Last update Oct 15, 2016

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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) 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.

Next PUBLIC VIEWING at FOX OBSERVATORY is Sat. Oct 29, weather permitting.

Next Regular BAS meeting is 7 pm Wed Nov 2 at Tom Thomson Art Gallery
Topic: TBA. See COMING EVENTS. for more details.

Breaking News:

Fireball Observed by ES Fox Meteor Camera 6:45 am Oct 7
Slow bright meteor seen all over Ontario

See UWO article here:October 7 Fireball for more details and meteor camera views.

Video below kindly supplied by Peter Brown Meteor Physics Group UWO.

Oct 2016 StarGazerNews now available here: NEWSLETTER


Brett Tatton explains Astrophotography Basics in MEETING RECAP


BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm (no reg. meetings January and February). Check the calendar here: BAS 2016 Events summary 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.


BAS EVENTS Sep 2016 to Dec 2016 (the short list)

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.

For an up-to-date listing, see our current monthly listing below or click on the COMING EVENTS page for detailed information.
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 dates below). 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: . There is a fee for private tours.

Our next BAS Wed meeting (Tom Thomson Art Gallery) is Nov 2, 2016. Topic: TBA More details can be found in COMING EVENTS. Some of the more interesting sky viewing opportunities are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

Last BAS meetings of 2016 are on Nov 2 and Dec 7 at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (lower level) starting 7 pm. Meetings usually consist of a short business meeting and include a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic.

More details for the events listed below 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 separately available here:
BAS 2016 Events Summary. This list may also change as events are confirmed, etc.


September 2016

Sep  1 Thu: NM: Annular Solar Eclipse (mid-Africa, Madagascar and into Indian Ocean) not visible in N.America
Sep  2 Fri: Neptune at Opposition
Sep  3 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests -public welcome) Contact for details and weather cancellation.
Sep  7 WedRegular Meeting 7 pm Fox Obs Topic: Beginner’s Astrophotography basics: Brett T.
Sep  9 Fri: FQ
Sep  16 Fri:     FM Penumbral Lunar Eclipse (not visible in N. America and it is a poor penumbral eclipse to boot.) Perigean Full Moon
  17 Sat:     HAPPY 5th ANNIVERSARY to ES Fox Observatory! Join us for cake and coffee around noon.
Sep  22 Thu:    Autumnal Equinox 09:21
Sep  23 Fri:  LQ
Sep  24 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests -public welcome) Contact for details and weather cancellation.
Sep  30 Fri:    NM

October 2016

Oct  1 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests -public welcome) Contact for details and weather cancellation.
3 Mon Venus just 4° below 2.7 day-old crescent Moon above western horizon
Oct 5 Wed Regular Meeting 7 pm Tom Thomson Art Gallery Speaker Zoe Kessler: Women in Astronomy, Public Welcome
Oct 5 Wed Saturn just 6° below 5 day-old crescent Moon above SW horizon
Oct 8 Sat FQ
Oct  15 Sat Uranus at Opposition
Oct  15 Sat FM (Perigean Full Moon -see BASWeblog)
Oct  19 Wed Aldebaran 0.3° S of Moon Occultation 1:48-2:31 am DST. See SKY EVENTS for more details.
Oct  20 Thu Orionid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 20; LQ Moon right at radiant (bummer!)
Oct  22 Sat LQ
Oct 27 Mon Venus passes through gap between Antares and Saturn (just like Mars did in August)
Oct  29 Sat Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests -public welcome) Contact for details and weather cancellation.
Oct 30 Sun NM
Oct 31 Mon Thin crescent Moon above western horizon. At 5:30 pm (sunset 5:09 pm) 1-d old Moon is about 3° above horizon, 10° to left of sunset point. Try binos first, then naked eye.

