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Record of Events at ONU Observatory


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2012 Astronomy Events at ONU:

Fall 2012

Friday, September 21, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Autumnal equinox" Public event --Done.
Friday, October 12, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Experience ONU Day" Public Event --Done.
>>If the skies are clear, we plan to track down a new Comet, Uranus, and deep sky objects like the Ring Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy in our telescopes. Weather forecast (as of Fri afternoon) is for clear skies and 40-45 degrees F.
Friday, November 2, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Comet Hergenrother flies through Pegasus" Public Event --Done.
>> Tonight's featured target will be Comet 168/P Hergenrother which is well-placed for observing in the constellation of Pegasus. This comet has been brighter than expected and is sporting a short tail. We will also observe various deep sky objects, such as the Saturn Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy. Later in the evening, the planet Jupiter will rise in the east, followed closely by the Moon.
Saturday, November 17, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Leonid Meteor Shower" Public Event --Done.
Tonight's event is chosen to coincide with the peak of the Leonid Meteor Shower. This annual shower has periodically produced "storms" of meteor activity, but tonight it is only expected to produce 10-15 meteors/hour for a given viewer. Meteors are also called "shooting stars". They are the sand-grain-sized debris of comets that enter the Earth's atmosphere so quickly that they create a bright streak of light. The Leonid meteors originated in the Comet Temple-Tuttle. We will also observe various deep sky objects, the crescent moon, and planets like Uranus and Jupiter.
The observatory will be closed if heavy clouds or precipitation are forecasted. Check this spot for cancellations (in red) on the afternoon before the event. If it is clear, dress warmly - the observation deck is not heated (although the bathrooms and control room are).

Friday, December 7, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Jupiter at its Brightest" Public Event --Done.
Jupiter recently passed through opposition on December 2. Opposition is the configuration in which a planet appears from Earth to be in the opposite direction as the Sun. This is also the time in which the planet looks the brightest to us because of its full phase and its proximity to the Earth. During tonight's event, Jupiter is still nearly optimal in appearance, and so we will keep it in at least one telescope all night. In two hours, the planet rotates 1/5 of a full revolution and we will watch for moving features like the Great Red Spot and shadows cast by its moons. The view to the unaided eye is also spectacular since Jupiter will be embedded in bright winter asterisms like the Pleiades and Orion, and less than 5 degrees from the orange star Aldebaran. We plan to keep a live Jupiter video feed on our wall TV for easy viewing. Other targets tonight may be the Great Orion Nebula, the Pleiades, and Uranus. If you've already seen these, feel free to request something new!
This event was cancelled due to rainy weather in the forecast :(

Summer 2012

Previous Public Event:   Friday, August 31, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm EDT --- "Blue Moon" Friday

The ONU Observatory will be open to the public on Friday, Aug 31, from 8:00 - 10:00 PM (EDT). The theme of the event is "The Blue Moon", since the Aug 31 full moon will be the second full moon in August. A short presentation will be given around 8:30 PM about the term "blue moon" and explain that the full moon of Aug 31 does not actually qualify as a blue moon under the original definition. The full Moon will be rising dramatically in the East after the Sun sets around 8:00. A telescope will be used to project the Moon's image onto a screen, while other telescopes will be tracking other interesting objects in the sky.
Return to this web page on the afternoon of Aug 31 for possible cancellations due to the weather.
This event was, unfortunately, clouded out.

Previous Campus Event:   Monday, August 20, 9:00 pm - 10:00 am EDT --- Welcomefest Open House

The ONU Astronomy Club will host an Open House at the observatory. Incoming students, new and old, are invited to drop by. (Sign up for the Astro Club while you're there!) The roof will be rolled back for viewing the sky if the weather permits; if it is cloudy, we will still be open for tours. But in the case of heavy rain, we will cancel the tours.
Saturn and Mars will be low in the southwest after sunset.

Previous Public Event:  Saturday, August 11-12, 10:00 pm - 1:00 am EDT --- Seeing in the Perseids


The ONU Observatory will be open to the public on Saturday evening the night of Aug 11-12 from 10:00 PM to 1 AM to "see in" the annual Perseid Meteor shower. The actual peak in shower activity should occur on the night of Aug 12-13 this year, but the meteors (or "shooting stars") are visible over 5 days before and after this peak . The Moon will not be up to interfere with the viewing.

Perseid meteoroids are fragments of the comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle which are usually smaller than a pea. The meteors radiate away from the constellation Perseus, sometimes exhibiting colors and glowing trains.

One does not need a telescope to view the Perseids, but our roll-off roof observatory serves as a nice setting to view them. Also, the telescopes will be in operation so you can take a break from meteors to view planets or deep sky objects. You are encouraged to bring a lawnchair to set up on the fields next to the observatory. See you there!

Return to this web page on the afternoon of Aug 11 for possible cancellations due to the weather.
This event was held, but cloudcover increased steadily until viewing was impossible.

Previous Public Event:  Tuesday, June 5, 2012, 7:00-8:00 pm EDT --- The Transit of Venus!


The ONU Observatory will be open to the public to view the transit of Venus on Tuesday, June 5 from 7 to 8 PM. Here Venus will pass between the Earth and the Sun so that it appears as a small, dark silhouette on the face of the Sun. This is a rare event, with the next one not occurring until December of 2117 (105 yrs).

Transits of Venus played an important role in the history of astronomy. The distance to Venus can be found using trigonometric parallax if two observers on Earth can record the ingress and egress times from widely separated locations. With the distance to Venus known, one can calculate the average distance between the Earth and the Sun (the Astronomical Unit, 92,955,807 miles), which is essential for finding the distance to everything else in the universe. The first voyage of James Cook was a mission to observe the 1761 transit of Venus from Tahiti. Subsequent expeditions to observe transits of 1769, 1874 and 1882 allowed more precise timings as astronomers learned how to deal with an optical phenomenon called the ``black drop effect".

