Upcoming AAAP Star Parties – September 10th & 24th at Wagman Observatory – September 23rd & 24th at Mingo Observatory

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh opens its observatories to the public on the following dates and locations: Wagman Observatory on September 10th & 24th (both Saturdays) and Mingo Observatory on September 23rd (Friday) & 24th (Saturday). No reservations. No charge. No limit to group size. Just show up. Our star parties feature a rich array of celestial delights. Experience the AAAP telescopes and those of our members as they reveal our solar system and more distant objects, including galaxies and nebula.

More information: Mingo Star Parties Guide
http://wp.3ap.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mingo-Star-Party-Schedule-2016.pdf

More information: Wagman Star Parties Guide
http://wp.3ap.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Wagman_Sched_2016.pdf

Although admission is free, we gladly accept donations at the observatory entrance desks to cover the cost of operation. 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. Read more

AAAP August 12 & 13 Star Parties at Wagman and Mingo Observatories

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh opens both the Mingo Observatory and the Wagman Observatory to the public on Friday, August 12th and Saturday, August 13th, 2016. No reservations. No charge. No limit to group size. Just show up. Our star parties feature a rich array of celestial delights. Experience the AAAP telescopes and those of our members as they reveal our solar system and more distant objects, including galaxies and nebula.

More information: Mingo Star Parties Guide
http://wp.3ap.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mingo-Star-Party-Schedule-2016.pdf

More information: Wagman Star Parties Guide
http://wp.3ap.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Wagman_Sched_2016.pdf

Although admission is free, we gladly accept donations at the observatory entrance desks to cover the cost of operation. 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. Read more

AAAP July 8 & 9 Star Parties at Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatory

Pittsburgh Area Sky, 10 PM, July 9, 2016 Looking South

Pittsburgh Area Sky, 10 PM, July 9, 2016 Looking South.  Image Credit:Screen Capture Stellarium.org

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. Read more

AAAP July 8th & 9th Star Parties at Mingo Observatory and Wagman Observatory

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh opens both the Mingo Observatory and the Wagman Observatory to the public on Friday, July 8th and Saturday, July 9th, 2016. No reservations. No charge. No limit to group size. Just show up. Our star parties feature a rich array of celestial delights. Experience the AAAP telescopes and those of our members as they reveal our solar system and more distant objects, including galaxies and nebula.

More information: Mingo Star Parties Guide
http://wp.3ap.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Mingo-Star-Party-Schedule-2016.pdf

More information: Wagman Star Parties Guide
http://wp.3ap.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Wagman_Sched_2016.pdf

Although admission is free, we gladly accept donations at the observatory entrance desks to cover the cost of operation. 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.

Read more

AAAP June 10 & 11 Star Parties at Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatory

Stellarium06112016E930PM

Pittsburgh Sky, East, 9:30 PM. June 11, 2016 from Stellarium.org Screen Capture.

AAAP Star Parties at both Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatory, Friday and Saturday, June 10 and 11, 2016 will feature a rich array of celestial delights. Bright Jupiter trails close to the First Quarter Moon. Ringed Planet, Saturn follows not far from the Red Planet, Mars. Mars, not long from its May 30 close approach is still prime for viewing . Saturn, too near its June 2-3, 2016 opposition, is prime for its best viewing of the year. Jupiter is up all evening too, along with all four of its moons. Planet Venus, too graces the sky until just before 9 PM. It only begins with the Moon and these four bright planets. Experience the AAAP telescopes and those of our members as they reveal our solar system and more distant objects, including galaxies and nebula. See the sparkling  Great Cluster, M13, in the constellation Hercules and other delights. Look forward to the likelihood of meteor sighting, too. The star parties are free and open to the public.

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Mars At Closest Proximity To Earth In 11 Years

Image of Mars in the night sky in May 2016. source:http://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/nightsky/mars-close-approach/

Image of Mars in the night sky in May 2016. source:http://mars.nasa.gov/allaboutmars/nightsky/mars-close-approach/

From May 18 to June 3, 2016 Mars will be at its brightest.  Just go outside and look up (SE) for a bright “orange star” that does not flicker. That will be the “red” planet Mars.

It takes the planet Mars about two Earth years minus 50 days to make its trip about the Sun. Mars appears brightest * in our Earth sky when Earth is in the line between Mars and the Sun.  This happens about every other Earth year. Those other years Mars appears dimmer in our sky because at those times Mars and Earth are on opposite sides of the Sun. Some opposition years find Mars and Earth not only on the same side of the Sun, but also in closer proximity. 2016 is one of those years. Enjoy the view!

This year to the unaided eye Mars looks brigher and through a telescope Mars looks larger. Enjoy close-up views of the planet Mars and other wonders of the night sky at the June 10 and 11 Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh Star Parties scheduled at the Wagman Observatory and at the Mingo Observatory.

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