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AAAP February Meeting, 7:30 PM, Friday, February 12, 2016 features guest speaker Art Glaser from the Heinz History Center to discuss the contents of the Brashear Time Capsule found during the March 17, 2015 demolition of the John A. Brashear Factory  (Perry South neighborhood of PittsburghPennsylvania). The meeting location is Allegheny Observatory, 159 Riverview Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15214, United States. Carpooling is encouraged to economize parking. For more information and updates check back here as the date nears, AAAP Facebook and look forward to the AAAP February Guide Star Newsletter. Read more about John A. Brashear here.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

21+RocketSciencejpg

Meet with AAAP president and interested AAAP members tonight January 15, 2016, 6-10 PM, at 21+Rocket Science at Carnegie Science Center.  Just drop in no reservation needed.  Guests may purchase tickets from the CSC website or at the door.  Guests should see CSC for more info. AAAP members can check with the AAAPgh List and or club officers. AAAP supports CSC and holds many of its monthly meetings at the Science Center. This is a great opportunity to share club and astronomy information with the public and to promote the Carnegie Science Center.

Carnegie Science Center plans an unforgetable evening exploring the Space Race and Rocket Science teaming up with the City Theatre to present present scenes from the world premiere of “Some Brighter Distance,” which explores the true story of Arthur Rudolph, a German rocket scientist who helped American win the space race before being cast out of the country. Preview scenes from the play even before its theatrical debut on Jan. 23. Actors will perform under the stars in the Buhl Planetarium; a planetarium show will follow the performance.

Bring your questions for a Q-and-A session with some of the cast and crew and astronomers to learn about this important time in American history.

All that, plus explosive demonstrations in the Works Theater, design and launch your own straw-rocket, ride on the zero-gravity simulator, build a space shuttle glider and in the Science Stage, watch vintage films depicting what people thought space travel would be like in the future.*

Also, if in town earlier in the day enjoy AAAP Member Bill Snyder’s Astrophotography  Exhibit in the Conney M. Kimbo Gallery at the University of Pittsburgh, there from January  11th to 22, 2016. Hours: Monday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Tuesday–Thursday 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Saturday noon–5 p.m.

 

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Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

To promote, improve and encourage the profession of Astronomy, the AAAP will provide an award in the amount of $1000 for High School Seniors who are presently enrolled in either Allegheny or Washington Counties who are planning to study astronomy, physics or mathematics.  Deadline for submission: April 1, 2016

Additional details and the application packet can be found here.

The Quadrantid Meteor Shower peaks Sunday night into Monday Morning, January 3-4, 2016.  The Waning Crescent Moon should be little interference. Sky shown here is 1:00 AM, Monday January 4, 2016 Quadrantid radiant, is approximately 15 degrees above the horizon (Stellarium screen capture). The Quadrantid radiant is in the corner of a right angle formed by the Big Dipper and bright star Arcturus.  Notice the accompanying meteor showers labeled in aqua and gold: pi Geminids, delta Cancerids, December Leonis Minorids, as well as Comet Catalina  (c/2013 u10), slightly east azimuth 65 degrees.

2016 Quadrantids

As indicated in Accuweather’s  the national weather map thumbnail below for Sunday Dusk through Monday Dawn Pittsburgh local weather is hindered by partial clouds however much of the country in a wide band from Texas through southeastern Pennsylvania and beyond anticipates good viewing.

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AAAP’s Weather Resources indicate those in the Northern and Eastern Greater Pittsburgh Area may have an ideal clear sky opportunity on either side of Midnight.  Considering Pittsburgh weather it can vary.   If you cannot watch the Quadrantid meteors live you can see them with the Slooh Space Camera and with Ustream . The NASA Ustream channel includes a lively commentary by NASA scientists.

