Latest update Tuesday, Feb 21, 2018

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

The BOEC was declared Canacda’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

See sidebar for floorpan OSDSS—->

No Public viewing in January or February. See dates in March, 2018.

Click here for -> February 2018 SGN StarGazerNews or see the NEWSLETTER page.

Or Click Image below:

……………………………..SGN Feb 18 cvr………………………………Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 5.36.23 PM

………………………………………………March 2018 SGN coming soon!

ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2018 now available here: ASTRONOMY 2018

BAS 2018 Club EVENTS including meeting topics available here: 2018 Club Events


February 2018 to March 2018 (the short list)

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm at [a venue TBA for 2018]. A new venue for 2018 is being sought. Click for Map. 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 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 [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


2018 Astronomy Events:

Glossary of terms used here: GLOSSARY

February 2018

01 Thu 13:24 Regulus 0.9°S of Moon
07 Wed 10:54 LQ
rises locally at 12:49 am EST
07 Wed 14:47 Jupiter 4.3°S of Moon
09 Fri 00:12 Mars 4.4°S of Moon
11 Sun 09:16 Moon at Apogee: 405 701 km
11 Sun 09:46 Saturn 2.5°S of Moon
11 Sun 11:40 Mars 5.0°N of Antares
15 Thu 15:51 Partial Solar Eclipse; mag=0.599 (Antarctica and south tip S. America)
15 Thu 16:05 NM rises locally at 7:23 am EST (if you can see it)
17 Sat 07:00 Mercury at Superior Conjunction (not vis.)
23 Fri 03:09 FQ
rises locally at 11:34 am EST
23 Fri 12:07 Aldebaran 0.7°S of Moon
27 Tue 09:48 Moon at Perigee: 363 938 km
27 Tue 12:28 Beehive 2.3°N of Moon

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 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
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
31 Sat 07:37 FM
rises locally at 8:08 pm EDT (2nd FM of March)


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events :

Feb 28 to Mar 7, 2018 Venus-Mercury “pass in the night”

The western sky after sunset will have two Evening Stars for a short while at the start of March. Venus and Mercury appear as double Evening Stars in early March with a nice close approach of about 1 degree on Mar 3. Venus at magnitude -3.9 far outshines Mercury at -1.2, but it is close to maximum brightness about this time. Venus has been climbing comparatively slowly into the western sky but Mercury is moving faster and catches up to and passes Venus March 3. Mercury reaches its farthest point east of the Sun on March 15 and then starts back sunwards again so its sojourn as second Evening Star is short-lived. Venus on the other hand will grace the western sky until the start of fall or so.

Mar 3 VenuMerc
Diagram from Starry Night/Simulation Curriculum

On Mar 3, the small separation of the two planets allows them to be seen in the FOV of a low power eyepiece and each will exhibit a phase if you can get past the glare. Both are waning gibbous, but Mercury’s phase is farther along and should be easier to see than that of Venus. This will be a very nice view even in binoculars!

March 3, 2018 Sat: Venus-Mercury Appulse
The western sky after sunset is where two Evening Stars meet in a close approach of just over 1 degree. Venus and Mercury are separated by 1° 4 min as they set around 7 pm that evening. Venus has been climbing into the western sky and Mercury moving faster catches up to Venus and passes it tonight. Mercury reaches its farthest point east of the Sun on March 15 and then starts back sunwards again. Venus on the other hand will grace the western sky until the start of fall or so.

Lunar Eclipse Jan 31, 2018 (is over…)

More here: WEBLOG

Local viewing clouded out
NASA TV images below:

Mt Lemmon Observatory AZ image mid-eclipse

Griffith Observatory has put together a time-lapse video of the eclipse here: Griffith Time-Lapse

Screen Shot 2018-02-01 at 5.59.23 PM


From Our Astrophotographers:

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 has appeared in the March/April issue of SkyNews -see pg. 6.


Future ISS events here:

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:

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)