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 July 6 and Sep 7 in 2016) (washrooms are available) (map)
Tom Thomson Art Gallery Meeting Room Lower Level STARTING MAY 4, 2016
and also June 1, Oct 5, Nov 2 and Dec 7. (July 6 and Sep 7 meetings are at Fox Observatory)
The physical address of the TTAG is 841 1st Ave W. Owen Sound. (map)
Observing Locations: (all locations are handicap accessible)
Our events happen mostly at the ES Fox Observatory (click for map) but there are other venues periodically. See the COMING EVENTS list for details.
Both 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 only.
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.
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: 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 in COMING EVENTS 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. 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 519-371-0670 to confirm the event.
This list was updated June 2 with events to the end of September 2016 .
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 June to Sep 2016:
BAS meetings will be held at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery (May 4, June 1, Oct 5, Nov 2, Dec 7) or at Fox Observatory (July 6 and Sep 7 only). Impromptu observing occurs at the Fox Observatory on a small group basis. To be put on the notification list for these email Brett T. at firstname.lastname@example.org or John H. at email@example.com. Some of the more interesting events are described graphically in SKY SIGHTS.
A summary of the entire 2016 year ASTRONOMY events can be found here: Astro Events 2016 There is a separate list of BAS events available here: BAS 2016 Events Summary [Note: several NEW items were added March 29]
Jun 1 Wed BAS Regular Meeting @Tom Thomson Art Gallery starts at 7 pm. Please enter by the main gallery doors and check in at the desk. Topic for tonight: Herb Coleman "SkyLab" -the first club observatory. Speaker: John H. The public is welcome to attend.
Jun 3 Fri Saturn at Opposition; Opposition occurs when planet Earth passes in between the Sun and Saturn so the Ringed Planet is in the sky at midnight and the Sun is on the other side of Earth. Saturn rises at sunset and sets in the west at dawn and in the sky all night. During opposition, Saturn is one of the brightest objects in the night sky at magnitude 0.0. Even in a small telescope the rings are visible and tilted about as much as they can be to our line of sight, about 26°. If you include the rings, Saturn is larger in a telescope than Jupiter with the same eyepiece.
Mercury is also very close to the last crescent Moon early this morning -separation is 1.5° at moonrise which is less than an hour before the Sun comes up so the sky will not be dark. Might make for a nice picture.
Jun 4 Sat Huron Fringe Birding Festival MacGregor Park (star talk & tour). This is our annual star talk and sky gazing for the Huron Fringe Birders. The talk happens rain or shine starting at 9:00 pm. This is followed by star viewing with BAS members and telescopes on the boardwalk. You must be registered with the Huron Fringe Birding Festival to participate. Contact: HRBF registration. Note BAS helpers with telescopes get in free for the evening viewing and members' assistance would be appreciated. Contact John H. at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jun 5 Sun Mercury Greatest Elongation West: 24.2°. This is not a great Mercury elongation since it tends to remain close to the eastern horizon and rises less than an hour before the Sun does. The sky will be in deep twilight when it is highest.
Jun 12 Sun FQ
Jun 20 Mon FM and Summer Solstice Keppel Henge Celebration starts 11 am. Our annual celebration of the start of summer at an iconic location that is designed specifically for that purpose. Solar telescopes will be available to view sunspots and prominences. Entrance fee by donation. The Sun will reach its highest point (68.5°) at 1:25 pm DST. Map to Kepplecroft Gardens here: MAP and the unique story of Keppelhenge here: Kepplehenge
Come prepared for the weather: sun hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, and be prepared for showers or thunderstorms as predictions are for 40% chance of showers by 1 pm.
Jun 27 Mon LQ
Jun 30 Thu Dark Sky Weekend at Bruce Pen National Park. Free camping at Groupsite 2 for BAS members who are willing to share telescope views on Friday night and/or Sat night. Some talks are scheduled (2 pm Sat.) and laser constellation tours are planned. To reserve a space, you must register with Brett T. (bretttaton@gmail,com)
More info below.
Jul 1 to 3 (Fri to Sun) Bruce Pen National Park Dark Sky Weekend Our annual Dark Sky Weekend at the Bruce Peninsula National Park. BAS has a group campsite where we get to relax during the day (or attend star talks) and star gaze at night, weather permitting. We generally set up in the parking lot at the Head of Trails for public viewing and laser-guided star shows. Members must register with Brett T. email@example.com or John H firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a campsite. Camping starts Thu night Jun 30 until Sunday afternoon July 3.
Jul 4 Mon NM
Jul 6 Wed Regular Meeting 7 pm at ES Fox Observatory This is a movie night (or Speaker TBA) and may involve shorter astronomy movie segments(original videos or from the internet) or perhaps a longer presentation from the Perimeter Institute, for ex. You never know what you will get. Public Welcome
Jul 8 Fri Grey Roots Public viewing in the main parking lot starts at twilight around 9 pm or so. Above the western horizon, there is a crescent Moon to view right beside Jupiter AND Saturn and Mars in the southern sky. BAS members usually have a variety of scopes for viewing. Public Welcome
Jul 9 Sat Fox Dark of Moon Viewing night (BAS members and guests). If weather prevents observing, our backup night is Sunday (or even Friday night if weather looks poor for Saturday). Contact Brett T. email@example.com or John H firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be put on the alert list. Please park near the Learning Centre and follow the lane way 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.
Jul 11 Mon FQ
Jul 16 Sat Venus and Mercury close approach in twilight in western sky. The pair all be visible all day separated by about a half degree east of the Sun. By sunset at 9:04 pm, Venus/Mercury are about 6° high and drop to less than 2° about 30 minutes later. A flat western horizon will be required.
