See large clusters of stars, beautiful colored double stars, visit the craters of the moon and view the planets Uranus and Neptune. It’s all part of the show during Mid-Autumn November Star Party sponsored by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. It’s the last scheduled public event for 2014 at Wagman Observatory.
Wagman Star Party starts Saturday, November 1 at 6:20 PM, EDT at Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory, Deer Lakes Regional Park, Frazer Township, Pa., near the village of Russellton in northeastern Allegheny County and some 18 miles from Pittsburgh.
This is an opportunity for amateur astronomers, students and the general public to observe the wonders autumn skies including the Moon one day after First Quarter, The Great Hercules Star Cluster, the Andromeda Galaxy and Double Cluster in Perseus in the telescopes at the Observatory. Did you get a new 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 Parties will be held WEATHER PERMITTING. The public should call 724-224-2510 for more information.

The Public is Invited to the AAAP November Meeting.

The AAAP November meeting feature presentation is the ever popular Kevin Brunelle Astrophotography Contest. Join us to vote on your favorite astrophoto submitted by members. Plus, discussion of the past month’s observations, upcoming events, recent astro-photos (those not submitted to the contest, that is), and more! The public is welcome. The November 14,2014 will be held at Allegheny Observatory,  159 Riverview Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15214 .


Brunelle Photo Contest Deadline Less Than A

Month Away (Article from October Guide Star)

If (as your Editor hopes) you have been reading the Guide Star front-toback,

you must have noticed the many fine celestial images submitted by

our members. Some of these, and others you have not seen, may be

shown at the club’s November 14 meeting at Allegheny Observatory,

where we will be holding the annual Kevin J. Brunelle Astrophotography

contest. It’s time for you to select your contest-winning favorites. Here

are the details:

Contest Categories for 2014 are as follows:

  • Atmospheric
  • Galaxies
  • Nebula
  • Stellar (Clusters, Constellations, Doubles, Star Trails, Etc.)
  • Lunar/Planetary/Solar

If you have a question on the suitability of an image for a particular

category please contact President John Holtz. Images containing more

than one image type (i.e. galaxy with an open cluster pairing) are up to the

photographer to decide which category is most appropriate. Contest rules

are as follows:

  1. The contest is open to all active AAAP Members.
  2. All images entered should concern areas of interest to the AAAP.
  3. Remote imaging is allowed provided the equipment is owned and set

up by the astrophotographer contestant.

  1. The image must be the sole work of the contestant and may not be a

collaborative work.

  1. All images submitted must have been captured after the deadline for

the November, 2013 KJB Contest and must be submitted on or before

the deadline of November 1, 2014.

  1. No more than 5 entries per category per person (25 images maximum

per contestant)

We also ask that contestants please hold back on posting any images to

the Yahoo Group or bringing attention to any images that will be entered in

the contest for a period of two months leading up to the contest.

Directions for submission are as follows:

Please submit images to on or before

November 1. Compressed image file formats like jpeg are preferred, but

all formats will be accepted. Please break up your submissions into

several emails to decrease your chances of a single large email not going

through. Please include with each image (either in the email or as the file

name) what you would like the image to be called and in what category

you would like to submit it in. A CD or USB thumb drive can also be

mailed to:

John Holtz

KJB Photography Contest

328 Carnegie Place, Pittsburgh, PA 15208

Please be sure to postmark by Oct. 31 to ensure delivery by Nov 1, 2014.

  • Prizes: First place winners in all categories will have their images

printed (with your name in the bottom right corner), framed and hung in

both Wagman and Mingo Observatories for one year in recognition of

your photographic accomplishments.

Disclaimer: By entering the Kevin J. Brunelle Photography contest, you

retain the rights to your works while granting the AAAP the right to copy,

distribute, display, and perform your copyrighted work – and derivative

works based upon it – provided AAAP credits the copyright holder.

Examples would include, but are not limited to, public display at AAAP

facilities, public star parties and club meetings, in digital and print media.


The AAAP shared the eclipse at Wagman Observatory and at various locations around the Greater Ptttsburgh Region and beyond.  Member Matt Jones made a time lapse video you may enjoy:



Come out and get to know us at the Mingo Star Party Saturday, October 25, 2014 and the next meeting Friday, November 21, 2014, 7:30 PM at Carnegie Science Center.


Pittsburghers who can find a clear horizon will see a brief view of the Partial Eclipse of the Sun when it begins at 5:47 PM, 249 degrees West, at 6.5 degrees above the horizon when the Moon Shadow touches the Sun’s edge.

Click on the screen captures below: (Stellarum,org)  5:52 PM looking west with Sun at  6.04 degrees elevation and a graphic ( of eclipse progress at 5:52 PM. It may take moments after clicking for the images to focus and the text to be readable.

Follow AAAP and Like AAAP on Facebook for more updates and possible viewing suggestions. Remember NEVER look directly at the Sun, serious permanent eye damage could result.

Wagman Observatory has a good western horizon and is planning to open at 5:30 PM. Call Wagman Observatory for more details. (Wagman Observatory: Address: 225 Kurn Rd, Tarentum, PA 15084 Phone:(724) 224-2510)

AAAP members may come forward with additonal opportunities for safe viewing.

