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 Sep 28, 2014 with events now included for September to December 2014.
Note: BAS meetings and observing events are held at the Fox Observatory (at BOEC) in June, July, August and September and back at the Grey Roots Museum for the remainder of 2014.
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 for September to December 2014:
Sep 3 Wed BAS meeting at the ES Fox Observatory 7 pm. Our (remote) speaker is Tom Field, an expert on Spectroscopy and he will be hosting a webinar that night as the first part of our meeting. The regular reports and events follow the break after the meeting. Bring bug spray and come with warm clothes as the observatory is not heated. Viewing afterwards if the sky is clear. Note the public is welcome to come to our meetings but please read the information at the top of this page for specifics.
Sep 5 Fri (FQ+3) Public viewing at Grey Roots Museum parking lot, 9 pm. This is the last of five public viewing nights at GR. Note that due to logistic issues, the large Webster telescope will not be used at the museum for public viewing. Use of the Webster will be at public viewing events only at the ES Fox Observatory. However the Grey Roots viewing nights will feature several large (up to 12-inch) telescopes that will be manned by BAS members. There will be views of Mars and Saturn as well as the Gibbous Moon and Summer Milky Way objects like brighter clusters, nebula and galaxies. There may even be a comet or two.
If you have a telescope that you need help with, please bring it along and one of our members can give you some pointers. Public welcome (no charge).
NOTE: this event is weather-permitting. A few clouds are not a problem, but general overcast or rain means the event cannot be held and is cancelled. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com to confirm if you are unsure about weather.
Sep 5 Fri (FQ+3) Venus makes a very close pass (0.7°) to the brightest star in Leo tonight. This is a dawn event and can be seen even in bright twilight. Jupiter is also nearby-look upwards (about a handwidth) from Regulus/Venus for the brightest star in that part of the sky. Binoculars will show some of the bright moons circling that planet.
Sep 6 Sat (FQ+4) OSFN star tour/talk -a private tour for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists at ES Fox Observatory 7:00 pm Leader: TBA (alt. date Sep 20 (LQ+4) Note: this event has been moved to Oct 4.
Sep 9 Tue (FM) ☹ Night of the Full Moon “Harvest Moon”. This is the name given to the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox in September. On average, the moon rises about 50 minutes later each day, but when a full moon happens close to the autumnal equinox, the moon (at mid-temperate latitudes) rises only about 30 to 35 minutes later for several days before and after the full moon phase. The narrow angle of the ecliptic this time of year results in a shorter-than-usual rising time between successive moonrises so the Moon appears prominently at about the same time each night during the northern hemisphere harvest season. Hence: Harvest Moon. More at Earth-Sky.org here: http://earthsky.org/space/harvest-moon-2#special
Sep 12 Fri (FM+3) Saturn's Moon Rhea occults a background star -rare! Rhea is the second brightest Saturnian moon (after Titan) and happens to pass in front of a fainter background star around 8:38 DST in E. Canada. The brightness of the star will drop from 7.8 to the moon's brightness of 10.2. This will be pretty noticeable in medium to large telescopes.
Sep 17 Wed (LQ) 3rd Anniversary of Fox Opening Happy Birthday Fox Observatory! The celebration will take place at the Sep 3 BAS meeting at Fox. There may even be cake!
Sep 20 Sat (LQ+3) Mercury 0.5° from Spica low in West after sunset. This is not a great apparition of Mercury, but it rarely gets this close to a bright star. If you have a flat western horizon, it is worth an attempt. It might be easier to find Mercury during the week prior to the 20th since it will be higher in the sky at the same time.
Sep 24 Wed (NM) ☻
Sep 27 Sat (NM+3) BAS viewing @Fox @dark. Members and guests welcome. This is the regular NM viewing night at the Fox, and, remarkably viewing Saturn and Mars is still possible. This time a thin crescent is found near Saturn which is quickly dropping towards the western horizon. Objects in the Milky Way are very near the meridian (highest) and prime targets for viewing. The sky is now getting dark earlier and earlier, but even twilight time is good for looking at the planets Saturn and Mars (Mars tonight is as close as it gets to Antares). A nice crescent Moon makes it a pretty trio above the western horizon this evening. By dark the clusters and gas clouds of the Milky Way are high and prime targets for the Webster.
Sep 28 Sun (NM+4) Moon occults Saturn, Ceres and Vesta all on same day (none visible locally). You need to be in East Asia, Hawaii, or the North Africa area for these events and it is not possible to see all of them from one place.
Oct 1 Wed BAS meeting Grey Roots Museum (not ES Fox this time!) 7 pm. Speaker slated for tonight is Mike Tettenborn, our local meteorite expert who will bring in some of his latest samples for display. We also encourage members to bring in items (“gadgets”) you think might be of interest. This event is inspired by our own “Inspector Gadget”, Robert Williamson whose 12-inch donated telescope is regularly used at the Fox.
Oct 4 Sat (FQ+3) OSFN star tour/talk -a private tour for the Owen Sound Field Naturalists at ES Fox Observatory 7:00 pm Leader: John H. (alt. date Oct 18 (LQ-2) Note: this event was moved from Sep 6 and now postponed to Oct 18 (sheesh!).
