Latest Update: Jan 20, 2019

NO Lunar Eclipse Viewing from Fox Observatory Jan 20, 2019
Live Views available here from remote telescopes:
Virtual Telescope

………..Screen shot 2016-04-22 at 6.57.06 PM ......................................twitter-logo-transparent.

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.

NOTE: Due to Severe Weather there is NO Public Viewing of Jan 20 Lunar Eclipse from Fox Observatory.

ES Foc CSC ……..Fox Camera

……Clear Sky Chart ES Fox Observatory.............……..ES Fox Asgard Camera

Click for CURRENT views

Comet Wirtanen still visible!
(Two other comets up there too, See VIS.COMETS page for details)

Comet 46/P Wirtanen spotted by several BAS members during breaks in clouds! Updated finder chart under Naked Eye/Binocular Events below.

Next BAS Meeting is March 6, 2019 at Bailey Hall OSDSS, 7 pm (MAP)
More details on


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events
January/Feb 2019

Jan 20/21, 2019 TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE!
[Please note U2 and U3 times in diagram are now correct.]
The last January eclipse (Jan 31, 2018) was clouded out locally, but we get a second chance at seeing one on the evening of Jan 20, morning of Jan 21. And this time clouds better clear since the next good total lunar eclipse is not until May 2021 and then we get another in November the same year!

As in other lunar eclipses, note that the penumbral contacts (P1 and P4) will not be visible, and the eclipse starts when the darker umbra contacts the Moon, i.e., U1 (10:34 pm) and ends at U4 (1:51 am Jan 21). Middle of the eclipse is 12:12 am Jan 21. Totality is from 11:41 pm Jan 20 to 12:43 am Jan 21. In past eclipses, the umbral darkening was visible several minutes before the official time, because that shadow edge is not actually as sharp as the diagram shows.

Jan 20-21-LEc-corrected-times

Here are the official times from Fred Espenak’s website :

P1 = 9:36 pm EST Jan 20 Penumbral eclipse starts (not visible)
U1 = 10:34 pm EST 1st contact (shadow starts centre left)
U2 = 11:41 pm EST Jan 20 Totality starts (entire Moon covered!)
U3 = 12:43 am EST Jan 21 Totality ends (brightening at upper left)
U4 = 1:51 am EST 3rd contact (partial ends eclipse essentially over)
P4 = 2:48 am EST Penumbral eclipse ends -not visible. Moon

Greatest eclipse occurs at 12:12 am Jan 21 and the duration of the umbral phase of the eclipse is 62 minutes.

Imaging the eclipse is interesting and this one will be well placed in our sky for wide angle images showing the entire eclipse in one shot. Hints on imaging the eclipse cane found here:

Comet Wirtanen finder chart (updated): Comet 46/P Wirtanen has now become circumpolar and is in the sky all night long. The Moon again be less obtrusive in the sky after Jan 28 or so when it becomes LQ so have a look and see if you can still pick it Wirtanen as a faint greenish glow. Wirtanen slows down in motion considerably in Jan, and the comet is well up in the sky by midnight and away from horizon turbulence. Chart below shows comet at 8 pm starting Jan 13 with daily markers after that until Feb 20. The bowl of the Big Dipper is at bottom and Ursa Minor is at left off the diagram. To download a copy, click HERE or on chart below. More information is also found on the VIS.COMETS page.

Wirtanen Jan 13 to mid-Feb
Starry Night Diagram

Look to the Morning Sky for Planet Action
Venus is now spectacular as Morning Star and Mercury has now become a morning sky object as well. Jupiter has also re-appeared as a morning object and all three are visible before sunup this winter. Saturn replaces Mercury later in January when Mercury decides to return to the evening sky in February. Most of the planetary action has switched over to morning skies so look for nice groupings of the thin last crescent Moon with the naked-eye planets all winter.

One Bright Evening Planet and two binocular gas giants.
-Mars, Neptune and Uranus

Only Mars remains in the evening sky as a naked eye planet. Mars will hang high above the SW horizon (50°!) 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. Seeing surface features on the planet is difficult now and it is shrinking in size as we separate from it. 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. However, over the next several months, Mars can be spotted near first Neptune, (Dec 7) and then Uranus (Feb 12) so the Red Planet acts as a marker for those two less-observed planets. Might as well go for the two-for-one on those dates.


