UNESCO has declared 2015 INTERNATIONAL YEAR of LIGHT
See the events planned in Canada at:
Last site update: Mar 5, 2015: Comet Lovejoy still visible in binoculars!
Next viewing at Fox Obs. Saturday March 21 Messier Marathon (weather permitting).
BAS meets Mar 4, 2015 at Grey Roots Museum. See COMING EVENTS.
PLANET CHARTS now updated for 2015 in MAPS/CHARTS
SKY SIGHTS now includes March and April events.
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 dates to have some heavenly views at one of the last truly dark sky locations in Ontario.
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 GOTO mount that we use regularly in our public viewing sessions.
Frank W. sends this lovely image of Comet Lovejoy.
He writes: "30 x 30 second iso 1600 and 15 x 60 second iso 1600 canon t2i (modified) through Televue 85mm apo. 30 flats (no darks, the camera sensor was at 0C) Unguided (so cold the guider camera cable and laptop power supply cables snapped (-20C). I was happy I was able to chisel out the dome, and that the other electronics motors, and heaters worked. Processed in Pixinsight (very slick comet stacking tool)"
C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy – Magnitude 4 reached -currently about mag. 6.
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. 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).
Comet Lovejoy Q2 (finder chart HERE), is still visible in binoculars although smaller than it was a few weeks ago. Some observers report seeing it in bright city skies (with binos, of course). It is still a nice sight in telescopes as small as 3-inches (7.5 cm). In March the Moon is less bright during the latter part of the month and the comet spends all of March and April in Cassiopeia.
Comet Lovejoy surpassed expectations reaching 4th magnitude around the 12 of January and providing lots of opportunities (as the clouds parted periodically) for good viewing! Comet Lovejoy passed the Pleiades on Jan 18 and will slip past the Owl Cluster (also known as the ET Cluster) in Cassiopeia on March 9.
A 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 fades to magnitude 11
This comet had an outburst where it brightened to 8.7 magnitude last Dec, faded back to 10th magnitude shortly thereafter. Then, around Jan 16, it brightened again to magnitude 8 or so and was caught in the act by Australian amateur Michael Mattiazzo. It continued to brighten to magnitude 7 and has now faded back to magnitude 11. Comets ARE unpredictable!
The finder charts here 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 PanSTARRS C/2014Q1 coming this summer for a brief showing maybe to magnitude 2!
Comet Catalina C/2013/US10 in last part of 2015...another Christmas Comet...stay tuned.
Comet PanSTARRS C/2012K1 has now dropped to only magnitude 12 and is a very faint target only for large telescopes. 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 Feb 26).
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 John H 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 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 H. email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Aaron T., email: email@example.com There is a fee for private tours.
Events list below is now updated to the end of April 2015.
See COMING EVENTS page for more details than provided below:
EVENTS February 2015 to April 2015
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 John H. firstname.lastname@example.org or Brett T. at email@example.com. 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.
Re: Comet Lovejoy:
Comet Lovejoy continues to be visible this month and into March as it crosses Cassiopeia. It is now circumpolar and does not set below the horizon all night. The Moon is full in the first week of March but it brightens the sky less and less as March goes on. Lovejoy has declined in brightness but is still visible on binoculars and small telescopes. See Comet News above for more info and links to finder charts.
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
BAS meetings resume on Mar 4, 2015 at the Grey Roots Museum at 7 pm. Regular BAS meetings happen the first Wednesday of the month starting from March and running to December. Please use the west doors (nearest the village) as the main part of the building is not accessible to us. Meetings usually consist of a short business meeting followed by a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic. See the meeting dates below for more details. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Note that this year, since Canada Day falls on the first Wednesday of June, the BAS meeting will be the second Wednesday, June 8 and will occur at the ES Fox Observatory.
Mar 4 Wed BAS meets at Grey Roots Museum, Topic: Jupiter King of Planets. New members and visitors welcome. Short Business meeting precedes. Please enter the Multipurpose Room from the side (West) entrance. Public welcome (no charge).
