Latest update Monday, Apr 9, 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 (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. See CONTACT US to join.

Click for maps to: ES Fox Observatory

or our May 2, 2018 meeting location: Bailey Hall OSDSS.

April 21 International Astronomy Day Apr 21:
Public Viewing at Fox Observatory 8 pm

Next BAS Meeting May 2, Bailey Hall, speaker: Steve Irvine.

New Venue for BAS meetings (Spring 2018) is OSDSS
BAS meets at Bailey Hall May 2, 2018 (7 pm)

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

April/May 2018 Astronomy Events

COMPLETE list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 available here: ASTRONOMY 2018

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm. The Mar 7 and May 2, 2018 meetings will be at Bailey Hall (OSDSS rm 315) Apr 4 meeting is in LIBRARY. 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 OSDSS Bailey Hall rm 315 on Wed. May 2, 2018 at 7pm. Speaker: Steve Irvine. 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 April and May, 2018 are listed below and on the COMING EVENTS page. A complete list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2018 Note: this listing does not include Club Events. A list of BAS club events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2018 is separately available here: BAS 2018 Club Events


Glossary of terms used here: GLOSSARY

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
CANCELLED due to weather: 04 Wed 19:00 BAS meeting LIBRARY 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
21 Sat 20:00 Astronomy Day Public Viewing ES Fox Observatory starts at dark. All welcome.
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

May 2018

02 Wed 08:29 Venus 6.3°N of Aldebaran
02 Wed 19:00 BAS meeting (Steve Irvine -star photography)
04 Fri 15:31 Saturn 1.7°S of Moon
05 Sat 02:00 Eta-Aquarid Meteor Shower (60/h, Moon 66% -best S. hemis.)
05 Sat 19:35 Moon at Apogee: 404 458 km
06 Sun 02:24 Mars 2.7°S of Moon
07 Mon 21:09 LQ rises locally at 2:20 am EDT

08 Tue 19:00 Jupiter at Opposition (magnitude -2.5!)
13 Sun 12:21 Mercury 2.4°N of Moon
15 Tue 06:48 NM rises locally at 6:26 am EDT (if you could see it)
17 Wed 13:11 Venus 4.8°N of Moon
17 Wed 16:06 Moon at Perigee: 363 777 km

19 Sat 20:00 Dark of Moon @Fox (Jupiter & Saturn viewing)
20 Sun 06:57 Beehive 1.7°N of Moon
21 Mon 19:53 Regulus 1.4°S of Moon
21 Mon 22:49 FQ rises locally at 12:16 pm EDT

26 Sat 20:00 Gibbous Moon Viewing/Imaging Night @Fox
27 Sun 20:00 Venus about 0.25° from Mebsuta (ε-Gem mag. 3) tonight
27 Sun 12:39 Jupiter 4.0°S of Moon
29 Tue 09:20 FM rises locally at 9:02 pm EDT
31 Thu 20:20 Saturn 1.6°S of Moon


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events

April, 2018
Venus -a Bright Evening Star in the West until Fall
Venus is now the only Evening Star in the west as Mercury slips behind the Sun in the first week of April. Venus at magnitude -3.9 far outshines any other object (except maybe the ISS on occasion) in the western sky.

Venus continues to track eastward and reaches the vicinity of the Pleiades in the last week of April (see April 26 entry on the
SKY SIGHTS page) and continues its trek into Taurus. By the end of May it has crossed into the centre of Gemini. Before the summer is over it will make a close pass at Regulus in Leo as well.

May, 2018
Three 3 am Planets Across Milky Way -Jupiter Opposition May 9
If you are observing at 3 am these mornings you have seen the preview of the summer sky with three planets strung across the Milky Way. The first to rise (and brightest) above the SE horizon is Jupiter which reaches opposition on May 9. So it rises at sunset, reaches maximum elevation at midnight (1 am DST) and sets at dawn. The jovian Red Spot is on the viewing agenda for the BAS Dark of the Moon viewing night May 19. Next to clear the SE horizon is Saturn (around 12:30 am) but its rings will be better seen by the time Mars rises around 2 am when Saturn is higher in the sky and out of the murky air near the horizon. Saturn’s rings are tilted nearly the maximum they can be (25.5° in May). By 3 am or so, Mars, too will be in steadier air for viewing and the diameter of Mars is steadily growing. It is about 15 seconds of arc across at the end of May and by Aug 1 will be 24.3 seconds. This is bigger than the disk of Saturn (which ranges from 15 to 18 seconds at opposition) but not as big as Jupiter (31 to 45 seconds across). Surface features on Mars will become detectable more easily this month.
Diagram below from Simulation Curriculum (Starry Night Pro)



From Our Astrophotographers:
Crescent Moon, Venus and Mercury Mar 18, 2018. Crescent Moon lower left, Venus is in the clouds at centre and Mercury is in upper right of image.
Image by John H. with Canon 60Da, 1/6 s ISO 500, 100 mm lens.

Auroras Still Active
Bit of Aurora Mar 18, 2018

Aurora was seen and recorded by Julian Delf from Annan Sunday night as well. Aurora_20180318

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.


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)