The Fish Head Nebula (IC 1795) is an emission nebula in the constellation Cassiopeia the Queen.

GEMINID METEOR SHOWER – Dec 13th -14th 2014

Geminid Meteor Shower  peaks 4AM, Sunday  12/14/2014 making the dates just before and just afterwards good meteor opportunities.  Hours, 9 PM  through 11Pm -1Am,  after radient rises and before Moonrise are prime viewing Fri., Sat., and Sun. ; Moonrise respectively at 11 PM, 12, AM Sun, 1AM Mon., times close approximations.

Public Geminid Meteor Viewing in the Pittsburgh Area is planned at the Jennings Environemntal Education Center, 2951 Prospect Road, Slippery Rock, PA 16057-5023 724-794-6011, Saturday, December 13, 2014, 7 -10 PM. See image of the   Jennings Environemntal Education Center on their Facebook Page .  There is an indoor theater program set for prior to the outdoor Geminid Meteor Viewing.

This is the only public meteor viewing is planned this weekend involving the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.

 Meanwhile, find a dark spot or shield your view from lights, grab a chair, blanket and hot beverage and make your own Gemind Viewing Party.

AAAP President Announces the Winning Entries in the 2014 Brunelle Atrophotography Contest*

*Images available:

If you missed Friday’s meeting, you missed some great photographs in the 2014 Kevin J. Brunelle Astrophotography Contest. Judging from the scores, the 45 members who voted had a difficult time choosing their favorites!

Here are the results. The photos will be published in the December Guide Star, Facebook, and the website.

Atmospheric Category
First Place: Nebular Lightning by Eric Fischer
Second Place: Pegasus #1 with Sundog by Nick Martch< o>
Third Place: Sunset by Devon Yorkshire
Stellar Category:
First Place: Cluster & Galaxy Pairing In Cepheus by Frank Wielgus
Second Place: Rho Ophiuchi Mosaic by Matthew Dieterich
Third Place: Imaging under the Clouded Milky Way by Matthew Dieterich
Lunar / Planetary / Solar Category:
First Place: Saturn & 5 Moons by Chuck Manges
Second Place: Blood Moon by Mark Arelt
Third Place by tie: Jupiter, Io, Ganymede 3-24-14 by Chuck Manges Mars 4-11-14 by Chuck Manges< /span>
Nebula Category:
First Place: Pickering’s Triangle by Frank Wielgus
Second Place: Rosette Nebula by Chuck Manges
Third Place: NGC 6960, Veil Nebula by Chuck Manges
Galaxy Category:
First Place: Draco Galaxy Trio by Frank Wielgus
Second Place: M51 by Frank Wielgus
Third Place: M33-STT by Fred Klein

Thanks to the 17 members who submitted images for the contest: Bill Hayeslip, Chuck Manges, Dave Pensenstadler, Devon Yorkshire, Eric Fischer, Frank Wielgus, Fred Klein, Mark Arelt, Matthew Dieterich, Matthew Jones, Michael Christeson, Michael Markiw III, Mike Christeson, Mike Miller,Nate Brandt, Nick Martch, Rich McLaughlin
Special thanks to Chris Mullin, Dave Conte, and Mary DeVaughn for helping to count the votes.


John Holtz
President Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh

To be updated when photos become avaiable. Meanwhile, the KJB 2013 Winners are here:


APOD November 6, 2014 by AAAP Member Bill Snyder

Cave Nebula – APOD of  November 6, 2014  by AAAP Member Bill Snyder

The Cave Nebula Sh2-155 or Caldwell 9,  is in the constellation Cepheus. It is approximately 2400 light years away, and 35 light years across. It is a dim, and diffuse bright nebula, within a larger nebula complex containing reflection, emission,  and dark nebulosity. This rendering is a narrowband image containing 15.5 hrs of Ha OIII SII and also Luminance added in the amount of 6.5 hrs. Total exposure time 22hrs .

Congratulations to AAAP Member Bill Snyder on his glorious astrophotpgraph of the Cave Nebula, the NASA APOD of November 6, 2014!

