Last update Aug 19, 2016

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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) and a 10-inch SCT on a GOTO mount that we use regularly in our public viewing sessions.

Click here for map to ES Fox Observatory or Tom Thomson Art Gallery meeting location.

STARFEST Attendees Aug 4-7, 2016:


L-R: John Hlynialuk, Rob ("Felix") Atkinson, Eric Ingard, Brett ("Oscar") Tatton, Cheryl Dawson, Frank Paquet, Sue MacLaughlin, Doug Turner. Missing: John VanDorp, Frank Williams, Rob Vollett.

Next BAS meeting 7 pm Wed. Sep 7, 2016 at ES FOX OBSERVATORY;
Topic: Astrophotography Basics. See COMING EVENTS. for more details.

Note: 2017 SOLAR ECLIPSE tab has an update that all participants should read.

AUGUST 2016 SGN Newsletter now available. Click on NEWSLETTER tab above.

Canada Dark Sky Weekend at National Park Success! Three nights out of three were clear for evening viewing! See images below:

Image by park ranger with Eric Ingard's camera



Tyler Lekki images


BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month except January and February. Check our calendar here: BAS 2016 Events summary for meeting dates and other events including public viewing nights at the Fox Observatory (or elsewhere). If you would like to get on our list for impromptu observing nights contact Brett T or John H .

For an up-to-date listing, see our current monthly listing below or click on the COMING EVENTS page for detailed information.
NOTE: BAS Meetings and Public Viewings are open to the public and there is no charge. BAS viewing at ES Fox Observatory is either open to the public (see dates below) or for members and guests. HOWEVER, we welcome out-of-town guests AT NO CHARGE on all of our listed observing nights.  We will do our best to accommodate you!
Individuals or groups may request private tours on other dates (subject to availability of guides) by contacting John H. email: . There is a fee for private tours.


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 whether to attend due to weather.

EVENTS June 2016 to September 2016 (the short list)

Our next BAS Wed meeting (at Fox Obs.) is Sep 7, 2016. Topic: Astrophotography More details can be found in COMING EVENTS. Some of the more interesting sky viewing opportunities are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

BAS summer meetings now happen at the Fox Observatory (next one is Sep 7, there is no Aug meeting). Then we are back at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (lower level) for our Oct 5, Nov 2 and Dec 7 meetings. Meetings usually consist of a short business meeting and include a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic.
When visiting the Fox Observatory, please park at the main lot by the Learning Centre. Parking near the Fox is reserved for disability access and equipment drop-off.

More details for the events listed below can be found on the COMING EVENTS page. A list of astronomy events for 2016 is available here: Astro Events 2016. Note this list changes from time to time as additional astronomy events are added.
A list of BAS events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2016 is separately available here:
BAS 2016 Events Summary. This list may also change as events are confirmed, etc.


July 2016

Jul 1 to 3 (Fri to Sun) Bruce Pen National Park Dark Sky Weekend (camping starts Thu night Jun 30)
Jul 1 Fri: Moon at Perigee: 366 000 km; Aldebaran 0.4° S of Moon
Jul  4 Mon: NM; Earth at Aphelion (farthest from Sun): 152 111 115 km
Jul 7 Thu: Regulus 1.9° N of Moon
Jul 6 Wed: BAS Regular Meeting at ES Fox Observatory Movie Night or TBA Public Welcome
Jul 8 Fri: Grey Roots Public viewing (starts at dark) Public Welcome
Jul 9 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon Viewing night (BAS members); Jupiter 0.9° N of Moon
Jul  11 Mon: FQ; Spica 6.2° S of Moon
Jul  13 Wed: Moon at Apogee: 404 300 km
Jul  16 Sat: Venus-Mercury appulse at twilight; Saturn 3.8° S of Moon
Jul  19 Tue: FM
Jul 22/23/24 Fri/Sat/Sun) Whispering Pines Stargazing Weekend Public Welcome
Jul  26 Tue: LQ
Jul  27 Wed: Moon at Perigee: 369 700 km; Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 20
Jul  29 Fri: Aldebaran 0.3° S of Moon (Close miss at 6:30 am)
Jul  30 Sat: Mercury 0.3° N of Regulus

August 2016

Aug  2 Mon: NM
Aug  4 - 7 Thu - Sun: STARFEST: register at
Aug  10 Wed: FQ
Aug 12 Fri: 07:26 Perseid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 90 More Here: BAS WEBLOG
Aug  13 Sat:  BAS at Inverhuron Provincial Park -public stargazing night.
Aug  18 Thu: FM
Aug  21 Mon: One Year Countdown starts to Solar Eclipse Monday, Aug 21, 2017
Aug  24 Wed:   Mars 1.8° N of Antares; Saturn 4.3° N of Mars, Moon at LQ
Aug  26 Fri: Grey Roots Public viewing (starts at dark) Public Welcome
Aug  27 Sat: 16:53 Venus Jupiter separation 0.1° !!!

