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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!

Fall 2016 Schedule


Sunday, Aug 21, 9:00-10:00 pm. - ONU Event. "Welcomefest"

Saturday, Aug 27, 6:00-7:00 pm. - Public Event. "Jupiter and Venus together!"
The ONU Observatory will have its first Public Event of the fall during the daytime: 6:00-7:00 pm on Saturday, Aug 27. It is an amazing conjunction of Jupiter and Venus in which they will pass as close as 1/15 of a degree from one another! Daytime observations of the brightest planets and stars is possible with some of the telescopes we have on mounts at the ONU Observatory. We will not be able to "stargaze" or observe "deep sky" objects with the Sun up. However, we can take a look at the Sun itself with our new solar telescope! This is a small, refractor telescope that only lets through a narrow range of red wavelengths. It allows us to see solar prominences, not just sunspots! So drop by during the dinner hour and see things that very few people have seen: live solar prominences, and Jupiter and Venus side-by side in the blue sky of daytime.

Aug 28 update: Success! Clouds passed around 6:30 allowing guests to see bright Venus next to a ghostly Jupiter.

Friday, Sept 9, 9:00-11:00 pm. - Public Event. "Explore the Crescent Moon"
This event was cancelled.

Friday, Sept 30, 8:00-10:00 pm. - Public Event. "Mars Near the Lagoon"
The ONU Astronomy Club is hosting a public viewing event called "Mars in the Lagoon" on Friday, September 30 at 8-10 pm. The main attraction will be Mars which has been moving through the constellation Sagittarius. On this night, Mars will pass close to the Lagoon Nebula in the sky. This nebula is huge glowing cloud of gas and young stars about 5000 light years away. Mars will be about 9 light minutes away.
Other targets will include Saturn and the Trifid Nebula.

This event was cancelled.

Friday, Oct 21, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Orionid Meteor Shower"
The ONU Astronomy Club will host a free star party at the ONU Observatory on Friday, Oct 21 from 8-10 pm. The theme is the Orionid Meteor Shower. This annual shower produces a maximum of about 25 "falling stars" per hour under optimum conditions. Our conditions will not be optimal because the constellation Orion (from which the meteors emanate) will not rise until around 11 pm. However, the Moon will also not rise until late (after midnight) so that will keep the skies dark and make the meteors more obvious. Also available for viewing will be the planets Uranus, Neptune, Mars, and Venus, and deep sky objects like the ring nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy.
This event was cancelled.

Friday, Nov 4, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "The Blue Planets: Uranus and Neptune"
The ONU Astronomy Club will host a free event for the public at the ONU Observatory on Friday, Nov 4, from 8-10 pm. The theme is "The Blue Planets: Uranus and Neptune". These outermost two Jovian planets both have bluish hues attributed to methane in their atmospheres. Each planet has an interesting history and unique characteristics. Uranus is tilted about 98 degrees onto its side so it has the most extreme seasons. It's moons (some of which can be spotted with our telescopes) are named after characters in works of Shakespeare and Pope. The biggest Moon of Neptune, Triton, orbits retrograde to the planet's spin and is expected to one day merge with Neptune. Neptune is also now the furthest planet from the Sun in our solar system, since Pluto was demoted. But probably not for long. Astronomers are closing in on a "Planet IX" lurking somewhere in the Kuiper Belt.
At the beginning of the event, the crescent Moon will be just high enough to observe with telescopes. Also available for viewing will be the planet Mars and deep sky objects. So come and learn about astronomy at the ONU Observatory!

This event was a success.

Friday, Nov 25, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "What We Learned From New Horizons"
What better way to spend a "Black Friday" night than at the ONU Observatory looking at stars and planets? On November 25, 8-10 pm, the ONU Astronomy Club hosts its last event of the fall, "What we learned from New Horizons". Since most of the students will be gone for break, we especially encourage the families of Ada and it's surrounding communities to come by with their questions about astronomy. The title refers to the New Horizons spacecraft that flew past the dwarf planet Pluto on July 14, 2015. Since the flyby, it has been slowly trasmitting data back to Earth, and the last bits didn't arrive until Oct 25, 2016. Although Pluto is too faint to see through our telescopes, there will be a presentation around 9pm about this interesting object. Of course, other objects will be accessible to our telescopes, including the most distant planet, Neptune.
As always, this event is contingent upon (mostly) clear weather. A cancellation will appear on the Public Events web page by 2 pm Friday if cloudy weather is likely.

This event is cancelled due to cloudy weather in the forecast.

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Summer 2016

There are no public observatory events scheduled for the summmer. We will have some private viewings for ONU summer programs and other community organizations. Generally, only if there is a special celestial event, like an eclipse, will we schedule a public event during the summer.

Spring 2016 Schedule


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

Friday, Feb 12, 8:00-10:00 pm. - Public Event. "Where Have the Bright Planets Gone?"

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)"



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
j-pinkney@onu.edu
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
Go to ONU Physics
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