View this AAAP Facebook post and watch this exciting and educational NASA Solar  Eclipse viewing video: (It may take 30-60 seconds for the image of the post to load.)

There are many sources to find the eclipse information specific to your location, including CalSky: ,, the US Naval Observatory , etc.


MingoOctober23,2014W5,52PMgraphicStellariumOct23 552

Celebrate the sky with the AAAP at the Mingo Observatory’s last regular star party of 2014, 6:30 PM, Saturday, October 25, 2014.

More information, times and directions:

Looking Southwest just before Sunset, Mars, Moon, Saturn and Sun in that order from left to right. After the Sun sets, followed by the Moon setting Asteroids Ceres and Vesta appear as the sky darkens. Ceres, closer to the Moon, leaves Vesta (Magnitude 7.27) the better target of the two.  That is only the beginning of the night’s sky offerings. Marvel at the wonders of the universe using the telescopes inside AAAP’s Mingo Observatory and the member telescopes stationed outside. See the screenshots of sky simulation. Planetarium programs include sky shows and lecture on spectroscopy in astronomy.

Stellarium Oct26 7,30PM.



Click on the links for specific star party information including driving directions.


For what is in the sky from

Ir Flares are not predicted to occur during this star party.
ISS – Visible Passes
Search period start: 24 October 2014 00:00
Search period end: 26 October 2014 00:00
Orbit: 413 x 416 km, 51.6° (Epoch: 24 October)
Date Brightness Start Highest point End Pass type
(mag) Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
24 Oct -3.1 19:39:38 10° NW 19:42:56 56° NE 19:44:04 35° E visible
25 Oct -2.4 18:50:34 10° NW 18:53:41 35° NNE 18:56:46 10° E visible
25 Oct -1.4 20:27:23 10° WNW 20:30:14 28° SW 20:30:14 28° SW visible



Mingo Clear Sky Chart.



Old Famers Almanac

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Body Dawn
Rises Sets Dark
Sun 6:11 A.M. 7:42 A.M. 6:25 P.M. 7:56 P.M. 10:42
Moon 9:19 A.M. 7:48 P.M.
Mercury 6:24 A.M. 5:51 P.M.
Venus 7:42 A.M. 6:29 P.M.
Mars 12:31 P.M. 9:32 P.M.
Jupiter 1:37 A.M. 3:30 P.M.
Saturn 9:25 A.M. 7:32 P.M.
Uranus 5:36 P.M. 6:16 A.M.
Neptune 4:05 P.M. 3:01 A.M.
Pluto 1:04 P.M. 10:43 P.M.

All times are Eastern Daylight Time at sea level.

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


We are watching some rather large sunspots.  Check back for information on possible sunspot viewing at the 10/25 Mingo Star Party.  Meanwhile, please enjoy this post shared by Pittsburgh Space Weather.  It features sunspot(s) photograph by AAAP’s Matt Jones:

As skies darken bright planets Mars and Saturn appear. After the Sun sets see the dark sky yield views of “hard to spot” objects, followed by the stunning sight of Moonrise. AAAP opens both Wagman and Mingo Observatories to the public Saturday October 11, 2014 for  Moonrise Star Parties. .Observe the autumn skies and watch the Gibbous Moon rise at 9:14 PM, EDT. Marvel at the wonders of the universe using the telescopes inside AAAP observatories and the member telescopes stationed outside. See the two screenshots of sky simulations. The first is a 7:30 PM and the second, showing the Gibbous Moon is at 10 PM.

October 11, 2014, SW at 7:30 PM, bright planets Saturn and Mars above the horizon.

October 11, 2014, SW at 7:30 PM, bright planets Saturn and Mars above the horizon.

October 11, 2014,, NE at 10 PM, 45 minutes after Moonrise, See bright starts Aldebaron and Capella,




Click on the links for specific star party information including driving directions and on the  images above for Stelarium simulations of the sky: 1. SW at 7:30 PM, bright planets Saturn and Mars above the horizon. 2. NE at 10 PM, 45 minutes after Moonrise, See bright starts Aldebaron and Capella,

AAAP star parties at both Wagman Observatory and at Mingo Observatory on Satuday September 27,2014. Public is invited.

StellariumSWSept27at8PM screen capture, looking SW at 8PM: Bright star Antares, Mars, Saturn and the Moon form an interesting grouping. Above and to the right Antares shines.

More AAAP September 27, 2014 Star Party information:
Wagman Observatory
Mingo Observatory


Bill Snyder’s astrophotograph of the Horsehead Nebula (IC 434) is the First Place Winner in the Deep Space Category at the 2014 International Astrophotographer of the Year Contest sponsored by the Royal Museums Greenwich. Bill has received many accolades for his astrophotography, including seven APOD (Astronomy Picture of the Day) wins. Bill’s astrophotographs can be viewed and purchased at his website and at shows across the East Coast and Eastern Mid-West. Congratulations to Bill Snyder, from the AAAP!

Timeline of the Universe
Mingo Observatory Lecture: The Big Bang and Then Some – a Layman’s Perspective
Learn about how everything we now enjoy in the night sky got started.
Open Rain or shine, cloudy or clear. No reservation needed.
Four Tuesdays, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM, September 9th, 16th, 23rd, and 30th.
Observing afterwards, conditions permitting.
Mingo Clear Sky Chart