AAAP March 10 Meeting and LiveStream, Speaker Presentation: High-Energy Astrophysics: the Fascinating World of Supernova Explosions and Pulsars, Presenter: Harsha Blumer, PhD

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will meet 7:30 PM, Friday, March 10, 2017, Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. LiveStream YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCle7_v-gjcusJz7JwzCUJ0Q/live

The Lecture Presentation begins at 7:30 PM:

High-Energy Astrophysics: the Fascinating World of Supernova Explosions and Pulsars.

Presenter: Harsha Blumer, PhD, Post-doctoral researcher, West Virginia University , Morgantown, WVA and Geeenbank Observatory. Lecture will be held on the Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA at 7:30 PM, Friday March 10, 2017.

Abstract of Talk

An observer looking at the night sky sees a peaceful, never changing universe. However, there exists a violent and highly energetic universe concealed by this serene starlit sky. A universe that is filled with catastrophic blasts from the death of massive stars or supernova explosions, which are nature’s spectacular fireworks, to the birth of exotic stars such as the neutron stars (incredibly dense stellar objects as big as the city of Pittsburgh, but with a teaspoonful of neutron star material weighing about billion tons), or the magnetars – the most magnetic stars with a magnetic field of about a hundred trillion fridge magnets. The launch of high-resolution X-ray and gamma-ray telescopes in the last decade has offered new perspectives on our understanding of these sources and the prospects for continued discoveries are very promising. I will talk about these exotic stars that provide us with a unique opportunity to explore the behavior of matter and energy under the influence of its most extreme environments and magnetic fields, impossible to be reproduced on earth.

Harsha Blumer, Phd.

Harsha Blumer is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the West Virginia University. She has a Master of Science degree in Physics from the Mahatma Gandhi University and a Master of Technology degree in Space and Atmospheric Sciences from the Center for Space Science and Technology Education, affiliated with the United Nations. About 10 years ago, she moved to Canada where she did her PhD studies in Astrophysics and worked as a Postdoc at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg. She has been recognized with numerous awards and honours during her academic career, including the Governor General Academic Gold Medal in 2014 which is the most prestigious award given to a doctoral student in Canada. Her research is focused on studying the aftermath of supernova explosions of stars, pulsars, and magnetars. At WVU, she is also the Project Director for the Pulsar Search Collaboratory program, a joint project between the Green Bank Observatory, West Virginia University, and 13 other institutions throughout the United States, aimed at involving high-school students and teachers in pulsar searching to give them real research experience with the Green Bank Telescope.

After an intermission the March business meeting follows. The agenda will include overview of current and upcoming club activities and astronomical events.  Parking is $5 payable at the parking kiosk in the lobby. The upcoming program of 2016-17 Meeting Speakers may be downloaded here. Please see the AAAP Guide Star Newsletter and the AAAP Facebook Page for additional information.

If you cannot make the meeting we invite you to check back for the LiveStream YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCle7_v-gjcusJz7JwzCUJ0Q/live , 7:30 PM, March 10, 2017.

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AAAP Meeting, 7:30 PM, Friday, February 10, 2017, Carnegie Science Center

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will meet 7:30 PM,  Friday, February 10, 2017 at the Carnegie Science Center, 1 Allegheny Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.  The meeting is free and open to the public. The featured presentation for February, the annual planetarium show will be provided by the Carnegie Science Center Staff.  Members and guests should convene on the second floor (ramp or elevator available) at the Buhl Planetarium where we will start with the planetarium show presentation at 7:30 PM. At the time of the show, the room darkens and entrance door closes until the show ends.  Please arrive before the doors close.  The show will last about 30 minutes. After a short recess the business meeting will begin. We distribute the Night Sky Network Outreach Award Pins at this meeting.  NSN Pins are awarded to members participating in 5 or more NSN eligible outreach events and feature an astronomy event of the coming year.  This year’s pin commemorates the August 21, 2017 Solar Eclipse. There is a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse from 5:34 – 9:53 PM, coinciding with the February 10 meeting.  Some AAAP members with binoculars and perhaps dobs, weather-permitting will be available at the entrance to provide a detailed view of the Moon in Penumbral Eclipse. If the skies are clear, plan to arrive in time to get a closer look at this phenomenon prior to the meeting start. The agenda will include overview of current and upcoming club activities and astronomical events.  Parking is $5 payable at the parking kiosk in the lobby. The upcoming program of 2016-17 Meeting Speakers may be downloaded here. Please see the AAAP Guide Star Newsletter and the AAAP Facebook Page for additional information.

