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Public Events at the ONU Observatory

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The ONU Observatory holds public events in order to share astronomy with the surrounding communities. The events on the Schedule below marked "Public Event" are free and open to the public! More information will be given as the date approaches. Note: these events are subject to cancellation when the weather is poor, or equipment needs repair. Please watch inside the schedule for cancellations in red which will be posted by 2:30 pm on the day of the event.
Cross your fingers for good weather. We'll leave the light off for ya!

Spring 2016 Schedule

Friday, Feb 5, 8:00-10:00 pm. - Public Event. "Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina"

The ONU Astronomy Club will be hosting an Astronomy event for the public at ONU Observatory on Friday, Feb 5, from 8:00-10:00 PM. The main attraction is “Comet C/2013 US10 Catalina”. This is the brightest comet in the sky at this time. It is easy to see in a telescope, but not quite bright enough to see with the unaided eye. Comets have a nucleus made of mostly water ice, dark organic minerals and other frozen gases. The nucleus of Comet Catalina is estimated to be 4-20 km across, and so is too small to resolve. However, when comets approach the Sun the surface ices turn into gases and they form a huge coma (halo) and tails. This comet is one of many objects discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey , hence the name. Other targets for this evening include the Great Orion Nebula and Jupiter.
This event was CANCELLED.

Friday, Feb 12, 8:00-10:00 pm. - Public Event. "Where Have the Bright Planets Gone?"
The ONU Astronomy Club will be hosting an Astronomy event for the public at ONU Observatory on Friday, Feb 12, from 8:00-10:00 PM. The event is called "Where Have the Bright Planets Gone?". This is referring to the absence of bright planets in the early evening sky. Most "earlybirds" know the answer to the question: the planets are visible just before sunrise! Between Jan 28 and Feb 6, the Moon joined the morning planets, passing successively by Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, Venus and Mercury. Moreover, the planets were all in a line. Is this a rare occurrence? Is it a "harmonic convergence" that will cause a dangerous imbalance in gravity? No. The planets orbit the Sun in about the same orbital plane as the Earth, so it is normal for them to appear on a line. Also, the planets will "gang up" on one side of the sky every few decades or so. The 5 visible planets were all above the horizon back in 2005, and in 1962, they were all within 17 degrees of each other along with the Sun and the Moon.

So what to observe on Feb 12? The Moon will be a crescent close to Uranus in the Western sky. We can also look at the deep sky objects of the winter Milky Way, like the wispy Great Orion Nebula. By 9:15, massive Jupiter will have risen high enough to view. Finally, we can still get a look at Comet Catalina as it flies away from the Earth and Sun.

Note: We will not hold a special event for the viewing of the planets in the morning sky. But we encourage you to get up 1 hour before sunrise between Jan 20 and Feb 15 to see all 5 bright planets in the sky at once!

Friday, Mar 11, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Jupiter's Shrinking Red Spot"

Friday, Apr 1, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Galaxies of Spring"

Friday, Apr 15, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Craters and Maria of the Moon"

Monday, May 9,  9:00-11:00 AM. -- Public Event.  "Mercury transits the Sun! (7:15am-2:30 pm)"

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Fall 2015 Schedule

Sunday, August 23, 8:30-10:30 pm. -- ONU event. "Welcomefest - Astronomy Club Open House"

Friday, Sept 4, 8:30-10:30 pm. -- Public Event. "Saturn and Mercury setting early"

Sunday, Sept 27, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Total Lunar Eclipse"

Friday, Oct 9, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Tears from the Dragon"

Friday, Oct 16, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "The Andromeda Galaxy"

Friday, November 13, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "What we've learned of Pluto."

Friday, December 11,  8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "The Geminid Meteor Shower"

Arrange a tour or visit?

We encourage your K-12 students and other organizations to visit during the Public Events listed above. However, you may be able to schedule a special visit. We can comfortably fit about 60 people in the observing room. Bigger groups can still attend. During the daytime, we will show you the building and telescopes and, if clear, can view the Sun! We don't roll back the roof if there is precipitation. If interested, contact the Observatory Manager:

Dr. Jason Pinkney
ONU Dept of Physics and Astronomy
525 S. Main St., Ada, OH, 45810
Office: 419-772-2740
Observatory: 419-772-4028

See maps to the ONU Observatory.
Check the weather at ONU Observatory: Clear Sky Chart.
See the Observatory's Astrophoto gallery.

Information for visitors to the ONU Observatory:

See Archive of previous Astronomy Events at ONU.

Go to Pinkney's Homepage
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