Last site update: Dec 17, 2014: new info & finder charts for C. Lovejoy -the Christmas Comet.
Philae may have been found. See Weblog.
Comet Lovejoy Q2 now 6th magnitude; PanSTARRS (C/2012K1) may also be visible in late Dec.!
See Comet News below and SKY SIGHTS above.
SKY SIGHTS page highlights Comet Lovejoy for December!
DECEMBER StarGazerNews now available. Click NEWSLETTER tab above
Looking for a CANON lens? or a 16-inch Dobsonian??? See our STUFF FOR SALE.
The Bluewater Astronomical Society is a group of amateur astronomers that love stargazing and sharing the hobby with others. We promote astronomy education in the Bluewater counties of Bruce and Grey by holding star gazing sessions, lectures and astronomy events for anyone interested in learning more about the night sky. We have a large, modern facility, the ES Fox Observatory on the grounds of the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre of the Bluewater Education Foundation. There we show, to young and old alike, views of the moon, planets, star clusters, galaxies and nebulae. Join us at our public stargazing sessions (see below or click on Coming Events) for some heavenly views under one of the last truly dark sky locations in Ontario.
The BOEC was declared a Dark Sky Preserve in Nov. 2012, Canada’s 15th DSP. At the ES Fox Observatory, we have a large reflecting telescope (a 28-inch Webster) and we use it regularly in our public viewing sessions.
CURRENT ASTRONOMY NEWS
(PSST: Comets do NOT move this quickly!)
C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy – Binocular Comet for Christmas
by BOB KING on DECEMBER 8, 2014 www.universetoday.com
Like a Christmas ornament dangling from string, Comet Lovejoy Q2 is just now coming into good view for northern hemisphere observers. This photo was taken on November 26th and shows a bright coma and long, delicate ion tail. Credit: Rolando Ligustri
Comet Lovejoy Q2 (finder chart HERE), now bright enough to spot in a pair of 10×50 binoculars, followed a rocket-like trajectory into the northern sky.This visitor from deep space is no longer reserved for southern skywatchers alone. If you live in the central U.S and Canada, Lovejoy Q2 pokes its head from Puppis in the early morning hours this week. Glowing at magnitude +7.0-7.5, it’s a faint, fuzzy cotton ball in binoculars from a dark sky and visible in telescopes as small as 3-inches (7.5 cm). With the Moon past full and phasing out of the picture, comet viewing will continue to improve in the coming nights. Lovejoy gradually accelerates thru Lepus to Taurus at the rate of 3° a day later this month and is approaching Earth to pass nearest our planet on January 7th at a distance of 70.2 million km. Perihelion follows some three weeks later on January 30th.
Comet Lovejoy is expected to brighten to perhaps 5th magnitude as it approaches Earth, making it faintly visible with the naked eye from a dark sky site. Now that’s what I call a great way to start the new year!
Bonus! Comet Lovejoy will pass only 10 arc minutes (1/3°) south of the 8th magnitude globular cluster M79 on December 28-29 – a great opportunity for astrophotographers and observers alike. Both comet and cluster will pose side by side in the same binocular and telescopic field of view.
The original article from Universe Today can be found here:
OTHER COMETS (potentially) VISIBLE IN OUR SKY Right Now:
Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 chart for Dec 7 to Jan 4/15 available here: Lovejoy C/2014Q2 to Jan 4, 2015
Another (nicer) chart from Universe Today available HERE.
Comet Lovejoy gets above the SE horizon in the first week of Dec and is predicted to get around 5th magnitude later in Dec. It hugs the southern horizon so you need to wait until Canis Major gets as high in your sky as possible. Lovejoy gradually gets higher into Eridanus and then Taurus in late January, but its maximum brightness is in the first week of January. This should be a good one!
Comet PanSTARRS C/2012K1 chart available here: C/2012K1 to Feb 5
Both PanSTARRS and Lovejoy stay low above the S horizon all of Dec and Jan, but are worth checking out. Might as well "bag two for the price of one. PanSTARRS may get above 8th magnitude.
Note: The comets listed below will all probably stay binocular objects.
For up-to-date information on all the recently discovered comets, check this excellent website: http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html .
Screen snaps below are from Seiichi Yosida's website (link above) and illustrate the brightest comets in the sly presently. More information including brightness prediction graphs are found at the website. All graphics and information is by Seiichi Yoshida.
BAS CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed on the month except Jan and Feb 2015. Regular BAS meetings re-start on Mar 4, 2015 at the Grey Roots Museum and we are on now on our winter break. Impromptu observing nights are still on so check with Brett T firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to get on his alert list.
SEE you at GREY ROOTS MUSEUM, Mar 4, 2015.
A quick look summary of all BAS events for 2015 is coming soon: 2015 Events Summary
Note there may be minor changes in this list as dates approach. For up-to-date listing, see our 3-month list below or click on the COMING EVENTS page for detailed monthly information.
NOTE: BAS Meetings and Public Viewing at Grey Roots Museum 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 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 Hlynialuk, email: email@example.com or Aaron Top, email: firstname.lastname@example.org There is a fee for private tours.
Events list below is now updated to the end of December 2014.
See COMING EVENTS page for more details about the following events:
EVENTS November 2014 and December 2014
Nov 5 Wed BAS meeting Grey Roots Museum 7 pm Member’s Night and Gadget Night contact email@example.com for more or to request a time slot for your gadget.
Nov 6 Thu (FM) Night of the Full Moon “Frosty Moon”
Nov 12 Wed Rosetta spacecraft lander Philae touches down on surface of Comet 67/P C-G
Nov 17 Mon (NM-4) Leonid meteors 20/h at peak 7 pm, Moon 20% and waning
Nov 20 Thu (NM-2) Asteroid Juno (magnitude 9.1) occults 7.4 mag star SAO 117176. Drop in brightness of star will be 2.3 magnitudes, a substantial change. Ground track is north of Huntsville so travel is required.
Nov 22 Sat (NM) BAS viewing @Fox @dark. Members and guests welcome!
Dec 3 Wed BAS meeting Grey Roots Museum 7 pm Topic: 2014 in images/Xmas meeting
Dec 6 Sat (FM) Night of the Full Moon “Moon before Yule”
Dec 9 Tue (FM+3) Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter from 11:18 am to 11:27 am EST (both shadows near limb)
Dec 13/14 Sat/Sun (LQ) Geminid Meteor Shower, viewing from ES Fox, 120/h at peak 7 am Sun , LQ Moon rises at midnight Dec 13
Dec 20 Sat (NM-1) Winter Solstice 6:03 pm EST. BAS viewing @Fox @dark. Members and guests welcome!
Dec 21 Sun (NM) Good viewing of Comet Lovejoy in last two weeks of Dec. It may even be naked eye!
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.
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 on the graphic to go to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre.
Solar-Terrestrial Data (c/o Paul L. Herrman)