General Info: PLEASE READ
Note: Observing is weather dependant -see Weather Information note at right.
BAS Meeting Locations: (not weather dependant)
Note: No BAS meetings occur in January or February due to travel issues in winter months.
Meetings happen at 7 pm (first Wed of the Month) at Bailey Hall OSSDS (NOTE: We are back there March 6, 2019) or ES Fox Observatory (2019 dates TBA ) (washrooms available) (map)
The next BAS meeting is in 2019. We start up again March 6 at Bailey Hall, OSDSS. (map)
BAS Observing Locations: (all locations are handicap accessible)
Observing happens mostly at the ES Fox Observatory (3092 Bruce Rd 13) but there are other venues periodically. See the list below for location details.
Most observing locations are “remote locations” meaning there are NO permanent on-site washroom facilities. A portable washroom is located near the Fox Observatory for the summer months only and the washrooms are available at the Learning Centre (key required) at other times.
BAS Observing Events (dates listed below) occur at the ES Fox Observatory (3092 Bruce Rd 13) at the Bluewater Outdoor Ed Centre. Viewing at the observatory is WEATHER DEPENDENT. See notes below for more about weather.
Best observing occurs during NM and LQ. When the Moon brightens the sky at FQ and FM fainter objects are not as easily seen. The Moon, planets, and star clusters are usually visible even during FM nights using our GOTO telescope. The complete list of Astronomy Events for 2019 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2019. There is a separate list of BAS CLUB events for 2019 here : 2019 BAS CLUB EVENTS (coming soon)
Note: Observing events at the Fox Observatory are open to the public on public viewing nights ONLY. We are not open during weekdays or evenings during the school year. Refer to each listing below for details. School-aged children are always free and welcome to attend with parents or guardians on public nights. Contact us by phone (519-379-7709) or email ahead of time. Donations to support our activities are gratefully accepted.
BAS member impromptu observing also occurs at the Fox Observatory. These are restricted to current members who must notify the organizer that you are coming. Members wishing to be put on the notification list please email Brett T. at or John H. at .
BACK TO TOP
ALL observing events require clear skies. If it is overcast or raining, the observing event will NOT be possible. If you arrive at the venue, there may not be any BAS members there. However, BAS monthly (indoor) meetings occur rain or shine.
If skies are partly cloudy, check the ES Fox Observatory Clear Sky Clock for weather prospects or call 519-379-7709 to confirm the event.
Stargazing at the Fox Observatory is only possible weather permitting and ONLY on official BAS-sponsored events. There is NO general public access to the facility at other times. When visiting the observatory, park in the lot near the Learning Centre and walk to the observatory please. Washrooms at the Learning Centre will be available for all BAS-sponsored events and a portable washroom is on site for the summer.
BACK TO TOP
Selected Astronomical and BAS Club events: Dec/Jan 2019:
(Times are in 24-hr format unless otherwise noted).
Note: there are no regular BAS meetings in Jan or Feb, only impromptu viewing at Fox Observatory or other locations (like Sauble Beach) weather-permitting.
A complete list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2019 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2019. Note that this list is amended periodically to correct or add events.
Alan Dyer’s astronomical calendar for 2019 (with diagrams of sky sights) is available for download here: Amazing Sky Calendar 2019. Be sure to visit Alan Dyer's website here: www.amazingsky.com
December 2018 (Some of these events are described in chart form on: SKY SIGHTS page.)
Dec 1 (Sat) 2018 Start to Look for Comet Wirtanen
The week before and after new Moon (Dec 7) is a good time to try for Comet Wirtanen in a dark sky free of interference from moonlight. In the first week of Dec, Wirtanen rises by the time it is dark and stands on the meridian around midnight well before the Moon rises. On Dec 1, Comet 46P will be in Eridanus below Cetus above the southern horizon and will be visible until the Moon comes up in the wee hours of the morning. The Moon is absent on Dec 7 and in the second week of Dec, sets before the comet gets into dark sky. By Dec 14 or so, a gibbous Moon is present not far from 46P and for dark skies, you need to wait for it to set. After that, a bright Moon drowns out the comet until after Christmas Day when the comet rises ahead of the last quarter Moon. Then another period of dark sky ensues for another two weeks into the beginning of January 2019.
Dec 5 (Wed) 19:00 BAS meeting at 7 pm at New Life Centre 201 4th Av. W. (Click for MAP) This is a social event, our yearly wrap-up, so bring goodies to share with others, and stories to tell about 2018. The only formal part of the meeting is the slide show of 2018 highlights. We break for the winter and meet again March 6, 2019. Note: impromptu observing nights during winter continue as usual at the Fox Observatory.
