BAS RASC BOEC topbar3..Screen shot 2015-03-31 at 4.29.54 PM
FB icon.............Last site update May 27, 2015..........

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 a GOTO mount that we use regularly in our public viewing sessions.

Click for map to ES Fox Observatory or Grey Roots Musuem

BAS meets at FOX OBSERVATORY June 3, 2015 @7 pm with Stuart Heggie: Astrophotographer

Mercury now too close to Sun. Only Venus and Jupiter visible in west after sunset. See SKY SIGHTS

MAY 2015 StarGazerNews NOW HERE! Click NEWSLETTER tab for MAY 2015 issue.

Next BAS meeting June 3, 2015 @ 7pm at ES Fox Observatory. See COMING EVENTS.

See SKY SIGHTS for info about Venus/Jupiter close approach June 30.

Looking for a CANON lens? or a 16-inch Dobsonian??? See our STUFF FOR SALE.

Astronomy Right Now:
Venus Heading for Meeting with Jupiter.
Watch the action above the western horizon after dark!

Venus catches Jupiter May 20-June 20_edited-1
Graphics c/o Starry Night Education


Spring is Realm of Galaxies Time!
Frank Williams sent in this spectacular shot of M81, a galaxy in Ursa Major. Also in UMa, near the tail star, Alkaid, look for M51, the Whirlpool Galaxy. In Virgo and Coma Berenices, the Realm of Galaxies are in the best position (highest in the sky) this time of year as well. Go galaxy hunting, (at least until the clusters and nebulae of the MW are back)!


View Realm of Galaxies in Virgo
In case you are interested in viewing the Realm of Galaxies during the dark of the moon from May 12 to 24th or so, here is a nice image of the centre of the cluster by Terry Hancock (Downunder Observatory in Fremont, Michigan). Terry, an accomplished astrophotographer, had this image featured in the May issue of Astronomy magazine. Do check out his website for more of his awesome images.

If you click on the image below, it will download an annotated, enlarged version that will help you locate the majority of the visible cluster members. Happy hunting!



Say Goodbye to Orion.
Aaron Top sent in this image of the Orion area showing all the interesting nebula visible in the vicinity of this winter constellation. The image shows Barnard's Loop, the Horsehead dark nebula and the Rosette Nebula near the left edge. The colours of Betelgeuse and Rigel (red/blue) also are obvious in this image. Orion, unfortunately is fast sinking below the western horizon, so this image will have to keep you happy till next winter.

Image by Aaron Top f/4.5, 33 mm, 419 s. ISO 2000



Comet Lovejoy continues to be visible throughout April and May.

Check out the close pass to Polaris on May 28! Here is an article and detailed star chart: Lovejoy Polar(is) Plunge c/o Universe Today (

Lovejoy-to-Jun-3Graphics c/o Starry Night Education

C/2014 Q2 Lovejoy – now faded to magnitude 8.

This comet has finally relinquished the role of the brightest one in the sky. Comet Master (see below) is a magnitude brighter but unfortunately it will not appear in northern skies. The finder chart for Lovejoy is available here: (finder chart to June 3 HERE), or click on the diagram above. Current magnitude for Lovejoy is 8 and dropping. It is still visible with a tail but only in larger scopes (12-inch and up).

Screen shot 2015-05-12 at 9.48.09 AM

A good article from Sky & Telescope is here:
and here for a more recent article:


Our Next Great Comet is OVERDUE!

Tim Reyes writes for His most recent piece is an excellent article called
"When is Our Next Great Comet?" An interesting read!

OTHER COMETS to keep an eye on:

Comet PanSTARRS C/2014Q1 coming this summer for a brief showing maybe magnitude 2! It is finally on the list of brighter comets at magnitude 11 or so.

Comet Catalina C/2013/US10 in last part of 2015...another Christmas Comet...stay tuned.

Comet Master C/2015G2 is a new comet now at magnitude 8 and expected to brighten to 6 in May. Too bad it will not make an appearance in the northern sky until September and by then it will be too faint for all amateur telescopes. Comet 88/P Howell is also a southern hemisphere object.

Viewing Prospects for C. PanSTARRS and C. Master
Here is an article from Universe Today by David Dickinson that will guide you to views of these two comets later this year: PanSTARRS and Master

For up-to-date information on all the recently discovered comets, check this excellent website: . 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 May 9).

Screen shot 2015-05-08 at 6.16.14 PM



BAS regular meetings are the 1st Wed on the month except Jan and Feb 2015. Regular BAS meetings have started at the Grey Roots Museum and we are now in full swing after our winter break. Check our calendar for public viewing nights at the Fox and impromptu observing nights still occur so check with Brett T or John H if you would like to get on the alert list.

Next meeting will be June 3, 2015 at the ES Fox Observatory.
A summary of ALL REMAINING BAS events for 2015 is available here: 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 listed 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: or Aaron T., email: There is a fee for private tours.


Events list below is now updated to the end of JULY 2015.

NOTE: ALL observing events require clear skies. If it is overcast or raining, the observing event 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. A contact phone number is provided there if you are unsure about whether to attend due to weather.

See COMING EVENTS page for more details than provided below:

EVENTS May 2015 to July 2015

BAS meetings continue to Dec 2015 and so do impromptu observing sessions at the Fox Observatory on an individual or small group basis. To be put on the notification list email John H. or Brett T. at More details about the following events can be found in COMING EVENTS. Some of the more interesting sky events are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.

Re: Comet Lovejoy:
Comet Lovejoy continues to be visible this month and into May as it crosses Cassiopeia and heads up towards the Pole Star. It is now circumpolar and does not set below the horizon all night. The Moon is full in the first week of May but it brightens the sky less and less in the latter half of the month. Lovejoy has declined in brightness but is still visible on binoculars and medium to large telescopes. See Comet News above for more info and links to finder charts.

