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 MingoSPCoordinator@3ap.org.

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).


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

*Images available: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amateur-Astronomers-Association-of-Pittsburgh/114188205266611

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: http://wp.3ap.org/?page_id=300.


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 . http://billsnyderastrophotography.com/?page_id=1883

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 http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap141106.html

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 https://www.facebook.com/pages/Amateur-Astronomers-Association-of-Pittsburgh/114188205266611 AAAP’s Facebook page.



Cancelled due to weather.

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.

Astrophotography by AAAP Members will be featured at the AAAP November Meeting. Here is an example of an astrophotograph taken by an AAAP member. Horsehead Nebula by Bill Snyder. For more on this photo, please scan over earlier posts.

Astrophotography by AAAP Members will be featured at the AAAP November Meeting. Here is an example of an astrophotograph taken by an AAAP member. Horsehead Nebula by Bill Snyder. For more on this photo, please scan over earlier posts.

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 http://www.pitt.edu/~aobsvtry/,  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 photosubmission@3ap.org 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.  From Wagman Observatory for the eclipse member Matt Jones made this 10 frames per second 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 (TimeandDate.com) 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 www.3ap.org 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:  http://www.calsky.com/cs.cgi , www.TimeandDate.com, the US Naval Observatory http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/index.php , 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: https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/event-view.cfm?Event_ID=56006

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 www.Stellarium.org sky simulation. Planetarium programs include sky shows and lecture on spectroscopy in astronomy.

Stellarium Oct26 7,30PM.


Mingo https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/event-view.cfm?Event_ID=56006

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


For what is in the sky from Heavens-Above.com: http://www.heavens-above.com/?lat=40.211&lng=-80.019&loc=Mingo+Creek+Park+Observatory&alt=0&tz=EST

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 http://www.almanac.com/astronomy/rise/PA/Pittsburgh/2014-10-25

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   www.Stellarium.org 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,


Wagman https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/event-view.cfm?Event_ID=55966

Mingo https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/event-view.cfm?Event_ID=56007

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,