Oct 8 Wed (FM) ☺ Partial Lunar Eclipse viewing features the second of the two lunar eclipses of 2014. The start is viewable from the ES Fox Observatory but since the eclipse occurs as the moon is setting in our area a location along Lake Huron shore is better. We have used the washrooms/pavillion at 6th St. N and Lakeshore Blvd in Sauble Beach before and it is the obvious choice. The eclipse umbral contact is at 5:14 am DST Oct 8, and the total phase lasts from 6:25 am to 7:24 am DST. Last Umbral contact is at 8:34 am DST. The Moon sets at 7:37 am DST so we miss the second half (emergence from shadow) Theoretically all of totality is visible form this location, but the emerging twilight will interfere with the view. Hopefully the haze from the forest fires out west will not darken the event as much as in the last few months.
NEW: Oct 19 Sun (NM-4) Comet Siding Spring (C/2013A1) closest to Mars -photo op! (from Mars only...). This comet discovered by Australia observers at the Siding Spring Observatory on the edge of the Warrumbungle National Park near Coonabarabran, New South Wales, AU, is due to swing past Mars this afternoon 2:28 pm local time. Spacecraft in orbit around Mars could possibly be impacted (literally) by the passage of the coma which contains dust particles that could damage components. NASA operators have taken steps like fine-tuning spacecraft orbits to take them out of the danger path. The nucleus is not going to hit Mars as it will pass 132 000 km from the planet, but the dusty coma may extend much farther that that and pose some risk to orbiting spacecraft.
Oct 21 Tue (NM-2) Orionid meteors peak at 20/h during daylight (noon Oct 21), but this is a shower worth viewing since the Moon is only 5% illuminated (last crescent) and rises in the early morning hours. Observing the night before on Oct 20 and the evening after Oct 21 is recommended.
Oct 23 Thu (NM) ☻ Partial Solar Eclipse The second solar eclipse of 2014 is very reminiscent of the May 20, 2014 event and occurs at the same time of day with the Sun setting locally when the eclipse is only half through. Similarly, we shall be viewing from our favourite location in Sauble Beach (6th St N Washrooms/pavillion) as for the Oct 8 Lunar eclipse. First contact occurs at 5:36 pm DST, and the eclipse progresses as the Sun drops towards the horizon. The Sun sets at 6:26 pm DST. Mid-eclipse is about 13 minutes later but the Sun is below our horizon. Solar viewing glasses will be available for a nominal fee. The regular NM viewing at ES Fox follows after dark.
NOTE: Looking at the Sun without proper eye protection is dangerous and will cause eye damage. ALWAYS use approved solar viewing glasses that are approved for safe solar viewing. On Oct 23, BAS will have solar eclipse viewing glasses available at the viewing site for a nominal fee. More information on safe solar viewing and sources of eclipse glasses can be found here: http://eclipse.gsfc.nasa.gov/SEhelp/safety.html
Nov 5 Wed BAS meeting Grey Roots Museum 7 pm Member’s Night and Gadget Night. Bring a favourite gadget, observing tip, book or other item to share. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to register a time slot for your item.
Nov 6 Thu (FM) Night of the Full Moon “Frosty Moon”
Nov 12 Wed Rosetta dispatches lander Philae to touch down on the surface of Comet 67/P C-G. This is the first time a scientific package has touched the surface of these enigmatic visitors from the outer solar system. Philae will anchor itself to the icy surface and drill into the surface, measure surface chemical makeup and do a host of other measurements from close up. These will be especially interesting as the comet warms up, becomes active and starts to develop a tail. Rosetta the mothership will be in orbit all along relaying data to Earth. Exciting times in comet research! More info on the ESA site here: http://rosetta.esa.int/
Nov 17 Mon (NM-4) Leonid meteors This is an off-year for Leonids which have an outburst every 33 years or so. The rate of 20/h at the peak time of 7 pm is a far cry from the 1000's /h of 2000 and 2001. The next major storm is not due until 2032 or so. The Moon is a last quarter and only 20% illuminated and waning, so if it is clear, it might be worthwhile going out to watch. Observing may happen at the Fox Observatory. Watch your email for notifications.
Nov 20 Thu (NM-2) Asteroid Juno (magnitude 9.1) occults 7.4 mag star SAO 117176. Drop in brightness of star will be 2.3 magnitudes, a substantial change. The ground track passes basically along the north shore of Lake Huron and the closest place to observe would be just north of Huntsville. This event is noted here mainly because of the bright star being occulted (easy to find) and the noticeable magnitude drop when Juno passes in front of the star. The distance is also not too far. Most of the other dozen or more such asteroid occultation events that happen every month are too faint or too far from our location.
Nov 22 Sat (NM) BAS viewing @Fox@dark. Members and Guest welcome! This is the regular NM viewing night at the Fox, with Mars and the two gas giants, Uranus and Neptune on the target list. Orion comes up before midnight and so does Jupiter. Best of all there are no bugs!
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 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!