Pittsburgh Stargazing AAAP October 17, 2015, Star Parties: Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatories


The members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh invite the public to Mingo Observatory and Wagman Observatory, Saturday, October 17, 2015. Get to know the Autumn Sky under a large (30% illumination) waxing crescent Moon.

Ther Sun sets around 6:40 PM.  Arrive earlier if you are interested in safe solar viewing.  The sky should clear after 8PM and hold clear to around 11 PM. Clear and Cold go together. Temperatures are to drop below freezing on Saturday night. It is suggested you dress warmly. There are only two more star party dates left on the calendar: November 7 Wagman Observatory “Mid-Autumn Star Party” and November 14 Mingo Observatory “Bundle-Up Star Fest.”

Did you get a telescope recently and don’t know how to use it? Bring it along and members of the AAAP will help!

Looking to buy a telescope, accessories, star charts and books? We’ll have free handouts, guides and booklets to point visitors in the right direction.

See the AAAP web page for more info at: www.3ap.org and the AAAP Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amateur-Astronomers-Association-of-Pittsburgh/114188205266611

Mingo Observatory


Update of October 17, 3PM:

Mingo will open at 6:30PM.

Accuweather Forecast: http://www.accuweather.com/en/us/finleyville-pa/15332/hourly-weather-forecast/335428?hour=14  Skies are supposed to clear around 8PM to be 70% clouded, leaving some room for stars.  As long as there is no threat of rain the roofs can open to run the telescopes. Mingo will have a planetarium program and avail of the newly heated planetarium.


1 Shelter 10 Road Finleyville, PA 15332 ~ 724-348-6150 ~ Latitude 40.211 degrees Longitude -80.020 degrees

There are no Iridium Flares predicted.

Two ISS Passes,October 17, 7:20 PM NNW and 8:56 PM NW, Note: Both are close to the horizon. – Times approximate for Mingo Observatory listed here.  Please visit www.heavens-above.com or you favorite similar website for times and sky locations specific to your location on Earth. : http://www.heavens-above.com/PassSummary.aspx?satid=25544&lat=40.211&lng=-80.019&loc=Mingo+Creek+Park+Observatory&alt=0&tz=EST

DateBrightnessStartHighest pointEndPass Type(mag)TimeAlt.Az.TimeAlt.Az.TimeAlt.Az.

17 Oct -1.0 19:20:18 10° NNW 19:22:04 14° NNE 19:23:52 10° NE visible
17 Oct -0.4 20:56:02 10° NW 20:56:44 15° NW 20:56:44 15° NW visible

Solar Obeserving (weather permitting)  at tba p.m.  SAFELY View the Sun early with our 4″ Lunt Solar Telescope. Planetarium Shows (rain or shine) beginning at 7:00 p.m. Planetarium Schedule: 7:00 PM: Sky Show, 8:00 PM: Program TBA  9:00 PM: Sky Show, 10:00 PM: Program TBA   Celestial Observing (weather permitting) beginning at Dusk. See wonders of the night sky through our 24 inch Ritchey-Chretien Reflector and 10 inch Refractor telescopes. Observe Double-stars, planetary nebulae, astonishing star clusters, distant galaxies. The Planets Saturn and its rings, Jupiter and its Galilean moons, Venus and more starting at dusk (sky conditions permitting! ).  Mingo Creek Park Observatory is Open Rain or shine, cloudy or clear!

Call Mingo at 724-348-6150.

GPS coordinates are Lat 40*:12′:42″ Long 80*:01′:14″

Students, scouts, youth groups, adults, and children accompanied by adults are welcome. If you know others who would be interested in receiving these notices, please register for the Mingo Email Blast.*

* Mingo Observatory Email Blast

Would you like to receive occasional emails about Mingo Observatory Star Parties and Observing Events?  Be sure to sign up at the Mingo Observatory Reception Desk or contact  MingoAssocDirector2@3ap.org.

Mingo Creek Park Observatory is Handicapped Accessible.


Route 88 South of Finleyville Traffic Advisery for September 21 – Late October, 2015

Route 88 south of Finleyville is getting some retaining wall work just north of Ginger Hill Road where lot of folks turn off of Route 88 to get to Mingo Observatory if they are coming from the north on Route 88 and planning to turn onto Ginger Hill Road.
According to Penn DOT Route 88 (Finleyville Road) will be closed between Route 1087 (Ginger Hill Road) and Patterson Road beginning Monday, September 21 and will not reopen until late-October.
Ginger Hill Road runs between the ridge road, Rte. 136 and Route 88. The railroad trestle and Rte. 43 cross Rte. 88 at this intersection. Patterson Road Runs from Rt. 88 to Finleyville-Elrama Road.
 Finley-Elrama Road meets the River Road.  Ginger Hill Road meets Route 88 to the south where of Patterson Road meets Rte. 88.
Coming form the south on Route 88 folks will still be able to turn at Ginger Hill Road and proceed to Mingo as usual.  However, travelers coming from the north on Route 88 will be detoured at Patterson Road before they reach Ginger Hill Road.

Wagman Observatory

225 Kurn Road Tarentum, PA 15084 ~ 724-224-2510 ~ Latitude 40.627 degrees Longitude -79.813 degrees

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.  Nearly 62,000 people have visited the observatory since its opening in 1987. Come and see what they’ve discovered and you’ve been missing.  This event is scheduled for Saturday, October 17  starting about tba PM EDT. The Wagman Star Parties will be held WEATHER PERMITTING. The public should call 724-224-2510 for more information.    

Admission is free, though we gladly accept donations to cover the cost of operation. To reach Wagman Observatory, follow the Orange Belt (accessible from Routes 8 and 28) to Deer Lakes Park, near Russellton. Follow the road through the Park for 1.2 miles and turn left on to the Observatory grounds. Please use parking lights only when you drive through the gate.

For additional directions or to check on the weather conditions, please call the observatory at 724-224-2510. If you get our voice mail or a busy signal, keep trying. We receive many calls for information just before and during the star parties._Wagman_Sched_2015

Wagman Observatory ISS Passes: http://www.heavens-above.com/PassSummary.aspx?satid=25544&lat=40.626&lng=-79.82925&loc=Nicholas+E.+Wagman+Observatory&alt=100&tz=EST&cul=en

Click on the date to get a star chart and other pass details.

Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
17 Oct -1.1 19:20:09 10° NNW 19:22:05 15° NNE 19:24:03 10° NE visible
17 Oct -0.5 20:56:00 10° NW 20:56:44 16° NW 20:56:44 16° NW visible

Check for updates and see the Guide Star AAAP Newsletter and  AAAP Facebook Page.

Whats’s Up For October Skies?

Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.


Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.
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