTRONOMY 2017 (amended for Nov) BAS Club EVENTS list for 2017 has been updated here: BAS 2017 Club Events

September to November, 2017 (the short list)

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. Click for Map. We will be meeting at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound from Oct 4, Nov 1 and Dec 6, 2017. There are no regular meetings in January and February. Check the calendar here: BAS 2017 Club Events (updated Aug 29) for meeting dates and other events like public viewing nights at the Fox Observatory.

If you would like to be included in our list for impromptu observing nights contact Brett T. or John H. Some of the more interesting sky viewing opportunities are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

NOTE: ALL observing events require clear skies. If it is overcast or raining, observing will NOT be possible. If you arrive at the venue and it is overcast or raining, there may not be any BAS members there. See COMING EVENTS for more details and instructions including a contact phone number if you are unsure about weather cancellation. When visiting the Fox Observatory, please park at the main lot by the Learning Centre (the green-roofed building by the big barn). Parking near the observatory is reserved for disability access and equipment drop-off.

NOTE: BAS meetings and public viewings are open to the public at no charge. BAS viewing at ES Fox Observatory is also generally open to the public (see monthly listing below and our BAS 2017 Club Events (updated Aug 29). We welcome out-of-town guests on all of our listed observing nights. Individuals or groups may request private tours on other dates (subject to availability of guides) by contacting John H. at: . We also offer private tours/observing on a fee basis.

Our next BAS meeting is at the TOM THOMSON ART GALLERY on Wed. Nov 1, 2017 at 7pm. Topic: Members’ Presentation Night. Regular meetings usually consist of a short business meeting and include a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic. More details can be found in COMING EVENTS.

More details for astronomy viewing events for August to October, 2017 are listed below and on the COMING EVENTS page. A complete list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2017 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2017-amended NOV. Note that three events have been added to the Nov 2017 events list. A list of BAS club events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2017 is separately available here: BAS 2017 Club Events (updated Aug 29)


September 2017 Astronomy Events

Sep 01 Fri 02:08 Venus 1.4°S of Beehive
04 Mon 20:00 Mercury 3.2° of Mars
05 Tue 01:00 Neptune at Opposition
06 Wed 01:00 Neptune 0.8° N of Moon (occultation visible Antarctica)
06 Wed 03:03 FM
06 Wed 1900 BAS meets at Learning Centre of BOEC. Topic: Solar Eclipse Recap.
MEETING RECAP has some highlights.
10 Sun 08:00 Mercury 0.7°S of Regulus
10 Sun 17:44 Jupiter 2.9°N of Spica
12 Tue 06:00 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 17.9°W
12 Tue 08:45 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon (daytime occultation visible locally)
13 Wed 02:25 LQ
13 Wed 12:04 Moon at Perigee: 369 856 km
15 to 17 Inverhuron Prov. Pk Dark Sky Weekend members please contact John H. to register.
16 Sat 10:50 Beehive 3.1°N of Moon
16 Sat 14:00 Mercury 0.1° of Mars (18 min. sep’n at rise shrinks to 3 min. at 2:45 pm)
17 Sun 21:00 Venus 0.5° N of Moon (occultation in S. hemisphere)
18 Mon 01:00 Regulus 0.1° S of Moon (occultation vis. in E. Hemisphere)
18 Mon 16:00 Mars 0.1° S of Moon (occultation visible in Central and S. Pacific)
18 Mon 19:00 Mercury 0.03° N of Moon (occultation visible in Polynesia)
19 Tue 19:00 Venus 0.5° N of Regulus

20 Wed 01:30 NM
22 Fri 03:51 Jupiter 3.7°S of Moon
22 Fri 16:02 Autumnal Equinox
26 Tue 20:09 Saturn 3.5°S of Moon
27 Wed 02:49 Moon at Apogee: 404 342 km
27 Wed 22:54 FQ

October 2017 Astronomy Events

Oct 05 Thu 14:40 FM
05 Thu 19:00 Venus 0.2° N of Mars (16 min at rise, shrinking to 12.5 min. in daylight)
08 Sun 17:00 Mercury at Superior Conjunction (not visible)
09 Mon 01:51 Moon at Perigee: 366 858 km

09 Mon 14:05 Aldebaran 0.6°S of Moon
12 Thu 08:25 LQ
13 Fri 16:29 Beehive 3.0°N of Moon

15 Sun 06:54 Regulus 0.2°S of Moon (occultation from 5:48 am EDT to 6:30 am -a morning event)
17 Tue 06:04 Mars 1.8°S of Moon
17 Tue 20:21 Venus 2.0°S of Moon

