Last update April 30, 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) 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.

May 27 Open House at BOEC includes Fox Tours, solar viewing, and star-gazing after dark. More here: Coming Events

Next Fox Observatory Dark-of-the-Moon viewing night is May 27, weather permitting. See BAS Calendar of Events below for more info. The public is welcome!

Next BAS club meeting is May 3, 2017 (7 pm) at Tom Thomson Art Gallery.

For a review of the Apr 5, 2017 meeting, see
Meeting Recap

MAY 2017 StarGazerNews is now out: May 2017 SGN

Binocular COMET 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak mag. 7.5 near Hercules/Lyra border.
VIS. COMETS for more.

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

April - June 2017 (the short list)

BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed of the month at 7 pm at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound (there are no regular meetings in January and February). Check the calendar here: BAS 2017 Club Events Summary (updated Apr 19) 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 Apr 19). 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 at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery is Wed. May 3, 2017 at 7pm. Speaker Zoe Kessler: Women in Astronomy. 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 April to June 2017 events listed below can be found on the COMING EVENTS page. 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. A list of BAS club events (meeting dates, public observing sessions, etc.) for 2017 is separately available here: BAS 2017 Club Events (updated Apr 19)


Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak is now circumpolar and visible all night long in the northern sky (but fading). Look near Vega in the last week of April. Charts and more info on our VIS. COMETS page and at the Universe Today site here: Universe Today Comet 41P .

April 2017

01 Sat 04:50 Aldebaran 0.3°S of Moon (no occultation locally)
01 Sat 06:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation: 19.0°E (farthest from Sun at sunset -see
03 Mon 14:39 FQ
05 Wed 19:00 BAS meets at Thomson Art Gallery 7 pm (Elections & Trivia Night)
05 Wed 08:45 Beehive 3.8°N of Moon
07 Fri 00:30 Regulus 0.7°N of Moon
07 Fri 17:00 Jupiter at Opposition (mag -2.46, 44 arc-sec diameter) Big and bright! -see SKY SIGHTS
10 Mon 17:20 Jupiter 2.2°S of Moon
11 Tue 02:08 FM
14 Fri 02:00 Uranus in Conjunction with Sun (not visible)
15 Sat 06:05 Moon at Apogee: 405 478 km
16 Sun 14:39 Saturn 3.2°S of Moon
19 Wed 05:57 LQ
20 Thu 02:00 Mercury at Inferior Conjunction (not visible)
21 Fri 04:16 Mars 3.4°S of Pleiades (Aldebaran nearby as well -see SKY SIGHTS)
22 Sat 08:00 Lyrid Meteor Shower (20 per hour, Moon 20%)
22 Sat BAS Dark of Moon viewing night (Messier Marathon/meteor watch) Starts after dark about 9 pm.
23 Sun 13:59 Venus 5.2°N of Moon
26 Wed 08:16 NM
27 Thu 12:18 Moon at Perigee: 359 325 km
28 Fri 13:19 Aldebaran 0.5°S of Moon (Mars, Aldebaran and M45 nearby -photo op! -see SKY SIGHTS)
28 Fri 12:28 Aldebaran is occulted by 3 day old crescent Moon. Daytime event-see SKY SIGHTS
29 Sat Public Viewing at Fox Observatory after dark . See COMING EVENTS entry for Apr 29 for more.

May 2017

02 Tue 14:23 Beehive 3.6°N of Moon
02 Tue 22:47 FQ
03 Wed 19:00 BAS meets at Thomson Art Gallery 7 pm (Women in Astronomy: Zoë Kessler)
04 Thu 05:49 Regulus 0.5°N of Moon, occultation (miss locally and below our horizon)
05 Fri 09:51 Mars 6.1°N of Aldebaran
05 Fri 22:00 Eta-Aquarid Meteor Shower (60 per hour, Moon 79%) -see SKY SIGHTS
07 Sun 17:24 Jupiter 2.1°S of Moon
10 Wed 17:43 FM
12 Fri 15:51 Moon at Apogee: 406 212 km
13 Sat 19:07 Saturn 3.1°S of Moon
17 Wed 19:00 Mercury at Greatest Elongation West: 25.8°W (morning sky)
18 Thu 20:33 LQ
22 Mon 08:32 Venus 2.4°N of Moon (thin crescent and bright Venus!) -see SKY SIGHTS
23 Tue 21:20 Mercury 1.6°N of Moon
25 Thu 15:44 NM
25 Thu 21:23 Moon at Perigee: 357 210 km
27 Sat BOEC/Ducks Unlimited Open House at Outdoor Ed Centre and Fox Observatory (1 pm to 4 pm, open for all). Followed by star-gazing after dark as this is a regular BAS dark moon viewing night.
27 Sat BAS Dark of Moon viewing night @ Fox Observatory (public welcome) Starts after dark about 9 pm.
29 Mon 21:50 Beehive 3.4°N of Moon
31 Wed 12:08 Regulus 0.3°N of Moon, occultation (daytime, below our horizon)

