Astronomy Lecture: From John Brashear to 21st Century Optics and Telescopes, by Blaise Canzian, Ph. D., 7:30 PM May 12, 2017, Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA

From John Brashear to 21st Century Optics and Telescopes, by Blaise Canzian, Ph. D.

The public is invited to the Amateur Astronomer’s Association of Pittsburgh’s Monthly Meeting Lecture, Friday, May 12, 2017, 7:30 PM, at the Science Stage of the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Telescopes have evolved both in technology and mission since the early days of John Brashear’s company. Today’s telescopes are tasked with satellite laser ranging, laser satellite communication, challenging astronomical research, and satellite imaging. Complex engineering combined with new technological advancements in optic fabrication have expanded our space situational awareness and enable astronomers to explore the universe like never before.

Dr. Blaise Canzian, Ph. D.  has a B.A. in Physics from Cornell University and Ph.D. in Astronomy from the California Institute of Technology. He is currently the systems engineer group manager for L3 Brashear and has Read more

Mingo Observatory Star Parties April 21 & 22, 2017

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh invites you to a Star Party at Mingo Creek Park Observatory Located in Mingo Creek Park, Mansion Hill Extension, past Shelter 10 in Washington County, PA. Phone #: 724-348-6150

Dates:  Friday and Saturday, April 21 & 22
Times:  Safe solar observing; 6:30 PM – Night sky observing; approximately 8:30 PM (Weather Permitting for observing).

Planetarium Presentations will occur rain or shine starting at 7:30 PM.

Come and learn about the Mingo Creek Park Observatory, the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh and astronomy in general. The evening events consist of the following:

* There will be safe observing of the Sun beginning approximately two hours before sunset through the 4” Lunt Hydrogen Alpha telescope.

* After dusk using both the 10” D & G Refractor and the 24” Optical Guidance Systems Reflector telescopes, observe the wonders of the April night sky. Some objects observed may include views of Jupiter and its moons, Mars and the craters of the Moon. Many deep sky objects may also be observed such as the Ring Nebula and other nebulae, clusters and double stars.

* Presentations about current events in astronomy and the Mingo Creek Park night sky will take place in the Richard Y. Haddad Planetarium at various times throughout the night. This month Fred Klein, AAAP member and astro-photographer, will be giving his presentation “What YOU can see of the Solar System”.

The Mingo Creek Park Observatory is handicap accessible. There is no charge for your visit, but we gladly accept donations to cover operating expenses. There is no reservation needed and there is no limit on group sizes.

NOTE: Mingo Creek Park Observatory and its grounds, as a part of Mingo Creek County Park, are a no smoking and no alcohol permitted area.

Mingo Creek Park Observatory is operated by an all-volunteer staff of members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.
Becky Nichols
Mingo Creek Park Observatory

April 7, 2017 AAAP Meeting: Hunting for Powerful Monsters, Super Massive Black Holes in Distant Galaxies by Chien-Ting Chen,Phd Astrophysicist, Penn State University

Galaxies are the building blocks that astronomers use to understand the evolution of the observable universe. During the past two decades, the most profound discovery in the cosmic evolution of galaxies is that in the center of almost every large galaxy there is a black hole with a mass range from tens of thousands to billions of times of the mass of the Sun. 

Our speaker Chen-Ting Chen,* Postdoctoral Scholar in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Pennsylvania State University  will discuss how we find these supermassive black holes, and how their  “fiery breath” affects the evolution of their host galaxies that are usually billion of times larger in physical size. Click the image above for more about our speaker.

This lecture, “Hunting for Powerful Monsters, Super Massive Black Holes in Distant Galaxies,”  by Chien-Ting Chen, Phd,  Astrophysicist, Penn State University  is part of the monthly meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Assocition of Pittsburgh on the Science Stage,  Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA.

Lecture begins following the meeting opening at 7:30. As part of the meeting opening there will be a brief presentation by Mars,PA‘s, Mayor Gregg Hartung and Mars New Year Spokesperson Missy Graylish. Our visitors from Mars will reveal the spectacular plans for this biennial May 4-6, 2017 event with three days of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) activities. Click image below for Butler County Tourism promotional video about the Mars New Year Celebration.

Mayor of Mars Greg Hartung and Missy Graylish Mars New Year Spokesperson.

A break follows lecture. AAAP April meeting resumes after break with a review of the current and upcoming club activities including the nomination of officers and astronomical events.

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. 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.


Chien-Ting Chen is currently a postdoc working with Professor Niel Brandt in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Pennsylvania State University. He is also a member of the extragalactic survey and the obscured AGN science groups of ex the recently launched NuSTAR space telescope. NUSTAR was recently in the news (March 27)  for a puzzling galaxy merger.

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



March 25 & 26, 2017, Astronomy Weekend at Carnegie Science Center

Space Out Astronomy Weekend at Carnegie Science Center is Saturday and Sunday, March 25 and 26, 2017
Guests to the Science Center will enjoy the extras of Astronomy Weekend with the regular price of admission. Look for the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh Volunteers in the First Floor Lobby Area and if weather is favorable, outside with telescopes and binoculars as wells as with telescopes on the ramp to the 2nd floor (indoors).
“Activities include special presentations in the Buhl Planetarium and the chance to SAFELY observe the sun. Other displays, activities, and exhibitors include: Astronomy displays and literature, NASA’s Night Sky Network, Hands on Moon Rocks and Meteorites. Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory, Mingo Creek Park Observatory, Amateur Telescope Making, Scopes and Photos, Digital Cameras and Video Astronomy, Computer Controlled Telescopes, Solar System Displays, Astronomy Sketching, National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank WVA, Make a comet, Make Mars soil, Make a sundial, Make a star clocks.”  From:
Members of the AAAP who want to volunteer can just show up.  Admission and Parking Fees will be waived. The Science Center will provide tables and chairs.  Please bring materials you will want to share with guests. There are many members who volunteer for this year after year. It is a fun event and new participants are welcome. If you have questions just ask an officer for more information. Ed will be there early as 8 or 8:30 AM on Saturday for set up.  The guests arrive 10 AM both Saturday and Sunday.  We stay to 5 PM on Saturday and to 4 PM on Sunday. Event closes at 7 PM and 5 PM respectively. The Lobby configuration is markedly changed since the CSC renovation.  Some of the telescopes will be set up on the ramp.  The main AAAP installation will be in the usual location. If it is warm enough telescopes and binoculars may be set up outside, too. It is also a good chance to get together with other members. Looking forward to seeing you there! Return here and to the AAAP Facebook Page for updates.