19 Thu 13:00 Uranus at Opposition
19 Thu 14:12 NM

21 Sat 07:00 Orionid Meteor Shower (20/h) Moon only 3% illuminated
24 Tue 07:54 Saturn 3.3°S of Moon
24 Tue 22:25 Moon at Apogee: 405 151 km
26 Thu 14:00 Jupiter in Conjunction with Sun (not visible)
27 Fri 18:22 FQ

November 2017 Astronomy Events

Nov 02 Thu 09:58 Venus 3.3°N of Spica
04 Sat 01:23 FM
05 Sun 02:00 Eastern Standard Time begins (clocks back 1 hr)
05 Sun 06:00 S Taurid Meteor Shower (10 per hour, moon 98%)
05 Sun 19:09 Moon at Perigee: 361 438 km
05 Sun 21:19 Aldebaran 0.8°S of Moon (occ’n from 8:05 pm-9 pm EST)
09 Thu 20:58 Beehive 2.7°N of Moon
10 Fri 15:37 LQ
11 Sat 11:07 Regulus 0.4°S of Moon (no occultation visible locally)
12 Sun 06:00 N Taurid Meteor Shower (15 per hour, moon 32%)
12 Sun 12:50 Mercury 2.2°N of Antares
13 Mon 01:00 Venus 0.3° N of Jupiter !
14 Tue 19:40 Mars 3.2°S of Moon
16 Thu 16:00 Jupiter 4° S of Moon
17 Fri 12:00 Leonid Meteor Shower (20/hour, moon 1% -a GOOD year for Leonids!)
18 Sat 06:42 NM
20 Mon 19:34 Saturn 3.0°S of Moon
21 Tue 13:52 Moon at Apogee: 406 132 km
23 Thu 19:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation: 22.0°E
26 Sun 12:03 FQ
28 Tue 04:00 Mercury 3° S of Saturn
29 Wed 09:30 Mars 2.9°N of Spica

A list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2017 is available here: ASTRONOMY 2017 (amended for Nov) Note this list changes from time to time as additional astronomy events are added.

An astronomical calendar for 2017 (with diagrams of sky sights) is available for download from Alan Dyer's website here: (Also on the bottom of the "about Alan" page).


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events :
Saturn still hanging in above western horizon but not for long.


Image above is a shot of the western horizon on Oct 11 at 9 pm EDT. Saturn is the brightest light just at the tree line and the Sagittarius Teapot is partly visible to the left of the Milky Way. The Lagoon Nebula is still visible (between the two) but in the murk at the horizon. The star clouds above Sagittarius are prominent and so is the Great Rift leading up to the top of the image where you find the star Deneb. Look down and rightwards from Deneb to find the very bright Vega in Lyra and Altair is lower and to the left of the MW. The Summer Triangle stands high this time of year. If you look straight down from Vega about halfway to the horizon is a brightish star in Ophiuchus, Rasalhague, and we have an admittedly crude Summer Rhombus! Image by John H. taken looking south from my backyard in Owen Sound with Canon 6D and Samyang 12 mm lens at f/2.8, 20 seconds ISO 4000. This is a crop of about 50% of that lens field of view which in the original extended almost to Cassiopeia overhead.


Jupiter Viewing is Done, Check out Saturn (before it too sets in West)

Saturn is still visible for a few hours in the SW sky at sunset. Look to the right of the Milky Way as in the image above. The planet’s rings still stand out because they are at a maximum tilt our way. There are not many weeks of viewing left as it drops into the haze above the sunset horizon. Brian Ventrudo has created an excellent document with more information describing all the ins and outs of observing Saturn this season and has made it available at his Cosmic Pursuits website here:

Image below: The architecture of Saturn’s rings and cloud bands (image credit: Robert English).


From Our Astrophotographers:

ISS Transit successes!
BAS members get images!


Former BAS member Troy Johnstone caught this Sep 27 pass of the ISS over the Moon from near his hime in Alberta. He sent this email to accompany the image above: On a lark last week I looked up if the ISS would transit the Sun or Moon, and sure enough one week later it was predicting a transit. So earlier tonight I took my 120mm SkyWatcher, a Nikon 1.7x teleconverter, and a Sony A7Sii out to photograph it.

