Latest update: “Tew’s Day”: Oct 16, 2018

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The BOEC was declared Canada’s 15th Dark Sky Preserve in Nov 2012.
More here:
At the ES Fox Observatory (established in 2011), we have a large reflecting telescope (a 28-inch Webster) and a 10-inch SCT on a GOTO mount that we use regularly for public viewing. We welcome new members.
CONTACT US to join.

Click for maps to: ES Fox Observatory or: Bailey Hall OSDSS.

October 2018 SGN NOW Available! See NEWSLETTER

Nov 7, 2018 is next BAS Meeting at Bailey Hall OSDSS 7 pm
Members’ Night. More details on

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm (none in January and February). Meetings in the fall 2018 will be at Bailey Hall (OSDSS rm 315 MAP). Fox Observatory will host summer 2019 meetings dates TBA. Check the calendar here: BAS 2018 Club Events for meeting dates and public viewing nights at the Fox Observatory. The 2019 Calendar is coming soon.

Please note:
The Fox Observatory is NOT available WEEKDAY evenings for viewing during the school year, -BOEC school activities take precedence. BAS members have the privilege of impromptu observing but please contact Brett T. or John H. to be put on the list (members only).

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 page 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 are open to the public at no charge. BAS viewings at the ES Fox Observatory are also held on Dark of the Moon weekends but please CHECK THE MONTLY LISTING BELOW and our BAS 2018 Club Events listing for specific dates and time. The ES Fox Observatory is NOT available for viewing during school year weekdays except by pre-arrangement with BAS and BOEC.

We welcome out-of-town guests to all of our listed public observing nights. Individuals or groups may request private tours on other dates (subject to availability of guides and on a fee basis) by contacting John H. at:

Details for up-coming astronomy viewing events are listed below and on the COMING EVENTS and SKY SIGHTS pages. A complete list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2018 A separate list of Club Events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2018 is available here: BAS 2018 Club Events Lists for 2019 are coming soon.

Mars and Saturn still front and centre:


Mars is brightest object at left, Jupiter at treeline on right, Saturn between them in MW.
Sep 11 Image
from ES Fox Observatory
John H. Canon 6D 12 mm lens @f/2.8 ISO 4000, 30 s.

As of end of Sep, views of Mars are much better as the dust appears to have settled. So get out and view Mars as it slowly recedes from Earth.

Oct 13, 2018: BAS members show off Moon and planets at Coffin Ridge Winery:

BAS members Cheryl, Lorraine, Ken, Richard and John made a great impression on the 80 or so guests at the Coffin Ridge Winery. Not the least was how we managed to clear the skies after a rainy October day. The image above was actually taken a day later when persistent clouds provided a brief moment that revealed a rare pair of Moondogs, the brightest one to the right and below Mars. Oct 13 was actually clear as a bell once it got dark.
John H. Photo
Canon 6D, 24 mm @f/4, 20 s exp. ISO 3200

Oct/Nov 2018 Astronomy Events

COMPLETE list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 available here: ASTRONOMY 2018


Glossary of terms used here: GLOSSARY

October 2018
Oct 02 Tue 04:45 LQ rises locally at 12:36 am EDT
03 Wed 19:00 BAS meeting Bailey Hall OSDSS, Speaker (in person): Dr. Peter Martin “Galactic Dust”
04 Thu 04:51 Beehive 1.3°N of Moon
05 Fri 16:58 Regulus 1.8°S of Moon
05 Fri 17:29 Moon at Perigee: 366 396 km
06 Sat 19:00 CANCELLED: Dark of Moon viewing @ Fox public welcome
08 Mon 22:47 NM rises locally at 6:37 am EDT (not visible)
11 Thu 16:21 Jupiter 4.1°S of Moon
13 Sat 19:30 Coffin Ridge Winery stargazing, backup Oct 19, members contact John H. to take part
14 Sun 22:01 Saturn 1.8°S of Moon
15 Mon 22:00 Mercury 6.2° of Venus
16 Tue 13:02 FQ rises locally at 2:52 pm EDT
17 Wed 14:16 Moon at Apogee: 404 227 km
18 Thu Mars 1.9°S of Moon
21 Sun 12:00 Orionid Meteor Shower (20/h, Moon 91% near Full)
23 Tue 20:00 Uranus at Opposition (magnitude 5.7)
24 Wed 11:45 FM rises locally at 6:54 pm EDT
26 Fri 09:00 Venus at Inferior Conjunction (not visible)
27 Sat 08:04 Aldebaran 1.6°S of Moon
29 Mon 01:00 Mercury 3.1° S of Jupiter
31 Wed 10:24 Beehive 1.0°N of Moon
31 Wed 11:40 LQ rises locally at 12:43 am EDT Nov 1
31 Wed 15:05 Moon at Perigee: 370 201 km

November 2018
01 Thu 23:16 Regulus 2.1°S of Moon
04 Sun 03:00 Eastern Standard Time starts (clocks back 1 hr)
05 Mon 13:00 S. Taurid Meteor Shower (10/h, Moon 5%)
06 Tue 10:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation 23.3°E
07 Wed 19:00 BAS meeting Members’ Night
Bailey Hall OSDSS
07 Wed 11:02 NM rises locally at 6:50 am EST
08 Thu 23:58 Mercury 1.8°N of Antares