In ideal conditions the Quandrantids can yield counts as high as 100 per hour rivaling the Perseids and Geminids. In 2009 and 2013 counts surpassed expectations at 146, 137 respectively. The name comes from Quadrans Muralis, a former constellation created in 1795 by the French astronomer Jérôme Lalande that is now part of Boötes.

bode_quadrans

https://www.pa.msu.edu/people/horvatin/Astronomy_Facts/obsolete_pages/quadrans_muralis.htm

Peter Jenniskens is quoted as saying “2003 EH_1 (cf. MPEC 2003-E27) would seem to be a very strong candidate for the parent of the Quadrantid meteoroid stream. The exact story behind the Quadrantid Meteor Shower remains unclear. So much more is yet to be discovered!

2003eh1orbit

Image: http://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/leonidnews47.html

Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

AAAP Logo - 0314 x 0314 - photo white on black - rev 2Thanks to Alex Gurvich (CMU Astronomy Club President)  and Corinne Hite (Pitt Space Exploration and Astronomy club president) the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh (AAAP) will have some help promoting the value of dark skies in 2016. Along with their club sponsors and advisers and AAAP leadership they have secured funds to make this happen, Diane Turnshek, CMU and AAAP,  facilitator.  The Sprout Fund “Big Ideas” grant has awarded $1000 towards astronomy outreach at some AAAP 2016 Star Parties and University of Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Observatory has contributed $500. The funds will purchase an International Dark Sky Association (IDA) banner promoting the value of the night sky, light pollution activity kits and a Parashield glare visor for public demonstration. It’s both the first time the these university clubs will be collaborating and the first time they will travel to Wagman Observatory and Mingo Observatory.

Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

Geminid Fireball

Wally Pacholka, Mojave Desert near Victorville, CA Dec. 14, 2009

Photo Credit:Wally Pacholka,
Mojave Desert near Victorville, CA
Dec. 14, 2009

One of the most impressive meteor showers of the year is set to occur this weekend with favorable Moon condition and mild temperatures in Pittsburgh, but clouds may block the view. At peak with ideal viewing conditions up to 100 meteors per hour may be seen. The Geminid Meteor shower is to peak on Sunday Night into Monday morning. The map below shows much of North America will not have favorable skies.

Pittsburgh weather: 

1. http://wp.3ap.org/weather/

2. http://www.accuweather.com/…/15219/weather-forecast/1310 ,

3. http://clearoutside.com/forecast/40.44/-79.98,

4. http://www.erh.noaa.gov/pit/ ,

5. http://weather.unisys.com/forecast.php?Name=15219

2015Sun-MonGeminidViewing

As an alternative to cloudy skies Geminid meteors can be viewed on Slooh’s live broadcast of the meteor shower starting at 8:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, Dec. 13.

NASA will hold a Tweet Chat this Sunday, Dec. 13, from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, highlighting the 2015 Geminid meteor shower. This online, social event will occur 11 p.m. EST (10 p.m. CST) Dec. 13 until 3 a.m. EST (2 a.m. CST) on Dec. 14.

There is an opportunity for both professional and amateur photograpers to share their Geminid Photos on Marshall’s Flickr account at: https://www.flickr.com/groups/geminids/.

GeminidsDec13,2015

The Geminid Meteor Shower occurs each year around mid-December when Earth path crosses the trail of  small pieces of debris from an object called 3200 Phaethon. Once thought to be an asteroid, Phaethon is now classified as an extinct comet. This debris stream is oritented in the direction of the constellation Gemini, causing the meteors to appear to radiate out the there.  Typically, the best viewing will be in the hours just before dawn local time. Because, mid-December has the earliest sunset and because the radiant of this meteor shower, the constellation Gemini rises early it is possible to view these meteors as early as 7 or 8 PM. (Rising objects are seen in the East.)

From Pittsburgh, according to the US Naval Observatory Pollux, one of two bright stars,the other being Castor, in the constellation Gemini rises around 7 PM tonight and and earlier as days pass. By the 17 th Pollux rises closer to 6:30 PM. Pollux represents the contellation Gemini the radiant of the Geminid Meteor Shower. This makes the Geminid Meteor Shower one we can observe under clear skies in the early evening as long as we can find a dark location away from city lights.  If that is not possible try find the darkest spot possible using buildings and objects to shade your view from bright lights. Give you eyes at least 15-20 minutes to adjust to darkness for optimized viewing.

