Last site update: Jan 24, 2015: Jan 23/24 Triple Transit CLOUDED OUT!
Next viewing at FOX Saturday Feb 21 (weather permitting).
FEBRUARY 2015 StarGazerNews available soon.
MORE Comet News below and in SKY SIGHTS above.
BAS makes centre page in Minor Hockey News. Click HERE for a look.
Looking for a CANON lens? or a 16-inch Dobsonian??? See our STUFF FOR SALE.
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 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 a 10-inch SCT on GOTO mount that we use regularly in our public viewing sessions.
C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy – Magnitude 4 reached -now fading...(or not)
CURRENT ASTRONOMY NEWS
The most recent information about Lovejoy is this article from Bob King (terrific images!) here: Universetoday Lovejoy fading
Comet Lovejoy was first seen by BAS members from the Fox Observatory and by a BAS member in London ON on Jan 13. Image below by John H. Two other clear nights on Jan 16 and Jan 19 also allowed viewing as Lovejoy slipped past the Pleiades. Several observers commented on how fast it was moving through the sky -about 1 moon width every 5 hours (0.1° per hour).
On only the second of two nights in January where it has been clear so far, John H. from the Owen Sound area, got a stack of 54x20 s images of Lovejoy on Jan 13 to create this image . Canon 60Da on a TV NP101 refractor at 860 mm focal length, f/5.6 ISO 5000.
Comet Lovejoy Q2 (finder chart HERE), is now bright enough to spot WITH NAKED EYE, and is very obvious in a pair of binoculars. Glowing at magnitude +4.0 but starting to drop, it’s a faint, fuzzy, faintly green cotton ball to the naked eye, and a nice sight in telescopes as small as 3-inches (7.5 cm). With the Moon now in last crescent and phasing out of the picture, comet viewing will continue to remain good in the coming nights in clear skies. Lovejoy is currently in Taurus and moving at the rate of 3° a day as it is now closest to Earth. Perihelion follows on January 30th when Lovejoy is closest to the Sun.
Comet Lovejoy was expected to brighten to perhaps 5th magnitude as it approaches Earth, but it has surpassed expectations reaching 4th magnitude around the 12 of January! It will start to drop in brightness from now on (or maybe not...comets ARE unpredictable).
Comet Lovejoy has now passed the Pleiades (closest on Jan 18) -and heading towards Cassiopeia.
The good article by Bob King from Universe Today can be found here:
and at Sky & Telescope here: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/spot-comet-lovejoy-tonight-122920141/
and here for a more recent article: http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-news/observing-news/spot-comet-lovejoy-tonight-122920141/?et_mid=717089&rid=246612655
15P/Finlay has SECOND OUTBURST! This time to magnitude 7!
This 10th magnitude comet has done it again! Comet 15P/Finlay which brightened to 8.7 magnitude last Dec, faded back to 10th magnitude shortly thereafter. BUT, around Jan 16, it brightened again to magnitude 8 or so and was caught in the act by Australian amateur Michael Mattiazzo. It appears to be even brighter now at magnitude 7. The finder charts here: Finlay Chart Jan 20 to Feb 10 shows 15/P Finlay in the western sky and this chart shows both Lovejoy and Finlay to Mar 6. Lovejoy is much easier than Finlay, but try for both.
Read more about the second outburst of 15P/Finlay here: Universetoday C.Finlay
OTHER COMETS (potentially) VISIBLE IN OUR SKY Right Now:
Comet Lovejoy C/2014Q2 chart for Jan 1/15 to Feb 1/15 available here: Lovejoy C/2014Q2 to Feb 1, 2015
Another (nicer) chart from Universe Today to Jan 13, 2015 is available HERE. A jpg of a Starry Night chart showing both Lovejoy and Finlay up to Mar 6 is availabel here: Lovejoy/Finlay to Mar 6, 2015.
