To automatically sync the AAAP Calendar of Events to your personal calendar, please follow the instructions on our Calendar Download page. For lists of other events, check out the AAAP Star Party Schedule, the AAAP Meetings Schedule, the International Astronomy Events, or the Our Pittsburgh Constellation Events pages.
2017 General Meetings: Jan 13, Feb 10, Mar 10, Apr 7, May 12
2017 Mingo Star Parties: Apr 21 & 22; May 19 & 20; Jun 23 & 24; Jul 14 & 15; Aug 11 & 12; Sep 15 & 16; Oct 14 & 28; Nov 11
2017 Wagman Star Parties: 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; Nov 4
April 1 – Mercury at Greatest Eastern Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest eastern elongation of 19 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the evening sky. Look for the planet low in the western sky just after sunset.
April 7 – Jupiter at Opposition. The giant planet will be at its closest approach to Earth and its face will be fully illuminated by the Sun. It will be brighter than any other time of the year and will be visible all night long. This is the best time to view and photograph Jupiter and its moons. A medium-sized telescope should be able to show you some of the details in Jupiter’s cloud bands. A good pair of binoculars should allow you to see Jupiter’s four largest moons appearing as bright dots on either side of the planet.
The star party at North Allegheny McKnight elementary school 500 Cumberland Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15237 is scheduled for Friday April 7. This is scheduled for 6-8PM which is still daylight so please be prepared for that, though there will be a nearly full moon, Mars, and Mercury to show. This coincides with the school science fair so they get a lot of people, especially at the end.
General Business Meeting & Annual Officer Nominations
Guest speaker and topic: Chien-Ting Chen, PhD presents “Hunting for Powerful Monsters: Supermassive Black Holes in Distant Galaxies”
Chien-Ting Chen, PhD is an astrophysicist at Pennsylvania State University. The lecture will take place at the Buhl Planetarium Theater of the Carnegie Science Center.
April 11 – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 06:08 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Pink Moon because it marked the appearance of the moss pink or wild ground phlox which is one of the first spring flowers. This moon has also been known as the Sprouting Grass Moon; the Growing Moon; and the Egg Moon. Many coastal tribes called it the Full Fish Moon because this was the time that the shad swam upstream to spawn.
April 22-23 – Lyrids Meteor Shower. The Lyrids is an average shower usually producing about 20 meteors per hour at its peak. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher which was discovered in 1861. The shower runs annually from April 16-25. It peaks this year on the night of the night of the 22nd and morning of the 23rd. These meteors can sometimes produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The crescent moon should not be too much of a problem this year. Skies should still be dark enough for a good show. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Lyra but can appear anywhere in the sky.
This is a fun day and gives the AAAP a chance to promote Wagman and Mingo Star Parties, club memberships, astronomy, light pollution awareness, and the solar eclipse!
April 26 – New Moon. The Moon will located on the same side of the Earth as the Sun and will not be visible in the night sky. This phase occurs at 12:17 UTC. This is the best time of the month to observe faint objects such as galaxies and star clusters because there is no moonlight to interfere.
May 6-7 – Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. The Eta Aquarids is an above average shower capable of producing up to 60 meteors per hour at its peak. Most of the activity is seen in the Southern Hemisphere. In the Northern Hemisphere the rate can reach about 30 meteors per hour. It is produced by dust particles left behind by comet Halley which has known and observed since ancient times. The shower runs annually from April 19 to May 28. It peaks this year on the night of May 6 and the morning of the May 7. The waxing gibbous moon will block out many of the fainter meteors this year. But if you are patient you should be able to catch quite a few of the brighter ones. Best viewing will be from a dark location after midnight. Meteors will radiate from the constellation Aquarius but can appear anywhere in the sky.
May 10 – Full Moon. The Moon will be located on the opposite side of the Earth as the Sun and its face will be will be fully illuminated. This phase occurs at 21:42 UTC. This full moon was known by early Native American tribes as the Full Flower Moon because this was the time of year when spring flowers appeared in abundance. This moon has also been known as the Full Corn Planting Moon and the Milk Moon.
General Business Meeting & Annual Officer Elections
Guest speaker and topic: TBD
May 17 – Mercury at Greatest Western Elongation. The planet Mercury reaches greatest western elongation of 25.8 degrees from the Sun. This is the best time to view Mercury since it will be at its highest point above the horizon in the morning sky. Look for the planet low in the eastern sky just before sunrise.