This site last updated October 21, 2014 with information about Comet Siding Spring at Mars. See the Comet News section below.
See Rosetta Lander update Oct 13, 2014 below:
Comet PanSTARRS (C/2012K1) IS BACK! See WEBLOG and Comet News below.
Our NEXT VIEWING SESSION is the OCT 23 Partial Solar Eclipse at Sauble Beach (5 pm)
Looking for a 16-inch Dobsonian??? See our STUFF FOR SALE.
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 we use it regularly in our public viewing sessions.
CURRENT ASTRONOMY NEWS
ROSETTA UPDATE: Oct 13, 2014
Oct 13: From Spaceweather.com http://www.spaceweather.com/
THE MYSTERIOUS BOULDERS OF COMET 67P:
When the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in August, one of the biggest surprises was the boulders: The comet's core is littered with them. Rosetta's OSIRIS camera photographed this specimen, a 45-meter-wide behemoth named "Cheops," on Sept. 19th:
On Nov. 12th, Rosetta will drop a lander onto the surface of the comet, and these boulders are a key hazard Philae must avoid.
But are they really boulders? "Maybe they only look like rocky boulders," says Art Chmielewski, the US Rosetta Project Manager at JPL. "Some scientists believe that they are 'flimsy' boulders. They may be more like dirty snow balls made in very cold weather. If so they are very fragile and would collapse under the lander. I hope Philae will not find out if that is true."
Claudia Alexander, the Project Scientist for the US Rosetta Project says the boulders could be telling us something new about the way comets "sublimate"--that is, the way sunlight converts cometary ices into jets of gas. "I personally wonder if we've gotten the sublimation process understood in the reverse. In other words, instead of sublimation coming forth from a crack or fissure in the ground, sublimation emerges from cliff-sides, or 'spires' or vertical features, and then these features collapse when the vapor has been evacuated." Boulders could be debris from such a process.
"Obviously Rosetta is perfectly poised to make the measurements that will help us understand the physics of this process, and better understand cometary geology!"
Sep 30 Update
ESA Rosetta mission planners have selected November 12th, one day later than initially planned, for the historic landing of Philae on a comet’s surface. The landing on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be especially challenging for the washing machine-sized lander. While mission scientists consider their choice of comet for the mission to be an incredibly good one for scientific investigation and discovery, the irregular shape and rugged terrain also make for a risky landing. The whole landing is not unlike the challenge one faces in shooting a moving target in a carnival arcade game; however, this moving target is 20 kilometers below and it is also rotating.
Read more about the landing date change here: http://www.universetoday.com/114873/esas-rosetta-mission-sets-november-12th-as-the-landing-date-for-philae/
Read more about the landing site selection here: Comet’s Head Selected as Landing Site for Rosetta’s Historic Philae Lander (936 words)
Context image showing the location of the primary landing site for Rosetta’s lander Philae. Site J is located on the head of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. An inset showing a close up of the landing site is also shown. The inset image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 20 August 2014 from a distance of about 67 km. The image scale is 1.2 metres/pixel. The background image was taken on 16 August from a distance of about 100 km. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
The latest information is available from NASA at http://www.nasa.gov/rosetta and ESA here: http://rosetta.esa.int/
Comet Siding Spring spotted by spacecraft around Mars.
Read all about it here: Universe Today: Comet at Mars
COMETS (potentially) VISIBLE IN OUR SKY PRESENTLY:
The comets listed below will all probably stay binocular objects.
Comet Jaques (C/2014E2) has now faded to around 10th or 11th magnitude and is presently in Aquila and getting lower in the sky in the west. Finder chart for Comet Jacques from Oct 1 to Nov 8 is HERE
Comet PanSTARRS (C/2012 K1) has entered the morning sky and is now visible at around magnitude 7.5 . It has passed out of Hydra into Puppis, the constellation just east of Canis Major. It is good early in late September during NM and also for the first two weeks of October because the brightening Moon will set before PanSTARRS rises in the pre-dawn sky. Finder chart for Comet PanSTARRS is HERE or on our Maps/Charts page. Note that both comets will be morning sky objects in the fall.
Comet PanSTARRS will be rounding the Sun in early August. Later in the month it becomes visible in the early morning hours before sunrise. More info for PanSTARRS can be found in our WEBLOG and here: C PanSTARRS Universe today article.
Comet C/2012 K1 Panstarrs
Taken by Waldemar Skorupa on October 2, 2014 @ Mt. Lure Cruis France
Image originally posted on spaceweather.com
2014-10-02 at 04-00UT Astrosysteme GmbH 8H Astrograph (8-inch f/3) FLI
CCD 5x5min L and 3min RGB; fov 2,5°
Comet Oukaimeden (C/2013 V5)
This comet will become visible later in the year and into 2015. Predictions are that it will reach magnitude 5.7 or so around Sep 20, 2014. However the path of this comet keeps it near the Sun and it will be difficult to observe except for a few weeks in the early morning hours in late August and early Sep. Finder chart for Aug 14 to Sep 18 HERE:
For up-to-date information on all the recently discovered comets, check this excellent website: http://www.aerith.net/comet/weekly/current.html .
