General Info: PLEASE READ
Note: Observing is weather dependant -see Weather Information note at right.
BAS Meeting Locations: (not weather dependant)
Meetings happen at 7 pm at
ES Fox Observatory (ONLY on specific dates TBA in 2017) (washrooms are available) (map)
Tom Thomson Art Gallery Meeting Room Lower Level STARTING MAR 1, 2017 (and first Wed of the Month afterward)
The physical address of the TTAG is 841 1st Ave W. Owen Sound. (map)
Observing Locations: (all locations are handicap accessible)
Observing happens mostly at the ES Fox Observatory (click for map) but there are other venues periodically. See the list below for location details.
Most observing locations are “remote locations” meaning there are NO permanent on-site washroom facilities. A portable washroom is located near the Fox Observatory for the summer months only.
BAS Observing Events (dates listed below) occur at the ES Fox Observatory (3092 Bruce Rd 13) at the Bluewater Outdoor Ed Centre. Viewing at the observatory is WEATHER DEPENDENT. See notes below for more about weather.
Best observing occurs during NM and LQ. When the Moon brightens the sky at FQ and FM fainter objects are not as easily seen. The Moon, planets, and star clusters are usually visible even during FM nights using our GOTO telescope.
Note: Most observing events at the Fox Observatory are open to the public (we gratefully accept donations to support our activities if you are inclined to do so). School-aged children are always free and welcome to attend with parents or guardians. Refer to each listing below for details. If you are coming from a distance we will try to accommodate you. Contact us by phone (519-379-7709) or email email@example.com ahead of time.
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, there may not be any BAS members there. Only BAS monthly meetings occur rain or shine.
If skies are partly cloudy, check the ES Fox Observatory Clear Sky Clock for weather prospects or call 519-379-7709 to confirm the event.
This list was updated Dec 18 and includes events to the end of February 2017.
Note: BAS meetings are NOT held in January and February but impromptu observing sessions continue on weekends at the Fox Observatory. Contact Brett T. at firstname.lastname@example.org or John H. at email@example.com to be put on the alert list for these.
Stargazing at the Fox Observatory is only possible weather permitting. When visiting the observatory, park in the lot near the Learning Centre and walk to the observatory please. Washrooms at the Learning Centre will be available for all ES Fox events and a portable washroom is on site for the summer.
Astronomical and BAS viewing events January and February 2017:
The last BAS meeting of 2016 was held at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery Dec 7. We continue meetings on March 1, 2017 after our winter break. Impromptu observing continues at the Fox Observatory on a small group basis. To be put on the notification list email Brett T. at firstname.lastname@example.org or John H. at email@example.com. Interesting sky events are described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.
A summary of the entire 2016 year ASTRONOMY events can be found here: Astro Events 2016. The list of Astronomy Events for 2017 is available here: ASTRONOMY EVENTS 2017. There is a separate list of BAS events available here: BAS 2016 Events Summary. A new list for 2017 is coming soon.
Jan 01 Sun Mars is VERY close to Neptune tonight until the pair set around 10 pm. The separations are 12 min 42 seconds at dark (7 pm) which decreases to a very tiny 1 min 10 s at minimum which occurs around 3 am but unfortunately that is below our horizon! The pair will set by 9:50 pm EST locally with the separation still 7.5 minutes or so. Mars magnitude is 0.88 and it is a tiny 5.7 arc-sec across and Neptune is much fainter at magnitude 7.93 and even tinier at 2.2 arc-sec. A telescope will be required to see this event although binoculars are also an option.
Jan 02/3 Mon/Tue Crescent Moon slips past Venus, Neptune and Mars. From Jan 1 to Jan 3, the crescent Moon slips past first Venus, then Neptune and finally Mars. On Jan 2, the Moon is between Venus and Mars. Closest approaches occur after the group has set and even an occultation of Mars occurs which is not visible from N. America, unfortunately. See the listings on the HOME page for times and separations. See SKY SIGHTS for more, including a graphic.
Jan 03 Tue The Quadrantid Meteor Shower peaks at 09:00 EST with a possible 120 meteors per hour. The moon is a waxing crescent 27% illuminated. This is not a shower that is regularly watched because of cold and generally cloudy weather in the local area. If interested here is more information on it: IMO Meteor Calendar 2017
Jan 05 Thu 14:47 FQ
Jan 09 Mon 09:07 Aldebaran 0.4°S of Moon (occ’n not visible in N. America)
Jan 12 Thu 06:34 FM
Jan 12 Thu 08:00 Venus at Greatest Elongation. E. 47.1°E. After this point, Venus starts to decrease its distance to the Sun as it continues on the inside track of its orbit. By the end of March it swings in front of the Sun (missing it by 10° -no transit!) and is a large thin crescent with only its “backside” visible from Earth. After then Venus becomes a Morning Star.
