Update on Joly Astronomy

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all well!

School, Work, and other priorities started to take over, and I neglected to update my blog regularly. For that, I am sorry!

Moving forward, I will continue to make posts on this website. However, I will post it at my own discretion.

I will no longer post about upcoming astronomical events. For those who found it useful, I’m happy to hear that it helps, but other priorities have kept me from regularly posting monthly astronomical events. You can find the astronomical events for 2016 here.

Other than that, I will continue to write about the night sky, space missions, and other topics that catch my eye.

Lastly, this past December 19, 2015, was the second anniversary of the start of my blog! Thank You for everyone who has followed my blog throughout the past two years. I hope to see you all here in 2016!


Here are some images I would like to share.


June 7 gave me a fantastic opportunity, albeit a difficult challenge. The International Space Station (ISS) was going to streak through the Toronto sky after dusk. After a few failed attempts, I decided to try and get the ISS again. To increase the challenge further, I decided to use the CCD camera to get a closer look. After I got the video, I was relieved it was done but was left wondering what the result was. There were over 10,000 frames of nothing, 200 frames of trailing ISS, but I got 5 good frames of the ISS out of it. Here is one of them:


The ISS. The image is cropped. (I’m very proud of this picture!)









On June 21, I hosted my first workshop. a little more than 10 people came to the workshop, where we covered Startrails, Astrophotography with DSLR and CCD cameras, etc… It was a great success. Many of the participants enjoyed the workshop and went home with amazing startrails images. I also tried to take some Milky Way shots from here. Little did I know that the Galactic centre was below the tree line. Next time!


20″ exposure, f/4, ISO-800

On June 24, I took out a borrowed 127 mm Achromatic Refractor to image the Moon with. It was an interesting experience. The pictures look good, and I was impressed with the image that the Refractor produced. The result is below:


1/40″ exposure, f/6.5, ISO-100 (Note: The Moon is flipped upside down.)

On that same night, I also went out to Glen Major Forest and took a Startrails image. It lasted for an hour, and compared with my first ever startrails from Glen Major, it had longer startrails and more ground. It is a good image. While I was imaging it, there were other people there having a good time, and I was worried that some car light from them would wreck the image. Thankfully, none of their lights ruined on my image, and I came home with a good set of images to stack. The result is below:


162 frames, 30.5″ exposure, f/4.5, ISO-1600

On June 29, the day before I returned the refractor, and the day before the Venus-Jupiter conjunction, I learned that tomorrow would be cloudy. June 29 had cloud cover on it, but it wasn’t so bad. I could still see Venus and Jupiter. Therefore, I rushed back home and brought out the refractor. While I was observing the two planets, I noticed that Venus and Jupiter had some fringing on it, much like my Canon lenses, when aimed at the Moon. It was annoying to see that, but I found a solution to it. After taking many pictures, and being eaten alive by mosquitoes, I went back inside and rested. The resulting image is below: It’s amazing how close the two planets got. It got closer last year, but I was very impressed by this grouping of two planets.


1/10″ exposure, f/6.5, ISO-1600. Cropped. Adjusted with Lightroom

In July and August, I led two different workshops hosted by the Creative Photographers Markham. There, everyone took their own startrails images and had a grand time imaging the night sky. I also tried to take my own timelapse that night. However, it was a very humid night, which led to dew accumulating on my lens. By the end of the timelapse, the image became very blurred and very foggy. It was disappointing, but it was a lesson learned.

On September 27, 2015, the last Lunar Eclipse in the tetrad was to occur. I also planned the last workshop to occur that night. However, there was clearly going to be clouds in the sky, which was disappointing. We had a rough start, but many people came to the workshop and we were lucky enough to have a break in the clouds and we were able to see the lunar eclipse for a short period of time. We all had a great time, and got great pictures!

Lunar Eclipse Sept 27

300mm telephoto lens, 2″ exposure, f/5.6, ISO-100

On the latter part of 2015, I was able to take this picture of the Lunar X. This feature is visible every lunar cycle for only a few minutes when the light hits the moon just right. The angle of the light shapes the craters like an X.


I hope to see you all again!


