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 February.

New Moon occurs in the overnight hours of Feb 4/5, marking the Chinese New Year (Year of the Pig).  

Mars and the Moon, high in the southwest sky at dusk,  pair up on the 10th.  Starting mid-month is your chance to look for Mercury low in the west just after sunset.   First quarter Moon is on the 12th.  Venus, bright in the southeast before dawn, pairs with much fainter Saturn on the 18th.  

Full Moon this month is on the 19th, and occurs just after the Moon is closest to Earth. As a result, this month's full Moon is the largest this year.  The difference in size between a full Moon at its biggest compared to a full Moon at its smallest is only about 14%.   This size difference is not easy to detect by casually looking, since there is no other Moon up at the same time to compare against!  

Last quarter Moon is on the 26th.  Jupiter, in the south at dawn, meets up with the Moon on the 27th. 

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