This Bill’s  8th APOD.

NASA  APOD November 6, 2014 Cave Nebula

Link to Cave Nebula on Bill’s Website:    Cave Nebula by Bill Snyder APOD November 6, 2014

Please scroll through earlier posts for more on Bill’s Astrophotography accomplishments and check back here  for updates on this post and at AAAP’s Facebook page.



Enjoy rare opportunity to view Late Autumn sky with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh at the Mingo Observatory Bundle Up Starfest, Saturday, November 29,2014. Please check back for updates.

MINGO BUNDLE UP STAR FEST – STAR PARTY November 29, 2014 See stars,galaxies, nebula, planets, Moon, meteors,and more, up close through our 10″ and 24″ fixed telescopes and members telescopes on the hill. Haddad Planetarium offers lectures, movies, sky shows. 6:00 PM – 11:00 PM End time depending on conditions.  Address: Mingo Observatory, 1 Shelter 10 Road, Nottingham Township, PA 15301 40.2110 N, 80.0190 W Donations Accepted  For more information and group pre-registration, 724-384-6150 or

Mingo Observatory will open at 5PM, previously set at 6 PM, conditions permitting, and will feature a full evening of offerings at the Richard Y. Haddad Planetarium regardless of the sky conditons as long as the road, temperatures, conditons permit. The telescopes will operate if the conditons ( no precipitaton, 50% clear, above 20 degrees F, etc.) allow.  There will be skyshows  5:45Pm and following the Chilean Astronomy Program. An astronomy related movie will be offered following the sky shows.

6:30 PM “The Chilean Astronomy Connection”
Featured Lecture
 George Guzik shares his experiences in Chile, introducing Chile’s important role in the science of astronomy and highlighting several observatories in northern Chile, with the use of slides and video.
Additional video presentations will follow the lecture:
1.“In Search of Our Cosmic Origins” (16:34)
2.“ESOcast 51: All Systems Go for the Highest-altitude Supercomputer” (6:10)
3. “ESOcast 56: Gentle Giants in the Desert” (7:16)
4. “ESOcast 69: Revolutionary ALMA Image Reveals Planetary Genesis” (5:25)
5. “ESOcast 53: Chile Chill 3” (6:21)
6. “ESOcast 66: Groundbreaking Event for the E-ELT” (5:
Checkback for updates.
Links on Chilean Astronomy:


What About the “Star of Bethlehem?”Ever wonder about that amazing light in the sky a little more than 2,ooo years ago? Would you like to hear from the amateur astronomers, their interpretation of astronomical evidence of  the Star of Bethlehem?” Make time in Thanksgiving Weekend, amid the kick-off ot the Holiday Season shopping to take in this free and open to the public, donations accepted, entertaining and educational event.
7 PM Moon and Mars  above Southern Horizon, Stellarium Simulation

November 29, 2014, 6 PM* Moon and Mars above Southern Horizon, Stellarium Simulation

* Note the read out in the image is for 7PM, but that was made prior to the end of DST. 7PM DST is the same as 6PM EST.

Rise & Set Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Old Farmers Almanac

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Body Dawn Breaks Rises Sets Dark Descends Day Length
Sun 5:46 A.M. 7:22 A.M. 4:54 P.M. 6:31 P.M. 09:31
Moon 12:49 P.M. 11:43 P.M.
Mercury 6:59 A.M. 4:36 P.M.
Venus 8:07 A.M. 5:25 P.M.
Mars 10:57 A.M. 8:20 P.M.
Jupiter 10:34 P.M. 12:21 P.M.
Saturn 6:28 A.M. 4:27 P.M.
Uranus 2:16 P.M. 2:54 A.M.
Neptune 12:47 P.M. 11:43 P.M.
Pluto 9:50 A.M. 7:29 P.M.

All times are Eastern Standard Time at sea level.

“Dawn Breaks” and “Darkness Descends” values are based on astronomical twilight (not civil twilight).