Astronomical Events for July 2015

Hello everybody,

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of July: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • July 2: Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina may reach binocular visibility.
  • July 6: Earth will reach aphelion at 13:00 UTC.
  • July 6: Pluto will reach opposition with Earth at 15:00 UTC.
  • July 12: The Moon will occult Aldebaran. It is best seen in North-eastern Asia at ~18:17 UTC.
  • July 14: The New Horizons Probe will reach its closest approach to Pluto.  New Horizons is the first probe to make a close approach to Pluto, and send back images to Earth.
  • July 19: The Moon occults Venus. It is best seen in the South Pacific at ~1:07 UTC.
  • July 25: Asteroid 49 Pales occults a +6.6 Magnitude star. It is best seen at 10:55 UTC in Mexico.
  • July 28: The Delta Aquarids peak at this time.
  • July 31: A Blue Moon will occur. This is the second Full Moon of the Month. This is the opposite of a Black Moon.






What I’ve Been Up To

Hi Everyone,

Notwithstanding my update for June’s astronomical events, I’ve been absent for the whole month of May. That is because it’s been a busy month for me. Here’s a bit of an update of what I’ve been up to from April 22 to now.

On April 22, 2015, I delivered my presentation about my experience as an amateur astronomer that day. Throughout the presentation, I talked about the photos I took, honestly, and with a little bit of humour. It was well received by the audience.  I hope to follow that up with another presentation a few years down the line.

On April 28, 2015, I discovered the wonders of BackyardEOS. It’s a program that uses your DSLR camera like a CCD Camera. It was really effective as an imaging device, and as a focusing device. I got a few pictures like this using BackyardEOS.


On May 8, 2015, It was a clear night, and I felt like taking another startrails image. Therefore, I made another startrails image from my backyard. I used over 700 frames, 5”, f/4.5, ISO-800. It turned out really well.


From May 20-24, 2015, I had the opportunity to volunteer for the International Space Development Conference (ISDC). It was a great experience as I made met many heavyweights in the aerospace industry, gained valuable experience, and made many new friends. I had a great time. In addition, I was able to get this startrails image from the heart of downtown Toronto. I took over 1043 frames to get this image. Each frame were 3” exposure, f/5.6, ISO-1600. It was a long image, but it was worth it. Next year’s ISDC will take place in Puerto Rico. Who knows, maybe I’ll be there…


This image was a difficult one to capture. I needed to balance how much light I would capture, while still capturing the movement of the stars. Too much exposure captured the light pollution of the city. Too little and the stars won’t show up. That’s why I chose 3″ exposure, because it wouldn’t capture too much light, while still capture the stars. f/5.6 to reduce the amount of light pollution captured, and ISO-1600 because we need to capture enough light.


That is what I’ve been up to these days. Thank You for everyone’s support. Sorry for the sporadic blog posts. Keep looking up, you never know what you’ll find up there.

Astronomical Events for June 2015

Hello everybody,

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of June: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • June 1: The ISS will reach full illumination, which means Northern Hemisphere observers will be able to see it many times.
  • June 4: Io and Ganymede will cause a double-transit on Jupiter, which will occur from 4:54 to 6:13.
  • June 5: Venus reaches greatest eastern elongation for 2015. It will be at most 45 degrees from when the sun at 16:00.
  • June 10: Asteroid 424 Gratia will occult a +6.1 magnitude star. It will occur at approximately 15:10 in Northwest Australia.
  • June 15: The Moon will occult Mercury at approximately 2:26. It’s best seen at the South Indian Ocean.
  • June 15: The Moon will occult Aldebaran during the day approximately 11:33. It’s best seen in the high Arctic.
  • June 16: Comet C/2014 Q1 PanSTARRS may become visible with the naked eye.
  • June 21: The summer solstice will happen at 10:51. Northern Hemisphere observers will experience the longest day of the year.
  • June 24: Mercury reaches its greatest morning elongation at 22.5 degrees west of the sun. This will take place at 17:00.






Astronomical Events for May 2015

Hello everybody,

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of May: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • May 5: The Eta Aquarids meteor shower will peak.
  • May 7: Mercury will reach its highest point at 21.2 degrees away from the sun. It will start to descend back into the sun at this point.
  • May 19: The Moon will occult Aldebaran at approximately 2:53 UTC. It is best seen in North America.
  • May 20: Comet C/2014 Q1 PANSTARRS may become visible in binoculars.
  • May 20: Io and Ganymede will cast their shadows on Jupiter in a double-transit event at  22:04 – 22:53.
  • May 21: Callisto and Europa will also cast their shadows on Jupiter in another double-transit event at 11:26 – 11:59.
  • May 23: Saturn reaches opposition at approximately 1:00.
  • May 24: Asteroid 1669 Dagmar will occult Regulus at approximately 16:47. Best seen in the Arabian Peninsula. This will be the brightest asteroid star occultation in 2015.
  • May 28: Ganymede and Io will cast their shadows again in a double-transit event at 00:01 to 2:18.
  • May 30: Comet 19/Borrelly may become visible with binoculars.