Jan/Feb 2019 Astronomy Events

COMPLETE list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2019 available here: ASTRONOMY 2019

Glossary of terms used below can be found here: GLOSSARY

January 2019
Note: Time column is UT, subtract 5 hours for local EST, 4 hours during DST.
See SKY SIGHTS for more details about specific events.
Jan 1 to 4, Crescent Moon near Venus, then Jupiter, then Mercury in dawn sky -very photogenic
01 Tue 21:50 Venus 1.3°S of Moon
02 Wed 05:00 Saturn in Conjunction with Sun (not easily visible)
03 Thu 05:00 Earth at Perihelion: 0.98330 AU (147 million km)
03 07:37 Jupiter 3.1°S of Moon

04 Fri 02:00 Quadrantid Meteor Shower (120/hour! moon only 3%) Observing from Fox weather permitting.
06 Sun 01:28 NM rises locally at 8:23 am EST (not visible)
06 01:41 Partial Solar Eclipse; mag=0.715 (not visible locally)

06 05:00 Venus at Greatest Elong: 47.0°W
09 Wed 04:29 Moon at Apogee: 406 116 km
12 19:47 Mars 5.3°N of Moon
14 Mon 06:45 FQ rises locally at 12:20 pm EST
17 Thu 18:20 Aldebaran 1.6°S of Moon

21 Mon 05:12 Total Lunar Eclipse; mag=1.195 (Total from 11:41pm Jan 20 to 12:43 am Jan 21 -best lunar eclipse in years!
21 05:16 FM rises locally at 6:03 pm EST
21 15:32 Beehive 0.6°N of Moon
21 19:58 Moon at Perigee: 357 345 km (another “supermoon eclipse”)
22 Tue 07:00 Venus 2.2°N of Jupiter
23 Wed 01:41 Regulus 2.5°S of Moon
27 Sun 21:10 LQ rises locally at 12:18 am EST
30 Wed 03:00 Mercury at Superior Conjunction (not easily visible)

Jan 30 to Feb 2 waning crescent near Jupiter, then Venus, then Saturn
30 23:54 Jupiter 2.8°S of Moon
31 Thu 17:36 Venus 0.1°S of Moon: Occultation visible in parts of S. America,
S. Pacific.
A miss locally by only 0.7° just before local moonset.

February 2019
Note: Time is given in UT, subtract 5 hours for EST, 4 hours for DST
02 Sat 07:18 Saturn 0.6°S of Moon: Occultation visible in E. Hemisphere. Occurs below our horizon. Closest separation is 2.7° at 6 am moonrise Feb 2.
Mon 21:04 NM rises locally at 7:42 am EST
Tue 09:26 Moon at Apogee: 406 556 km
Tue 22:26 FQ rises locally at 11:18 am EST
13 Wed 04:00 Mars, Neptune less than 1° apart (evening Feb 12)
14 Thu 03:29 Aldebaran 1.7°S of Moon
Mon 03:05 Beehive 0.6°N of Moon
18 14:00 Venus, Saturn less than 1° apart (morning Feb 18)
19 Tue 09:06 Moon at Perigee: 356 762 km
19 13:08 Regulus 2.5°S of Moon
19 15:53 FM rises locally at 6:09 pm EST (the biggest “supermoon” of 2019)
Tue 11:28 LQ rises locally at 1:26 am EST
Wed 01:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation East: 18.1°E
27 14:17 Jupiter 2.3°S of Moon
Feb 27 to Mar 3 Waning crescent Moon near Jupiter, then Saturn, then Venus in dawn sky, very photogenic.
Note: Next year (2020) is a leap year

March 2019
March 6 Wed 7:00 pm EST -First BAS meeting at Bailey Hall OSDSS


From Our Astrophotographers:

Comet Wirtanen Hanging in!
Frank Williams image below shows the green colour of Comet Wirtanen well in the image, but colour is not evident visually. Another observer reported seeing a faint tail (Lorraine R. Dec 29) and another (John H.) spotted it on two occasions (Dec 29 and Dec 30) in both 4 inch refractor and 9.25” Celestron Edge and did not see any tail or colour. The comet is fading fast, and no longer easily visible in binos but still right on track. It is now circumpolar (up in dark sky all night) and the Moon is less bright, so this is your last chance to spot 46/P. See updated finder chart below in Naked Eye/Binocular Events.

comet 46 Wirtanen 35 min dec 29

Frank Williams’ Dec 29 image of C. Wirtanen shows how much it has faded even in long exposure images. No tail was detected visually, nor in this 35 minute total exposure. Image above was a stack of several 1, 2, and 3 minute exposures taken with a Canon 6D through TEC 140 mm apochromatic refractor, ISO 3200, total exposure 35 minutes. Frank writes that the comet moved between exposures, so the stacking was not simple and required isolating the comet from the star field, stacking the comet images separately and then combining them again. He apologizes for the “artifacts” [I can’t see any…-ed].

Binocular Sights below and WEBLOG or VIS. COMETS have maps and more.

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)