Latest Update: Oct 30, 2019
NEXT Dark of the Moon Viewing at Fox Observatory is
Sat Oct 26 (7 pm), Weather-permitting. MAP
Next BAS meeting Nov 6 at Bailey Hall OSDSS 7 pm
Note: if labour issues close local schools, look here for an alternate meeting site.
Mercury Transit (miss this one and wait until 2032!)
Nov 11, 2019, Mercury Crosses the Sun!
A Transit of Mercury occurs from 7:36 am to 1:04 EST visible locally in it’s entirety!
BUT NOTE: the entire event requires proper solar filters for viewing. Serious eye damage or blindness may result from looking at the Sun without proper filters Protecting your eyes, telescopes and/or cameras.
Here is an article that explains what to expect and how to safely watch and photograph
the Mercury Transit Nov 11: S&T Mercury Transit Guide
And here is an article by Dr. Ralph Chou that deals specifically with safe solar filters:
A more detailed article on the transit can be found on this week’s WEBLOG
Image below shows what to expect at medium power in a telescope. Join BAS members at the Fox Observatory from 7 am to 2 pm Monday, Nov 11 (yes, Remembrance Day) for views through various telescopes. Public welcome. MAP
Canon 60D at prime focus of the 10-inch Bishop scope at 2500 mm focal length, f/10, a 1/1000 s
exposure at 200 ISO. Photo by JH from Fox Observatory May 9, 2016.
…INTERSTELLAR Comet Alert! See below…
Interstellar Comet Alert!
The astronomical community is buzzing with news of the discovery of an interstellar comet, this time well before it reaches perihelion (Dec 8) thus providing an unprecedented opportunity to view a visitor from another stellar system over most of its passage through our region of space. Comet Borisov, originally C/2019 Q4, has now been re-dubbed 2I/Borisov, (that’s 2 plus letter “I” for 2nd Interstellar object after 1I Oumuamua). The object, looking like an ordinary solar comet, was discovered by Gennady Borisov working with his own telescope in Crimea on August 30, 2019 at magnitude 18 or so. Here is Sky&Telescope’s original article: Interstellar Comet . Once additional observations came in, the tell-tale hyperbolic orbit gave it away as not of our solar system’s Oort Cloud. Here is another of the original stories from space.com: Comet Borisov. Subsequent information about cyanide in its tail is here: www.spaceweather.com Look for the Oct 14, 2019 page.
The movie below was made by Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria on Oct 11, 2019 and clearly shows Borisov’s tadpole-like tail. The comet shows up around 17th magnitude and the two bright stars in the movie are about 7th magnitude. Spectra have been taken by a team of astronomers led by Alan Fitzsimmons with the 4.2 m Herschel Telescope on La Palma and the results are reported here: Fitzsimmons paper . There is a very clear spectral band from CN (cyanogen) which resembles “our” comets. The conclusion is that Borisov comes from a system much like our own. Additional recent work by Polish astronomers was done and worked the orbit backwards to indicate that it passed only 5.7 light-years from Kruger-60, a star system 13.15 light-years away.
This comet at best will be only 15th magnitude and never bright enough to see except in large telescopes, but guess what? BAS has a fairly large one available! We would be missing a great opportunity if we did not try for it several times this winter. Stay tuned for our Fox viewing schedule for this object.
The closest it gets to us is at perihelion around Dec 8 and the first 10 days of December will be the best viewing opportunities before the FM interferes Dec 12. The comet remains a morning object throughout its apparition moving through Cancer to Leo, Sextans and Crater and points south. See the finder chart from Sky&Telescope below.
The first Sky&Telescopes article is here: Interstellar Comet and up-to-date tracking info from TheSkyLive is here: SkyLive -Borisov
BAS receives wonderful gift:
A generous donation was recently made to our club to further the ends of astronomy education in this area. Doug Scott, a local amateur astronomer, passed away July 2, 2019 and donated virtually all of his astronomical equipment to BAS to ensure that it would continue to be used to promote astronomy locally. The photo below shows a portion of the items BAS has received from his estate. It includes a Celestron C-11 (upper left below), a Takahashi 8-inch Cassegrain-Newtonian (upper right), a TAL 150K reflector (lower left), a Vixen 4-inch reflector (bottom right) and a Skywatcher 100 mm refractor (centre right).
There are also two equatorial mounts with tripods, eyepieces, a Telrad finder, Star Shoot camera, and various other accessories.
BAS is eminently grateful for the bequest, and has made a donation to the Cancer Society as a small thank you. Rest assured that we will remember Doug as we pursue our astronomy activities.
Doug Scott passed away July 2, 2019
in Southampton, ON
More telescopes keep showing up!
The Outdoor Ed Centre recently led us to 3 more telescopes in their barn storage room! These have been donated to BAS and include 8-inch and 6-inch Meade dobsonians along with a 4.5 inch generic reflector. Add to that a recently refurbished 10 inch dobsonian (originally a 1970’s vintage Coulter Odyssey donated by Bruce Peninsula District School) and that makes 9 telescopes added to the BAS inventory in the last 4 months! (The 4.5 inch will be the prize in a free raffle to students who attend the Outdoor Ed Centre astronomy night programs.) Discussions are on-going as to the disposition of some of the others.
Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events
Jupiter, Saturn and Milky Way in the Evening Sky but not for long!
