AAAP 2018 Star Party Season Kicks-Off This Weekend

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh kicks-off its 2018 Star Party Season this weekend with the added “fireworks” of the Lyrid Meteor Shower and the weather looks good to very good all weekend! Wagman Observatory will have a star party on both Friday and Saturday starting at 8:05 PM. Mingo Observatory will open on Saturday at 6:00 PM for Safe Solar Viewing. Also on Saturday during the day, there will be AAAP telescope viewing and astronomy activities at the Westmoreland Earth Day, 1-6 PM, Winnie Palmer Nature Center, Latrobe, PA. On Sunday, AAAP will be at the Mt. Lebanon Earth Day (SUNDAY, 22nd APRIL 2018,11am – 3pm, MT LEBANON PARK, 900 Cedar Blvd, Mt. Lebanon, PA15228) offering telescope safe solar viewing and astronomy activities.  At Laurel Hill State Park the Earth Day Celebration starts early at 9AM, Saturday, at the Visitor Center.

During the daytime events, enjoy safe solar viewing and astronomy activities.  Night sky observing begins at dusk. Look for Lyrid Meteors when the sky darkens. These meteors will be best seen before dawn on Saturday and Sunday mornings. See the planet Venus. View the Waxing Crescent Moon. Catch a last glimpse of the Orion nebula and other wonders of the Spring sky such as the galaxies in the Coma-Virgo Cluster, planetary nebulae and star clusters. These events are free and open to the public. Star party donations are appreciated. Be sure to obtain our 2018 Star Party Schedule, printed copies at our events and downloads on our website.  Contact AAAP via Facebook or our website calendar for more updates and more information.

AAAP Announces 2018 Scholarship in the amount of $1,000.00

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh announces the award of a scholarship in the amount $1,000.00.*

Objective: To promote and encourage the profession of astronomy. Must be enrolled and accepted to study astronomy, physics, or mathematics.

This scholarship is limited to seniors presently enrolled in High Schools located in either Allegheny or Washington Counties of Pennsylvania.

Deadline for submission: Postmarked by April 1, 2018 – Award will be announced and winner notified by May 1, 2018.

*This fund, administered by the AAAP, was initially made possible through the donation of an anonymous benefactor.

Additional information and application form can be found here:

2018 Scholarship



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October 6, 2017 AAAP Meeting: Milky Way Cartography, Loren P. Anderson, Phd. West Virginia University

Galaxy astronomy is a hot topic, as many discoveries are appearing. We anticipate the results of the Event Horizon Telesope, which as early as December may reveal the first image of the Sag A supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. Recently a second supermassive black hole was discovered in the vicinity of the Sag A black hole. Satellite galaxies near our Milky Way may point to our galaxy being an outlier in its type of galaxies. Fast Radio Bursts (FRB’s) continue to be detected begging questions as well as answers to the structure and cartography of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Although we live in the Milky Way Galaxy, we see only a portion of it as the band of starlight across the sky. Our speaker, Loren Anderson, Phd., Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy West Virginia University , using primarily the Green Bank Telescope and the Aricebo Telescope and the Very Large Telescope Array ( Very Large Array, New Mexico ) studies the structure and properties of the Milky Way. He is locating the most massive star formation regions, “HII regions,” throughout the Milky Way disk, and will talk about progress toward a “complete” census of HII regions in our Galaxy, discussing ongoing work to compare the Milky Way with other similar galaxies. His work is part of HRDS: and WISE catalog:

A break follows the lecture. AAAP’s October meeting resumes after break with a review of the current and upcoming club activities including  and astronomical events. The meeting location is the Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Take the front entrance of the Science Center under the portico. Look straight ahead for signs to the Science Stage, to the right.  The lecture and meeting are free and open to the public.

Parking is $5 payable at the parking kiosk in the lobby. There is no charge to attend the meeting or lecture. The public is invited to attend.  Please see the AAAP Guide Star Newsletter and the AAAP Facebook Page for additional information.

Wagman Observatory Saturday, September 23, 2017 Star Party

You are invited to a Star Party at the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh’s  Wagman Observatory, Saturday, September 23, 2017, 7:15 PM

The Saturday, September 23,  Wagman Star Party starting about 7:15 PM EDT  creates an opportunity to view the Moon and the September Sky. Observe theThree Day Old  Moon along with the Hercules Cluster, the Ring Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy  and much more.  Saturn,Uranus and Neptune will be available for observing.

This invitation to amateur astronomers, students and the general public is part of AAAP’s annual series of star parties occurring March – November at the Wagman and Mingo Observatories. These events are family friendly. There is no charge for these events, although donations are appreciated. Read more about Star Parties here.

Regardless of your experience or ability level you will be welcome to join the throng of avid sky watchers. Perhaps you have a telescope and do not know how to use it? Bring it along and members of the AAAP will help! Likewise if you are considering a telescope purchase or the addition of accessories, star charts and books Wagman is a good place to start. Members of the AAAP will help!

The Star Parties will be held WEATHER PERMITTING. The public should call 724-224-2510 for more information. 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. Coordinates: Latitude 40.627 degrees N, Longitude 79.813 degrees W. Map and Directions under the About Tab at and here.

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.  In the observing rooms or near the outside telescopes please avoid use of bright lights: cell phones, white lights or flashlights, glow sticks, etc.  and especially no flash photograph. There is no smoking permitted anywhere on the site. Planning for next year? Wagman Observatory’s 2018 Star Party Dates have been published.

For updates, check back here and AAAP Facebook or phone the observatory, 724-224-2510,  the night of the event. Wagman Observatory Clear Sky Chart.