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 2014) (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 notation like (NM+3) beside various dates. This gives the approximate moon phase. NM+3, for ex. means the moon is 3 days after New, or LQ-2 means 2 days before Last Quarter.
Note: Some events are for BAS members and guests only, others are “public welcome events” and may or may not have fees. Refer to each entry for details. If you are coming from a distance we will try to accommodate you regardless. 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 officials there. BAS monthly Meetings are not usually 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 Dec 21, 2014 with events for January and February 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 Aaron T. 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 observatory please. Washrooms at the Learning Centre will be available for all ES Fox events.
Astronomical/BAS events from December 2014 to February 2015:
Dec 3 Wed BAS meeting Grey Roots Museum 7 pm. Topic: 2014 in images/Xmas meeting -a recap of 2014 happenings in pictures. This is our last meeting of the year until we meet again on March 4, 2015 at the Grey Roots Museum.
Dec 6 Sat (FM) Night of the Full Moon “Moon before Yule”
Dec 9 Tue (FM+3) Double Shadow Transit on Jupiter from 11:18 am to 11:27 am EST. This is just barely a double shadow transit and lasts only 9 minutes at best with both shadows near the limb. Possible but practically a challenging observation. Good luck!
Dec 13/14 Sat/Sun (LQ) Observing from ES Fox where we expect 120 shooting stars/h at the peak time of 7 am Sun. The Moon is in LQ phase and rises at midnight Dec 13, but the skies will be dark before then. If it wasn't so cold this time of year, this shower would be better observed. Members should watch your email for notifications about weather cancellations (if any) as the date approaches. Be prepared for a cold night if you decide to stick it and watch for several hours. If you do, the shower members in the past have been on the yellowish side and there are more than the normal number of slow fireballs.
Dec 20 Sat (NM-1) Winter Solstice 6:03 pm EST. BAS viewing @Fox@dark. Members and Guest welcome! This is the last in 2014 officially scheduled for BAS viewing and if you didn't get your fill of the winter Milky Way earlier in December or last month, here is another chance. Once again, come prepared for a cold night. It is after all winter in Canada!
Dec 21 Sun (NM) Last New Moon of the year 2014! See you all in the spring of 2015!
Dec 21 into 2015 Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2) may be visible above the southern horizon after midnight for the next month or so. See SKY SIGHTS or Comet News above for details and finder charts for the first good comet of 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 in COMING EVENTS. 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 above for more info and links to finder charts.
Feb 18 Wed NM
Feb 20 Fri Venus, Mars and Crescent Moon. This is a particularly nice grouping of planets in the western sky. 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