Latest update: “Moon’s Day”: Dec 3, 2018

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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.
NEW LIFE CENTRE for Dec 5, 2018 meeting only.)

Dec 5, 2018 BAS Meeting takes place at New Life Centre
201 4th Ave West at 7 pm Click for Map

Christmas Social. More details on COMING EVENTS page.
Dec 2018 SGN is now available:

Two COMETs to observe!
Comet C/2018 V1 Macholz-Fujikama-Iwamoto and
Comet 46/P Wirtanen

See WEBLOG and VIS. COMETS page for maps and more.

Mars and Neptune Appulse Dec 7: Mars passes Neptune on Dec 7 and the pair are up in the sky above the horizon until midnight or so, so if the skies are clear, have a go. More detailed charts are available on the WEBLOG.


Brett T provided this 4° chart from Sky Safari of the area near 81 and 82 Aqr where you will find both Mars and Neptune Dec 7.

Next BAS Meeting is Dec 5, 2018 at New Life Centre 7 pm (MAP)
Christmas Social. More details on

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm (none in January and February). Meetings in the fall 2018 will usually be at Bailey Hall (OSDSS rm 315 MAP). Fox Observatory will host summer 2019 meetings dates TBA. Check the calendar here: BAS 2018 Club Events for meeting dates and public viewing nights at the Fox Observatory. The 2019 Calendar is coming soon.

Please note:
During the school year, the Fox Observatory is NOT available WEEKDAY evenings for viewing. BOEC 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). However, see MEETING RECAP for the Nov 7 meeting for some dates when members can view in Nov and Dec.
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 MONTLY LISTING BELOW and our BAS 2018 Club Events listing for specific dates and time. The ES Fox Observatory is NOT available for viewing during school year weekdays except by pre-arrangement with BAS and BOEC.

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 and SKY SIGHTS pages. A complete list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2019 is available here: Coming soon. A separate list of Club Events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2018 is available here: BAS 2018 Club Events Lists for 2019 are coming soon.

Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events
Late Autumn, 2018
Venus -transition to Morning Star
Venus appears now in the morning sky and during the first few weeks of Nov, it climbs out of the solar glare. By mid-November it is far enough ahead of the Sun to officially become the Morning Star. Mercury, on the other hand stays near the Sun in the west and reaches it farthest point east of the Sun on Nov 6. However, it is about the same elevation as the Sun and difficult to see. Then it starts back sunward, passing behind it in late Nov en-route to becoming a morning object along with Venus. From then until the new year it keeps company with Venus in the morning sky and even skims past Jupiter when it appears in the dawn sky in December.

Two Evening Planets Across the Milky Way for the Fall
-Mars and Saturn

Autumn planet watchers have lost Venus in the west and even Jupiter is getting lost in the twilight glow. Only Saturn and Mars remain in the sky at viewable elevations, and sadly 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 2019, when Mars disappears into the solar glow, it is less than 10 arc-seconds across, less than half what it was at opposition.


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

BAS members observe Venus in daytime near Inferior Conjunction

Venus daytime

BAS members Lorraine, Brett and John made successful attempts to view Venus as it passed through inferior conjunction over the last week of October and into early November. Official IC date was Oct 26 when Venus was about 6° from the Sun but John got an earlier image Oct 10 (Sun to right) and then again Nov 4 (Sun to left) but not at IC itself (cloudy!) Lorraine and Brett were on the lookout as well and Brett spotted it visually Oct 30 and Lorraine got a cell phone image on Oct 30 only 4 days from IC. The Oct 10 and 30 images were taken with cell phone and the Nov 4 image was through a 4 inch refractor. The atmospheric turbulence is evident. The percentages of Venus illuminated are given under the date and even though the Oct 26 illuminated portion of Venus was less than 1% the magnitude of the planet was listed as -4.02 in Starry Night! This would certainly have been visible even though it was so close to the Sun. Unfortunately the next inferior conjunction of Venus which happens in June 2020 is a very close pass of the Sun, 0.5°, and will be unobservable by amateurs. We have to wait to Jan, 2022 when we get a 5° miss of the Sun by Venus which should be visible with ordinary equipment.