September 2016

Sep  1 Thu: NM: Annular Solar Eclipse (mid-Africa, Madagascar and into Indian Ocean) not visible in N.America
Sep  2 Fri: Neptune at Opposition
Sep  3 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests)
Sep  7 Wed:  Regular Meeting at Fox Obs Topic: Beginner’s Astrophotogra[hy basics with Mallincam: Brett T.
Sep  9 Fri: FQ
Sep  16 Fri:     FM Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (not visible in N. America and it is a poor penumbral eclipse to boot.)
Sep  17 Sat:     HAPPY 5th ANNIVERSARY to ES Fox Observatory! A celebration with cake is planned!
Sep  22 Thu:    Autumnal Equinox 09:21
Sep  23 Fri:  LQ
Sep  30 Fri:    NM


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events :

Perseid Meteor PEAK of 180/hour predicted for Aug 11-12!
More here:

There is a prediction from meteor specialists of a possible peak of 200 Perseids per hour in the dawn hours of Aug 12. It may last a few hours and Aug 11 after midnight (Aug 12 am) is favoured. If your skies are clear, it will be worth a look! And also try the night before and after as the shower actually continues for several nights.
More Here:


Perseid meteor in Sagittarius at Starfest 2010. Canon 50D, 20 s exp. 17mm foc.len. ISO 2000. JH image.

May 9: Mercury Transit SUCCESS!
Special Issue Here:
Mercury Transit 2016
May 9, 2016, dawned with clear blue skies that lasted all day long! The silhouette of Mercury passed in front of the Sun and BAS members, elementary students on program at BOEC and their adult chaperones watched the event from the Fox Observatory. Images presented here are from various members who took the time to snap a picture while others were busy with observations. Actually the event was slow enough that there was no rush. The die-hards who watched the whole event are shown in the first image below. Mercury Special Issue available by clicking on cover page here.
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Mars continues (relatively) big and (still) bright:
Mars reached opposition on May 22 and is the brightest and largest in our sky in the last 2 years. At best, it will be almost as bright as Jupiter at
mag -2.0 (presently, Aug 1, it is -0.7), Mars is found near Antares and Saturn in Scorpius. It is largest and brightest at opposition, when Mars is opposite the Sun in our sky and is highest at midnight, but good viewing can be had a month before and after. In the diagram below note how large the planet appears -the disk is about the same as the disk of Saturn at the end of May. With a telescope you can make out features on the surface of Mars like the polar ice caps. There is excellent and detailed information at the ALPO site here: 2016 Mars Apparition
Also Brian Ventrudo, has a very detailed Mars observing guide at this site:
Mars Observing Guide

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Saturn in Scorpius:
The famous Ringed Planet is also in prime viewing territory less than 20° east of Mars. Make sure you take a look at it with your telescope. The rings are tilted as fully as they can be to our line of sight and just like Jupiter, Saturn has a retinue of moons that can be seen around the planet. Five can be seen with medium sized telescopes and range in brightness from 8.4 to 11.8; Titan is 8.4, Rhea is 9.7, Dione is 10.4, Tethys is 10.3, and Enceladus is 11.8. Watch Mars slip between Saturn and Antares on Aug 24/25.
Sky and Telescope’s informative viewing guide to Saturn is here:
Saturn Viewing Guide


Jupiter Watching -Catch it before it is GONE!
Jupiter watching continues and if you need to bone up on the King of Planets try Brian Ventrudo’s informative article here:

Jupiter is past opposition but it is still reasonably high once it is dark. By the end of July it is setting in the west before 10:30 pm, but even in twilight, Jupiter is a fine sight. There is no excuse for not having a look at it and its contingent of moons before you start on the other objects farther to the east.
The Red Spot has taken on a fine reddish hue which makes it stand out even more than usual. You will have no trouble seeing it (if the planet's rotation brings it into view. And in August, Mercury and Venus are in the same part of the sky, so there are three planets to hunt for in the West after sunset. See SKY SIGHTS for more.
Here is a link to times of transit of the Great Red Spot:
Red Spot Tansits


From Our Astrophotographers:

Frank Williams continues doing some excellent work capturing astronomical targets. His latest is the leo Triplet below. Frank is now using a CCD camera (SBIG STL 11000) with colour filters RGB.

This is a total 1.5 hour exposure that was taken through his 5-inch TEC refractor. Impressive
. This image was taken May 6 and by cosmic coincidence a supernova erupted in M66 (galaxy centre left side) about 2 weeks later so Frank missed getting to be the discoverer! See this site for more on the M66 supernova: M66 SN



The countdown to the Great Aug 21 2017 Solar Eclipse continues:

Mar 29, 2006 Solar Eclipse Montage from Antalya Turkey by J.Hlynialuk

If you are looking for a detailed map of the ground track of the Aug 21, 2017 eclipse here it is:
Note: this is a big file -be patient.

More info is available on the
2017 SOL ECLIPSE tab.

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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Next BAS meeting 7 pm Wed. Sep 7, 2016 at ES FOX OBSERVATORY; Topic: Astrophotography Basics. See COMING EVENTS. for more details.