November 2016

Nov  2 Wed Regular Meeting Tom Thomson Art Gallery Topic: TBA
Nov  5 Sat 00:13 South Taurid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 10, look for fireballs.
Nov  6 Sun DST Ends
Nov  7 Mon FQ
Nov 11 Fri 23:29 N. Taurid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 15, may be some fireballs.
Nov 14 Mon FM This one is even more "super" than in Oct being 1352 km closer! -see BASWeblog
Nov 17 Thu 05:47 Leonid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 15
Nov 17 Thu 12:30 Venus nearest to Kaus Borealis (7 min 31 seconds) in daylight. Increases to 17 min by sunset at 5:33 pm.
Nov 21 Mon LQ
Nov 26 Sat Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests) public welcome. Contact for details and weather cancellation.
Nov 29 Tue NM

December 2016

Dec   3 Sat Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members)
Dec   7 Wed Regular Meeting Tom Thomson Art Gallery Topic: Xmas recap/BAS social (members, please bring goodies to share).
Dec   7 Wed FQ
Dec  12 Mon Aldebaran 0.5° S of Moon Occultation 11:00 pm EST Dec 12 to 12:16 am EST, a difficult observation as both disappearance and reappearance are at bright limbs - Moon is 99% illuminated. See SKY EVENTS for more details.
Dec  13 Tue 18:57 Geminid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 120 -a GOOD one except Moon is FM!  
Dec  20 Tue LQ
Dec  21 Wed Winter Solstice 05:45
Dec  22 Thu 03:00 Ursid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 10
Dec  29 Thu NM


Naked Eye/Binocular Astronomy Events :
Mars slips below Lagoon Nebula


Mars has been tracking across the SW sky towards the Milky Way for several months now. It passed through the gap between Saturn and Antares Aug 24. The Sep 27 image above shows it one night before close approach to M8 the Lagoon Nebula. Look for Mars to pass below the Lagoon on Sep 27/28 and track towards Kaus Borealis which it will skim at 11 minutes of separation on Oct 6. Image above was taken from Owen Sound by John. H. More images like this are found in October's SGN now available. Click on NEWSLETTER tab for a copy to download.

Sep 24 and 28: More Aurora erupt in September

Aurora seen around 1 am Sep 28 looking north along the Owen Sound bay. This one was preceded by about a dozen alerts from John H. image Canon 6D 30 seconds, ISO 3200, 24 mm focal length. Most aurora these days (post maximum in 2012) are not particularly visible to the naked eye, but show up nicely on the modern crop of sensitive DSLRs like the Canon astronomy cameras (60Da, for ex.) and now the Nikon version as well.

Aurora seen on Sep 24 during the Fox Dark of the Moon viewing night around 11 pm. Canon 6D, 30 seconds, ISO 3200, f.l.=24mm, f/4.0. Brett T is at left checking his iPad controlled DSLR (the software needs a red light mode). The only light inside the Fox is one behind the big screen. The outside light over the north door is also illuminating the scene (actually over-illuminating). The camera picked up the red aurora glow -the only light seen naked eye was the faint greenish glow behind the trees at the horizon. Image by John H.

Mars continues tracking across MW:
Though Mars reached opposition on May 22 it is still the planet to watch above the southern horizon. It is still around
magnitude 0 but note that by October it has shrunk to a diameter less than half what it was in May and it is noticeably gibbous. Mars stays above the horizon into 2017 since its eastward motion is greater than the westward rotation of the sky. Up to the end of October or so, with a telescope you can make out features like the polar ice caps but steady air is required to see much more. There is excellent and detailed information at the ALPO site here: 2016 Mars Apparition
Brian Ventrudo has a very detailed Mars observing guide at this site:
Mars Observing Guide

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Saturn in Scorpius:
The famous Ringed Planet is considerably farther to the west of Mars and its slow motion across the sky (eastward) is not enough to keep it in view for much longer. It sets before 8 pm in October but still a nice view in twilight skies. 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. Just like Mars in August, the gap between Saturn and Antares will be visited by another planet, this time Venus. Look for the lineup Antares-Venus-Saturn on Oct 17Watch Mars slip between Saturn and Antares on Oct 27/28.
Sky and Telescope’s informative viewing guide to Saturn is here:
Saturn Viewing Guide


Path of Venus in Oct 2016. Note it will be between Antares and Saturn on Oct 27/28.

From Our Astrophotographers:
Frank Williams latest submission to the "Hall of Astrophotographic Fame" is an image of M17, or the Swan Nebula in Sagittarius.
He writes:
"worked on Swan Nebula M17 during Starfest week from my little observatory in Allenford, and with cloudy weather here got to processing it. This has Luminance 1 hour, red filter 90 minutes, blue and green filters 75 min [using a] 140 mm TEC apochromatic [refractor] sbig STL 11000 camera cooled to -20c (As cold as I could get it running peltier cooler flat out). Processed in Pixinsight slight crop (to remove misaligned frames)". All I can add is "WOW!"



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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