Astronomical Events for April 2015

Hello everybody,

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of April: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • April 4: The third of four total lunar eclipses will occur at 12:01. It is best seen in Eastern Asia, the Pacific regions, and the Americas. Don’t miss it!
  • April 8: Mercury will pass 0.5 degrees of Uranus at approximately 11:00.
  • April 21: The Moon will occult Aldebaran. It is best seen in Northern Asia at approximately 16:57 UTC.
  • April 22: The Lyrid meteor shower will take place peaking at 24:00 (12:00 AM). It is best seen in Northern Europe.

That’s all for this month.

On April 22, 2015, at the Ontario Science Centre, in Toronto, Ontario, I will be giving a presentation about my journey as an amateur astrophotographer. If you are interested in attending, come to the Ontario Science Centre at 7:00 pm, to see the presentation. I hope to see you all there.


Have a great day, and keep looking up! You never know what you will see up there.





Astronomical Events for March 2015

Hello everybody,

Happy New Year!

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of April: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • March 1: Geosynchronous satellite eclipse season begins up until the equinox.
  • March 4: Venus passes 0.1 degrees from Uranus at approximately 18:00. This will be the closest planetary conjunction of the year.
  • Distance from Venus to Uranus from our Perspective.

  • March 5: The Moon will reach its full phase at 18:07, 10 hours before reaching apogee. This will be the smallest full moon of the year.
  • March 11: Mars passes 0.3 degrees from Uranus at approximately 16:00.
  • March 20: A total solar eclipse will occur. It will be best seen in the arctic, Scotland, and Scandinavia.
  • Path of Solar Eclipse

  • March 20: That day also marks the Vernal Equinox at 16:57. Roughly equal days between the North and South Hemispheres.
  • March 21: Moon will occult Mars at approximately 22:14. Best seen in South America.
  • March 25: Moon will occult Aldebaran at approximately 7:17. Best seen in Northwest North America.






Astronomical Events for February 2015

Hello everybody,

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of April: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • February 1: Venus passes 0.8 degrees of Neptune. This occurs at approximately 17:00.
  • February 5: Earth crosses Jupiter’s equatorial plane, which means we are in the second half of occulation and eclipse season of Jupiter’s Moons.
  • February 6: Earth reaches opposition with Jupiter at approximately 18:00.
  • February 6: The Moon reaches its apogee of 406,200 km at 18:25.
  • February 18: The Moon is new. This Moon is also a Black Moon, where this will be the third New Moon in a season where four New Moons are normal.
  • February 20: The Moon, Venus, and Mars are in conjunction with each other. This meeting occurs at Dusk.
  • February 21: Venus passes 0.4 degrees south of Mars at Dusk. Moon will have moved away by then.
  • February 24: Mercury reaches greatest morning elongation at 26.7 degrees west of the sun. This will take place at 19:00.
  • February 25: The Moon will occult Aldebaran at 23:26 in Northern Europe.
  • February 25: Neptune is at conjunction with the Sun. Will not be visible until it comes out from the other side.

 Here is a look at Comet Lovejoy’s Path (Obtained from Bob Moler’s Ephemeris Blog)

Comet Lovejoy

Comet Lovejoy reached it Perihelion two days ago, and will now move away from the Sun, and the Earth. It will lose its tail, and start to dim. This image was obtained from Bob Moler’s Ephemeris Blog.



Announcement: On April 22, 2015, I will be delivering a presentation at the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada’s Recreational Meetup, talking about my journey as an amateur astrophotographer. I hope you can all come to this event.





Sky News Magazine – January/February Issue




Astronomical Events for January 2015

Hello everybody,

Happy New Year!

