Wagman Observatory Star Parties – March 31 and April 1, 2017

Saturday’s Star Party was shortened due to clouds.

 Friday’s Star Party is cancelled due to inclement weather

Early Spring Sky at March 31 and April 1, 2017 Wagman Star Parties sparkles with wide array of bright stars, bright planets Jupiter and Mars and the Waxing Crescent Moon 15% and 25% illumination respectively.


Wagman Observatory opens AAAP’s 2017 Observatory Star Party Season (See Full Schedule Below) this Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1.

The public is invited to see a region of space where galaxies are found in clusters, be dazzled by one of the largest birth places of stars, visit the craters of the moon and view two planets in the evening sky.   It’s all part of the show during the first Spring Star Parties sponsored by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.

This time of year 10 first-magnitude stars are in the evening sky at once. No other season, even winter, can offer so many.

Wagman Observatory Star Parties start 7:40 PM EDT Friday and Saturday, March 31 and April 1 at 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.  There is no charge, although your donation is gladly accepted to continue outreach events.

This is an opportunity for amateur astronomers, students and the general public to observe the wonders of the spring sky and say good-bye to some of the Winter Constellations. Visitors will have an opportunity to observe the Moon several nights before First Quarter, and the planets, Mercury and Jupiter.

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? Wagman Observatory is the place to start. We’ll have free handouts, guides and booklets to point visitors in the right direction.

The Star Party will be held WEATHER PERMITTING. The public should call 724-224-2510 for more information.


2017 AAAP Observatory Star Party Schedules and Star Party Dates

Wagman Observatory Schedule Brochure Download  Mar 31; Apr 1; May 5 & 6; Jun 2 & 3; Jun 30; Jul 1, 28, & 29; Aug 25 & 26; Sep 9 & 23; Oct 7 & 28; Nov4

Mingo Creek Park ObservatorySchedule Brochure Download:   Apr 21 & 22; May 19 & 20; Jun 23 & 24; Jul 14 & 15; Aug 11 & 12; Sep 15 & 16; Oct 14 & 28; Nov 11



AAAP March 10 Meeting and Speaker Presentation: High-Energy Astrophysics: the Fascinating World of Supernova Explosions and Pulsars, Presenter: Harsha Blumer, PhD

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will meet 7:30 PM, Friday, March 10, 2017, Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The Lecture Presentation begins at 7:30 PM:

High-Energy Astrophysics: the Fascinating World of Supernova Explosions and Pulsars.

Presenter: Harsha Blumer, PhD, Post-doctoral researcher, West Virginia University , Morgantown, WVA and Geeenbank Observatory. Lecture will be held on the Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA at 7:30 PM, Friday March 10, 2017.

Abstract of Talk

An observer looking at the night sky sees a peaceful, never changing universe. However, there exists a violent and highly energetic universe concealed by this serene starlit sky. A universe that is filled with catastrophic blasts from the death of massive stars or supernova explosions, which are nature’s spectacular fireworks, to the birth of exotic stars such as the neutron stars (incredibly dense stellar objects as big as the city of Pittsburgh, but with a teaspoonful of neutron star material weighing about billion tons), or the magnetars – the most magnetic stars with a magnetic field of about a hundred trillion fridge magnets. The launch of high-resolution X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes in the last decade has offered new perspectives on our understanding of these sources and the prospects for continued discoveries are very promising. I will talk about these exotic stars that provide us with a unique opportunity to explore the behavior of matter and energy under the influence of its most extreme environments and magnetic fields, impossible to be reproduced on earth.

Harsha Blumer, Phd.

Harsha Blumer is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the West Virginia University. She has a Master of Science degree in Physics from the Mahatma Gandhi University and a Master of Technology degree in Space and Atmospheric Sciences from the Center for Space Science and Technology Education, affiliated with the United Nations. About 10 years ago, she moved to Canada where she did her PhD studies in Astrophysics and worked as a Postdoc at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. She has been recognized with numerous awards and honours during her academic career, including the Governor General Academic Gold Medal in 2014 which is the most prestigious award given to a doctoral student in Canada. Her research is focused on studying the aftermath of supernova explosions of stars, pulsars, and magnetars. At WVU, she is also the Project Director for the Pulsar Search Collaboratory program, a joint project between the Green Bank Observatory, West Virginia University, and 13 other institutions throughout the United States, aimed at involving high-school students and teachers in pulsar searching to give them real research experience with the Green Bank Telescope.

