Last update Aug 17, 2017

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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, recently re-aluminozed and working great!) and a 10-inch SCT on a GOTO mount that we use regularly in our public viewing sessions.

Click for maps to: ES Fox Observatory or Tom Thomson Art Gallery meeting locations.

August StarGazerNews now out.
Click here:
August 2017 SGN

SGN Aug 2017 cvr

Webster is BACK!
Re-aluminized mirror performing well!


Image by John H. above was taken on the Dark of the Moon viewing night June 24, 2017 and shows the Webster-28 in the foreground with Saturn lined up in the focuser. Note that Saturn is presently "riding" the Dark Horse of the Milky Way. This was the first night after the mirror had been re-aluminized and the four BAS members viewing noted the views (when seeing steadied) were pretty good for most objects although periodically clouds got in the way. Many objects besides Saturn and Jupiter were viewed and all were pronounced as good if not better than average once seeing steadied down. The next night for Webster viewing is the Aug 12 Dark Moon viewing night, but before then, there may well be some Moon and planet viewing when clear night opportunities arise. Check with John H. or Brett T. for impromptu viewing.
Canon 6D image, 20 seconds, f/4, 32 mm focal length, ISO 4000. A bit of levels enhancement in PS.

Next PUBLIC VIEWING NIGHT is Aug 12, weather permitting. See BAS Calendar of Events below for more info. The public is welcome!

Next BAS club meeting is Sep 6, 2017 (7 pm) at ES Fox Observatory.

For a review of the Aug 2, 2017 meeting, see Meeting Recap

August 2017 StarGazerNews is available here: AUGUST SGN 2017

ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2017 -the complete list- is available here: ASTRONOMY 2017 BAS Club EVENTS list for 2017 has been updated here: BAS 2017 Club Events

July, Aug, Sep 2017 (the short list)

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm and presently occur at the ES Fox Observatory. Click for Map. We switch back to the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound October 4. There are no regular meetings in January and February. Check the calendar here: BAS 2017 Club Events (updated Jun 4) for meeting dates and other events like public viewing nights at the Fox Observatory.

If you would like to be included in our list for impromptu observing nights contact Brett T. or John H. Some of the more interesting sky viewing opportunities are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

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. 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.

NOTE: BAS Meetings and public viewings are open to the public at no charge. BAS viewing at ES Fox Observatory is also generally open to the public (see monthly listing below and our BAS 2017 Club Events (updated June 4). We welcome out-of-town guests on all of our listed observing nights. Individuals or groups may request private tours on other dates (subject to availability of guides) by contacting John H. at: . We also offer private tours/observing on a fee basis.

Our next BAS meeting is at the FOX OBSERVATORY on Wed. September 6, 2017 at 7pm. Topic: Solar Eclipse Recap. Regular meetings usually consist of a short business meeting and include a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic. More details can be found in COMING EVENTS.

More details for astronomy viewing events in July, August and September 2017 are listed below and on the COMING EVENTS page. A complete list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2017 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2017. Note this list changes from time to time as additional astronomy events are added. A list of BAS club events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2017 is separately available here: BAS 2017 Club Events (updated June 4)


July 2017 Astronomy Events

Jul 01 Sat 03:28 Jupiter 2.7°S of Moon
03 Mon 16:00 Earth at Aphelion: 1.01668 AU (152 092 504 km)
04 Tue 20:21 Venus 6.5°S of Pleiades (Venus between M45 & Hyades in morning sky -nice!)
05 Wed 19:00 BAS meets at ES Fox Obs. 7 pm (Frank Williams: Lunar Imaging Workshop -gibbous Moon)
05 Wed 00:27 Moon at Apogee: 405 934 km
06 Thu 23:34 Saturn 3.2°S of Moon
09 Sun 00:07 FM
09 Sun 21:33 Mercury 0.1°N of Beehive (too close to Sun)
13 Thu 14:03 Venus 3.1°N of Aldebaran
14-16 Fri - Sun Dark Sky Weekend (Bruce Pen Nat Park) BAS Members wishing free camping please register by June 30 with Brett or John. Free stargazing after dark for day visitors and regular campers at Head of Trails lot.
16 Sun 15:26 LQ
19 Wed 19:37 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon
20 Thu 07:13 Venus 2.7°N of Moon (beautiful i
n am sky)
20-23 Thu - Sun Starfest Weekend at River Place Camp. Pre-register at
21 Fri 13:09 Moon at Perigee: 361 238 km
23 Sun 05:46 NM
25 Tue 04:49 Mercury 0.9°S of Moon: (occultation but miss locally)
25 Tue 06:14 Regulus 0.0°S of Moon (occultation but below our horizon)
25 Tue 13:03 Mercury 0.8°S of Regulus
26 Wed 20:00 Mars in Conjunction with Sun (not visible)
28 Fri 16:15 Jupiter 3.1°S of Moon
29 Sat 00:00 Delta-Aquarid Meteor Shower (20 per hour, moon 35%)
30 Sun 00:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation: 27.2°E
30 Sun 11:23 FQ