The Geminids are joined  by Alpha- Monocerotids and Chi- Orionids who’s radiants are also hown in the the Stellarium.org screen capture above.


Astronomical Applications Department 
U. S. Naval Observatory 
Washington, DC 20392-5420

Pollux

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA 
Location: W 79°58’12.0″, N40°26’24.0″, 1000m 
(Longitude referred to Greenwich meridian)

Time Zone: 5h 00m west of Greenwich

Date Rise Az. Transit Alt. Set Az.
(Zone) 
h m ° h m ° h m °
2015 Dec 09 (Wed) 19:01 51 02:55 78S 10:45 309 
2015 Dec 10 (Thu) 18:57 51 02:51 78S 10:42 309 
2015 Dec 11 (Fri) 18:53 51 02:47 78S 10:38 309 
2015 Dec 12 (Sat) 18:49 51 02:43 78S 10:34 309 
2015 Dec 13 (Sun) 18:45 51 02:39 78S 10:30 309 
2015 Dec 14 (Mon) 18:41 51 02:36 78S 10:26 309 
2015 Dec 15 (Tue) 18:37 51 02:32 78S 10:22 309 
2015 Dec 16 (Wed) 18:34 51 02:28 78S 10:18 309 
2015 Dec 17 (Thu) 18:30 51 02:24 78S 10:14 309 
2015 Dec 18
(Fri) 18:26 51 02:20 78S 10:10 309

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Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.
DianeTurnshek
AAAP member Diane Turnshek  has been honored by the International Dark-Sky Association with its Dark Sky Defender Award at its November 20, 2015 Annual Meeting. See the excerpt below from the Carnegie Mellon Faculty and Staff Newsletter. Congratulations Diane!

Diane Turnshek, special lecturer in the Department of Physics, received a Dark Sky Defender Award from the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA). The award is given in appreciation of the recipients’ efforts to further the IDA’s mission to preserve the night skies by promoting quality outdoor nighttime lighting. Turnshek was recognized for her outreach efforts against the spread of light pollution in Pittsburgh. Along with Astro Club presidents Alex Gurvich, a senior physics major, and Matthew Finlay, a 2013 CMU graduate, Turnshek created pghconstellation.com, which features an interactive map with stars marking all the points of astronomical interest in Pittsburgh and an art contest that asks the question, “What is our Pittsburgh constellation?” She also coordinates the Astronomy Enthusiasts list, sending monthly emails with astronomy-related activities to hundreds of Pittsburghers who love the dark, star-filled sky. Turnshek collaborates with CMU’s Remaking Cities Institute, International Earth Hour, the Pittsburgh Mayor’s Office of Sustainability (Department of Innovation and Performance) and the Green Building Alliance.

Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

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Excerpt from December Guide Star, Eric Fischer Editor

The January 8, 2016 AAAP meeting takes place at Allegheny Observatory, not the Carnegie Science Center. Our guest speaker will be Mark Kochte who will present the latest findings from NASA’s New Horizons Mission to Pluto. Mark is a Mission Analyst (among several titles) at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Naturally, the Jan. 2016 Guide Star will have much more on Mr. Kochte’s lecture.

 

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Note to Members:  The December Holiday Party information and map is posted in the Members Section of the www.3ap.org  AAAP website. Information also appears in the emailed December Guide Star which is sent to members.

 

Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.

PennDot has opened Route 88 south of Finleyville where it had been closed between Patterson and Ginger Hill Roads in time for today’s Mingo Observatory Bundle Up Star Fest star party at Mingo Observatory. http://wp.3ap.org/2015/11/bundle-up-star…vember-14-2015/

 

Updates and additional astronomy and AAAP information on AAAP’s Facebook Page.

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Respectfully submitted, Kathy DeSantis.