Last update Wednesday, Dec 13, 2017

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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, 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 TBA.

Note: there may be a binocular comet visible for Christmas! Check out the VIS. COMETS page for details.

ISS transits the super Full Moon Dec 3 at 10:12 pm EST!
Four BAS observers capture video and images from TWO locations in Allenford.
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 (upper composite JH images) and along the western edge (lower composite FW images). 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. Lower 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 cast corrections applied along with sharpening and levels adjustments. For those sharp-eyed readers who notice that there are fewer ISS images on the upper photo, the reason is that although both were shot at about 24 fps, John used every second frame in the 0.91 seconds of video.

Iss transits compared

See BAS WEBLOG for future ISS events or check

Last Public VIEWING of 2017 is Dec 16 (8 pm) at Fox Observatory weather-permitting.

Next BAS club meeting is Mar 7, 2018 (7 pm) at a venue TBA.

For a review of the Dec 6, 2017 meeting, see Meeting Recap

Dec 2017 SGN StarGazerNews now available

Check on NEWSLETTER page.
Or Click Image below:

Dec 2017 SGN cvr

ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 -the complete list- now available here: ASTRONOMY 2018

BAS Club EVENTS list for 2018 has been updated here:
coming soon


Note: there may be a binocular comet visible for Christmas! Check out the VIS. COMETS page for details.

December, 2017 and January 2018 (the short list)

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm at [a venue TBA for 2018]. Click for Map. We will be meeting at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound for the LAST time on Dec 6, 2017. A new venue for 2018 is being sought. Stay tuned. There are no regular meetings in January and February. Check the calendar here: [BAS 2018 Club Events coming soon] 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 school-year weekdays (including evenings) since OEC school activities take precedence.

If you would like to be included in our list for impromptu observing nights contact Brett T. or John H. Some of the more interesting sky viewing opportunities are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

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 coming soon] for specific dates and time. The property 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 [venue TBA] on Wed. Mar 7, 2018 at 7pm. Topic: TBA. 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.

More details for astronomy viewing events for December and January, 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 coming soon]


December 2017 Astronomy Events

03 Sun 08:00 Aldebaran 0.8°S of Moon (occultation below our horizon)
03 Sun 10:47 FM
04 Mon 03:42 Moon at Perigee: 357 496 km
06 Wed 19:00 Mercury 1.3° of Saturn

06 Wed 19:00 BAS meets at Tom Thomson Art Gallery 7 pm: Topic: Xmas social and 2017 recap
07 Thu 04:30 Beehive 2.5°N of Moon
08 Fri 14:33 ISS transits Sun. See
17:25 Regulus 0.7°S of Moon
10 Sun 02:51 LQ
12 Tue 12:41 ISS transits Sun. See
21:00 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (not visible)

13 Wed 01:00 Geminid Meteor Shower (120/h) Moon only 14% illuminated

Credit: Gifrific

OK, the Geminids probably won’t be THAT good, but tell it to the folks in Chelyabinsk, Russia on Feb 15, 2013. We could get lucky too.
(Click on the animation to go to Gifrific where there are more like this)
13 Wed 11:27 Mars 4.2°S of Moon
14 Thu 09:26 Jupiter 4.2°S of Moon
16 Sat @ dark Dark of the Moon viewing session; public welcome, weather permitting
18 Mon 01:31 NM
18 Mon 20:27 Moon at Apogee: 406 605 km

21 Thu 11:29 Winter Solstice
21 Thu 15:00 Saturn in Conjunction with Sun (not visible)
22 Fri 10:00 Ursid Meteor Shower (10 per hour, Moon 13% - a minor shower)
26 Tue 04:20 FQ
30 Sat 19:25 Aldebaran 0.7°S of Moon (disapp. 6:20 pm, reapp. 7:19 pm, moon 93%) Last such occultation visible from N. America.

2018 Astronomy Events:

January 2018

Jan 01 Mon 15:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation 22.7°W
01 Mon 16:54 Moon at Perigee: 356566 km
01 Mon 21:24 FM (perigean FM -largest of 2018)
03 Wed 01:00 Earth at Perihelion: 0.98329 AU
03 Wed 14:50 Beehive 2.3°N of Moon

03 Wed 15:00 Quadrantid Meteor Shower (120/h) Moon 96% full
05 Fri 02:24 Regulus 0.9°S of Moon
08 Mon 17:25 LQ
09 Tue 01:00 Venus at Superior Conjunction (not visible)
11 Thu 00:59 Jupiter 4.3°S of Moon
11 Thu 05:03 Mars 4.6°S of Moon

13 Sat 03:00 Mercury 0.7° of Saturn (nice morning view in east -crescent Moon nearby)
20:00 Dark of Moon viewing at Fox Observatory for BAS members and guests

