General Info: PLEASE READ
Note: Observing is weather dependant -see Weather Information note at right.
BAS Meeting Locations: (not weather dependant)
Meetings happen at
ES Fox Observatory (June, July, Aug and September only in 2015) (washrooms are available) (map)
Grey Roots Museum (map) Meeting Room Side Entrance (March, April, May, October, November, December only) (washrooms are available)
Observing Locations: (all locations are handicap accessible)
Our events usually happen at either the ES Fox Observatory (click for map)
or the Grey Roots Museum (click for map) parking lot.
Both observing locations are “remote locations” meaning there are NO on-site washroom facilities.
BAS Observing Events (dates listed below) will 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.
To help with your observing plans with regard to moonlight, check the dates for moon phases given in the listing. Best observing occurs during NM and LQ. FQ and FM are times when the Moon brightens the sky so fainter objects are not as easily seen. Planets are usually visible even during FM nights.
Note: Some events are for BAS members and guests only, others are “public welcome events” and usually are admission by donation. School-aged children are always free and welcome to attend with parents or guardians. Refer to each listing for details. If you are coming from a distance we will try to accommodate you. Contact us by phone (519-371-0670) 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. BAS monthly meetings are not weather dependant.
If skies are partly cloudy, check the Clear Sky Clock (bottom of HOME page) or call 519-371-0670 to confirm the event.
This list was updated Feb 2 with events for March and April 2015 added.
Note: BAS meetings are NOT held in January and February but impromptu observing sessions continue at the Fox Observatory (at BOEC) . Contact Brett T. at email@example.com or John H. at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Astronomical/BAS events from January 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 Brett T. at email@example.com. More details about the following events can be found below. Some of the more interesting events are also described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.
January: Note: Comet Lovejoy may be visible all month but is better after the Moon is waning in the second week of January. Look above the southern horizon after it gets dark and before LQ moon rise in the second week of January. Lovejoy starts to decline in brightness thereafter but may still be naked eye for a few weeks. FQ Moon at the end of January brightens the sky somewhat. See Comet News above for more info and links to finder charts.
Jan 3 Sat Quandrantid Meteors. Actually the peak is around 9 pm EST Saturday Jan 3 with 120/h but the Moon is Full and will brighten the skies the entire time. There is a short "observing window" after dark and before the Moon rises but the shower radiant is better placed for observers in the eastern hemisphere than North America. More information can be found at this Earth-Sky.org website: Quadrantid observing.
Jan 4 Sun FM
Jan 10 Jan 10 Sat Mercury-Venus will be very close to each other, only 38 minutes of arc apart in SW sky. Look above the western horizon after sunset, you can't miss them since they are very bright. Both should fit into a low power telescope eyepiece and even in binos, you may be able to see each planet's phase! Both Venus and Mercury will be gibbous and not round. They are close to each other for a few days before and after as well, so you have a week to catch the sight.
Jan 13 Tue LQ
Jan 14 Wed Mercury at Greatest Elong: 18.9°E, farthest from Sun and easiest to observe. Look for Venus about 1° away. See more about Mercury observing in the January issue of StarGazerNews pg. 3 which covers all the good viewing opportunities for Mercury in 2015.
Jan 15 Thu New Horizons spacecraft starts Pluto imaging in earnest today. More information at this website: NASA New Horizons
Jan 20 Tue NM
Jan 21 Wed Moon, Mercury, Venus triangle in West. The three objects form a triangle with 6° sides. Note: Mars and Neptune are also nearby. Mars 15° east of Venus, Neptune a bit closer at 12°. See SKY SIGHTS for details of this event. Mercury is heading back towards the setting Sun and will be leaving the western sky by the end of the month.
Jan 23 Fri Double and Triple Shadow Transits on Jupiter: This is the Jupiter event we have been waiting for! The night starts with a double shadow passage across Jupiter which then turns into a triple. Callisto's shadow appears first at 22:09 pm EST Jan 23, then at 23:34 EST, Io's shadow starts to transit. At 23:50, Io's shadow merges into Callisto's larger shadow and then a half hour later, (1:20 am) Io itself crosses into the Callisto's shadow. You may be able to see a difference in the colour of the shadow since Io's surface is more reddish that the dark shadow will be. Finally Europa's shadow starts to cross the disk of Jupiter and from 01:27 to 01:52 Jan 24 morning three shadows should be visible. BAS viewing @Fox will happen for sure Fri night/Sat morning if weather permits.Triple shadow transits are rare so make the effort to observe!
