Last update Feb 3, 2016 ...........

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 Grey Roots Museum

Next BAS meeting March 2, 2016 at Grey Roots Mus. -BAS FOX viewing as weather permits

See Members' VIDEOS here: VIDEOS ;
Zoe's NOVEMBER Blog here: ZOE's BLOG;

FEBRUARY 2016 StarGazerNews now available here: NEWSLETTER


Catalina closest to Earth Jan 17. See CURRENT COMETS

2016 Astronomy Events now available here: Astro Events 2016. Club Events list coming soon.

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

Visual Astronomy Happening Now:

Yes there really IS a Comet Catalina:
Malcolm Park had clear skies to capture Comet Catalina on Jan 18, 201.
See Malcolm's original posting and other images at
Comet Catalina. Check out his amazing collection of astro-images!

Comet Catalina sits just above Alcor/Mizar in this Malcolm Parks shot taken Jan 19, 2016

This posting appeared on

FINALLY! a clear morning, after the moon had set. Likely my last chance to image Catalina before the moon washes it out and it fades away. It was -15c with a bonechilling wind that made it feel like -25c this morning. But such is the price of clear skies in a Canadian winter :( I woke up to my alarm at 4:30 and went outside to my backyard observatory, to find the door frozen shut from recent freezing rain! I managed to get in eventually, and took this image of Comet Catalina with my Nikon DSLR and Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens. This is a single 5 minute exposure. Its amazing to me that the first time I saw this comet at the end of September, it was just emerging from the glow of the sun before sunrise, then I saw it near Arcturus a couple of weeks ago in Bootes, and now its in the Big Dipper. Quite a tour of the sky!

Skies are clearer in Cayman Brac!
Doug and Paula C. travel regularly to the middle of the Caribbean Sea in mid-January for a break from Canadian winter. Their landing site is a small island called Cayman Brac in the Cayman Islands and features the calm and friendly atmosphere of a spot not yet overrun by tourists. And the skies are regularly much clearer there than at home. Doug spent several nights and early mornings viewing and imaging the planet arrangements that were clouded out here.
(Read the full story in Doug's SGN column available under the

The first image shows a wide view of the southern constellations from the 19° N latitude of Cayman Brac. (same longitude as Bruce County but 2800 km due south!)

Jan 22 am planets Cayman Brac_edited-2

The image above shows the swath of sky from Scorpius up to Leo (top right) with Jupiter under the tail of Leo, Mars halfway between bright Venus at lower left and Jupiter. Saturn is just above Antares in Scorpius and is the brightest object between Mars and Venus. Rokinon 8mm fisheye lens at f/8 on Canon 60 Da, exposure of 96 seconds, @ 2500 ISO.

Image below is closeup of Saturn and Venus on Jan 9, again not seen here because of cloud/snow!


The spacing between Venus and Saturn at the time of the image was a mere 19 min 22 seconds! Also visible is the red star Antares in Scorpius as well as the globular cluster M4 just above it. At the latitude of Cayman Brac the scorpion is almost 30° above the horizon when on the meridian (which occurs at night in August). In Bruce County, the tail is barely 2° above the southern horizon on that date. Canon 18-55mm zoom at 55 mm, f/5.6, Canon 60Da exposure of 75 seconds, @ 2500 ISO. Nice imaging, Doug!

FIVE Planet Grouping starts Jan 20: In mid-January, Mercury gets far enough from the Sun to be seen in the dawn twilight, but it only hangs around for a month or so and heads back out of sight. So the time to see five planets at one go is short especially if the winter weather interferes with viewing. See SKY SIGHTS for a diagram. has a good article explaining the event in more detail here: FIVE PLANETS

Don't miss the
close approach of Venus and Saturn Jan 9 (see SKY SIGHTS), and then watch Venus swoop down on Mercury with a not-so-close approach of 4 degrees on Feb 12/13. On Feb 6, there is a nice triangle of crescent Moon, Mercury and Venus with spacing Moon-Mercury 3°22', Moon-Venus 4° 41', and Venus-Mercury 4° 48', almost an isosceles triangle. See SKY SIGHTS for details. The five-planet parade includes Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury strung out along the ecliptic in the morning sky and is over by Feb 20 or so when Mercury gets too close to the Sun to observe.


