The Rho Ophiuchi complex Chuck Manges from Hooversville, Pennsylvania, Astronomy Magazine Picture of the Day  August 12, 2016

The Rho Ophiuchi complex, by Chuck Manges from Hooversville, Pennsylvania, Astronomy Magazine Picture of the Day August 12, 2016.


Congratulations to AAAPer Chuck Manges!

Chuck’s  Rho Ophiuchi complex image is chosen as Astronomy Magazine August 12, 2016 Picture of the Day!



Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

There have been many reports of a shiny object seen over the skies of Pittsburgh on the evening of August 4, 2016. Many members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh (AAAP) also saw the object while viewing the planetary line-up (Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn). Thanks to AAAP member John Pane, we know that the object was a high-altitude balloon launch as part of Google’s Project Loon. The balloon was launched from Washington state and drifted over Pittsburgh at just the right time for it to be illuminated by the sun’s last rays while the sky was getting dark.

HBAL439 flight path

The path of Google Project Loon balloon HBAL439

AAAP member John Holtz spotted a balloon shortly after arriving at Schenley Park to look for the planets. He used the positional data from to calculate the position of the Google balloon as seen from his observing location. “The position relative to the star Arcturus, and the size of the object based on the range, all match what I calculated” he said. At 9 pm, the object was Continue Reading

 A perseid meteor streaks across a star-encrusted and cloud-scattered sky. Image Credit: Jimmy Westlake
A Perseid Meteor streaks across a star-encrusted and cloud-scattered sky. Image Credit: Jimmy Westlake

The Greater Pittsburgh Area  public is invited to view the 2016 Perseid Meteors with the  Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh at six viewing events including the designated Perseid Viewing Party at AAAP’s Mingo Observatory, August 11 into the morning of August 12, 2016, AAAP’s Wagman Obseratory August 11-12 Perseid Meteor Viewing and the regular August Star Parties at Mingo Observatory and at Wagman Observatory, Friday and Saturday evenings, August 12 and 13, 2016.

The regular Friday and Saturday star parties will be regular hours, generally beginning at dusk. Wagman’s Thursday Perseid Meteor Event (See more below.) does not begin until after 12 Midnight and ends before 5 AM, and will only occur under clear skies. The Thursday Mingo event begins at 9 PM and carries on long past Midnight in order to avail that night’s anticipated outburst of Perseid meteors, which may be as high as 200 meteors per hour. To catch this rare opportunity  no equipment or  experience is needed, as meteors are best observed with the unaided eye. With peak occuring in daylight the morning of August 12, best viewing is projected to be between moonset and prior to the first light of dawn Friday morning, August 12. Continue Reading

Free Public Event – Perseid Meteor Shower Star Party

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh Invites you to a Special Star Party at Mingo Creek Park Observatory Located in Mingo Creek Park, Mansion Hill Extension, past Shelter 10 in Washington County, PA. Phone #: 724-348-6150

Date: Thursday, August 11

Come and observe the annual Perseid Meteor Shower at the Mingo Creek Park Observatory located in Mingo Creek Park (map , directions ) up the hill past Shelter 10. This is a special Star Party concentrating on the Perseid Meteor Shower. No experience is needed to enjoy observing the meteor shower. Weather permitting the observatory will also be staffed during this time. Predictions are that the best viewing will be after midnight into the early hours of the morning on Friday, August 12. For your comfort you should plan your visit using the following guidelines:

The best way to observe the meteors is to lie down and look toward the northeast. Bring a chair and/or a blanket. The nights can get cool so plan on bringing layers to add as the night progresses. Bring snacks and something to drink that will help keep away the chill. You may want to bring some bug spray.

NOTE: Mingo Creek Park Observatory and its grounds, as a part of Mingo Creek County Park, are a no smoking and no alcohol permitted area. Continue Reading

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh opens both the Mingo Observatory and the Wagman Observatory to the public on Friday, August 12th and Saturday, August 13th, 2016. No reservations. No charge. No limit to group size. Just show up. Our star parties feature a rich array of celestial delights. Experience the AAAP telescopes and those of our members as they reveal our solar system and more distant objects, including galaxies and nebula.

More information: Mingo Star Parties Guide

More information: Wagman Star Parties Guide

Although admission is free, we gladly accept donations at the observatory entrance desks to cover the cost of operation. There is no smoking or alcohol permitted on our observatory grounds. Please drive slowly and carefully and be aware of pedestrians, especially children. Children must be under direct parental supervision at all times.

Our helpful and informed all volunteer staff will be happy to assist you to gain in knowledge and appreciation of the night sky. Mingo and Wagman Observatories are owned and operated by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, a 501(3)(c) and your donations are tax deductible. Continue Reading