Last update May 28, 2016

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

The BOEC was declared Canada's 15th Dark Sky Preserve in Nov, 2012. At the ES Fox Observatory, we have a large reflecting telescope (a 28-inch Webster) and a 10-inch SCT on a GOTO mount that we use regularly in our public viewing sessions.

Click here for map to ES Fox Observatory or Tom Thomson Art Gallery meeting location.

Next BAS meeting June 1, 2016 at Tom Thomson Art Gallery; Topic: "Starlab: our First Observatory"
See COMING EVENTS. for more details.

MERCURY TRANSIT May 9 SUCCESS! Some images below.
Mercury Transit Special issue now available. Click on image or HERE

Screen shot 2016-05-20 at 9.31.33 PM

JUNE SGN Newsletter now available. See NEWSLETTER.

Celestron Advanced AVX mount STILL AVAILABLE! See our STUFF FOR SALE page for other bargains.


BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month except January and February. Check our calendar here: BAS 2016 Events summary for meeting dates and other events including public viewing nights at the Fox Observatory (or elsewhere). If you would like to get on our list for impromptu observing nights contact Brett T or John H .

For up-to-date listing, see our current 3-month list below or click on the COMING EVENTS page for detailed information.
NOTE: BAS Meetings and Public Viewings are open to the public and there is no charge. BAS viewing at ES Fox Observatory is either open to the public (see dates below) or for members and guests. HOWEVER, we welcome out-of-town guests AT NO CHARGE on all of our listed observing nights.  We will do our best to accommodate you!
Individuals or groups may request private tours on other dates (subject to availability of guides) by contacting John H. email: . There is a fee for private tours.


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 for more details and instructions including a contact phone number if you are unsure about whether to attend due to weather.

EVENTS May 2016 to July 2016 (the short list)

Our next BAS Wed meeting is June 1, 2016. Topic: StarLab -our first observatory. More details can be found in COMING EVENTS. Some of the more interesting sky viewing opportunities are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

BAS meetings now happen at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (lower level) with the exception of our July 6 and Sep 7 meetings this year which are at the Fox Observatory. Meetings usually consist of a short business meeting and include a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic. See the three month listing of events below for more details.
When visiting the Fox Observatory, please park at the main lot by the Learning Centre. Parking near the Fox is reserved for disability access and equipment drop-off.

More details for the events listed here can be found on the COMING EVENTS page. A list of astronomy events for 2016 is available here: Astro Events 2016. Note this list changes from time to time as additional astronomy events are added.
A list of BAS events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2016 is NOW available here:
BAS 2016 Events Summary. This list similarly may change as events are confirmed, etc.


June 2016

Jun 1 Wed: BAS Regular Meeting @TTAG, Topic: Herb Coleman's "SkyLab" Public Welcome

Jun 3 Fri: Saturn at Opposition; Mercury 0.7° N of Moon; Moon at Perigee: 361 100 km
Jun 4 Sat: NM and Huron Fringe Birding Festival MacGregor Park (star talk & tour) 
Jun 5 Sun: Mercury Greatest Elongation West: 24.2° (difficult morning viewing)
Jun 10 Fri: Regulus 2.2° N of Moon
Jun 11 Sat: Jupiter 1.6° N of Moon
Jun  12 Sun: FQ
Jun  13 Mon: Mercury 6.8° S of Pleiades
Jun  14 Tue: Spica 5.9° S of Moon
Jun  15 Wed: Moon at Apogee: 405 000 km
Jun  18 Sat: Saturn: 3.6° S of Moon
  Mercury 3.8° N of Aldebaran
Jun  20 Mon: FM and Summer Solstice Keppel Henge Celebration starts 11 am
Jun  27 Mon: LQ

July 2016

Jul 1 to 3 (Fri to Sun) Bruce Pen National Park Dark Sky Weekend (camping starts Thu night Jun 30)
Jul 1 Fri: Moon at Perigee: 366 000 km; Aldebaran 0.4° S of Moon
Jul  4 Mon: NM; Earth at Aphelion (farthest from Sun): 152 111 115 km
Jul 7 Thu: Regulus 1.9° N of Moon
Jul 6 Wed: BAS Regular Meeting at ES Fox Observatory Movie Night or TBA Public Welcome
Jul 8 Fri: Grey Roots Public viewing (starts at dark) Public Welcome
Jul 9 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon Viewing night (BAS members); Jupiter 0.9° N of Moon
Jul  11 Mon: FQ; Spica 6.2° S of Moon
Jul  13 Wed: Moon at Apogee: 404 300 km
Jul  16 Sat: Venus-Mercury appulse at twilight; Saturn 3.8° S of Moon
Jul  19 Tue: FM
Jul 23/24 Sat/Sun) Whispering Pines Stargazing Weekend Public Welcome
Jul  26 Tue: LQ
Jul  27 Wed: Moon at Perigee: 369 700 km; Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 20
Jul  29 Fri: Aldebaran 0.3° S of Moon (Close miss at 6:30 am)
Jul  30 Sat: Mercury 0.3° N of Regulus

Aug  2 Mon: NM
Aug  4 - 7 Thu - Sun: STARFEST register at
Aug  10 Wed: FQ
Aug 12 Fri: 07:26 Perseid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 90
Aug  13 Sat:  BAS at Inverhuron Provincial Park -public stargazing night.
Aug  18 Thu: FM
Aug  21 Mon: One Year Countdown starts to Solar Eclipse Monday, Aug 21, 2017
Aug  24 Wed:   Mars 1.8° N of Antares; Saturn 4.3° N of Mars, Moon at LQ
Aug  26 Fri: Grey Roots Public viewing (starts at dark) Public Welcome
Aug  27 Sat: 16:53 Venus Jupiter separation 0.1° !!!

