Latest update “Sonne’s Day”: Sep 16, 2018

………..Screen shot 2016-04-22 at 6.57.06 PM .......................................

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.

September 2018 SGN NOW Available! See sidebar —->

Mars storm subsiding? Hopeful signs…


AUGUST 2 Image above
from British Astronomical Society
photographer Peter Edwards Sussex, UK

As of mid-August, imagers are getting better views of Mars as the dust appears to be settling. Curiosity rover images in Gale crater show the air clearing and more distant features starting to appear. Read more about this hopeful development in the BAS WEBLOG

Aug 9-12, 2018: BAS at STARFEST -the usual participants below


BAS always has a sizeable contingent of members attending Starfest in the summer. Webster (background) also draws a big crowd after dark. (Cheryl Dawson added in PS). John H. Photo

Oct 3, 2018: Next BAS Meeting at Bailey Hall OSDSS 7 pm, Topic: Dragonfly Array. More details on COMING EVENTS page.
Sep 5 Meeting Recap:

NOTE: Coffin Ridge Winery stargazing event has been moved to Oct 13.

BAS Nov 7 and Dec 5 meetings are at Bailey Hall.

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm except in January and February. Meetings in the fall 2018 will be at Bailey Hall (OSDSS rm 315). Meetings June 6, July 4, Aug 1 and Sep 5 are at the Fox Observatory. 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 WEEKDAY evenings for viewing during the school year since OEC 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 monthly listing below and our BAS 2018 Club Events for specific dates and time. The ES Fox observatory is NOT available for viewing during school year weekdays since OEC activities take precedence.

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 page. 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

Sept/Oct 2018 Astronomy Events

COMPLETE list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 available here: ASTRONOMY 2018
NOTE: Coffin Ridge Winery stargazing event has been moved to Oct 13.


Glossary of terms used here: GLOSSARY

September 2018

02 Sun 20:34 Aldebaran 1.2°S of Moon
02 Sun 21:37 LQ Moon rises locally at 12:02 am EDT

03 to 19 Best time to Observe Comet 21/P Giacobini-Zinner Look in Auriga then Gemini (chart here:VIS.COMETS)
05 Wed 19:00 BAS meeting at ES Fox Observatory Starfest recap
06 Thu 21:13 Beehive 1.4°N of Moon
07 Fri 12:00 Neptune at Opposition (magnitude 7.8)
07 20:21 Moon at Perigee: 361 355 km
08 Sat 20:00 Dark of Moon public viewing @Fox (Comet G-Z viewing and Mars! -see WEBLOG)
09 Sun 13:01 NM rises locally at 6:32 am EDT (not visible)
13 Thu 21:21 Jupiter 4.4°S of Moon

14 Fri - 16 Sun Inverhuron Dark Sky Weekend (members’ camping free, contact John H. for details)
16 Sun 18:15 FQ rises locally at 2:29 pm EDT
17 Mon 11:46 Saturn 2.1°S of Moon
19 Wed 19:54 Moon at Apogee: 404 875 km
20 Thu 01:38 Mars 4.8°S of Moon
20 21:00 Mercury at Superior Conjunction (not visible)
21 Fri 05:00 Venus maximum illuminated extent (magnitude -4.8) Low above SW horizon.
22 Sat 20:54 Autumnal Equinox (Fall starts) NOTE: Coffin Ridge Winery stargazing event has been moved to Oct 13.
24 Mon 21:52 FM rises locally at 7:32 pm EDT
30 Sun 02:06 Aldebaran 1.4°S of Moon

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: Peter Martin “Dragonfly Array” (Hunting Faint Galaxies)
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 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 Crescent Moon and planets (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


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events

Autumn, 2018
Venus -a Bright Evening Star in the West until Fall
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 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 is subsiding 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:

Image below shows the spread of the planets Mars, Saturn and Jupiter along the ecliptic from Libra to Sagittarius that we see this summer. The Milky Way will be straddled by Mars (lower left) Jupiter (right at tree edge) and Saturn above the Sagittarius teapot. This image was taken at the Bruce Peninsula National Park while BAS members provided views with telescopes to campers. Image taken on July 14, 2018 at 11:30 pm. The Webster-28 inch is in the dark below the green laser beam.

John H. image: Canon 6D, 20 s ISO 6400, with 12 mm Samyang f/2.8 wide angle.

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)