Here are the astronomical events occurring in the month of April: (All times are given in UTC format)

       Astronomical Events

  • January 1: Comet C/2012 Q2 Lovejoy might reach naked eye visibility.
  • January 3: The Quadrantid Meteor shower will peak at 2:00. Favours Northern Europe.
  • January 4: Earth reaches perihelion at approximately 8:00. The sun will look its biggest and be at its closest.
  • January 14: Mercury reaches 18.9 degrees East of the sun at approximately 16:00.
  • January 17: Moons of Io and Europa are expected to cast a double shadow eclipse on Jupiter from 3:53 – 4:58.
  • January 20: Mars passes 0.2 degrees from Neptune at approx 20:00.
  • January 23-24: A triple-transit event on Jupiter. This one is particularly unique because Callisto will Eclipse Io, which means two of the shadows will merge for a short period of time at 5:48 UTC. EST people will see it at 12:48 am. It won’t last long, so be ready for it.!
  • January 29: The Moon will occult Aldebaran at approximately 17:31 UTC for the Arctic. This will be the first occultation by the Moon in 2015.

Since this is the New Year, I was thinking we could go through the Top 10 events according to SkyNews:

  1. March 24: The Moon will pass close to Aldebaran throughout 2015. However, this time, the Moon will pass close to the Hyades star cluster.
  2. April 4: The tetrad of total lunar eclipses will continue again. This will take place before the dawn. This is best seen in Western Canada. In Toronto, the Moon will set during the initial partial phase. Totality will last five minutes only.
  3. April 21: Mercury will appear its best, with Mars close by. Nearby will be Venus and a crescent Moon. Venus will reach its greatest angle from the Sun on June 6.
  4. June 30: Venus and Jupiter will reach close conjunction, just 20 arc minutes apart. They will be close enough to see in the telescope in the same eyepiece. On June 19, the waxing Moon will be close to Venus and Jupiter to make a triple conjunction.
  5. September 5: Aldebaran will be occulted by the Moon. It will be visible in southern Ontario and farther east. Moon will rise and soon after, from midnight to 2 am, and occult Aldebaran. Western Canada will be able to see the Moon occult Aldebaran on November 26, from 2 – 4 am. It will be on the full phase.
  6. September 27: The last total eclipse in the Tetrad. Won’t happen again for a long time. This will happen in the early evening and is visible across all of Canada. From the west coast, The Moon rises just before totality begins. The Moon will reach its closest to Earth for 2015, less than one hour before totality. It will last for 72 minutes. Coastal areas will also see higher tides.
  7. October 8: Moon will get into a close conjunction with Venus, Regulus, and nearby will be Mars, Jupiter, and Mercury. This will be best morning appearance for 2015 for Canada. On October 11, a crescent Moon will appear 2 degrees before Mercury.
  8. October 23: Mercury will shine below a close conjunction of Jupiter, Venus and Mars. Mars and Jupiter will be 1/2 degree apart on October 17, and 18 and on October 25, Venus and Jupiter will pass 1 degree within each other. On October 28, the Mars, Venus and Jupiter will get close to each other again in the morning sky.
  9. November 7: Moon will get close of Venus, Mars and Jupiter. Moon will get close to Venus by 1.5 degrees. Mars will be nearby as well. Earlier in the week, Venus will pass 3/4 degree from Mars on the mornings of November 2 and 3. This will be a second chance for those who miss the februrary 20 event, (see honourable mentions)
  10. December 7: Venus and Moon will get into close conjunction and then occult. Venus and Moon will get close to each other. They are in a long line across the sky. As time goes on, the Moon will get closer to Venus, until the Moon passes in front of Venus during the day. It will be visible across all of Canada.

Honourable Mentions:

  • February 20: A triple conjunction will take place. The waxing crescent Moon, Mars and Venus will get very close to each other.
  • January 19: For those with telescopes, this will be a good chance for amateurs to get a glimpse of Neptune as Mars will pass very close to Neptune. It will be a full 13 arc minutes away.










One year ago…

Last year, I was given the idea by my parents to start writing a blog about my experiences with astronomy. I took that idea and created “Joly Astronomy.” Throughout this year I kept writing about my experiences, all the good and the bad. Four days ago was my blog’s first anniversary, and this year has given me many opportunities to observe and explore the night sky, image celestial objects, and stand in awe of the universe. I saw and imaged:

  • The Lunar Eclipse.
  • M42.
  • A meteor shower.
  • ISS flying in the sky.
  • The Sun and its sunspots.
  • Conjunctions.
  • The beauty of Long Sault Conservation Park’s and Glen Major’s dark skies.
  • Star trails in dark skies.
  • and many more objects in the night sky.

Thank You to everyone who comes and reads my blog. You are all awesome. Keep coming back, and keep looking up. You never know what you might find up there.