The brightest planet in the sky right now is Jupiter and it is getting lower in the SW sky as fall progresses. Saturn however is high on the meridian (look left of the Milky Way) and does not sink out of sight until midnight our so. Both planets are well worth viewing especially Saturn with its spectacular rings at their maximum angle.
Venus and Mercury have made their way into the evening sky as well but both hug the horizon and set only an hour os so after the sun. They will be better seen in November but there are a couple of nice close approaches to the Moon, especially Oct 29 to Nov 1 and again Nov 28/29. The Evening Star Venus will shine much more prominently in the spring of 2020.
Viewing Guides from Brian Ventrudo Cosmic Pursuits here: Saturn Viewing Guide 2019 and Jupiter Viewing Guide 2019
Autumn 2019 Astronomy Events
COMPLETE list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2019 available here: ASTRONOMY 2019
Glossary of terms used below can be found here: GLOSSARY
Note: Time column is UT, subtract 5 hours for local EST, 4 hours during DST (after March 10).
See SKY SIGHTS or COMING EVENTS for more details about specific events.
Oct 26 Dark of the Moonviewing Night at Fox Observatory, public welcome.
Nov 6AS meets at Bailey Hall, OSDSS: public welcome.
From Our Astrophotographers:
Locate Jupiter and Saturn near MW
The planets of fall and summer, Jupiter and Saturn are visible in this image taken from Starfest, by Julian Delf. It is up to you to find them. Jupiter is easy, as the brightest object in this shot, but Saturn is a bit trickier. Get out your star charts and have a go. Image taken with Sony A77V and 24 mm lens at f/2.8 and ISO 3200. The Milky Way shows up nicely right from Sagittarius to Scutum which is the curve of stars at the top. One of those is actually M11 the Wild Duck Cluster or as this editor calls it “The Borg Cube” a name which has caught on, it seems. Julian’s image was cropped and enhanced slightly with Photoshop.
Julian Delf image: Starfest Aug 23, 2019, details in text above.
Saturn: prime viewing in evening sky!
The opposition of Saturn occurred this past July and now the Ringed Planet continues to be in very good viewing position from dark until it sets before midnight (10 pm by late Oct). The rings are tilted almost as far as they can be (24°) and we are looking over them at the northern hemisphere of the planet.
Frank W. took some data to produce a very nice shot of Saturn at opposition last July. The image below is a stack of 350 images from a video of about 5000. Each frame was 1/200th second, ISO 6400. There is a lot of detail visible including a prominent Cassini division, bands on the surface. The shadow on the rings behind the disk is an artifact of processing but some polar banding is evident.
Canon 6D on a C11 with 2 X Powermate. July 14 image by Frank Williams
Also presented below is a screen-snap from a video taken in June 2017 by imager Bosque Rico of Japan. This is close to the view of the planet on an average night, but on those rare nights of excellent seeing, the view is more like Frank’s above. And don’t forget the moons, -Sky and Telescope has an excellent interactive moon locator tool here: Saturn Moons.
The full video below and more information from the source is available here: Amateur Saturn Video
Also, Brian Ventrudo has produced an excellent viewing guide to Saturn here: Saturn 2019 Guide
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Solar Haloes and Sundogs
Our daytime star is also a subject of BAS imagers and one of them captured this interesting complex of haloes, arcs and sundogs on a sunny October day. Visible is a circular halo with two bright spots (sundogs at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions) as well as curved arc on the top of the halo. There is also a faint second halo with colours just visible at the top if the image. All of these features are caused by high altitude ice crystals refracting (bending) the light from the Sun like a prism does and creating the same colours we see in a rainbow (which involves rain drops not ice crystals). Image by John H. Oct 26, 3 pm, Canon 6D, 1/50th second exp. ISO 100. (A thank you goes out to one of the neighbourhood children for blocking out the Sun with her hand.)
Andromeda Galaxy A relative newbie at astro-imaging, Rob Walker has dived into the hobby deeply. His fine image of M31 the Andromeda Galaxy below is one of his latest efforts and an indication of many fine views to come. Nice work Rob! The shot was made with a 400 mm Sony telephoto lens borrowed from Frank W. Enjoy! (The small “plus” sign in the upper corner is an artifact.)
Blue Snowball (NGC 7662)
Another nice image by Frank W. is his photo of the Blue Snowball below. It became a visual target at several viewing sessions and was finally reliably sighted at the Fox Observatory with the Coleman 8-inch SCT after a careful search (John H). It was also recognized in the Bishop 10-inch using Goto looking much like a small bluish star. An initial image with the Bishop 10-inch was obtained after the viewers had left, but nothing like the nice long exposure made by Frank below which consists of a stack of 51 images of 60 s duration at ISO 800. This object is surprisingly bright and takes high power well, much like the Ring Nebula in Lyra.
Frank Williams image of NGC 7662, the Blue Snowball. Chart provided below.
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.
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Auroral displays in our area are declining as we are now passing through solar minimum. There have been periods of "blank Sun" where sunspots have been totally absent for a time. However, magnetic disturbances from the sun continue to produce auroras in the auroral zones and sometimes farther south (or north for aurora australis). So if the auroral oval in the graphic below is showing any 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.
To receive auroral alerts directly to your email inbox as they are announced, visit NOAA Subscription Service (SWPC) and sign up for their alert service (still free).
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.
NGC 6124 Open Cluster
Portion of North America Nebula (Gulf of Mexico/Yucatan)
Spiral galaxy IC 342
Dust Cloud in Milky Way (B143)