BAS RASC BOEC topbar3..Screen shot 2015-03-31 at 4.29.54 PM
FB icon.............Last update Aug 28, 2015...........

BAS Mission Statement

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 dates to have some heavenly views at one of the last truly dark sky locations in Ontario.

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 for map to ES Fox Observatory or Grey Roots Musuem

September SGN Now Available. Check NEWSLETTER tab above.

Perseid meteors are done. Next meteor shower is the Orionids Oct 21.

No bright comets visible now but Comet Catalina is coming!. Click CURRENT COMETS tab above.

STARFEST recap at Sep 2 meeting at Fox. Click BAS WEBLOG for Starfest report.

Next BAS meeting Sep 2/15 @ 7pm ES Fox Obs. See COMING EVENTS.

Looking for a Canon camera lens? or have some item to sell? See our STUFF FOR SALE page.

Visual Astronomy Happening Now:

Perseid Meteor shower peak is over but some Perseids still visible.
Here is a composite of over a dozen Perseids including several fireballs and one very bright sporadic. Image by John H. taken Aug 12/13 from the Fox Observatory.


The one bright trail that crosses the top of Perseus above the radiant is a sporadic (a nice one!) not a true Perseid. There are 16 trails on the image, one is the sporadic and one is a faint aircraft or satellite trail lower right above tree line. The rest are Perseids.
Note that one trail appears to be in front of our iconic elm tree. The reason for this is that an image part-way through the night was used as the main background and this Perseid appeared on a later image that was clear of the tree. But the proper star location happened to be behind the tree in the main image.
These 14 Perseids are only a few of the many that were seen with the naked eye since the camera does not catch the fainter ones. The sensor does not get triggered with a brief flash of faint light. The BEST way to observe a meteor shower is still by eye.
Our group counted 48 meteors in 15 minutes!


From Our Astrophotographers:

Frank Williams Images Pluto with Bishop Scope at Fox Observatory.

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This image is a stack of several 60 second shots taken by Frank W. with the 10-inch SCT ("Bishop scope") and was captured on Aug 8 during the BAS viewing night. We also had the 28-inch Webster out and spotted Pluto visually-a first for many of the viewers who came out. This is the farthest solar system object that was visible (lots of other more distant objects were observed but not within our solar system) and it was another checkmark on the life-list of the viewers present.

Thanks Frank for sharing this image and your expertise with BAS members! If you want to do the Pluto search on the image above, a map of the region is available here:
Pluto map August The image shows stars down to 15th magnitude or so and the map is down to about 14.5 magnitude.

Aurora at Starfest Aug 15


Northern Lights displays are "ignoring" the fact that we are more than 2 years past the peak of the current cycle (2012).They continue to appear in our skies. Even the last few days Aug 26 - 29, the Space Weather Prediction Service has sent out over a dozen alerts indicating a K value of 5 (out of a possible 9) meaning aurora are likely. Although our area saw only faint displays in the last few days, aurora were captured by several BAS photographers during the Starfest weekend. Image by John H. above was a 30 second shot at ISO 3200 using a 10 mm wide-angle at f/4 with a Canon 60Da.
The same display was imaged from the Fox Observatory (below) but without the sky glow from Durham.



Paul Zelichowski's M106 Spiral Galaxy:
Paul Zelichowski has sent in a very nice image for our galaxy collection with his photo of M106. Also known as NGC 4258, M106 is a spiral galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici and is located just under the handle of the Big Dipper. It was discovered by Pierre Mechain in 1781. M106 is at a distance of about 22 to 25 million LY away from Earth and is also a Seyfert II galaxy. Due to X-rays and unusual emissions lines detected, it is suspected that part of the galaxy is falling into a supermassive black hole in the centre. Some estimates give 35 million solar masses for the nucleus of this galaxy.
Total exposure through RGB filters and Luminance was 420 minutes or a whopping 7 hours!
There is an update to this image in the Aug issue of StarGazerNews



BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed on the month except Jan and Feb 2015. Regular BAS meetings are at Grey Roots Museum but the June 3, July 8, August 5 and September 2 meetings are at the Fox Observatory. Check our calendar for public viewing nights at the Fox or elsewhere and contact Brett or John for impromptu observing nights: Brett T or John H if you would like to get on the alert list.

Next meeting will be September 2, 2015 at the ES Fox Observatory.
A summary of ALL REMAINING BAS events for 2015 is available here: 2015 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.


Events list below is now updated to the end of September 2015.

NOTE: 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 and it is overcast or raining, there may not be any BAS members there. See COMING EVENTS for more details and instructions. A contact phone number is provided there if you are unsure about whether to attend due to weather.

See COMING EVENTS page for more details than provided below:

EVENTS July 2015 to September 2015 (the short list)

BAS first Wed of the month meetings continue to Dec 2015. More details about the following events can be found in COMING EVENTS. Some of the more interesting sky events are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

BAS meetings are now at the ES Fox Observatory at 7 pm. (Oct 7 meeting is back at Grey Roots). Regular BAS meetings happen the first Wednesday of the month from March to December.
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.
Note that this year only, the July BAS meeting will be the second Wednesday in July, i.e. July 8 and will occur at the ES Fox Observatory. Please park at the main lot by the Learning Centre (parking near the Fox is reserved for disability access and equipment dropoff). The June 3, July 8, August 5 and September 2 BAS regular meetings will be at the Fox Observatory since our regular meeting room at GR is being used for a summer display. We are back at the Grey Roots Museum for the Oct 7 meeting.