Dec 7 (Fri) Mars and Neptune really close. Mars (mag 0.07) and Neptune (7.89) get very close to each other on Dec 7 and are visible until after midnight separated by less than 1/4 degree of arc. At sunset (5:43 pm EST) Mars is 33° high and the separation is 12 min. When Mars sets at 12:52 am Dec 8 the separation doubles to 23 min. Check out SKY SIGHTS for more details.
Dec 8 (Sat) Crescent Moon near Saturn
Saturn is quickly disappearing in the west, but Dec 8 offers an opportunity to spot it near a nice thin crescent Moon. The view should be very pretty in twilight above the western horizon with the 1.5 day old Moon about 4 degrees to the right of the ringed planet. It may be the last chance to see Saturn for some time.
Dec 13/14/15 (Thu/Fri/Sat) 19:00 Gemini Meteor Shower watch at Fox Observatory -weather permitting. Contact John H. at 519-379-7709 or if interested in joining the group.
Dec 21 (Fri) Mercury 0.8° N of Jupiter
Mercury and Jupiter follow Venus into the morning sky and are closest together this morning with a separation of less than a degree. Venus is well up in the SE and is 2.5 hours farther along the ecliptic when Mercury and Jupiter clear the horizon, only a hour ahead of sunrise. This is a nice view in the dawn sky.
Dec 25 (Tue) Christmas Day! Happy Holidays from BAS!
Jan 1, 2019 New Year’s Day. All the best for 2019 from the exec of BAS!
January 2019 (Some of these events are described in chart form on: SKY SIGHTS page.)
Jan 1 to 4, 2019 Tue to Fri. Look east well before sunup these mornings to see a thin crescent Moon slide down the ecliptic towards the horizon and pass Venus, Jupiter and Mercury along the way.The crescent Moon appears Jan 1 first near Venus (4.5° separation), then on Jan 3 Jupiter (3.5° separation), then Mercury (3° separation) on Jan 4. See SKY SIGHTS for more.
Jan 3, 2019 Quadrantid Meteors (120/h, NM) The Quadrantid meteor shower occurs under ideal conditions this year with respect to moonlight, but not, of course with respect to temperatures! The Moon is a thin 3% and rises well after the peak of the shower Thursday night Jan 3 at 9 pm. (Peak time is 2:00 UT Jan 4 or Jan 3 at 9 pm). Look for the meteors to originate from the head of Bootes where the now-defunct constellation Quadrans Muralis (the wall quadrant as made by Tycho Brahe) used to be. Remember to bundle up!
Jan 20/21, 2019 TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE! The best lunar eclipse for the year and not again until 2021. This eclipse is in prime time for N. America and will be visible from the ES Fox Observatory in its entirety. We will be set up for viewing around 9 pm or so. As the penumbral contacts (P1 and P4) will not be visible, the eclipse starts at U1 (10:34 pm) and ends at U4 (1:51 am Jan 21). Middle of the eclipse is 12:12 am Jan 21. Totality is from 11:41 pm Jan 20 to 12:43 am Jan 21 a total of 62 minutes. As in past eclipses, the umbral darkening should be visible several minutes before the official time of 10:34 pm Jan 20. Contact John H. at 519-379-7709 or if you are interested in joining the group to view from the Fox Observatory.
Here are the official times from Fred Espenak’s website www.mreclipse.com :
P1 = 9:36 pm EST Jan 20 Penumbral eclipse starts (not visible)
U1 = 10:34 pm EST 1st contact (look for shadow upper right)
U2 = 11:41 am EST Jan 21 Totality starts (entire Moon covered!)
U3 = 12:43 am EST Totality ends (bright sliver starts at upper left of Moon)
U4 = 1:51 am EST 3rd contact (partial ends eclipse essentially over)
P4 = 2:48 am EST Penumbral eclipse ends -not visible. Moon
Imaging the eclipse is interesting and this one will be well placed in our sky for wide angle images showing the entire eclipse in one shot. Hints on imaging the eclipse can be found here: www.mreclipse.com/LEphoto/LEphoto.html
Jan 30 to Feb 2, 2019 Crescent Moon near Jupiter, Venus, Saturn Look for a repeat of the crescent Moon near three planets in the dawn sky and this time Saturn replaces Mercury (which is transferring over into the evening sky). Jan 30 sees the Moon 6.5° from Jupiter, Venus is 2° left of the Moon on Jan 31, then on Feb 2, Saturn is 3° above the Moon, now only a 2-day old crescent. Diagram from Starry Night below shows the 4 day-old crescent Moon nearest to Venus Jan 31, 2019, (2°) at 6:45 am EST. NOTE: The Moon moves noticeably in an evening and it actually gets closer to Venus as the evening progresses. By moonset, the separation will be about 0.7° or about 40 minutes of arc. Moon and Venus are in daylight from 7:43 am until moonset at 1:58 pm or so in the west. Both objects should be visible, Venus at -4.5 and Moon at -10 probably even to the naked eye. Give it a go!