BAS meetings have resumed at the Grey Roots Museum at 7 pm. Regular BAS meetings happen the first Wednesday of the month from March to December. Please enter the meeting room at the west doors (nearest the pioneer village) because the main part of the building is not accessible to us.
Meetings usually consist of a short business meeting and include a speaker or presentation on an astronomy topic. See the meeting dates below for more details. Contact for more information.

Note that this year, since Canada Day falls on the first Wednesday of July, the BAS meeting will be the second Wednesday in July, i.e. July 8 and will occur at the ES Fox Observatory. The June, July, August and September BAS regular meetings will be at the Fox Observatory since our regular meeting room at GR is being used for a summer display. We are back at the Grey Roots Museum for the Oct 7 meeting.

[Note: Canada Day is July 1 and not June 1 (as previously listed) and the BAS meeting is on July 8 not June 8. Our sincere apologies for the error. ]

More Details for the events listed here can be found on the COMING EVENTS page. A full list of the remaining events for 2015 is provided here: 2015 Events Summary Note this list changes from time to time as dates are confirmed, etc.



May 3 Sun FM

May 6 Wed BAS regular Wed. meeting at Grey Roots Museum 7 pm. Topic: Beginner’s Forum: Try to stump our “expert” panel.

May 6 Wed η-Aquariids peak is 9 am DST Wednesday with a possible 60/h, in daylight so observe the night before or the night after. Moon is also near full and will brighten the skies.

May 11 Mon LQ

May 16 Sat BAS viewing@Fox Dark of the Moon member observing night, BAS members and guests.

May 17 Sun NM

May 22 Fri Saturn at opposition Big and bright!

May 23 Sat Star gazing with 1st OS Guides at WoL Youth Centre (617796 Grey Rd 18)

May 25 Mon FQ

May 30 Sat Huron Fringe Birding Festival star talk & star tour (weather permitting) Contact John H. ( or at 519-371-0670 if you can help out. Indoor star talk 8:30 pm -9:15 pm (rain or shine) and star gazing afterwards if weather permits. One or two additional telescopes and guides would be appreciated.



Jun 2 Tue FM

Jun 3 Wed BAS regular Wed. meeting (7 pm) at ES Fox Obs (note change from Grey Roots Museum). Stuart Heggie: Astrophotography

Jun 9 Tue LQ

Jun 12 Fri Summer Stargazing public viewing #1 at ES Fox Observatory. Short star talk 8:30 pm followed by viewing planets (Jupiter, Venus, Saturn) clusters and galaxies in the summer sky. See Coming Events for details on parking, etc.

Jun 13 Sat BEF Open House (1 pm - 4 pm) at BOEC followed by BAS viewing@Fox

Jun 13 Sat BAS viewing@Fox Dark of the Moon member observing night, BAS members and guests.

Jun 15 Mon Aldebaran Occultation morning twilight 6:08 to 6:20 am. Graze possible. Note: Sunrise is at 5:38 am so this is a daylight event.

Jun 16 Tue NM

Jun 21 Sun Keppel Henge Summer Solstice Celebration: Welcome the summer season at an awesome and robust solar observatory. Event runs from 11 am to 2 pm.

Jun 24 Wed FQ

Jun 27/28 Sat/Sun AstroCATS astronomy fair/show Ontario Science Centre

Jun 30 Venus and Jupiter conjunction. Less than a half a degree apart. Watch from June 29 to July 2 as the two close and separate. At minimum, you may not be able to separate the two with the naked eye.


(note the regular BAS Wed. meeting is July 8, not July 1 which is Canada Day)

Jul 1 Wed FM Venus and Jupiter conjunction. Less than a half a degree apart. Watch from June 29 to July 2.

Jul 8 Wed LQ BAS regular Wed. meeting at ES Fox Observatory (7 pm) Topic: KW Webinar on Eyepieces -a live interactive event.

Jul 10 Fri Summer Stargazing public viewing #2 at ES Fox Observatory. Short star talk 8:30 pm followed by viewing planets (Jupiter, Venus, Saturn) clusters and galaxies in the summer sky. See Coming Events for details on parking, etc.

Jul 11 Sat BAS viewing@Fox Dark of the Moon member observing night, BAS members and guests.

Jul 14 Tue New Horizons flies past Pluto (taking images and science data all the while!)

Jul 15 Wed NM

Jul 17-19 Fri-Sun BPNP Dark Sky Weekend (tentative dates) these to be confirmed soon

Jul 18 Sat Venus about 1° from Crescent Moon. Jupiter about 6° away. A very pretty grouping in the western sky.

Jul 23 Thu FQ

Jul 24 Fri Grey Roots Public viewing #1: Viewing the Moon, planets, clusters and galaxies in the summer sky. Event starts at dusk (9 pm) with Moon, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn

Jul 25 Sat Whispering Pines star talk 8:00 pm and viewing 9:00 pm. The Webster may well be present. Contact if you can help out with a telescope. We expect a big crowd.

Jul 29 δ-Aquariid meteors peak at 11 am DST Wed. possible 20/h in daylight so observe the night before or after. The Moon near Full (95%) so not the best circumstances for meteor watching.

Jul 31 Fri FM

More Details for the events listed above can be found on the COMING EVENTS page.


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 Display

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 here: NOAA home website.

Current Auroral Oval not available right now

Visit the Canadian Space Weather Prediction Centre here for predictions for your region:

Spaceweather Canada logo

Solar-Terrestrial Data (c/o Paul L. Herrman)

Click here for current visual sunspot image