ISO 2500
1/1500 sec
600mm x 1.7 = 1020 mm
f/5ish (can’t remember what the teleconverter would make an f/5 telescope)

I used Lynkeos on Mac to stack images of the sequence to sharpen the Moon, but the ISS images are as is.

Image below is by John H. showing the ISS against the nearly full Moon on Oct 4. This is a composite of 8 frames out of 30 showing the silhouette passing over the Moon at 11:24 pm EST as seen in Collingwood, ON. The original was a 6D movie taken at 30 frames a second and produced exactly 30 frames of the ISS in the 1.0 second pass over the Moon. The camera was connected at prime focus to a 5-inch Maksutov telescope that gave a Moon that filled the whole frame. The path of the ISS was determined using which allows you to input your latitude and longitude and then select a distance you are willing to travel. Usually in a month-long interval there are 6 to 8 possibilities to view lunar or solar transit (or both). Have a try, it is very neat to see the dark outline sweep across the Sun or Moon. Note that in Troy’s image, the ISS is illuminated by Sun since this was a visible pass. In the image below, the ISS was in the Earth’s shadow and not visible before the pass. An accurate time from a cell phone is required or you can connect to to get a display of the atomic clock time from the US National Institute of Standards and Time. There are also apps for your smart phone like SkyTime which do the same thing.


Frank Williams has submitted another stunning astro-image! The image below of globular cluster M5 in Serpens is a 3 hour exposure taken with his 5.5” (140 mm) refractor telescope.
He writes:
It was taken with an sbig 11000 ccd mono camera with chip cooled to -25c. The exposure is 30 minutes luminosity (10 x 3 minute exposures) 1 hour each through red green and blue filters (2‎0 x 3 minutes each) 70 individual images altogether,  through a TEC 140 mm refractor from my front yard skypod  observatory in Allenford. Processed (stacking, etc.) using pixinsight. Losmandy titan mount and a KW kwikguider. Images taken over the few clear nights over last week. “

m5 3.5 hrs

The star to the left is double star 5-Serpentis, a 5th magnitude star with an 10th magnitude companion about 11 arc-sec away.

Info for M5 from Wikipedia:
M5 is, under extremely good conditions, just visible to the naked eye as a faint "star" near the star 5 Serpentis. Binoculars or small telescopes will identify the object as non-stellar while larger telescopes will show some individual stars, of which the brightest are of apparent magnitude 12.2.

M5 was discovered by the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch in 1702 when he was observing a comet. Charles Messier also noted it in 1764, but thought it a nebula without any stars associated with it. William Herschel was the first to resolve individual stars in the cluster in 1791, counting roughly 200.

Spanning 165 light-years in diameter, M5 is one of the largest known globular clusters. The
gravitational sphere of influence of M5, (i.e. the volume of space in which stars are gravitationally bound to it rather than being torn away by the Milky Way's gravitational pull) has a radius of some 200 light-years.

At 13 billion years old, M5 is also one of the eldest globular clusters in the
Milky Way Galaxy. Its distance is about 24,500 light-years from Earth, and it contains more than 100,000 stars, as many as 500,000 according to some estimates.


ES Fox Observatory Clear Sky Chart

Note: the chart below may not show the current cloud patterns.Click anywhere on the chart for the current display. If chart is still out of date try clearing your browser cache.


Auroral Displays

Auroral displays in our area are declining as we have passed solar maximum. There have been periods of "blank Sun" where sunspots have been totally absent for a time. However, at far northern and southern latitudes near the auroral ovals, sometimes magnetic disturbances from the sun produce auroras even without visible sunspots. So if the auroral oval in the graphic below is showing an intense RED, aurora borealis may be visible from your location. The graphic is updated regularly with time indicated at the top in UT so subtract 5 h to get local EST, or 4 h for DST. (Use the appropriate factor for other time zones). For more information click here: NOAA home website.

Current Auroral Oval not available right now

Click on image below for the
Current Planetary Index Chart or Latest Solar Heliospheric Observatory Images:

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From the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Image Archives:
A recent meeting of BAS showed images from the CFHT on Mauna Kea. By popular demand, this space will be devoted to showcasing some of these. Have a look at this site for more: CFHT Image Of Month

Star trails and "see-through" dome. Polaris altitude = 20° at Mauna Kea.

Horsehead Nebula

Helix Nebula

NGC 6124 Open Cluster

Portion of North America Nebula (Gulf of Mexico/Yucatan)

Spiral galaxy IC 342

Dust Cloud in Milky Way (B143)