Note: Both Wagman and Mingo Star Parties are on for Friday evening. If the weather would turn less favorable, perhaps call ahead if you have a long drive. Saturday’s weather should be somewhat better than today’s.
AAAP Star Parties at both Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatory, Friday and Saturday, July 8 and 9, 2016 will feature a choice array of planets, bright stars and deep sky objects. Planet Jupiter in the news this week as the JUNO spacecraft orbits the giant planet. Take a look at Jupiter and its moons through telescopes at AAAP July star parties. Facing South around 10 PM not long after darkness has fallen look left for bright star Altair in constellation Aquila, the Eagle. Almost due South see close grouping of planet Saturn, just below to the right, with bright star Antares, the red heart of the Scorpion. To the right again, level with Saturn see planet Mars. Then more to your right in the West, see the Moon a few days before First Quarter and then the bright planet Jupiter. In addition to these and many more unaided eye observations, through the AAAP observatory telescopes and members telescopes see close up views of the planets, stars and deep sky objects. “See a region of space where stars are being born, catch a dazzling views of the ringed planet, visit the craters of the moon and marvel at our Milky Way Galaxy’s finest clusters and nebulae.” (as per T.R.)
The star parties which are weather permitting are free and open to the public. Times are approximate: Mingo Observatory, safe solar observing, 6:30 PM; night sky observing, 9 PM. Wagman Observatory, 8:50 PM.
For additional information on Wagman Star Parties, Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory in Deer Lakes Regional Park, Frazer Township, Pa., near the village of Russellton in northeastern Allegheny County and some 18 miles from Pittsburgh (Download the Wagman Star Party Brochure here ) call 724-224-2510. The Mingo Star Parties, about as far south of the City of Pittsburgh in Mingo Creek County Park, between Fallowfield and Nottingham Townships in Washington County will start earlier and feature safe views of the Sun through the Lunt Solar Telescope prior to viewing the darkening sky into nighttime. Additionally, Mingo offers programming in the Richard Y. Haddad Planetarium, sky shows, displays and lectures, in addition to telescope viewing of the night sky. No reservations. No charge. No limit to group size. Just show up. Please refer to the Mingo 2016 Star Party Schedule. Mingo Observatory information at 724-348-6150.
Although admission is free, we gladly accept donations to cover the cost of operation at the observatory entrance desks. 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.
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.
To reach Mingo Observatory (Pleasesee Mingo Park Map.) follow Route 88 or Route 136 to signs for Mingo Creek County Park. Inside the park find the Henry Covered Bridge. Across the creek road from the Henry Bridge follow the Mansion Hill road Extension up the hill bearing right at the fork , onto Shelter 10 Road until passing Shelter 10. Then entering the expansive clearing, see to the left, the hilltop and the observatory, a cement block building. Please use parking lights only upon entering the clearing. There is limited handicapped parking at the hilltop. Please park along the observatory road.
For additional directions or to check on the weather conditions the day of the events, please check back here or AAAP Facebook, or call the observatories at 724-224-2510 for Wagman or 724-348-6150 for Mingo. 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.
Our next observatory star parties will occur August 12 & 13, 2016 at both Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatory. The August Star Parties coincide with the height of the Perseid Meteor Shower.
For the July Star Parties, the Moon will be a few days before First Quarter.