From Our Astrophotographers:

Frank Williams sends in this lovely wide angle composition of galaxy NGC 6946 (Fireworks Galaxy) and open cluster NGC 6938. This is a total 4 hour exposure that was taken through his 5-inch TEC refractor. He writes: "I managed to add 3 hours this week to the 1 hour I took on the Starfest weekend. Slightly cropped as my apo is not very flat field. The scope was thrashing about in the wind.... so I lost a few sub frames to  the wind!  The dome was moving about too, although it couldn’t come off, the wind was moving it, and it doesn’t have brakes on it’s rollers! But I had to try as clear nights are getting rarer this time of year".



Paul Zelichowski continues to amaze us with his astro images! The latest is this multi-channel shot of the Rosette Nebula in Monoceros. Paul is now imaging using several filters including Hydrogen-alpha, Oxygen and Sulfur. This shot was a total 9.5 hour total exposure involving 1h15 min through H-α, 2h20 min through O3 and 2h20 min through S2 and 3 hours of RGB data (1h each colour). So this is a hybrid shot which uses both narrowband filters and the regular wideband colour filters. The telescope used was a 12" Hyperbolic Newtonian Astrograph f/4.27 and SBIG STL11000M CCD camera w/Baader filters. Image taken at Starbase Six which Paul refers to now as the "Kinhuron Imaging Complex Kincardine One" or KICK-1 !



BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month. We will not meet in January and February in 2016 due to generally poor winter driving conditions. Meetings occur either at Grey Roots Museum or at the Fox Observatory. Check our calendar (2016 coming soon) 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 .

Next BAS meeting will be March 2, 2016 at the Grey Roots Museum. We will not be meeting in January and February 2016.
A summary of BAS i.e. club sponsored events for 2016 will be available soon: BAS 2016 Events summary

Note there may be minor changes in this list as dates approach. For up-to-date listing, see our short list below or click on the COMING EVENTS page for detailed information.
NOTE: BAS Meetings and Public Viewings 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 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 January 2016 February 2016 (the short list)

BAS first Wed of the month meetings are over for 2015. We pick up again Mar 2, 2016. More details about events can be found in COMING EVENTS. Some of the more interesting sky viewing opportunities are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

BAS meetings resume at Grey Roots Museum on March 2, 2016. Regular BAS meetings will happen the first Wednesday of the month from March to December, 2016.
Meetings usually consist of a short business meeting and include a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic. See the meeting dates 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 will be available here soon. This list similarly may change as events are confirmed, etc.



Jan 1 Fri Comet Catalina passes Arcturus -separation only 0.5 degrees! Nice.

Jan 4 Mon Quadrantid Meteors 120/h peak at 3 am. Moon last crescent and waning. Very narrow peak -only a few hours.

Jan 6 Wed NO BAS MEETING tonight. Next regular meeting is March 2, 2016 at Grey Roots Museum.

Jan 9 Sat Venus and Saturn close approach in morning sky; when they rise, the two are 17 minutes of arc apart and at sunrise increases to 26 minutes of arc apart due to the "rapid" motion of Venus.

Jan 15 Fri Comet Catalina is near Alkaid (eta-UMa) tail star of Big Dipper. Catalina becomes circumpolar Jan 13.

Jan 19 Tue Aldebaran occultation 9:13 pm disappearance dark limb,10:31 pm EST reappearance bright limb. Moon is Gibbous after LQ.


Feb 3 Wed No BAS meeting tonight. Next meeting is March 2, 2016

Feb  6 Sat Fox Dark of Moon Viewing night

Feb 8 Mon NM 

Feb 14 Sun Comet Catalina 17.5° from Double Cluster

Feb   15 Mon FQ

Feb 22 Mon FM

MARCH 2016

Mar 1 Tue LQ

Mar  2 Wed First Regular BAS meeting tonight at Grey Roots Museum -Annual General Meeting

Mar 5  Sat Fox Dark of Moon Viewing night Messier Marathon #1 (Backup night Apr 9)

Mar  8 Tue Jupiter at Opposition
Total Solar Eclipse (Indonesia and S. Pacific)

Mar  13 Sun DST begins

Mar   15 Tue FQ 

Mar 19 Sat Vernal Equinox 

Mar 23 Wed Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (FM)  

Mar  31 Thu LQ

More Details for the events listed above can be found on the COMING EVENTS page.

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