Jan 12 Thu Venus 0.4° N of Neptune. At 4 pm or so, the minimum separation occurs (21 min 36 sec) but by the time it is good and dark (7 pm), Venus and Neptune are 22 minutes apart and separating. By the time the pair sets at the western horizon, separation is 25 minutes. See SKY SIGHTS for more, including a graphic.
Jan 14 Sat Venus 50% sunlit. Venus at this point in its orbit is referred to as being at dichotomy (lunar counterpart is FQ) and is exactly 50% illuminated. Observations in the 18th century by Johann Shrӧter, a German astronomer revealed an unexpectedly concavity in the cusps of Venus when it should have been exactly a semi-circle. This is now known to be due to its atmosphere and is called Shrӧter’s Effect. More here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Hieronymus_Schröter
Jan 14 Sat Regulus 0.9°N of Moon. This year is one which sees the Moon come close to Regulus and even occult it several times. Only one of these is visible from our area on Oct 15. A nice change from all the Aldebaran occultations (most of which we cannot see as well...)
Jan 17 Tue Vesta at opposition mag 6.1 If you are into asteroid viewing, one of the brightest is now in Cancer (6° from Pollux). Vesta is bright enough to be seen in binoculars.
Jan 19 Thu Mercury at Greatest Elongation: 24.1°W . Mercury is a morning star and is at its farthest from the Sun this morning. Henceforth it starts back towards the Sun and is closest to it in March.
Jan 19 Thu 17:14 LQ
Jan 27 Fri 07:47 Thin last crescent Moon. This 11-hour old crescent Moon is an early morning view as it rises above the eastern horizon but this is a very difficult if not impossible observation. It is a challenge both because it is very thin and the elevation is a mere 3.3°. Only perfect conditions would allow you to see it. Good luck.
Jan 27 Fri 19:07 NM
Jan 28 Sat 17:27 Thin first crescent Moon. This crescent is a bit easier to see being 21.8 hours old and at higher elevation, 8.3° at this time. Look west over the water.This will come close to tying the BAS thin crescent record.
Jan 31 Tue Crescent Moon near Venus and Mars. A pretty triangle of Moon and two planets is on view above the western horizon after sunset. The Moon is a 4-day old crescent and about 3 degrees from Mars and 5 degrees from Venus. Lower down is Neptune, about 20° from the Moon. At higher power in a telescope, Venus is a noticeable crescent about 30 seconds of arc across. Maximum for Venus is 66 arc-seconds in March but by then, it is a very thin crescent, closer to the Sun and more difficult to spot. See SKY SIGHTS for more, including a graphic.
Feb 03 Fri 23:19 FQ
Feb 10 Fri 19:33 FM
Feb 10 Fri 19:43 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. This penumbral eclipse is very close to having the umbral shadow of Earth touch the Moon’s disk. Officially the magnitude is 0.988 and some umbral darkening should be visible. It has been noted that on other lunar eclipse occasions, the umbral shadow does become visible as a darkening before the official contact time. Photographs should show this easily. Time for the maximum effect according the RASC Observer’s Handbook is 7:43 pm Feb 10. See SKY SIGHTS for more, including a graphic.
Feb 11 Sat 14:44 Comet 45P/Honda-Mrkos-Pajdušáková This periodic comet has returned after 5 years to break the comet drought! It may be visible briefly in late December above the SW horizon around magnitude 8 or so and then it rounds the Sun to appear as a morning comet in January and February. On Feb 11, 2017, it is closest to Earth and should be brightest perhaps up to magnitude 7, well within binocular range. Details are on the HOME page as well as in VIS.COMETS.
Feb 17 Fri 02:00 Venus greatest illuminated extent. Venus is its brightest tonight at -4.63 magnitude. The phase is shrinking but the apparent size of Venus is growing (40 arc-sec) and the two balance out to give a maximum brightness.
See SKY SIGHTS for more, including a graphic.
Feb 18 Sat 14:33 LQ
Feb 25 Sat 06:48 Thin last crescent Moon (28.5 hours old, elevation 1.3°) Not a record by any stretch but still a nice view of a thin crescent with Earthshine on the dark side.
Feb 26 Sun 09:53 Annular Solar Eclipse; mag=0.992 None of this eclipse is visible in N. America, it is a S. hemisphere event.
Feb 26 Sun 09:58 NM
Feb 26 Sun 19:10 Mars 0.6° N of Uranus. Mars and Uranus make a close pass this evening but the separation is somewhat larger than those that have happened up to now. The minimum separation is 34 min 7 sec. at 7:10 pm.
Feb 27 Mon 18:39 Thin first crescent Moon (34 hours old, elevation 8.0°) Not a record by any stretch but still a nice view of a thin crescent with Earthshine on the dark side.
Note: Next leap year is 2020.
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: www.amazingsky.com (look at the bottom of the "about Alan" page).