14 Sun 21:10 Moon at Apogee: 406461 km
14 Sun 21:13 Saturn 2.6°S of Moon

15 Mon 02:24 Mercury 3.4°S of Moon -nice grouping of crescent Moon, Saturn and Mercury 7 am in east
16 Tue 21:17 NM
24 Wed 17:20 FQ
27 Sat 05:09 Aldebaran 0.7°S of Moon
30 Tue 04:54 Moon at Perigee: 358995 km
31 Wed 02:19 Beehive 2.3°N of Moon
31 Wed 08:27 FM (another perigean FM, also a Blue Moon)

31 Wed 08:30 Total Lunar Eclipse; mag=1.315 (Totality starts after moonset
@7:44 am) Best west of Ontario-Manitoba border

A list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2018. Note this list changes from time to time as additional astronomy events are added.

An astronomical calendar for 2018 (with diagrams of sky sights) will be available for download from Alan Dyer's website here: (Also on the bottom of the "about Alan" page).


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events :
A SUPER, BLUE, Lunar Eclipse Jan 31, 2018 !

Jan 31-19 Lun Ecl

Diagram above from Starry Night shows the 3/4 eclipsed Moon just before it sets below the western horizon Jan 31 (moonset at 7:44 am locally). Don’t count on seeing the sky as dark as shown here because the Sun is rising in the east within 1 minute of the same time. First umbral contact is at 6:48 am and totality starts at 7:51 am, 7 minutes after local moonset. Totality lasts until 9:07 am, about 76 minutes in all and the last umbral contact when the eclipse his over is at 11:11 am local time. The only way to improve the view will be to travel west to someplace in the middle of the prairies like Calgary, for example. There the moon sets just as the umbral shadow leaves the face of the Moon. Even then the Sun rises at the same time as moonset so the last partial phases will be brightened by sunlight. The COMING EVENTS page has more information in the form of the traditional diagrams from Mr. Eclipse, Fred Espenak.


ISS Transits the Sun on Dec 8 and 12
Click on any image for enlargement or see BAS WEBLOG for details.

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From Our Astrophotographers:

Andromeda Galaxy!
Frank Williams does it again.


Frank Williams took advantage of a few clear hours to capture our favourite external galaxy, M31. As he explains in more detail below, this was a relatively short exposure one a small refractor and an indication of what is possible with modern optics and tracking mounts. He writes:

It is a work in progress a mere 30 minutes 10 x 3 minute exposures in each of red blue and green filters for a total of 90 minutes Friday night. I used my Tec 140 mm apo (refractor) with SBIG 11000 mono ccd. (11 Megapixel) I cooled it flat out to get chip to -30C for minimum noise.  Losmandy Titan mount in my front yard guided with my Televue 85 and a Starlight Express guide camera. That Televue is a workhorse! M31 image you have from it with Canon T2i was not bad either but aperture and cooling help a lot.

I was disappointed Wednesday night by the sky conditions. M31 in Webster with good conditions is a marvel to behold.‎ I look forward to another Webster night this fall with better conditions. Before the winter clouds. -Frank


Frank Williams has submitted another stunning astro-image! The image below of globular cluster M5 in Serpens is a 3 hour exposure taken with his 5.5” (140 mm) refractor telescope.
He writes:
It was taken with an SBIG 11000 CCD mono camera with chip cooled to -25C. The exposure is 30 minutes luminosity (10 x 3 minute exposures) 1 hour each through red green and blue filters (2‎0 x 3 minutes each) 70 individual images altogether,  through a TEC 140 mm refractor from my front yard skypod  observatory in Allenford. Processed (stacking, etc.) using Pixinsight. Losmandy Titan mount and a KW kwikguider. Images taken over the few clear nights over last week. “

m5 3.5 hrs

The star to the left is double star 5-Serpentis, a 5th magnitude star with an 10th magnitude companion about 11 arc-sec away.

Info for M5 from Wikipedia:
M5 is, under extremely good conditions, just visible to the naked eye as a faint "star" near the star 5 Serpentis. Binoculars or small telescopes will identify the object as non-stellar while larger telescopes will show some individual stars, of which the brightest are of apparent magnitude 12.2.

M5 was discovered by the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch in 1702 when he was observing a comet. Charles Messier also noted it in 1764, but thought it a nebula without any stars associated with it. William Herschel was the first to resolve individual stars in the cluster in 1791, counting roughly 200.

Spanning 165 light-years in diameter, M5 is one of the largest known globular clusters. The
gravitational sphere of influence of M5, (i.e. the volume of space in which stars are gravitationally bound to it rather than being torn away by the Milky Way's gravitational pull) has a radius of some 200 light-years.

At 13 billion years old, M5 is also one of the eldest globular clusters in the
Milky Way Galaxy. Its distance is about 24,500 light-years from Earth, and it contains more than 100,000 stars, as many as 500,000 according to some estimates.


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)