Jul 19 Tue FM
Jul 22/23/24 Fri/Sat/Sun Whispering Pines Stargazing Weekend is becoming our "go-to" event for the year. Camping facilities are excellent and BAS members camp for free. More information will be available soon. One of the nights (Friday or Saturday weather permitting) is a public viewing night for campers. BAS members should contact Greg Rodgers at email@example.com asap to reserve a place.
Jul 26 Tue LQ
Jul 27 Wed 15:32 Delta Aquariid Meteor Shower: ZHR = 20. This is a rather sparse shower and peaks in the daytime.
Aug 2 Mon: NM
Aug 3 Wed: Starfest starts tomorrow and BAS exec will be busy getting ready so our regular meeting is cancelled.
Aug 4 - 7 Thu - Sun: STARFEST, the biggest and best amateur astronomy gathering happens this weekend and you can get a head start on the best camp spots by arriving Thu. Aug 4. BAS usually camps out at the top of the hill just past the checkpoint and just before the road curves towards the main site. Look for our sign. Starfest registration before July 1 is reduced by $10. See the Starfest website at http://www.nyaa.ca/
Aug 10 Wed: FQ
Aug 12 Fri: 07:26 Perseid Meteor Shower: Perseid Meteors are noticeable in our sky from July 17 through to Aug 24, so if you see a bright shooting star that seems to track from the head of Perseus, it was probably one of those, especially if it was fast. The peak night where 90 to 100 trails per hour are forecast is Aug 12 at about 9 am DST. Try viewing the night before or the night after, but note that the shower is over a month long and viewing around NM (Aug 2) will still be good. On peak night Aug 12, the FQ+2day-old Moon sets around 1:15 am so the sky is dark from then on.
Prepare for a cool/cold evening especially later in August when it can be very cool at night. The best way to observe is from your favourite lawn chair, a recliner preferably and wear a warmer jacket and head gear and perhaps lie under a damp-proof blanket or sheet.
Perseids are also famous for leaving persistent trains. Sometimes these will last for several seconds after the flash and once in a while they last for several minutes! If you have your binos handy, and can locate the trail, you can see them for a lot longer.
You can contribute to meteor science by keeping track of numbers of Perseids. Count how many are seen in a half hour, for ex. recording the start and stop time. More observers are better, and a circle of watchers can count the ones that a solo watcher would miss. Send your results in to John at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will pass them on to those organizations looking for the info.
Aug 13 Sat: BAS at Inverhuron Provincial Park -a public stargazing night. BAS members are asked to contact John H. if they can help out with telescopes. There is usually a big crowd if the weather cooperates and 4 or 5 telescopes are best so that there everyone can get a chance to see "Saturn, Mars and all of the stars!" (a gibbous Moon too).
Aug 18 Thu: FM
Aug 21 Mon: One Year Countdown starts to Solar Eclipse Monday, Aug 21, 2017. Check out the information under the 2017 SOL. ECLIPSE tab at the top of the HOME page.
Aug 24 Wed: Mars 1.8° N of Antares; Saturn 4.3° N of Mars, Moon at LQ. This is the alignment of Saturn, Mars and Antares mentioned in SKY SIGHTS. Click the link to go there for all the details.
Aug 26 Fri: Grey Roots Public viewing (starts at dark). This public viewing night is weather dependant of course. If it is clear, we set up telescopes in the main parking lot at twilight around 9 pm or so. Above the western horizon, Venus and Jupiter are very close but in twilight. One day later they basically merge into a single point of light. Saturn and Mars in the southern sky are the feature planets and so are many of the nebula and clusters of the summer MW. BAS members usually have a variety of scopes for viewing. Public Welcome.
Aug 27 Sat: 16:53 Venus Jupiter separation 0.1° !!! See SKY SIGHTS for details of this very close approach of Venus and Jupiter. [In my 46 years of observing, they have never been this close! -ed]
Sep 1 Thu: NM: Annular Solar Eclipse (mid-Africa, Madagascar and into Indian Ocean). This is a less-than-perfect ring-type eclipse where the corona and prominences will not be visible (unless you are watching with an H-alpha telescope). No part of this, even partial phases are visible from Canada because it happens during dark hours in N. America.
Sep 2 Fri: Neptune at Opposition (magnitude 7.8) . At this time, the gas giant is closest to Earth and is visible all night long from sunset to sunrise. Located in Aquarius, Neptune requires a telescope to be seen.
Sep 3 Sat: Fox Dark of Moon viewing (BAS members and guests). If weather prevents observing, our backup night is Sunday (or even Friday night if weather looks poor for Saturday). Contact Brett T. email@example.com or John H firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to be put on the alert list. Please park near the Learning Centre and follow the lane way 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.
Sep 7 Wed: Regular Meeting at Fox Observatory at 7 pm: Beginner’s Astrophotography with the Mallincam: Brett T. assisted by John H. We hope to have a live Mallincam viewing session during the second half of the meeting this night. The crescent moon will be on the viewing agenda as well as Saturn and Mars as well as the Messier objects in Sagittarius and Scorpius and other MW constellations.
Sep 9 Fri: FQ
Sep 16 Fri: FM Penumbral Lunar Eclipse. Again not visible from N. America since it occurs over the eastern hemisphere. In any case only a very small part of the moon is eclipsed by the penumbra which is the almost invisible outer edge of the Earth's shadow. Don't make any travel plans as the view will not be worth it.
Sep 17 Sat: HAPPY 5th ANNIVERSARY to ES Fox Observatory! Stay tuned for more news about a possible celebration of this anniversary.
Sep 22 Thu: Autumnal Equinox 09:21. At this point the Sun has crossed the celestial equator and starts its trek to the southern extreme of its path in our sky. Summer is officially over and Fall has begun. Enjoy the colours and bug-free observing nights!
Sep 23 Fri: LQ
Sep 30 Fri: NM