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.
8:30 – 9:30 PM, Saturday, March 28, 2018 is Earth Hour.
The Earth Hour website: “Starting as a symbolic lights out event in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour is now the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment, inspiring millions of people to take action for our planet and nature.”
As amateur astronomers we are particularly aware of distracting lighting and loss of the night in our Greater Pittsburgh Area over increasingly short periods of years. Night is needed not only to see the stars but also for the biology of humans and other living things. Over-bright lights and unshielded poorly aimed light is not only wasteful energy inefficiency but is also not doing what it is meant to accomplish. Let Earth Hour with its basis in grassroots, remind us of ways to make a difference even at the home – neighborhood by effecting good lighting that recognizes glare, light trespass, shielding, color temperature of LED lighting, etc. and to ask community leaders and officials to do the same.
The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh often talks about lighting at our outreach events and shares many members with the Pittsburgh Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association.