10 Sat 20:00 Dark of Moon @Fox (weather dependent)
11 Sun 10:46 Saturn 1.4°S of Moon
12 Mon 12:00 N. Taurid Meteor Shower (15/h. Moon 24%)
14 Wed 10:57 Moon at Apogee: 404 341 km
14 18:14 Venus 0.2°S of Spica
15 Thu 09:54 FQ rises locally at 1:40 pm EST
15 23:16 Mars 1.0°N of Moon: Occultation. (below our horizon and a miss by more than 1° locally)
17 Sat 18:00 Leonid Meteor Shower (20/h, Moon 72%)
23 Fri 00:39 FM rises locally at 5:36 pm EST
23 16:11 Aldebaran 1.7°S of Moon
26 Mon 01:00 Jupiter in Conjunction with Sun (not visible)
26 07:10 Moon at Perigee: 366 623 km
27 Tue 04:00 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (not visible)
27 15:57 Beehive 0.8°N of Moon
29 Thu 04:27 Regulus 2.3°S of Moon
29 19:19 LQ rises locally at 11:58 pm EST


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events

Autumn, 2018
Venus -losing status as Evening Star
Venus is quickly losing its status as Evening Star in the west as it drops lower and lower in the sky. Mercury makes an appearance nearby in mid-October but both planets are nearly the same elevation as the Sun so they set in very bright twilight and are difficult to spot. Venus reached its greatest distance from the sun Aug 17 and on Sep 21, it’s surface will be at maximum illuminated extent at magnitude -4.8, the brightest it gets for the year. However, Venus is very low on the western horizon at the time. But if you spot it, Venus still far outshines any other object (except maybe the ISS on occasion) in the western sky.

Two Evening Planets Across the Milky Way for the Fall
-Saturn and Mars

Autumn planet watchers will soon lose Venus in the West but not until after she puts on her brightest face on Sep 21. Venus is circling back towards the Sun and the illuminated portion is shrinking but at the same time, the disk enlarges as Venus gets closer to us. The point of maximum brilliance occurs Sep 21 when the two effects balance out. After this, Venus does get fainter, but who can detect a drop from -4.8 to -4.5 in the first week of October. More difficult will be even seeing Venus since the planet is only 8° above the western horizon on Sep 21 and right on the horizon with the Sun by Oct 14. After that time, Venus will be gone from our skies. She rounds the Sun in late October and by the first week of November, Venus appears ahead of the Sun as a Morning Star.

Jupiter is taking longer to disappear in the west but by late October, it too is lost in the twilight glow. Only Saturn and Mars remain in the sky at viewable elevations, but even Saturn will be gone by the end of November. Mars on the other hand will hang in until June of next year as it is moving to the east about as fast as the sky is “moving west” on a daily basis. There will be lots of time to attempt seeing surface features on the planet but on the down side, Mars is shrinking in size as we separate from the Red Planet. In June 2019, when Mars disappears into the solar glow, it is less than 10 arc-seconds across, less than half what it was at opposition. But the dust storm on Mars has subsided and views of Martian surface features are definitely improved. Image below by Frank Williams shows Mars while dust was raging and Jupiter with Io casting a shadow. Saturn is shown from Starry Night.


Image of Jupiter and Mars by Frank Williams, Saturn diagram from Starry Night Pro


Jupiter viewing guide from Cosmic Pursuits available here: Jupiter Viewing 2018

Mars viewing guide here:
SkyNews Mars Guide and here from Cosmic Pursuits: Cosmic Pursuits Mars Guide

Saturn viewing guide here:
S&T Saturn Guide


From Our Astrophotographers:

Comet 21P/Giacobin-Zinner
Frank Williams sent in this amazing shot of Comet 21P taken during Starfest from his observatory in Allenford. He used his refractor (140 mm Tec) and a Canon 6D camera. Image is a stack of two 3-minute shots of the comet plus 37 one-minute images. He used Pixinsight for the processing. Total exposure time was 43 minutes.


Frank Williams Comet 21P/ 43 minutes total exposure (140 mm refractor)

Whirlpool Galaxy!
Local astrophotographer defeats cloudy weather (again)!

Frank Williams just keeps churning out the images! I know that each one is a lot of work having dabbled in it myself, but Frank has his workflow organized and keeps amazing us with the results. This image of M51 is possible since its location near the tip of the handle of Ursa Major is pretty much at the zenith right now at midnight and there is little atmospheric turbulence in that direction. In winter, M51 skims the horizon and there is no point in imaging or looking at it then. Do get out now and have a look with whatever telescope you have available.

Frank W. provides the following description:
This image is 11 hours with Canon 6d (modified) and cooled to -9C and a 12” F/8 RC *mallincam branded GSO truss scope (no field flattener) cropped to remove the ragged edges of stacked images. It is ~ 11 hours: 60 images 3 minutes each at ISO 800 and 159 images at 3 minutes ISO 3200 (found that cooled 6d is clean enough to increase the ISO). Calibrated, aligned, stacked and processed in Pixinsight. You can boost the saturation to your liking, but I have tried not to go overboard in processing. Many images of M51 (to my taste) are a bit gaudy.

BTW the [tiny] edge-on galaxy upper right [above the companion] is 230 Million ly away! M51 is only 30 million ly years away….


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:

Screen shot 2015-10-12 at 2.57.38 PM ........................... Screen shot 2015-08-11 at 10.46.57 AM


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)