August 2017 Astronomy Events

Aug 02 Wed 19:00 BAS meets at ES Fox Obs. 7 pm (Starfest Recap)
02 Wed 13:55 Moon at Apogee: 405 026 km
03 Thu 03:31 Saturn 3.5°S of Moon
07 Mon 14:11 FM
07 Mon 14:20 Partial Lunar Eclipse; mag=0.246 (vis. in Eastern hemisphere only not locally)
11 Fri 20:00 Chantry Island Chambettes visit Fox Obs. for star tour. (Guide: John H.)
12 Sat 15:00 Perseid Meteor Shower peak at 3 pm, 90/h, moon is 75%. Public viewing at Fox after dark around 9 pm.
14 Mon 21:15 LQ
15 Tue 20:00 Owen Sound Cub Scouts tour of Fox Obs. and stargazing. (Guide: John H.)
16 Wed 02:39 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon (occultation but miss locally)
18 Fri 09:14 Moon at Perigee: 366 129 km
19 Sat 00:45 Venus 2.2°N of Moon (nicest on 19th in morning)
20 Sun 03:15 Beehive 3.2°N of Moon
20 Sun 14:08 Venus 7.2°S of Pollux
21 Mon 14:26 Total Solar Eclipse; mag=1.031 The Great N. American Solar Eclipse!
21 Mon 14:30 NM
25 Fri 09:00 Jupiter 3.5°S of Moon
26 Sat 17:00 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (not visible)
29 Tue 04:13 FQ
30 Wed 07:25 Moon at Apogee: 404 307 km
30 Wed 10:23 Saturn 3.6°S of Moon

September 2017 Astronomy Events

Sep 01 Fri 02:08 Venus 1.4°S of Beehive
04 Mon 20:00 Mercury 3.2° of Mars
05 Tue 01:00 Neptune at Opposition
06 Wed 01:00 Neptune 0.8° N of Moon (occultation visible Antarctica)
06 Wed 03:03 FM
06 Wed 1900 BAS meets at Fox Observatory. Topic: Solar Eclipse Recap
10 Sun 08:00 Mercury 0.7°S of Regulus
10 Sun 17:44 Jupiter 2.9°N of Spica
12 Tue 06:00 Mercury at Greatest Elong: 17.9°W
12 Tue 08:45 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon (daytime occultation visible locally)
13 Wed 02:25 LQ
13 Wed 12:04 Moon at Perigee: 369 856 km
15 to 17 Inverhuron Prov. Pk DEEP SKY WEEKEND members please contact John H. to register.
16 Sat 10:50 Beehive 3.1°N of Moon
16 Sat 14:00 Mercury 0.1° of Mars (18 min. sep’n at rise shrinks to 3 min. at 2:45 pm)
17 Sun 21:00 Venus 0.5° N of Moon (occultation in S. hemisphere)
18 Mon 01:00 Regulus 0.1° S of Moon (occultation vis. in E. Hemisphere)
18 Mon 16:00 Mars 0.1° S of Moon (occultation visible in Central and S. Pacific)
18 Mon 19:00 Mercury 0.03° N of Moon (occultation visible in Polynesia)
19 Tue 19:00 Venus 0.5° N of Regulus

20 Wed 01:30 NM
22 Fri 03:51 Jupiter 3.7°S of Moon
22 Fri 16:02 Autumnal Equinox
26 Tue 20:09 Saturn 3.5°S of Moon
27 Wed 02:49 Moon at Apogee: 404 342 km
27 Wed 22:54 FQ

A list of ASTRONOMY EVENTS FOR 2017 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2017. Note this list changes from time to time as additional astronomy events are added.

An astronomical calendar for 2017 (with diagrams of sky sights) is available for download from Alan Dyer's website here: (look at the bottom of the "about Alan" page).


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events :
Saturn and Jupiter prime viewing this summer

The famous ringed planet Saturn reached opposition June 15 and Jupiter did the same a few months ago. Even before true darkness sets in these long twilight nights, both are bright enough to poke out of the twilight skies. About the only additional views you get waiting to see Saturn in dark sky is a look at its fainter moons. Apart from Titan which is magnitude 8.5, the moons of Saturn are 9th magnitude and fainter, so larger apertures show more. A 12-inch scope will usually show 4 of 5.

Both Jupiter and Saturn will be visible for the next few months and featured at star parties until the fall.