After an intermission the March business meeting follows. The agenda will include overview of current and upcoming club activities and astronomical events.  Parking is $5 payable at the parking kiosk in the lobby. The upcoming program of 2016-17 Meeting Speakers may be downloaded here. Please see the AAAP Guide Star Newsletter and the AAAP Facebook Page for additional information.


AAAP Meeting, 7:30 PM, Friday, February 10, 2017, Carnegie Science Center

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will meet 7:30 PM,  Friday, February 10, 2017 at the Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.  The meeting is free and open to the public. The featured presentation for February, the annual planetarium show will be provided by the Carnegie Science Center Staff.  Members and guests should convene on the second floor (ramp or elevator available) at the Buhl Planetarium where we will start with the planetarium show presentation at 7:30 PM. At the time of the show, the room darkens and entrance door closes until the show ends.  Please arrive before the doors close.  The show will last about 30 minutes. After a short recess the business meeting will begin. We distribute the Night Sky Network Outreach Award Pins at this meeting.  NSN Pins are awarded to members participating in 5 or more NSN eligible outreach events and feature an astronomy event of the coming year.  This year’s pin commemorates the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse. There is a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse from 5:34 – 9:53 PM, coinciding with the February 10 meeting.  Some AAAP members with binoculars and perhaps dobs, weather-permitting will be available at the entrance to provide a detailed view of the Moon in Penumbral Eclipse. If the skies are clear, plan to arrive in time to get a closer look at this phenomenon prior to the meeting start. The agenda will include overview of current and upcoming club activities and astronomical events.  Parking is $5 payable at the parking kiosk in the lobby. The upcoming program of 2016-17 Meeting Speakers may be downloaded here. Please see the AAAP Guide Star Newsletter and the AAAP Facebook Page for additional information.

Fri, Feb 10, 2017, 5:34 -9:53 pm, Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Friday , February  10, 2017, start 5:34 pm, maximum 7:43 pm, end 9:53 pm, a Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon (Lunar Eclipse) will be visible in the Pittsburgh Area, weather permitting. Some individuals will recognize the diffuse shadow moving across the Moon. To others, it may look like an ordinary Full Moon.  With a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse there is no distinct missing “bite” visible as there is at the beginnings of Partial and Total Lunar Eclipses. AAAP will offer 7PM binocular viewing and telescope viewing weather-permitting to attendees prior to that evening’s 7:30 PM February Meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. 7 PM the Moon will be at 32 degrees elevation and this time observant people will notice a dark shading on the moon’s face.  Wherever you may happen to be in the Pittsburgh Area on Friday February 10, 2017 with your unaided eyes you should be able to observe this event. Binoculars should heighten the view. Click image below for more Penumbral Lunar Eclipse information.

February 10, 2017 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, Pittsburgh,PA at Maximum, 7:43 PM

Protocol for Possible Problem with Wagman Observatory Telephone Voicemail

In event of malfunction of Wagman Observatory telephone (724-224-2510) voicemail please email WagmanDirector@3ap.org . Thank you for your patience while the telephone malfunctioning is addressed.


Light Up the Sky with Stars Lecture with AAAP Member Diane Turnshek

How far do you have to travel to see the stars clearly? Join lecturer, author, and astronomer Diane Turnshek as she discusses how light pollution not only prevents us from living under a sky bright with stars, but also negatively impacts human health and the environment. Turnshek will examine how innovative science and technology can reverse this steady creep of sky glow, allowing us to view the same star-filled sky that all past generations did.

Time: Doors open at 6 pm, and the program is 7-9 pm.
Location: Carnegie Science Center
Admission: FREE!

Presenter's Photo

Diane Turnshek is a lecturer in the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of the AAAP. She has published hard science fiction with a focus on space colonization and first contact. Her love of both astronomy and science fiction led her to crew the Mars Desert Research Station near Bryce Canyon, Utah in 2012, where she turned her attention to dark sky advocacy. Her fight against light pollution has taken many forms, including giving a TEDxPittsburgh talk. Turnshek is also a 2015 Dark Sky Defender award recipient, recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association for her contribution to light pollution mitigation.

More Info: http://www.carnegiesciencecenter.org/programs/adult-programs-cafe-sci/