More details for the events listed here can be found on the COMING EVENTS page. A full list of the remaining events for 2015 is provided here: 2015 Events Summary Note this list changes from time to time as dates are confirmed, etc.


(note the regular BAS Wed. meeting is July 8, not July 1 which is Canada Day)
Jul 1 Wed FM Venus and Jupiter conjunction. Less than a half a degree apart. Watch from June 29 to July 2.
Jul 8 Wed LQ BAS regular Wed. meeting at ES Fox Observatory (7 pm) Topic: KW Webinar on Eyepieces -a live interactive event. NOTE: This webinar has been postponed to Aug 5.
Jul 10 Fri Summer Stargazing public viewing #2 at ES Fox Observatory. Short star talk 8:30 pm followed by viewing planets (Jupiter, Venus, Saturn) clusters and galaxies in the summer sky. See Coming Events for details on parking, etc.
Jul 11 Sat BAS viewing@Fox Dark of the Moon member observing night, BAS members and guests.
Jul 14 Tue New Horizons flies past Pluto (taking images and science data all the while!)
Jul 15 Wed NM

Jul 17-19 Fri-Sun Dark Sky Weekend venue has been moved to Whispering Pines and will not be at Bruce Peninsula National Park. Program consists of a star talk (if weather does not co-operate) and general public viewing after dark on Saturday night. Viewing is weather dependant. The Webster will be present. Contact Greg Rodgers at if you are a BAS member interested in one of the limited number of free campsites on a first-come basis.

Jul 18 Sat Venus about 1° from Crescent Moon. Jupiter about 6° away. A very pretty grouping in the western sky.
Jul 23 Thu FQ
Jul 24 Fri Grey Roots Public viewing #1: Viewing the Moon, planets, clusters and galaxies in the summer sky. Event starts at dusk (9 pm) with Moon, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn

Jul 25 Sat The "Whispering Pines" event has been moved to July 17-19. See above.

Jul 29 δ-Aquariid meteors peak at 11 am DST Wed. possible 20/h in daylight so observe the night before or after. The Moon near Full (95%) so not the best circumstances for meteor watching.
Jul 31 Fri FM



Aug 5 Wed BAS meeting at ES Fox Observatory Topic: K-W Webinar on eyepieces followed by Members/Gadget Night. Contact John H. for a time slot if you have something to share.
Aug 6 Thu LQ
Aug 7 Fri Public viewing at Grey Roots Museum parking lot, 9 pm. Members with scopes appreciated.
Aug 8 Sat BAS viewing night at the Fox Observatory. Our regular Dark of the Moon viewing night. Your Opportunity to see PLUTO!
Aug 13 Thu Perseids peak 2 am DST Wed night/Thu morning Aug 12/13: the BEST meteor shower for 2015 peaks only a day before the New Moon. Observe Wed night/Thu morning but Perseids appear all week. More on SKY SIGHTS page.
Aug 13-16 STARFEST 2015 More information at STARFEST 2015 . Registration is now open.
Aug 14 Fri NM
Aug 21 Fri Summer Stargazing public viewing #3 at the ES Fox Observatory. Views of the crescent Moon, Saturn and the clusters and nebulae of the Milky Way. Event starts after sunset (8:30 pm or so).
Aug 22 Sat FQ Moongaze at Inverhuron Pk after dark (9 pm). Here is a MAP of the observing location. Contact John H. if you can help out.
Aug 22 Sat FQ More Moongazing at Tobermory Butterfly Festival with BAS members and scopes. More details from Environment Biosphere Conservancy here: or contact Brett T. or Zoe K. at or .Venue TBA
Aug 29 Sat FM
Aug 31 Mon Neptune at opposition. Visible all night long at magnitude 7.8 and with a disk of 2.3" of arc.



Sep 2 Wed BAS meeting at ES Fox Observatory Topic: Starfest recap

Sep 5 Sat LQ and Aldebaran Occultation Disappearance (bright limb) at 12:07 am (just after midnight Sep 4/5), Reappearance dark limb 12:39 am Sep 5, Moon LQ and rises from 1.75° to 7° above eastern horizon during occultation.
Sep 12 Sat BAS viewing@Fox
Sep 13 Sun NM and Partial Solar Eclipse Only visible from Antarctica and S. Africa, S. Pacific
Sep 13 Sun Paisley Fall Fair Solar display (daytime)
Sep 20 Sun Meaford Public viewing (talk & solar viewing)
Sep 21 Mon FQ
Sep 27 Sun FM and Total Lunar Eclipse Best for the year with totality starting at 10:11 pm DST Sep 27 and continuing to 11:23 pm. Moon is 35° high at mid-eclipse and climbing. A prime-time (Sunday night) astronomical event! Public Viewing at Fox Observatory

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

Latest Solar Heliospheric Observatory Images:

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