Fri, Feb 10, 2017, 5:34 -9:53 pm, Penumbral Lunar Eclipse

Friday , February  10, 2017, start 5:34 pm, maximum 7:43 pm, end 9:53 pm, a Penumbral Eclipse of the Moon (Lunar Eclipse) will be visible in the Pittsburgh Area, weather permitting. Some individuals will recognize the diffuse shadow moving across the Moon. To others, it may look like an ordinary Full Moon.  With a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse there is no distinct missing “bite” visible as there is at the beginnings of Partial and Total Lunar Eclipses. AAAP will offer 7PM binocular viewing and telescope viewing weather-permitting to attendees prior to that evening’s 7:30 PM February Meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. 7 PM the Moon will be at 32 degrees elevation and this time observant people will notice a dark shading on the moon’s face.  Wherever you may happen to be in the Pittsburgh Area on Friday February 10, 2017 with your unaided eyes you should be able to observe this event. Binoculars should heighten the view. Click image below for more Penumbral Lunar Eclipse information.

February 10, 2017 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse, Pittsburgh,PA at Maximum, 7:43 PM

AAAP January 13 Meeting and LiveStream

AAAP Meeting LiveStream, 7:30 PM, January 13, 2017:

If you cannot make the meeting we invite you to check back for the LiveStream.

YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCle7_v-gjcusJz7JwzCUJ0Q/live .

The AAAP Meeting is 7:30 PM this evening at the Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center . The first and featured presentation is

“Well, Now What? What to Do Once You’ve Found Another Earth”
Thomas Beatty, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow, Pennsylvania State University Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds
7:30 PM, Friday, January 13, 2017 Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh Meeting at the Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center, One Allegheny Ave.Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Recent discoveries by the Kepler mission have shown us that Earth-sized planets are fairly common in the Galaxy. We expect to find several “habitable” planets that are the size and mass of Earth over the next decade, but then what? How do we distinguish between a nice temperate Earth, and an acidic metal-melting Venus? What can we learn about the climates, and even the weather, of exoplanets? Could we identify life, or even intelligence?

The second speaker after the break is John Jardine Goss
Astronomical League President www.astroleague.org . John will commemerate the 50th anniversary of the Messier Observing Certificate. The first recipient was former AAAP member Catherine Delaney.

Following the speakers there will be a business meeting with exciting announcements about our club’s upcoming activities.

 

This will be a first for AAAP to bring our meetings “live.”

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AAAP January 13, 2017 Astronomy Lecture “Well, Now What? What to Do Once You’ve Found Another Earth” Thomas Beatty, PhD

“Well, Now What? What to Do Once You’ve Found Another Earth”
Thomas Beatty, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow, Pennsylvania State University Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds

7:30 PM, Friday, January 13, 2017 Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh Meeting at the Science Stage,  Carnegie Science Center, One Allegheny Ave.Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

Recent discoveries by the Kepler mission have shown us that Earth-sized planets are fairly common in the Galaxy. We expect to find several “habitable” planets that are the size and mass of Earth over the next decade, but then what? How do we distinguish between a nice temperate Earth, and an acidic metal-melting Venus? What can we learn about the climates, and even the weather, of exoplanets? Could we identify life, or even intelligence?

Thomas Beatty, PhD Post-doctoral Fellow, Pennsylvania State University Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds

This lecture will start the January Meeting of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, beginning at 7:30 PM on Friday January 13, 2017, at the Science Stage of the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA. Plans are underway to LiveStream the lecture on the AAAP Facebook Page. The meeting is free and open to the public. More information on the meeting to follow here at www.3ap.org, AAAP Facebook and in the January Guide Star AAAP Newsletter.

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2016 Geminid Meteors vs. December Full Cold Moon

A Geminid Meteor. Image Credit: Jimmy Westlake

A Geminid Meteor. Image Credit: Jimmy Westlake

This year the Geminid Meteor Shower, traditiononally arguably (Perseid Meteor Shower) the best meteor shower of the year, is expected to peak on the night of December 13 into the morning hours of December 14, accompanied by the December Full Moon. In Pittsburgh the Moon is Full, December 13 at 7:05 PM EST with Moonrise at 5:06 PM EST that evening. This year’s mating of the Full Moon with the peak of the meteor shower is disadvantageous for optimal meteor viewing with the bright moonlight expected to wash out all but the brightest meteors.

Early Evening Meteor Viewing Windows on Wednesday and Thursday Evenings, Before 6 PM and 7 PM , Respectively, Punctuated by Spectacular Moonrises

However in the nights immediately following Geminid peak the Moon rises approximately an hour later each night allowing an early evening window with a moonless sky as shown in the Stellarium. org screen capture diagrams below. The bonus at the end of the Moonless window is the opportunity to see the spectacle of Moonrise in the crisp December air. Native Americans named the December Moon the Cold Moon or the Long Night’s Moon. When the Moon is near the horizon an optical illusion makes it appear even larger. This year, this month’s moon is at perigee or a part of its elliptical orbit when it is closer to the Earth giving it an added boost in size. In recent years these perigee moons have been popularly named Super Moons. The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh is not planning a public Geminid Meteor Viewing at the time. Geminid viewing opportunities will improve in 2017 when there will be less competition from Moonlight. Read more