Dues for 2015 due today. This is also the last day for nominations to be submitted for executive positions. See SGN for Feb 2015, pg 2 for details. Today is also the start of 30 day email voting period for paid up members.
Mar 4 Wed Venus and Uranus under 18 min of arc apart in W. sky after sunset. Mars 5°
south of the pair.
Mar 5 Thu FM
Mar 6 Fri FM+1 Dawn spacecraft goes into orbit around Ceres today.
Mar 8 Sun Daylight Saving Time starts
Mar 13 Fri LQ
Mar 20 Fri NM Total Solar Eclipse. Only small portion visible in NFLD at sunrise. Rest of N.America is in darkness at the time.
Mar 21 Sat Messier Marathon (prime night) viewing at Fox Obs. Come dressed for a cold night, bring refreshments. Hot chocolate and coffee will be provided. Backup night is Apr 18.
Mar 21 Sat Mars 1.5° from Cres. Moon in W. evening sky. Tonight and tomorrow, Mar 22 see Mars, the Moon and Venus near each other in the western sky. The 2-day old Moon is beside Mars tonight and the 3-day old crescent is beside Venus tomorrow, Mar 22.
Mar 22 Sun Venus 3° from Cres. Moon in W. evening sky. See above.
Mar 24 Tue Moon (5 day old crescent) passes into Hyades Cluster in evening sky.
Visible until 1 am DST Mar 25 in W.
Mar 27 Fri FQ
Mar 28 Sat Earth Hour 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Give the planet a rest tonight (for an hour at least) and turn off the lights and other power devices. Check www.earthhour.org/ (before Mar 28) to see how you can help the planet and watch the results worldwide.
Apr 1 Wed BAS meets at Grey Roots Museum, Topic: Astronomy Trivia Night: Teams (of 3 or 4) rack up points for correctly answering astronomy questions of various difficulties. Prizes awarded. A fun social night for beginners and experts alike. This will be a good way to bone up on your astronomical knowledge as well as having some fun. New members and visitors welcome. Short Business meeting precedes. Please enter the Multipurpose Room from the side (West) entrance. Public welcome (no charge)
New BAS executive will be announced today.
Apr 4 FM Total Lunar Eclipse The Bruce-Grey area is not ideal for this lunar eclipse since we see only the first part and 47 minutes later the Moon sets in the west. The umbral shadow appears at 6:15 DST Saturday morning, and the Moon sets locally at 7:02 am DST before start of totality. West of Manitoba is the place to be to see it all.
Apr 11 Sat Venus nearest to Pleiades M45 tonight. Separation under 3°. Good photo opportunity!
Apr 12 Sun LQ
Apr 18 Sat NM BAS viewing at ES Fox Observatory. Backup night for Messier Marathon. See Mar 21 for details. This is the regular BAS Members/guests viewing night at NM.
Apr 19-22 Venus, crescent Moon, Mercury and Mars in western evening sky. 1.4 day-old crescent Moon on Apr 19 near Mars and Mercury low above the western horizon. Crescent Moon increases in phase and altitude, heads along the ecliptic towards Venus on Apr 22. Crescent Moon occults Aldebaran on Apr 21 in daytime for parts of Canada to the north of Bruce-Grey.
Apr 22 Wed NM+4 Lyrid meteors peak is 7 pm DST Wednesday with a possible 20/h, The Moon is favourable being in crescent phase only 20% illuminated. This is a mid-week event and the Fox Observatory is not available for viewing. Any dark site with a view to the NE is suitable as Lyra rises about 9 pm DST in that direction.
Apr 25 Sat FQ Moon and Astronomy Day -public viewing at Fox Observatory. Join BAS members for some viewing and astronomy talk as the final event of Astronomy Week. Craters on the Moon, the four moons of Jupiter and Venus will be viewed along with deep sky wonders like clusters and galaxies. Admission by donation. No charge for school-aged children.
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.
Visit the Canadian Space Weather Prediction Centre here for predictions for your region: