Latest update Monday, March 19, 2018

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The BOEC was declared Canada’s 15th Dark Sky Preserve in Nov 2012. (More here: DSP BOEC). At the ES Fox Observatory, we have a large reflecting telescope (a 28-inch Webster, recently re-aluminized and working well!) 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 our 2018 meeting location Bailey Hall OSDSS.

New Venue for BAS meetings (Spring 2018) is
Bailey Hall room 315
Owen Sound District Secondary School

BAS will meet at Bailey Hall Mar 7, Apr 4 and May 2, 2018 (7 pm)

and at ES Fox Observatory Jun 6, Jul 4, Aug 1, Sep 5, 2018

BAS has an Aurora lecture at Grey Roots March 24 (2 pm).

See Grey Roots website for details:
Grey Roots What’s On

NEW: Portable planetarium shows at Grey Roots Museum!
Reservations recommended!

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March 2018 SGN now available!
Click here for -> March 2018 SGN

Or Click on image below:

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ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 now available here: ASTRONOMY 2018

UPDATED March 7 BAS 2018 Club EVENTS
including meeting topics available here: 2018 Club Events


March/April 2018 (the short list)

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm. The Mar 7, Apr 4 and May 2, 2018 meetings will be at Bailey Hall (OSDSS rm 315). Meetings the following Wednesdays in the summer are at the Fox Observatory. There are no regular meetings in January and February. Check the calendar here: BAS 2018 Club Events for meeting dates and other events like public viewing nights at the Fox Observatory. Please note: The Fox Observatory is NOT available for viewing during weekdays in the school year (including evenings) since OEC school activities take precedence. BAS members have the privilege of impromptu observing and If you would like to be included in impromptu observing nights 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 monthly listing below and our BAS 2018 Club Events for specific dates and time. The ES Fox observatory is NOT available for viewing during weekdays since OEC school activities take precedence.

We welcome out-of-town guests on 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:

Our next BAS meeting is at Bailey Hall (OSDSS rm 315) on Wed. Mar 7, 2018 at 7pm. Topic: Messier preview and summer star parties. 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. or in the BAS 2018 Club Events listing.

Details for astronomy viewing events for February to April, 2018 are listed below and on the COMING EVENTS page. A complete list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 is now available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2018 Note that events may be added to the list periodically as it is amended. A list of BAS club events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2018 is separately available here: BAS 2018 Club Events


March/April 2018 Astronomy Events

Glossary of terms used here: GLOSSARY

March 2018

01 Thu 00:09 Regulus 0.9°S of Moon
01 Thu 19:51 FM
rises locally at 5:57 pm EST
04 Sun 01:00 Mercury 1.1° N of Venus (two Evening Stars in March)
closest separation (1° 4 min) on March 3 when they set at 7:17 pm in west

04 Sun 09:00 Neptune in Conjunction with Sun (not visible)
07 Wed 19:00 BAS meeting Bailey Hall OSDSS. Click for Floorplan
07 Wed 01:57 Jupiter 4.1°S of Moon
09 Fri 06:20 LQ
rises locally at 1:36 am EST
09 Fri 19:37 Mars 3.8°S of Moon
10 Sat 21:37 Saturn 2.2°S of Moon
11 Sun 03:00 Daylight Saving Time starts (clocks go ahead 1 hr)
11 Sun 04:13 Moon at Apogee: 404 682 km
15 Thu 10:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation: 18.4°E
17 Sat 08:12 NM
rises locally at 7:54 pm EDT (if you can see it)
18 Sun 14:07 Venus 3.7°N of Moon
19 Mon 03:00 Mercury 3.8°S of Venus
20 Tue 11:15 Vernal Equinox
22 Thu 17:33 Aldebaran 0.9°S of Moon
24 Sat 10:35 FQ
rises locally at 12:10 pm EDT
26 Mon 12:17 Moon at Perigee: 369 104 km
26 Mon 19:52 Beehive 2.2°N of Moon
28 Wed 08:38 Regulus 1.0°S of Moon
28 Wed 19:00 Venus and Uranus 4 minutes of separation.
31 Sat 07:37 FM rises locally at 8:08 pm EDT (2nd FM of March)

April 2018

01 Sun 13:00 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (not visible)
02 Mon 03:00 Saturn and Mars Appulse (1.2° apart) in morning sky
03 Tue 09:14 Jupiter 3.9°S of Moon
04 Wed 19:00 BAS meeting Bailey Hall OSDSS. Topic: Astronomy Trivia Night
07 Sat 07:50 Saturn 1.9°S of Moon
07 Sat 13:15 Mars 3.1°S of Moon
08 Sun 00:32 Moon at Apogee: 404 145 km
08 Sun 02:18 LQ Moon rises locally at 3:01 am EDT
14 Sat 04:24 Mercury 3.9°N of Moon
15 Sun 20:57 NM rises locally at 6:51 am EDT (not vis.)
17 Tue 14:29 Venus 5.4°N of Moon
18 Wed 10:00 Uranus in Conjunction with Sun (not vis.)
18 Wed 23:45 Aldebaran 1.1°S of Cres. Moon in Hyades. Pleiades, Venus nearby
20 Fri 09:44 Moon at Perigee: 368 713 km
22 Sun 13:00 Lyrid Meteor Shower (20/h, Moon 48%)
22 Sun 16:46 FQ rises locally at 11:03 am EDT
23 Mon 01:17 Beehive 1.9°N of Moon
24 Tue 11:47 Venus 3.4°S of Pleiades; Venus travels between Hyades and Pleiades this week.
24 Tue 14:39 Regulus 1.2°S of Moon
29 Sun 13:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation 27.0°W (sunrise is only 45 minutes after Mercury rise)
29 Sun 19:58 FM rises locally at 7:00 pm EDT
30 Mon 12:16 Jupiter 3.8°S of Moon