We will provide several safe ways to view the event, including looking through small telescopes with solar filters, and eyepiece projections onto screens. Unlike the recent solar eclipse, successful viewing requires a telescope. Our views will also reveal sunspots on the Sun, which is currently active.

Return to this web page on the afternoon of June 5 for possible cancellations due to cloudy weather.
This event was a success! The sky became mostly clear around 6:30 pm.


A Public Event:  Friday, July 29 -- The Delta Aquarid Meteors

The ONU Astronomy Club is hosting a public viewing event called "The Delta Aquarid Meteors" on Friday, July 29. The ONU Observatory will be open from 9:30-11 PM. The Southern Delta Aquarid Meteor shower peaks around this date every year. It produces about 20 meteors per hour. This should be a good night to observe them, weather permitting, because the Moon won't be out. Meteors are best viewed with the naked eye, but we will also have our telescopes tracking Saturn and various deep sky objects.

This event was cancelled because of clouds and telescope repairs.  

An ONU Event:  Friday, June 3 -- Alumni weekend

The ONU observatory will be open to ONU Alumni visiting on Alumni weekend (June 3-5, 2011). The hours will be 8:30-10:30 PM. Notice that it opens well before twilight, but we should still be able to view the crescent moon through the telescopes. If you want to get a better look at the night sky, come between 9:30 and 10:30. this web site before making the trip.

This ONU event is was a success.  

An Public Event:  Friday, May 6 -- The Galaxies of Spring

The ONU Astronomy Club is hosting a public viewing event called "The Galaxies of Spring" on Friday, May 6. The ONU observatory will be open from 9:00-11:00 PM.   The telescopes will first follow the crescent Moon as it descends in the West, followed by Saturn, as it rises in the East.   After twilight, we will hunt down some galaxies near the North Galactic Pole, which will be well-placed near the meridian.  The event will be canceled if the forecast on the afternoon of May 6 calls for cloudy skies.   Please consult this web site before making the trip.

This public star party was a success!  

Previous Public Event:  Friday, Mar 25 -- Saturn's Serpent Storm


The ONU Astronomy Club is hosting a public viewing event called "Saturn's Serpent Storm" on Friday, March 25. The time for this one is 9-11 PM (later than previous events because of the later sunset). The main attraction will be Saturn which is rising around 9 PM. It has been in the news for an unusual storm called the "Serpent Storm" roiling in its northern hemisphere. This feature was discovered by amateurs in December, 2010. It should be visible in our telescopes, along with the spectacular rings and moons of Saturn.
The event will be canceled if the forecast on the afternoon of Mar 25 calls for cloudy skies.   Please consult this web site before coming.  
This public star party was a success.  

Previous Public Event:  Friday, Feb 18 -- Full Moon Madness


The ONU Astronomy Club invites ONU, Ada, and the surrounding communities to visit the ONU Observatory for a public viewing on Friday, Feb 18, from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. It happens to be the night of a Full Moon, so the Moon will be a target for our telescopes when it rises.  We will also look at Jupiter, the Orion Nebula, and other deep sky objects.  This will be the first event in which a live video image through a telescope will be displayed!  The new observatory has a control room and public bathrooms which are kept warm.  However, dress warmly because the roof rolls off of the main observatory deck. 

The event will be canceled if the forecast on the afternoon of Feb 18 calls for cloudy skies, or if excessive ice is built up on the roof.  Please consult this web site before coming.  
This public star party was a success!  

Previous Public Event:  Friday, Jan 28 -- Star formation in Orion


The ONU Astronomy Club invites ONU, Ada, and the surrounding communities to visit the ONU Observatory for a public viewing on Friday, Jan 28, from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The theme of this  viewing will be "Star formation in Orion".  

The event will be canceled in the event of cloudy weather.  Please consult this web site.  
This public star party was CANCELED due to the cloudy forecast. :-(  

Previous Public Event:  Friday, Jan 14 -- Jupiter Public Star Party.

The ONU Astronomy Club invites ONU, Ada, and the surrounding communities to visit the ONU Observatory for a public viewing on Friday, Jan 14 from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  The Moon, Uranus, and Jupiter will be prime targets for the telescopes. You can see craters and mountains on the Moon, the pale green disk of Uranus, and the Moons and belts around Jupiter, the most massive planet in the solar system.  

Because of cloudiness, this public star party was  CANCELED.  


End 2012


2011 Astronomy Events at ONU:

2011

Completed Public Event:  Tuesday, Dec 14 -- Geminid Star Party. 

As a holiday send-off for ONU and the Ada community, the ONU Astronomy Club wishes to open the new campus observatory during this splendid annual meteor shower. Come by any time between 8 pm and 10 pm on Tuesday night provided that it is clear.
This event was a success! Thanks for attending despite the cold. Not too many meteors were spotted as dramatic clouds zipped past, but celestial objects like the Moon, Jupiter, and Albireo were observed with the telescopes.  

Completed ONU Event:   Friday, Oct 8 8:00-10:00 pm. Inaugural Homecoming Open House

Dean Catherine Albrecht, in conjunction with the Department of Physics and Astronomy students, faculty, and staff invites certain alumni and friends of ONU to the University‚Äôs newest stellar teaching and research facility. Weather permitting, night sky viewing is scheduled. 

The Homecoming Open House event was a success! An estimated 70 people attended. A "thanks" to all of our visitors.  

Completed ONU Event:   Monday, Sept 6: Welcomefest for ONU Astro Club

The Welcomefest event is contingent on completion of the Observatory.
The Welcomefest event was a success!  






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