Comet Lovejoy is now well above the SE horizon and is around 4th magnitude. It is high enough now early in the evenings that it can be seen as a faint greenish glow with no visible tail (except in longer images) . Lovejoy is in Taurus in January, and its maximum brightness is in the first week of January. This should be a good one! Now if only the skies would only clear long enough to get a look! Note that by the second week of February Comet Lovejoy will be circumpolar l(ocated on the border between Perseus and Andromeda) and never sets below the horizon. It will probably be about magnitude 7 then.
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: Only Lovejoy in the list below is visible to the naked eye. The other comets listed below will all probably stay binocular or telescopic 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 snap below is from Seiichi Yosida's website (link above) and illustrates the brightest comets in the sky presently. More information including brightness prediction graphs are found at the website. All graphics and information is by Seiichi Yoshida. (Screen snap below was obtained Jan 16).
Note: 15P/Finlay has had an outburst but is now back down to magnitude 10 .
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 now on our winter break. Impromptu observing nights may still occur so check with Brett T firstname.lastname@example.org or Aaron Top email@example.com if you would like to get on the 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: firstname.lastname@example.org or Aaron Top, email: email@example.com There is a fee for private tours.
Events list below is now updated to the end of February 2015.
See COMING EVENTS page for more details than provided below:
EVENTS December 2014 to February 2015
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!
See Comet News above or SKY SIGHTS for details and links to finder charts.
BAS meetings are not held in January and February but impromptu observing continues at the Fox Observatory on an individual or small group basis. To be put on the notification list email Brett T. at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details about the following events can be found in COMING EVENTS. Some of the more interesting events are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.
January: Note: Comet Lovejoy may be visible all month but is better after the Moon is waning in the second week of January. Look above the southern horizon after it gets dark and before LQ moon rise in the second week of January. Lovejoy starts to decline in brightness thereafter but may still be naked eye for a few weeks. FQ Moon at the end of January brightens the sky somewhat. See Comet News above for more info and links to finder charts.
Jan 3 Sat Quandrantid Meteors. Actually the peak is around 9 pm EST Saturday Jan 3 with 120/h but the Moon is Full and will brighten the skies the entire time.
Jan 4 Sun FM
Jan 10 Sat Mercury-Venus: 38 minutes of arc apart in SW sky. Look west after sunset.
Jan 13 Tue LQ
Jan 14 Wed Mercury at Greatest Elong: 18.9°E, farthest from Sun and easiest to observe. Look for Venus about 1° away. See more about Mercury observing in Jan SGN pg. 3.
Jan 15 Thu New Horizons spacecraft starts Pluto imaging in earnest today.
Jan 20 Tue NM
Jan 21 Wed Moon, Mercury, Venus triangle in West. The three objects form a triangle with 6° sides. Nice! Note: Mars and Neptune are also nearby. Mars 15° east of Venus, Neptune a bit closer at 12°.
Jan 23 Fri Double and Triple Shadow Transits on Jupiter Double transit starts 23:34 EST Jan 23, triple runs from 01:27 to 01:52 Jan 24 morning. Spectacular! BAS viewing @Fox for sure Fri night/Sat morning if weather permits.
Jan 26 Mon FQ
Feb 3 Tue FM
Feb 6 Fri Jupiter at opposition Big and bright! Magnitude = -2.6. Visible all night long. Oppositions are not special because good planet viewing lasts for several months before and after this date. Be sure to go out and have a look at the King of Planets and its moons.
Feb 11 Wed LQ Note: Comet Lovejoy is still around magnitude 6. Sky is dark, go out and have a look. See Comet News above for more info and links to finder charts.
Feb 18 Wed NM
Feb 20 Fri Venus, Mars and Crescent Moon. All three fit in a 2° circle. Uranus sits 15° above the group as well.
Feb 21 Sat Uranus (5.9) occulted by Moon Disappearance at 5:49 pm EST, Reappearance at 6:42 pm EST. ES Fox Viewing night for Members/guests.
Feb 25 Wed FQ
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)