Sep  1 Thu: NM: Annular Solar Eclipse (mid-Africa, Madagascar and into Indian Ocean)
Sep  2 Fri: Neptune at Opposition
Sep  3 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests)
Sep  7 Wed:  Regular Meeting at Fox Obs Topic: Beginner’s Astrophoto with Mallincam: Brett T.
Sep  9 Fri: FQ
Sep  16 Fri:     FM Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (poor visibility)
Sep  22 Thu:    Autumnal Equinox 09:21
Sep  23 Fri:  LQ
Sep  30 Fri:    NM


Visual Astronomy Events Happening Right Now:

May 9: Mercury Transit SUCCESS!
Special Issue Here:
Mercury Transit 2016
May 9, 2016, dawned with clear blue skies that lasted all day long! The silhouette of Mercury passed in front of the Sun and BAS members, elementary students on program at BOEC and their adult chaperones watched the event from the Fox Observatory. Images presented here are from various members who took the time to snap a picture while others were busy with observations. Actually the event was slow enough that there was no rush. The die-hards who watched the whole event are shown in the first image below.


Image below: Mercury transit at 9:02 am
(Bishop 10-inch SCT at the observatory -1/1000 s exp. ISO 200, focal length of scope is 2500 mm, f/10. Baader filter, sharpened in PS and colour corrected. Image by JH.

Image below: Mercury transit at 2:35 pm, Bishop 10-inch SCT -single frame from movie taken with Canon 60Da, focal length of scope is 1600 mm, f/6.3. Baader filter, sharpened in PS and colour corrected. Image by JH

Pre-last contact

Image below: Enlargement of previous image showing Mercury just prior to third contact
. Image by JH.
Pre-last cont crop

Mars Big and Bright at May 22 Opposition
Mars reaches opposition on May 22 and is the brightest and largest in our sky in the last 2 years. Almost as bright as Jupiter at
mag -2.0, Mars is found near Antares and Saturn in Scorpius. At opposition, Mars is opposite the Sun in our sky and is highest at midnight, and good viewing a month before and after. In the diagram below note how large the planet appears -the disk is about the same as the disk of Saturn. With a telescope you can make out features on the surface of Mars like the polar ice caps. There is excellent and detailed information at the ALPO site here: 2016 Mars Apparition
Also Brian Ventrudo, has a very detailed Mars observing guide at this site:
Mars Observing Guide

Screen shot 2016-04-30 at 11.49.03 PM

Saturn Opposition June 3!
The famous Ringed Planet is also moving into prime viewing territory rising just an hour or so after Mars does. Make sure you take a look at it with your telescope. The rings are tilted as fully as they can be to our line of sight and just like Jupiter, Saturn has a retinue of moons that can be seen around the planet. Five can be seen with medium sized telescopes and range in brightness from 8.4 to 11.8; Titan is 8.4, Rhea is 9.7, Dione is 10.4, Tethys is 10.3, and Enceladus is 11.8.
Sky and Telescope’s informative viewing guide to Saturn is here:
Saturn Viewing Guide


Jupiter Watching Season!
Since Jupiter watching is now upon us, it is time for you to bone up on the King of Planets.

Brian Ventrudo’s informative article is the place to start:

Jupiter has passed opposition but that just means that it is nice and high once it is dark. It crosses the meridian during twilight and is in good viewing position by 10 pm in May. Even in twilght, Jupiter is a fine sight. There is no excuse for not having a look at it and its contingent of Moons.
The Red Spot has taken on a fine reddish hue which makes it stand out even more that usual. You will have no trouble seeing it.
Here is a link to times of transit of the Great Red Spot:
Red Spot Tansits


From Our Astrophotographers:

Spring Brings Clear Skies!

Skies have finally started to clear up in our area and there have been several reports of successful viewings of the winter Milky Way as well as other planets in the morning sky (Mars and Saturn). A comet is reported to be a binocular object in Ophiuchus in April as well.

The three brightest stars in the image below are Saturn and Mars just above Antares in the early morning sky as they appeared on March 19, 2016 at 4:36 am. The summer Milky Way with the dark horse is visible at left and so is the glow of M8, the Lagoon Nebula and the Sagittarius Star Cloud above and to the left of it.

Image by John H. with 15 mm zoom lens at f/3.5 on Canon 60 Da, exposure of 25 seconds, @ 3200 ISO.

Image below is a shot of the Orion Nebula taken at prime focus of a Celestron 9.25 Edge HD with a Canon 60Da.

Image is a single shot of 30 seconds at ISO 2500, foc. length = 2350 mm, f/10, taken on Feb 23, 2016. This is the full frame of about 1/3 degree. Some enhancement was done in Photoshop to bring out faint detail. The photographer (JH) recalls his jaw dropping when this showed up on the view screen after such a short exposure!


Frank Williams has captured a lovely wide angle view of two popular galaxies at this time of year. M81 (Bode's GAlaxy on right) and M82 (Cigar Galaxy on left) are riding high overhead in Ursa Major right now. This is a total 3 hour exposure that was taken through his 5-inch TEC refractor. Very nice. Frank also provided a narrow angle view of M81 below (4 hour total exposure).


M81 close up
Pasted Graphic


Mar 29, 2006 Solar Eclipse Montage from Antalya Turkey by J.Hlynialuk

If you are looking for a detailed map of the ground track of the Aug 21, 2017 eclipse here it is:
Note: this is a big file -be patient.

More info is coming soon...

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

If the auroral oval is showing an intense RED, then aurora borealis may be visible from your location. Note that the auroral oval graphic is updated regularly. Time is indicated at the top. Subtract 5 h from UT to get local EST, subtract 4 h for DST or use the appropriate factor for your time zone. 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