The Bluewater Astronomical Society (BAS) is an incorporated non-profit organization that strives to promote basic and advanced astronomical knowledge among its members, and promote interest in astronomy to the general public. We have members ranging from beginners with small telescopes or binoculars to experts with state-of-the-art observing and imaging equipment. The Society itself owns a large 28-inch Dobsonian reflecting telescope used at our observatory at the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre near Oliphant, Ontario.
The Bluewater Astronomical Society (incorporated in 2011) has been promoting the enjoyment of stargazing in Bruce and Grey counties since 1990, originally as the Bruce County Astronomical Society.
The Society was started by avid amateur astronomers in Port Elgin, Ontario with a single telescope donated by a Southampton, Ontario resident. He also donated an observatory dome and auxiliary hardware that eventually was installed on a large trailer which served as an observatory for Society members and the students of the Bruce County School Board. The Society held many astronomy viewing events for the general public while that facility was in operation (e.g., meteor watches, eclipse and comet observing). That building was eventually replaced by the E.S. Fox Observatory.
The E.S. Fox observatory was constructed in partnership with the Bluewater Education Foundation and the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre. Construction began in the fall of 2010, and it officially opened in September 2011. The facility is a large roll-off roof observatory. The observatory was made possible after a major donation from Spencer Fox of E.S. Fox Construction.
In November 2012, the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada granted Dark Sky Preserve status to the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre. Under this designation lighting is strictly controlled and the public is educated about the benefits of maintaining a natural level of night time illumination that is more ecologically responsible. Our site is Canada's 15th Dark Sky Preserve and the fourth in southern Ontario. As a Dark Sky Preserve, both the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre and BAS strive to maintain the natural heritage of the wonderful star-studded sky that so many enjoy.
The BAS has grown and now has members from Grey and Bruce Counties and beyond. We host public events at the E.S. Fox Observatory, usually around the new Moon; partner with the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre to provide student education opportunities at the observatory; and hold public and private viewing events across Grey, Bruce and Huron Counties at the request of many organizations. The promotion of astronomy continues to be our focus, and we also seek to educate others about the need to protect of our dark skies and nighttime environment for future generations of stargazers.
This six minute video created in collaboration wtih the Bluewater Education Foundation highlights the Bluewater Astronomical Society, the on-site observatory located at the Outdoor Education Centre near Oliphant, Ontario, and some of our club activities.
The ES Fox observatory is located on the property of the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre at 3092 Bruce Road 13 near Oliphant, ON. Please be aware that observing events at the observatory are open to the public on public viewing nights only. We are generally not open during weekdays or evenings during the school year. A portable washroom is located near the Fox observatory for the summer months only, and washrooms are available at the Learning Centre (key required) at other times. When visiting the observatory, please park at the main lot by the Learning Centre.