June 2017

01 Thu 08:42 FQ
03 Sat 07:00 Venus at Greatest Elongation: 45.9°W (morning sky)
03 Sat 19:57 Jupiter 2.3°S of Moon
06 Tue 23:19 Mercury 5.3°S of Pleiades
08 Thu 18:21 Moon at Apogee: 406 402 km
07 Wed 19:00 BAS meets at ES Fox Obs. 7 pm (August Eclipse Preview: John H.)
09 Fri 09:10 FM
09 Fri 21:25 Saturn 3.1°S of Moon
10/11 Sat/Sun Bruce 150 Open House Celebration at BOEC and Fox Observatory. Open 10 am to 4 pm for daytime solar viewing and tours of observatory followed by after dark viewing Saturday night only.
15 Thu 05:00 Saturn at Opposition (mag -0.1, disc is 18.4 arc-sec across, ring tilt 26°)
17 Sat 07:33 LQ
20 Tue 18:13 Venus 2.4°N of Moon
21 Wed 00:24 Summer Solstice. BAS celebrates at Keppel Henge at 11 am.
21 Wed 10:00 Mercury at Superior Conjunction (not visible)
22 Thu 10:23 Aldebaran 0.5°S of Moon (daytime occultation 9:40 am) -see SKY SIGHTS for more.
NEW:22-25 Thu-Sun K-W RASC is holding a Dark Sky Weekend June 22-25 at Camp Kintail. More details here: K-W Star Party Camp Kintail
23 Fri 06:49 Moon at Perigee: 357 938 km
23 Fri 22:31 NM
24 Sat BAS Dark of Moon viewing night @ Fox Observatory (public welcome)
26 Mon 07:18 Beehive 3.2°N of Moon
27 Tue 20:26 Regulus 0.1°N of Moon, occultation (miss locally)
30 Fri 20:51 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 :

Venus, Mercury re-appear at dawn in May, Mars still in West

Venus has switched over to the dawn sky presently and makes a nice pair with the last crescent Moon on May 22. Mercury also is low above the eastern horizon now and reaches Greatest Western Elongation May 17 although it is not high above the horizon at sunrise. Mars is hanging around in the west for a while yet and climbs eastward (generally up) while the sky rotates constellations westward (down). Mars will move through Taurus, past the Crab Nebula and into Gemini in June before it gets sucked up in the general twilight glow in the west. It is surprising that it is still visible at magnitude 1.6 and at a distance almost on the opposite side of the solar system from us.

The diagram below is from Starry Night c/o Simulation Curriculum and shows the path of Mars from April 30 to June 12. The Sun has been "turned off" in this view and the sky will not actually be black. Note that Mars is moving upwards and passes M1 around May 25 then through M35 on June 7 . It will be a tough view however, as Mars will be low in the sun's glare at that time.

Screen shot 2017-04-30 at 9.17.50 AM

Binocular(?) comet may still be visible

Comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak has faded to 7th magnitude (or less) but is still showing up as a greenish smudge on longer exposures (even 30 seconds will do it). It is moving quickly, on the average 2° a day! Chart below shows its path to May 30 or so and it should be dropping magnitude during the interval. A more detailed article from Universe Today is available here: Comet 41P . More is available as well on the VIS. COMETS page. Image below by John H. taken Apr 22, 2017 during the Messier Marathon. It crosses into the top of Hercules for a bit, then into Lyra and back again into Hercules at the end of the month. Canon 6D image, 400 mm lens at f/5.6, 84 s exposure at 8000 ISO piggyback on the Bishop 10" SCT.

Image by John H. Apr 22/2017, crop from 400 mm telephoto 84 s exp.

Click in chart to download a copy

Screen shot 2017-04-23 at 2.17.12 PM
chart c/o Simulation Curriculum (Starry Night Pro)


Jupiter Viewing Great After Dark All Month

Jupiter reaches opposition April 7 and rises in the eastern sky at sunset. It is now well up inthe sky and worth a look even in twilight. Viewing is good all May and into June. Diagram below shows the path of Jupiter as it retrogrades away from Spica until June 8 when 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. Saturn is starting to rise earlier too. Click on the image to download a copy. More in BAS WEBLOG.

Jupiter Apr1 - Sep 1 2017

From Our Astrophotographers:

Paul Zelichowski imaged the graze of Aldebaran Mar 4 and sent in this image taken with his 20-inch Hyperbolic Newtonian Astrograph u
sing an SBIG STL11000M camera w/H-alpha filter 0.1 second exposure. it duplicates nicely the visual view through binoculars. This image was taken after the actual graze was over and Aldebaran was clear of the lunar mountains which were in darkness to the left of Adebaran in this shot.


Frank Williams latest submission to the "BAS 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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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)