Jan 26 Mon FQ
Feb 3 Tue FM
Feb 6 Jupiter at opposition and visible all night long. At opposition, planets are closest to us and largest and brightest. Jupiter’s magnitude is -2.6 but good planet viewing lasts for several weeks, even a month before and after this date. Near opposition, however, planets rise at sunset and set at sunrise, so they are visible for the longest interval of the current viewing season. Be sure to go out and have a look at the King of Planets and its moons.
Feb 11 Wed LQ Note: Comet Lovejoy may still be a binocular object at magnitude 6 at this time, so take advantage of the dark skies to catch a glimpse of this visitor. Lovejoy is now located in the upper part of Andromeda heading toward Cassiopeia. See Comet News on the HOME page for more info and links to finder charts.
Feb 18 Wed NM
Feb 20 Fri Venus, Mars and Crescent Moon. This particularly nice grouping of planets in the western sky is described in detail in SKY SIGHTS. Venus near the crescent Moon is always a pretty sight and Mars adds its ruddy glow to the grouping. The spacing gradually changes during the hour or so these objects are above the horizon but at 7:20 when the Moon is 10° above the horizon and it is pretty dark, Venus and Mars are only 1.5° from the crescent and about half that distance from each other. All three should fit in a 2° circle. So a low power telescope view should show all three. They will be nice in binoculars as well. Another planet, Uranus (mag. 5.9) sits 15° above the group as well.
Feb 21 Sat Uranus (5.9) occulted by Moon. If you arrive early at the Fox Observatory on Saturday, you can observe an occultation of Uranus by the crescent Moon. Disappearance is at 5:49 pm EST, reappearance at 6:42 pm EST. The second event occurs in darker skies and may be easier to see. This is a regular ES Fox viewing night for members and guests, weather permitting.
Feb 25 Wed FQ
Mar 4 Wed: BAS meeting 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 the start of the email voting period for paid up members. Final date for voting is Mar 31.
Mar 4 Wed: Venus and Uranus under 18 min of arc apart in W. sky once it is dark. This is about the field of view of a medium power eyepiece and should be an interesting sight even in a small telescope. It is dark by 8 pm EST and Uranus should be easy to pick out by then. Venus is very bright at magnitude -4.0 the brightest object except for the Moon and Sun. Uranus is 5.9 magnitude and will show up in binoculars easily as well as in the telescope near Venus. Venus actually approaches to about 5 minutes of arc but during daylight hours (about 2 pm) and Uranus probably will not be visible then. An interesting sight -a pale blue dot near a bright white beacon! Don’t forget to gaze at Mars which is about 5° S. of the pair.
Mar 5 Thu: FM
Mar 6 Fri: Dawn spacecraft goes into orbit around Ceres today if all goes as planned. Dawn has been relaying images with better and better resolution as it approaches.We will learn lots more about this dwarf planet as time goes on.
Mar 13 Fri: LQ
Mar 20 Fri: 2015 Total Solar Eclipse. Only small portion visible in NFLD at sunrise. Rest of N.America is in darkness at the time. The only landfall for the path of totality is the Faroe Islands (just barely) and space there will be at a premium (as will be hotel rooms) but you can bet that die-hard eclipse chasers will be there. Cruises are also booked for it I am sure. Totality lasts for 2min 47 seconds at the point of greatest eclipse which is NE of the Faroe Islands over water.
Mar 21 Sat: Messier Marathon (prime night) viewing at Fox Observatory, weather permitting, notification by email to club members and those on our contact list. You can get on the list by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. This normally is a dusk ‘til dawn event to catch all the Messier objects, but stay as long as you wish. Do come prepared (warm clothing, refreshments, etc.) a kettle, coffee maker (bring Keurig K-cups of your choice) and microwave are available at the observatory. If weather prevents observing, our backup night is Apr 18. Please park near the Learning Centre and follow the laneway between the barn and Centre to the ES Fox building. No vehicles are allowed at the observatory while we are hosting star parties. Bring a red flashlight if you have one. See also below!
Mar 21 Sat: Mars 1.5° from Crescent Moon in western evening sky. Tonight Mar 21, the 2 day old Moon appears near Mars only separated by 1° 23 min at 8:23 pm DST. The Moon drifts eastward fast enough that an hour makes a difference in relative position. Then on Mar 22, the 3 day old Crescent Moon and Venus are near each other in the evening western sky. Minimum separation is 3° 10 min at about 6 pm EST but will increase to almost 4° when the two set about 10:40 pm DST. See SKY SIGHTS for additional details.
Mar 22 Sun: Venus 3° from Crescent Moon in western evening sky. See above.
