Leonid Meteor Shower Tonight, Thursday 11/16

Leonid Radiat Credit: StarDate.org

Pittsburgh weather is favorable for viewing tonight’s Leonid Meteor Shower, but the Moon is bright in the night sky diminishing the show.  Leonids have been known to product dramatic “meteor storms” with hundreds of meteors per hour some years.  This year expect 10 -15 meteors per hour in ideal viewing between Midnight and dawn. Elevated rates will drop and then taper off in coming days.  Above is a depiction of the Leonid Meteor Shower Radiant in the constellation Leo ( from another year) showing where Leonid meteors appear to originate in the sky. If you cannot go outside, the Slooh Telescope Community will offer online viewing after 8 PM this evening.  To view tonight’s Leonid Meteor shower through the Slooh click here. The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh offers Perseid Meteor Shower Viewing at its Wagman and Mingo Observatories at the Perseid peak in August.


Supermoon Tonight, Monday, November 14, 2016

Please share your Moon photographs on our Facebook Page. Happy Moon Gazing!

The Supermoon occurs on Monday, November 14, peaking around 9 PM our time (8:52 EST). It will appear on our horizon just before 5 PM on Monday. Do not expect it to look dramatically different than any other full Moon. It will look big and bright like any full Moon near to the horizon. Monday’s Supermoon will be 14% larger and may appear 30% brighter. Yet you may not know it had you not been told to look for the “Supermoon.” Astronomers traditionally call this kind of moon a Perigee Moon. Term “Supermoon” comes to us from “astrology.” Since it was coined in astrology it has made its way into popular culture. Supermoon seems to be catchier than Perigee Moon. It occurs because the path of the Moon around the Earth is not a perfect circle but instead somewhat egg-shaped (elliptical). We say the Moon is 240,000 miles away but it varies. The actual distance varies over the course of the orbit of the Moon, from 356,500 km (221,500 mi) at the perigee to 406,700 km (252,700 mi) at apogee, resulting in a differential range of 50,200 km (31,200 mi). Interestingly the Moon is spiraling away from the earth at a rate of about 1.5 inches per year as detected by the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment which utilizes LASERS and mirrors left on the Moon by the Apollo missions. The Moon is said to be at perigee when it is at its nearest and at apogee when it is at its farthest. This particular “perigee” occurring on Monday is the closest perigee since Read more

AAAP Meeting November 11,2016, 7:30 PM, Allegheny Observatory

aoAllegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh, PA   http://www.pitt.edu/~aobsvtry/
Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will meet 7:30 PM, November 11, 2016 at Allegheny Observatory, 159 Riverview Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15214The featured program is the Annual Kevin J. Brunelle Astrophotography Contest. Photos submitted by members will be voted upon by the attendees with the winners announced at the end of the meeting. Join us to see the results of the area’s best astrophotographers. November business meeting follows the program. If you cannot be there check the AAAP Facebook Page for updates and for possible LiveStream.


AAAP Star Party, Mingo Observatory, Saturday, November 12 at 4 PM

Stellarium.org Screen Capture of skies over mingo Observatory , November 12, 2016, 6PM, SW.

Stellarium.org Screen Capture of skies over mingo Observatory , November 12, 2016, 6PM, SW.

It is your last chance in 2016 to view Late Autumn Sky with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh at the Mingo Observatory Star Party, SaturdayNovember 12 , 4:00 PMESTSafe Solar Observing; and approximately 5:30 PM EST, Night Sky Observing. Mingo Observatory, Mingo Creek County Park, Washington County, PA.,  Address: Mingo Observatory, 1 Shelter 10 Road, Nottingham Township, PA 15301 GPS Coordinates: 40.2110 N, 80.0190 W. PDF of Park map here. From Henry Covered Bridge follow Mansion Hill Road Extension up hill into park to the fork, where Shelter 10 Road branches to the right. Take Shelter 10 Road beyond Shelter 10 dimming lights at  the extensive clearing where atop hill to the left the observatory rests.  Park along the road below the observatory, handicapped parking at top of hill. It is suggested to use GPS coordinates rather than the address in programming a GPS to locate the site. Please call the observatory at 724-348-6150 if needed.   Mingo Creek Park Observatory and its grounds, as a part of Mingo Creek County Park, are a non-smoking and no alcohol permitted area.

Upon opening at 4:00 p.m. guests may experience SAFE Solar viewing through our 4” Lunt Hydrogen Alpha Telescope mounted on the 10” D & G Refractor also set up for  SAFE Solar viewing in filtered white light. At approximately 5:30 PM, as dark descends and weather permits we will open our 24” Optical Guidance Systems Reflector and the 10” D & G Refractor to viewing wonders of the night sky. Enjoy views of Venus, Saturn and its rings, Mars and the craters of the Moon, Star Clusters, Nebulae (Ring Nebula, Orion Nebula, and others), Galaxies, Double and Multiple Star Systems, etc.   Our Richard Y. Haddad Planetarium opens at 6:30p.m. rain or shine for Sky Shows, Movies and Lectures.

The Mingo Creek Park Observatory is accessible to persons with disabilities. Mingo Creek Park Observatory is operated by an all-volunteer staff of members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. There is no charge for your visit, but we greatly appreciate donations to help cover operating expenses.  Read more

AAAP Star Party, Wagman Observatory, Saturday, November 5 at 6:15 PM

Pittsburgh. PA , November 5, 2016 7 PM EST, SW - Stellarium.org Screen Capture

Pittsburgh. PA , November 5, 2016 7 PM EST, SW – Stellarium.org Screen Capture

Wagman Star Party starts SaturdayNovember 5 at 6:15 PM, EST 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.

See large clusters of stars, beautiful colored double stars, visit the craters of the moon and view the planets Venus, Saturn, Mars, Uranus and Neptune. It’s all part of the show during Mid-Autumn Star Party sponsored by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.  It is the last scheduled public event for 2016 at Wagman Observatory.

Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh invites the public to the  Wagman Observatory Star Party, SaturdayNovember 5 at 6:15 PM, EST , 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.  Wagman Observatory is located at 225 Kurn Road Tarentum, PA 15084 ~ 724-224-2510 ~ Latitude 40.627 degrees Longitude -79.813 degrees.

This is an opportunity for amateur astronomers, students and the general public to observe the wonders of both the summer and autumn skies including the First Quarter Moon, 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. Read more

AAAP Star Party at Wagman Observatory, Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh opens its observatories to the public on the following dates and locations: Wagman Observatory on October 22nd. No reservations. No charge. No limit to group size. Just show up. Our star parties feature a rich array of celestial delights. Experience the AAAP telescopes and those of our members as they reveal our solar system and more distant objects, including galaxies and nebula.

More information: Wagman Star Parties Guide

Although admission is free, we gladly accept donations at the observatory entrance desks to cover the cost of operation. There is no smoking or alcohol permitted on our observatory grounds. Please drive slowly and carefully and be aware of pedestrians, especially children. Children must be under direct parental supervision at all times.

Our helpful and informed all volunteer staff will be happy to assist you to gain in knowledge and appreciation of the night sky. Mingo and Wagman Observatories are owned and operated by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh, a 501(3)(c) and your donations are tax deductible.

Directions to Wagman Observatory:
The Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory is located in Deer Lakes Regional Park, Frazer Township, Pa., near the village of Russellton in northeastern Allegheny County and some 18 miles from Pittsburgh. Observatory Phone 724-224-2510.