Observatory

The StFX Observatory is located on West Street, just off University Avenue. It opened in 2018 and is mainly used for teaching, outreach, and student research projects. It houses the following instruments:

  • 28 cm (11”) Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope (SCT), pier-mounted
  • 25 cm (10”) SCT, pier-mounted
  • 70 mm refractor
  • 60 mm H-alpha filtered refractor for solar observing
  • 33 cm (13”) Dobsonian

A small classroom, with washroom, is located nearby.

During winter 2019, the observatory will be open to the public on Monday and Wednesday night if the sky is sufficiently clear. We may offer additional observation sessions, but information on this will only be available on short notice. Reliable information on the weather is normally only available 6-12 hours before an event. Please visit the Department's Facebook page for information on if and when the observatory will be open. The tentative schedule can be found at the bottom of this page.

Events in the sky during April.

New Moon is on the 5th, first quarter on the 12th.  If you have binoculars, look for the Moon passing by the Beehive star cluster on the 13th.  Full moon is on the 19th, and last quarter on the 26th of April.

Venus is still the "morning star", very low in the pre-dawn eastern sky.  To the south is Saturn, a little higher and dimmer, and Jupiter higher still, but much brighter than Saturn.  The Moon swings by Jupiter on the 23rd, and Saturn the 25th.

Mars is low in the west at sunset.  The red star Aldebaran, about twice as bright as Mars, is nearby.  Watch through the month, and you can see Mars, starting slightly below Aldebaran as April begins, catch up and pass the star by mid month.  Mars ends up noticeably higher in the sky than Aldebaran by month's end.  Both are sinking into the west during the month, but the star is winning that race.

Some webpages of interest: 

Environment Canada cloud forecast

Sky and Telescope updates

Astronomical picture of the day

 

Observatory schedule for winter 2019:

January 14 7-8:30pm
January17 7-8pm (out-of-schedule session)
January 21 7-8:30pm
January 23 7-8:30pm
January 28 7-8pm
January 30 7-8:30pm
February 4 7-8:30pm
February 6 7-8:30pm
February 11 7-8:30pm
February 13 7-8:30pm
February 25 7:30-9pm 
February 27 7:30-9pm
March 4 7:30-9pm
March 6 7:30-9pm
March 11 8-9:30pm
March 13 8-9:30pm
March 18 8-9:30pm
March 20 8-9:30pm
March 25 8-9:30pm
March 27 8-9:30pm
April 1 8-9:30pm
April 3 8-9:30pm