Comet LINEAR (C/2012 X1) is fading and under magnitude 9 presently. Another comet, visible earlier this year, Comet Lovejoy, (C/2013 R1) has faded to below magnitude 11.
Chart for Comet LINEAR to July 1 and chart for C. Lovejoy to June 24 (if you are interested.)
BAS CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed on the month. Next meeting is at the
GREY ROOTS MUSEUM, Nov 5, 2014.
A quick look summary of all BAS events for 2014 can be found here:
2014 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: email@example.com or Aaron Top, email: firstname.lastname@example.org . There is a fee for private tours.
Events list below is now updated to the end of December 2014.
See COMING EVENTS page for more details about the following events:
EVENTS September 2014 to December 2014
Sep 3 Wed BAS meeting ES Fox 7 pm Tom Field Spectroscopy Webinar
Sep 5 Fri (FQ+3) Public viewing GR Grey Roots Museum 9 pm (Members with scopes)
Venus 0.7° from Regulus 5 am
Sep 6 Sat (FQ+4) OSFN star tour/talk @ES Fox Note: event has been moved to Oct 4 with backup Oct 18.
Sep 9 Tue (FM) ☹ Night of the Full Moon “Harvest Moon” [third "super-moon" of 2014 but don't call it that..]
Sep 12 Fri (FM+3) Saturn's Moon Rhea occults a background star -rare! 8:38 DST in E. Canada
Sep 17 Wed (LQ) 3rd Anniversary of Fox Opening Happy Birthday Fox Observatory!
Sep 20 Sat (LQ+3) Mercury 0.5° from Spica low in West after sunset
Sep 24 Wed (NM) ☻
Sep 27 Sat (NM+3) BAS viewing @Fox @dark Members and guests welcome.
Sep 28 Sun (NM+4) Moon occults Saturn, Ceres and Vesta all on same day (none visible locally)
Oct 1 Wed BAS meeting Grey Roots Museum 7 pm Mike Tettenborn on Meteorites & Gadget Night
Oct 4 Sat (FQ+3) OSFN star tour/talk ES Fox 7:00 pm Leader: John H.
(backup date Oct 18 (LQ+3) Note: this event has been postponed to Oct 18 due to weather.
Oct 8 Wed (FM) ☺ BAS viewing: Second Lunar Eclipse of 2014 from washroom/pavillion on Lakeshore Blvd at 6th St N. in Sauble Beach. Umbral contact 5:14 am DST Oct 8, total phase from 6:25 am to 7:24 am DST Oct 8. Last Umbral contact at 8:34 am DST. Moon sets 7:37 am DST Oct 8.
Oct 18 Sat (LQ+3) OSFN star tour/talk ES Fox (moved from Oct 4) 7:00 pm Leader: John H.
Oct 19 Sun (NM-4) Comet Siding Spring (C/2013A1) closest to Mars -photo op! (from Mars only)
Oct 21 Tue (NM-2) Orionid meteors, 20/h peak at noon Oct 21, Moon only 5% observe Oct 20 & Oct 21 evenings.
Oct 23 Thu (NM) ☻ Partial Solar Eclipse first half only visible from Bruce-Grey, viewing from 6th St N washrooms along Lakeshore Blvd in Sauble Beach followed by viewing at ES Fox @dark. First contact at 5:36 pm DST. Sun sets at 6:26 pm DST. Mid-eclipse is about 13 minutes later but Sun is below our horizon.
NOTE: Looking at the Sun without proper eye protection is dangerous and will cause eye damage. ALWAYS use approved solar viewing glasses that are available from reputable astronomical supply companies. On Oct 23, BAS will have solar eclipse viewing glasses available at the viewing site for a nominal fee. More information on safe solar viewing and sources of eclipse glasses can be found here: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/safety.html
Nov 5 Wed BAS meeting Grey Roots Museum 7 pm Member’s Night and Gadget Night contact email@example.com for more or to request a time slot for your gadget.
Nov 6 Thu (FM) Night of the Full Moon “Frosty Moon”
Nov 12 Wed Rosetta spacecraft lander Philae touches down on surface of Comet 67/P C-G
Nov 17 Mon (NM-4) Leonid meteors 20/h at peak 7 pm, Moon 20% and waning
Nov 20 Thu (NM-2) Asteroid Juno (magnitude 9.1) occults 7.4 mag star SAO 117176. Drop in brightness of star will be 2.3 magnitudes, a substantial change. Ground track is north of Huntsville so travel is required.
Nov 22 Sat (NM) BAS viewing @Fox @dark. Members and guests welcome!
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)
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.