Mar 24 Tue: Moon passes through Hyades Cluster in evening sky. The Moon moves right into the centre of the Hyades cluster -watch between dark and moonset which occurs at 1 am DST Mar 25. Remarkably, only a few 6th magnitude stars are occulted by the dark limb of the Moon and the only 5th magnitude star is occulted just after moonset for Bruce-Grey. Later the next morning Mar 25, there is an occultation of Aldebaran, but it is not visible anywhere in North America except the extreme NW of Canada and Alaska. However, there are three other Aldebaran occultations that will be visible this year (Sep 5, Oct 2, Nov 26) locally. Stay tuned.
Mar 27 Fri: FQ
Mar 28 Sat: Earth Hour from 8:30 to 9:30 pm DST. 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 meeting at Grey Roots Museum, 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 Sat: FM Total Lunar Eclipse The first of two lunar eclipses in 2015 is not the best one. (Mark your calendar for Sep 27). This one is an early morning eclipse and we will not even see the start of totality in Bruce-Grey. You need to be west of Manitoba to get the full view of totality. Locally first umbral contact occurs at 6:15 DST Saturday morning and the Moon sets before start of totality at 7:02 am DST. This is very similar to the Oct 23 lunar eclipse that was observed by a die-hard BAS crew from Sauble Beach -only less of totality is visible, this time.
Apr 11 Sat Venus closest to M45 Pleiades tonight. Separation is less than 3° and the two are visible from dark to about 11 pm DST when they set in the west. A nice pairing and an ideal photo opportunity.
Apr 12 Sun: LQ
Apr 18 Sat: NM BAS viewing Night at the Fox Observatory: This is also our Messier Marathon backup viewing night. Notification will be sent out by email to club members and those on our contact list if this is a go. Send an email to email@example.com to get on the contact list. Messier Marathons are normally dusk ‘til dawn events to catch all the Messier objects, but stay as long as you wish and observe whatever you wish. Do come prepared (warm clothing, refreshments, etc.) a kettle, coffee maker (bring Keurig K-cups of your choice) and microwave are available at the observatory. Please park near the Learning Centre and follow the laneway between the barn and Centre to the ES Fox building. No vehicles are allowed at the observatory while we are hosting star parties. Bring a red flashlight if you have one.
Apr 19-22 Venus, crescent Moon, Mercury and Mars on display in western evening sky. See SKY SIGHTS for additional details including a chart. The display starts off with a very thin 1.4 day-old crescent on Apr 19 near Mars and Mercury low above the western horizon. At 9 pm DST, Mars and the Moon are 4° above the horizon and Mercury is less than 2°. This will be a tough observation so find a flat western horizon and pray for clear skies. Over the next few days the crescent Moon increases in phase and altitude as it heads eastward along the ecliptic towards Taurus where Venus is located. All 4 objects are moving, of course, but the slowest is Mars. Mercury is heading for an eastern elongation in early May and makes a quick pass of Mars (1° 17 min separation) on Apr 22. The crescent Moon actually occults Aldebaran, but it is a daytime event for parts of Canada to the north of Bruce-Grey like Thunder Bay for example.
Apr 22 Wed: Lyrid meteors peak at 7 pm DST Wednesday with a possible 20/h, The Moon is favourable being in crescent phase only 20% illuminated so this is a plus. But, this is a mid-week event and the Fox Observatory is not available for viewing. Find a dark site with a view to the NE as Lyra rises about 9 pm DST. Look generally in that direction and the meteors will appear to stream from about 7° west of the bright star Vega. Moonset is just before 1 am DST. Reports can be sent to the International Meteor Organization at www.IMO.net .
Apr 25 Sat: FQ Moon and Astronomy Day This event brings Astronomy Week to a close and BAS celebrates with a public observing night at the Fox Observatory. This is a free public viewing observing event starting at dark. On the agenda is Moon viewing and viewing of Saturn at opposition. Saturn rises in the East at sunset and sets in West at sunrise and reaches its brightest at magnitude = 0 on this date. However, Saturn is well-placed before and after opposition, so you don’t need to wait for opposition to get good views. Public welcome. Admission by donation. No charge for school-aged children.
Viewing at Fox Observatory is weather permitting, of course. Please park near the Learning Centre and follow the laneway between the barn and Centre to the ES Fox building. No vehicles are allowed at the observatory while we are hosting star parties. Bring a red flashlight if you have one. Dress appropriately, it gets very cool at night, and bring refreshments although we will have hot chocolate in the warm up room and a microwave is available.