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Pittsburgh Sky, East, 9:30 PM. June 11, 2016 from Stellarium.org Screen Capture.

AAAP Star Parties at both Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatory, Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, 2016 will feature a rich array of celestial delights. Bright Jupiter trails close to the First Quarter Moon. Ringed Planet, Saturn follows not far from the Red Planet, Mars. Mars, not long from its May 30 close approach is still prime for viewing . Saturn, too near its June 2-3, 2016 opposition, is prime for its best viewing of the year. Jupiter is up all evening too, along with all four of its moons. Planet Venus, too graces the sky until just before 9 PM. It only begins with the Moon and these four bright planets. Experience the AAAP telescopes and those of our members as they reveal our solar system and more distant objects, including galaxies and nebula. See the sparkling  Great Cluster, M13, in the constellation Hercules and other delights. Look forward to the likelihood of meteor sighting, too. The star parties are free and open to the public.

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Clicks for Cash logo

If you have a few seconds to give, you can help AAAP win a grant through Washington County Community Foundation’s ‘Clicks for Cash.” Simply visit AAAP’s charity’s profile page on wccfgives.org from June 6 to 12. Anyone can vote for AAAP from an Internet enabled device: phone, desktop, laptop, tablet, etc. It is one vote per device, as opposed to one vote per person. Consider recruiting friends and family to support the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh’s 2016 Clicks for Cash campaign.

A visit to this URL From June 6 -12, 2016 counts as a vote.

https://www.wccfgives.org/organizations/amateur-astronomers-association-of-pittsburgh

The charity receiving the most unique pageviews during the contest period will receive a $3,000 unrestricted grant. Additionally, the WCCF will use the contest results to distribute four $500 unrestricted grants based on a lottery. Each charity will receive one chance for each unique pageview, so the more unique pageviews a charity receives, the more chances that charity will have in the lottery. A computer program will choose the lottery winners at random.

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Image of Mars in the night sky in May 2016. source:http://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/nightsky/mars-close-approach/

Image of Mars in the night sky in May 2016. source:http://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/nightsky/mars-close-approach/

From May 18 to June 3, 2016 Mars will be at its brightest.  Just go outside and look up (SE) for a bright “orange star” that does not flicker. That will be the “red” planet Mars.

It takes the planet Mars about two Earth years minus 50 days to make its trip about the Sun. Mars appears brightest * in our Earth sky when Earth is in the line between Mars and the Sun.  This happens about every other Earth year. Those other years Mars appears dimmer in our sky because at those times Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun. Some opposition years find Mars and Earth not only on the same side of the Sun, but also in closer proximity. 2016 is one of those years. Enjoy the view!

This year to the unaided eye Mars looks brigher and through a telescope Mars looks larger. Enjoy close-up views of the planet Mars and other wonders of the night sky at the June 10 and 11 Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh Star Parties scheduled at the Wagman Observatory and at the Mingo Observatory.

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Near Deer Lakes Park, Russellton. Observatory of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh

There is now 100% that tonight’s SP is canceled. See yinz in June. The next good weather that we will see will probably be next weekend during Full Moon. Typical for our area. Except for that week or so in Mid-April, it’s been a lousy Spring. The Sky gods are probably balancing out the good observing weather in Jan, Feb and March.
 
Tom Reiland

Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh opens Wagman Observatory to the public Friday, May 13 and Saturday, May 14, 2016. No reservations. No charge. No limit to group size. Just show up. Please refer to the Wagman 2016 Star Party Schedule for details.  The Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory is located in Deer Lakes Regional Park, Frazer Township, Pa., near the village of Russellton in northeastern Allegheny County and some 18 miles from Pittsburgh. Observatory Phone 724-224-2510.

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Public Viewing of the Transit of Mercury at Mingo Observatory:

AAAP has announced safe public viewing through the Lunt solar telescope of the Mingo Observatory in the Washington Observer-Reporter beginning at approximately at 8 AM.  Astronomy club members arriving earlier who set up their telescopes on the hill will not have the orientation of the observatory building blocking the low eastern horizon and will get to view the transit from the start.

May 11, 1016 Update:Many AAAP members and members of the public enjoyed live views of the Transit of Mercury from our two observatories, Wagman and Mingo. Enjoy the Mercury Transit video from NASA’s SDO. It is the May 11, 2016 NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD).

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