ONU Logo

Public Events at the ONU Observatory

The best way to see the fantastic new ONU Observatory is to watch this web page for upcoming events. 
Announcements of our public events may also appear in newspapers like the Ada Herald and Kenton Times.
Daytime and nighttime Tours of the ONU Observatory are also possible.   Contact the observatory manager:

Dr. Jason Pinkney
ONU Dept of Physics and Astronomy
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.

Spring 2014 Schedule

Friday, January 31, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --
Public event. "Supernova in M82!"      A new supernova has appeared in a galaxy known as M82.   A supernova is the explosion of a star and it can outshine its parent galaxy! This galaxy is relatively nearby at 11 million light years. It is nicely placed near the Big Dipper (Ursa Major) so we can target it easily with our telescopes. We will also periodically display live images of the galaxy on a widescreen TV.   Jan 31 is also the day after January's "black moon", the second new moon of the month.  So the sky should be free of moonlight.  The only obstacle will be the weather. Watch here for cancellations due to cloudy skies and/or excessive ice and snow on the observatory. Hope for clear weather!
CANCELLED. Clouds and snow.

Friday, February 21, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Star formation in Orion"
  Ada and the surrounding communities are invited to the ONU Observatory on Friday, February 21 from 8-10 pm for "Star Formation in Orion". One of the most frequently studied and nearby stellar nurseries is in the beautiful constellation Orion. It is called the "Orion Nebula" and it is one of the easiest nebulosities to see with the telescope. Since Orion is nicely centered above the southern horizon at 8pm on this moonless evening, star formation will be our theme. There will be a short presentation and Q&A on this theme around 9 pm. Jupiter and its moons will also be a target for our telescopes. NEW: the observatory has replaced it's 6-inch telescope with a better, 11-inch telescope.
This event went well!

Friday, March 7, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "The Moon in Taurus"
  Ada and the surrounding communities are invited to the ONU Observatory on Friday, March 7 from 8-10 pm to see "The Moon in Taurus". Yes, the (nearly) first quarter Moon will be right on the forehead of Taurus the Bull. Ole'! It will be a fine sight with the constellation of Orion just South of Taurus and Jupiter to the East in Gemini. The Moon and Jupiter will be targets for the telescopes, along with other deep sky favorites like the Orion Nebula and the Pleiades star cluster. Want to see something else? We take requests!
  CANCELLED. High humidity.

Friday, March 21, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public event.  "Asteroids and Occultations"

On March 20, parts of New York and surrounding states will be witness to the occultation (or covering up) of the bright star Regulus (in Leo) by the asteroid 163 Erigone. Although we can't see Regulus blink out, we can observe some of the brighter asteroids along with planets like Jupiter and Mars. We will show any videos that people took of the occultation.

Cancelled. Cloudy.

Note: On the morning of Tuesday, April 15, there will be a Total Lunar Eclipse.  No observatory event is planned because of the late hour.  Totality begins around 3:06 am EDT and continues until 4:24 EDT.  It should be a beautiful sight, with Saturn, Mars and Spica all within 23 degrees of the Moon.

Saturday, April 19,  9:00-11:00 pm. TIME CHANGED! -- Public Event.  "Mars near opposition."

(We changed the time of this event to Saturday to try to avoid the cloudy weather predicted for Friday.)
Ada and the surrounding communities are invited to the ONU Observatory on April 19 for the event called "Mars near opposition".
Mars reached opposition on April 8, 2014, and passed closest to the Earth on April 14. Opposition is when a planet is in the opposite direction as the Sun. For example, when the Sun is setting in the West, the planet will be rising in the East. This is close to, but not exactly, the time of closest approach to the planet (they differ because of the elliptical shapes of the orbits). On Saturday, April 19, Mars will still be relatively close to the Earth (the closest in about 6 years), so this is a good time to observe it in the telescope. It will subtend an angle of about 15 arcseconds - just big enough to make out the white polar ice caps and surface mottling if the sky conditions are good.
Other targets on Saturday night will include Jupiter, Saturn, and deep sky objects like the Sombrero Galaxy.

This event went well!

Friday, May 2, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Saturn near opposition."

Ada and the surrounding communities are invited to the ONU Observatory on Friday May 2 for the event called "Saturn near opposition". Saturn actually reaches opposition on May 10, 2014, but we want to have an event while the students are still at ONU. During opposition, Saturn is optimally positioned for viewing: it is at its closest to the Earth and rises just as the Sun sets.

It will be a great night for observing solar system objects in general: we'll see the crescent moon, Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn all above the horizon at the same time. Saturn will not be above the wall of the observatory until about 9:30. However, if you arrive earlier, you can still see Jupiter, Mars and the crescent Moon.

The weather is warmer now and there's no excuse to put off visiting the ONU Observatory any longer! Not only will we have fine targets in our telescopes, there will be interesting things to look for with your unaided eye. Yes, early May is a prime time to be watching the sky because of several, concurrent meteor showers, the April fireballs, and the frequent passage of bright satellites like the International Space Station.

The May 2 event is cancelled due to cloudy skies.

Fall 2013 Schedule

Friday, September 6, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Venus passing the Virgin" Public event.

Friday, September, 27, 8:00 - 10:00 pm -- "The Andromeda Galaxy"  Public event.

Friday, October 4, 8:00 - 10:00 pm -- "Opposition of the Green Planet"  

Friday, October 18, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Penumbral Lunar Eclipse" Public Event (during "Experience ONU Day").

Friday, November 1, 7:30 - 9:30 pm. --- "Maximum Elongation for Venus" Public Event.

Friday, November 22, 9:00 - 11:00 pm. --- "Jupiter is Back!" Public Event.

Friday, December 6, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. ---  "Mira, the Miracle Star" Public Event.

NOTE:  Why no event for Comet ISON?
Comet ISON should be in the news in November and December as a spectacular comet (if it isn't destroyed in its close pass by the Sun).   However, it does not become viewable in the early evening until about Dec 21.  Instead, throughout most of November and December it will be viewable in the East before sunrise.

  Summer 2013 Schedule

Bring your iphone to any event!   We can help you take a picture of bright objects through the telescopes.

Monday, August 12, 9 -12 pm. --- "The Perseid Meteor Shower!"   Done  

Friday, May 31,  9:00 - 11:00 pm. ---  "Tic-Tac-Toe 3 planets in a row" Public event. Done

  Spring 2013 Schedule

NEW:   bring your iphone to any event!   We can help you take a picture of bright objects through the telescopes.

Friday, Feb 1,  8:00 - 10:00 pm. ---  "Star formation in Orion." Public event. --Done

Friday, Feb 15,  8:00 - 10:00 pm. --- "Close call Friday: Near Earth Asteroids."  Public event.-- Done

Friday, Mar 1, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. ---  Jupiter and the Moon   Public Event.     -- Done

Friday, Mar 15, 7:45 - 10:00 pm.  ---  "Comet PanSTARRS: the first great comet of 2013?"  Public Event.     -- Done

Friday, Apr 5, 8:30 - 10:30 pm.  ---  "Galaxies of Spring"  Public Event.     -- Done
Friday, April 19, 8:30 - 10:30 pm. --- "Craters of the Moon"  Public Event.  (Moon just past 1st quarter.)      -- Done

Friday, May 3, 9:00 - 11:00 pm   ---  "Saturn is back!"  Public Event.  (Saturn's opposition is on April 28.)   -- Done


See Archive of previous Astronomy Events at ONU.

Return to ONU Physics

Return to ONU

Return to ONU Observatory