In the morning sky, Venus is cruising along towards the Hyades Cluster and passes through it in mid-July. Mercury switches into the evening sky for most of the summer and by September it joins Mars back again on the west side of the Sun where Venus also joins in the group. Mid-September mornings feature all three planets lined up before dawn.

Image below shows Saturn in the centre left and Jupiter in the lower right corner. Image by John H. Antares is just to the right and below Saturn, the "claws" of the scorpion show up and Spica is below and left of Jupiter. This image was taken from my backyard in Owen Sound on July 25 around 10:30 pm as Jupiter was low in the west. Canon 6D, 10 mm focal length, ISO 3200, 30 s exp.



Jupiter Viewing Still Good in SW After Dark

Jupiter reached opposition last April and is presently high in the south western sky at sunset. It is the first object to spot in the twilight sky and worth a look while the sky is darkening. Check it again after a few hours to see how the moons have changed position. Diagram below shows the path of Jupiter as it retrogrades away from Spica until June 8, then it starts "prograde" motion again and slides back towards Spica. It finishes the viewing season in September sitting about 3° above Spica over the western horizon (if you can see it in the solar glare). However, between now and then there are lots of Jupiter-viewing nights available. Click on the image to download a copy. More in BAS WEBLOG.

Jupiter Apr1 - Sep 1 2017

Saturn Reaches Opposition June 15

Saturn reached opposition June 15 and is well up in the southern sky at sunset. Look right in the Milky Way above the spout of the Sagittarius Teapot. The planet is in perfect position for viewing and even in twilight shows details. Rings are at a maximum tilt our way so the planet is well-displayed. Brian Ventrudo has created an excellent document with more information describing all the ins and outs of observing Saturn this season and has made it available at his Cosmic Pursuits website here:

Image below: The architecture of Saturn’s rings and cloud bands (image credit: Robert English).


From Our Astrophotographers:

Frank Williams has submitted another stunning astro-image! The image below of globular cluster M5 in Serpens is a 3 hour exposure taken with his 5.5” (140 mm) refractor telescope.
He writes:
It was taken with an sbig 11000 ccd mono camera with chip cooled to -25c. The exposure is 30 minutes luminosity (10 x 3 minute exposures) 1 hour each through red green and blue filters (2‎0 x 3 minutes each) 70 individual images altogether,  through a TEC 140 mm refractor from my front yard skypod  observatory in Allenford. Processed (stacking, etc.) using pixinsight. Losmandy titan mount and a KW kwikguider. Images taken over the few clear nights over last week. “

m5 3.5 hrs

The star to the left is double star 5-Serpentis, a 5th magnitude star with an 10th magnitude companion about 11 arc-sec away.

Info for M5 from Wikipedia:
M5 is, under extremely good conditions, just visible to the naked eye as a faint "star" near the star 5 Serpentis. Binoculars or small telescopes will identify the object as non-stellar while larger telescopes will show some individual stars, of which the brightest are of apparent magnitude 12.2.

M5 was discovered by the German astronomer Gottfried Kirch in 1702 when he was observing a comet. Charles Messier also noted it in 1764, but thought it a nebula without any stars associated with it. William Herschel was the first to resolve individual stars in the cluster in 1791, counting roughly 200.

Spanning 165 light-years in diameter, M5 is one of the largest known globular clusters. The
gravitational sphere of influence of M5, (i.e. the volume of space in which stars are gravitationally bound to it rather than being torn away by the Milky Way's gravitational pull) has a radius of some 200 light-years.

At 13 billion years old, M5 is also one of the eldest globular clusters in the
Milky Way Galaxy. Its distance is about 24,500 light-years from Earth, and it contains more than 100,000 stars, as many as 500,000 according to some estimates.


The countdown to the Great Aug 21 2017 Solar Eclipse continues:

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 available on the
2017 SOL ECLIPSE tab.

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

Auroral displays in our area are declining as we have passed solar maximum. There have been periods of "blank Sun" where sunspots have been totally absent for a time. However, at far northern and southern latitudes near the auroral ovals, sometimes magnetic disturbances from the sun produce auroras even without visible sunspots. So if the auroral oval in the graphic below is showing an intense RED, aurora borealis may be visible from your location. The graphic is updated regularly with time indicated at the top in UT so subtract 5 h to get local EST, or 4 h for DST. (Use the appropriate factor for other time zones). 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:

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From the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope Image Archives:
A recent meeting of BAS showed images from the CFHT on Mauna Kea. By popular demand, this space will be devoted to showcasing some of these. Have a look at this site for more: CFHT Image Of Month

Star trails and "see-through" dome. Polaris altitude = 20° at Mauna Kea.

Horsehead Nebula

Helix Nebula

NGC 6124 Open Cluster

Portion of North America Nebula (Gulf of Mexico/Yucatan)

Spiral galaxy IC 342

Dust Cloud in Milky Way (B143)