The ES Fox Observatory is a roll-off roof observatory of 80 sq. m (864 sq.ft.) consisting of a 7.3m x7.3 m (24 ft x24 ft) observing room and a 3.7 m by 7.3 m (12 ft x 24 ft) warmup/control room. The building was designed by Patrick Johnson PJ Design (with input from BAS) and built by Domm Construction, both local firms. Construction was completed in Spring, 2011 and formal opening occurred Sep 17, 2011.
The ES Fox Observatory is located on the property of the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre located at 3092 Bruce Rd 13 between Wiarton and Oliphant Ontario. Note that astronomy events are organized by BAS and not the Outdoor Ed Centre and their staff will have only general information about our events. Click the COMING EVENTS link on the HOME page for detailed information and the CONTACT US link to send us an email. A full summary of BAS Events is available here: BAS EVENTS FOR 2017
An aerial view of the ES Fox Observatory
ES Fox Observatory is located at 3092 Bruce Rd 13 (8 km W of Wiarton ON,
3 km E of Oliphant ON).
Construction on the ES Fox Observatory started in the Fall of 2010
Construction begins on ES Fox Observatory
In partnership with the Bluewater Education Foundation and the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre, a large, classroom-sized observatory with roll-off roof was constructed and officially opened in September of 2011. This building, called the ES Fox Observatory (after a major donation from ES Fox Construction) is a large roll-off roof observatory (864 sq.ft) that currently houses a 10-inch reflector donated to the BCAS by Jim Bishop, a former club member. This replaced a University of Guelph 12-inch telescope donation in 2005. There is a class set of smaller telescopes as well. Both BAS and BOEC operate astronomy programs from the facility; the BAS provides stargazing for its members and the general public and the BOEC provides programs for their students. The facility is open regularly to the general public for astronomical viewing of events like comets, eclipses or meteor showers. Recently a Trillium grant was received which allowed BAS to purchase a larger telescope (a Webster 28-inch Dobsonian is now on site!), a solar scope to do daytime astronomy as well as other equipment and astronomy materials.
In Nov, 2012, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada approved an application for Dark Sky Preserve status for the BOEC. It is now Canada’s 15th DSP and the 4th in this area of Ontario along with Torrence Barrens DSP, Gordon’s Park DSP and the Bruce Peninsula National Park DSP.
The new astronomical facility at the Outdoor Ed Centre, the E S Fox Observatory, is shown below as an elevation sketch. Other images and a video are also found below as well as a roof roll-off time-lapse image during one of our observing nights (the red image). Click here ES FOX OBS. for more information about the observatory.
Original 12" Vernonscope from U of G...............Current 10" SCT on Az-EQ6 mount
Recent Acquisition: 28-inch aperture Webster Dobsonian telescope
The Bluewater Astronomical Society recently purchased a large telescope, a Webster 28" Dobsonian reflector and it is stored at the ES Fox Observatory for occasional use during our public viewing events. See the COMING EVENTS or HOME page for details of when these are held. The Webster also makes a pilgrimage to Starfest every August where it is usually the telescope with the largest aperture and consequently the longest lineups!
A telescope of this size can theoretically see over a billion stars (number varies due to age of viewer, darkness of site, seeing conditions, etc.). This instrument has 10 000 times the light grasp of the naked eye! But the proof is in the viewing and we encourage you to come out and view with us on our public viewing nights. You will be blown away!