Nov/Dec 2018 Astronomy Events

COMPLETE list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 available here: ASTRONOMY 2018
Astronomy Events 2019 coming soon.


Glossary of terms used below can be found here: GLOSSARY

November 2018
01..Thu....23:16..Regulus 2.1°S of Moon
04..Sun…03:00..Eastern Standard Time starts (clocks back 1 hr)
05..Mon..13:00..S. Taurid Meteor Shower (10/h, Moon 5%)
06..Tue…10:00..Mercury at Greatest Elongation 23.3°E
07..Wed..19:00..BAS meeting Members’ Night
Bailey Hall OSDSS
07……….11:02..NM rises locally at 6:50 am EST
08..Thu…23:58..Mercury 1.8°N of Antares

10..Sat…20:00..Dark of Moon @Fox (weather dependent)
11..Sun…10:46..Saturn 1.4°S of Moon
12..Mon…12:00..N. Taurid Meteor Shower (15/h. Moon 24%)
14..Wed..10:57..Moon at Apogee: 404 341 km
14……….18:14..Venus 0.2°S of Spica
15..Thu…09:54..FQ rises locally at 1:40 pm EST
15……….23:16..Mars 1.0°N of Moon: Occultation. (below our horizon and a miss by more than 1° locally)
17..Sat…18:00..Leonid Meteor Shower (20/h, Moon 72%)
23..Fri….00:39..FM rises locally at 5:36 pm EST
23..........16:11..Aldebaran 1.7°S of Moon
26..Mon..01:00..Jupiter in Conjunction with Sun (not visible)
26………07:10..Moon at Perigee: 366 623 km
27..Tue…04:00..Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (not visible)
27……….15:57..Beehive 0.8°N of Moon
29..Thu…04:27..Regulus 2.3°S of Moon
29 ………19:19..LQ rises locally at 11:58 pm EST

December 2018
03..Mon…13:42..Venus 3.6°S of Moon
05..Wed…19:00..BAS meeting Xmas Social & Recap New Life Centre 201 4th Av W.
05..Wed…16:06..Mercury 1.9°S of Moon
07..Fri……10:00 Mars and Neptune less than 1/4 degree apart all evening. See SKY SIGHTS and WEBLOG for more.
07..Fri……02:20..NM rises locally at 7:51 am EST (not visible)
08..Sat…..19:00..Dark of the Moon viewing @ Fox
09..Sun….00:30..Saturn 1.1°S of Moon (thin cres.): Occultation. (closest approach locally is 3.8° Dec 8 low in W.)
12..Wed….07:25..Moon at Apogee: 405 177 km
14..Fri..….07:00..Geminid Meteor Shower (120/h, Moon 41%) viewing at Fox after dark Dec 13/14/15 weather permitting
14………..18:21..Mars 3.6°N of Moon
15..Sat…..06:00..Mercury at Greatest Elongation 21.3°W
15………..06:49..FQ rises locally at 1:03 pm EST
16..Sun………….Comet 46/P Wirtanen near Pleiades (may be mag. 3). Visible through Jan and Feb 2019
21..Fri…..02:31..Aldebaran 1.7°S of Moon
21……….15:00..Mercury 0.8° N of Jupiter
21……….17:22..Winter Solstice
22..Sat….03:05..Mercury 5.8°N of Antares
22……….10:03..Jupiter 5.1°N of Antares
22 ………12:49..FM rises locally at 5:03 pm EST
22……….16:00..Ursid Meteor Shower
24..Mon...04:52..Moon at Perigee: 361 060 km
24……….23:52..Beehive 0.6°N of Moon
26..Wed..11:06..Regulus 2.5°S of Moon
29..Sat…04:34..LQ rises locally at 12:10 am EST


From Our Astrophotographers:

Comet 21P/Giacobini-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:

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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)