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events

Mar 12 -30, 2018 Venus-Mercury Uranus in West

Venus and Mercury continue to draw our attention to the western sky all March and for a time they appear as double Evening Stars (albeit Mercury is much fainter). Venus at magnitude -3.9 far outshines Mercury at -1.2, as Venus continues climbing higher into the western sky. Mercury is moving faster and reaches its farthest point east of the Sun on March 15 and then starts back sunwards again and is lost in the Sun’s glare by month end.

Venus and Uranus are VERY close on March 28 when Venus glides past the gas giant with only 4 minutes of arc to spare. Yes, 4 minutes! This is half the greatest distance that Callisto gets from Jupiter.That will be a nice sight and with Uranus at 5.9 magnitude, should be visible in binos but get our your scopes for a good look. Chart below shows the path of the two planets from March 12 to 30 with the March 28 appulse highlighted.

Venus Uranus Mercury
Diagram from Starry Nigh/Simulation Curriculum


From Our Astrophotographers:
Crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury Mar 18, 2018
A nice view of the evening planets and moon captured by Canon 60Da, 1/6 s ISO 500, 100 mm lens

Rosette Nebula!
Local astrophotographer defeats our cloudy weather!


Frank Williams has recently been experimenting with some remote imaging from sites with better skies than locally. He has booked time at with remotely-controllable instruments in New Mexico and at Siding Springs Observatory in Australia (they have other sites, as well). After a few initial troubles (once he was dewed out!) he has managed to get enough data for a VERY nice image of the Rosette Nebula (above). An earlier, still very nice image he sent was a 4 hour 39 minute total exposure but he has upped that by going to 8 hours and adding some narrowband images in H-alpha, OIII and SII and worthy of this month’s Image of the Month feature.

He added this information about the (earlier) image in an email:

…I did get some data, 14 x 3 minutes of Red, 14 x 3 minutes of Blue, and 9 x 3 minutes of Green. (the roof closed before the rest of the Green and Luminance got taken). But that data plus what I gathered already gives me the [image above]. 
This is a composite image, a total of 4 hours and 39 minutes taken with 3 telescopes.
[Image here also has Ha, OIII and SII added for total of 8 hours exposure, a list of some of the other exposure times is below. -ed].

My own TEC 140 and SBIG 11000m 51 min, (39 min red, 12 min blue)
Takahashi 106 with SBIG 11000m in New Mexico (2 hours of H-alpha)
Takahashi 106 with FLI 11000m in Siding springs Australia (42 min red, 42 minute blue, 27 minute green)
The image is cropped because I have not mastered plate solving to ensure all scopes are aligned well….
I will give it one more go, to try and  get the luminance and more blue and green data if skies permit…. with H alpha and a lot of red, need some blue and green and luminance to balance it out….

At a subsequent date, Frank managed to get more data and explains his processing briefly:

I have tried a number of different methods to incorporate narrow band and RGB with Pixinsight
• Pixelmath (came out bland, likely just not enough data),
• NBRGB combination script (came out gaudy with weird artifacts),
• Direct Ha, OIII, SII into RGB combination.
The latter is this version.

Now that the weather is breaking will look to get data locally for galaxy targets... just tweaked up the collimation on C11. (Duncan collimation mask was a fail.... but that is another story.....) Cold weather allows me to use DSLR (canon 60d unmodified) My astro modified T2i has recently died

Clear skies to you.

ISS transited super Full Moon Dec 3 at 10:12 pm EST!
Four BAS observers get video and images from TWO Allenford locations.

BAS observers Lorraine Rodgers, Brett Tatton, Frank Williams and John Hlynialuk captured the transit from two locations along the track and got it crossing the centre of the Moon (left composite JH) and along the western edge (right composite FW). Lorraine captured the event on a cell phone held up to her telescope and Brett observed visually. John’s composite image consisted of 13 single frames (of the 27 in the video) composited with PhotoShop and the video was shot with a Canon 6D through a 5-inch Maksutov with focal length 1540 mm, at f/10. Composite by Frank, observing from his observatory north of Allenford, was taken in video mode on a Canon T2i mounted on an TEC 140mm (5.5-inch), f/7 refractor at 980 mm focal length (with Canon T2i, effective f.l. is 1568mm). Coincidentally, the two have the same focal lengths and thus image sizes. Both final images had some colour corrections applied along with sharpening and levels adjustments. Time of transit for left image was 0.91 seconds, right image was 0.71 s and in both composites only the second frame of the videos shot was used.

PS: This image and story appears in the March/April issue of SkyNews -see pg. 6.

Future ISS events here:


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)