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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 2017 Schedule



Friday, Jan 27, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "The ISS flies by Mars and Venus"
The ONU Observatory will be open to the public from 8 - 10 pm on Friday, January 27, 2017 for our first event of the Spring semester. It is entitled "The ISS flies by Mars and Venus". Around 8:24 pm, EST, the ISS (International Space Station) will rise in the southwest and pass by Venus and Mars as seen from Ada, OH. The brightness of the ISS will only be rivaled by Venus. After that passage, we will observe Mars and Venus as well as deep sky objects using our many telescopes.

This event was cancelled because of clouds.

Friday, Feb 17, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Brilliant Venus"
The ONU Observatory will be open to the public from 8 - 10 pm on Friday, February 17, 2017 for our "Brilliant Venus" event. Have you noticed Venus getting brighter in the western sky after sunset? It reaches its "maximum brilliancy" on Feb 16, and we will be celebrating this on our Friday public event. Venus will greatly outshine nearby Mars and Uranus. Through the telescope, you will discern it's crescent phase. Maximum brilliancy is the moment when the illuminated part of Venus presents to us the largest solid angle (an angular area). This actually occurs a little while after the date of maximum brightness, and before Venus is closest to the Earth. At any rate, Venus is cool ... or rather, hot! At 860 degrees F, it is hot enough to melt lead and its clouds contain sulfuric acid. In addition to viewing Venus, Mars and Uranus, we can observe deep sky objects like the Great Orion Nebula without interference by moonlight.

This event was a success.


Friday, Mar 3, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Craters and Maria of the Moon"
The ONU Astronomy Club welcomes you to the ONU Observatory on Friday, March 3, 2017 for our "Craters and Maria of the Moon" event. Stop by any time between 8 and 10 pm to look through our telescopes or ask questions about the night sky. On this night, the crescent Moon will be high in the southwest, well placed for viewing. The phase is a good one for seeing interesting lunar features such as the Posidonius Crater with its fissures, and Mare Tranquillitatus, where Apollo 11 landed. Other targets will include Venus, Mars and deep sky objects.

The event was a success.


Friday, Mar 17, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Star Formation in Orion"

Ada and the surrounding communities are invited to the ONU Observatory on Friday, March 17 from 9-11 pm for "Star Formation in Orion". It may seem like the stars are eternal, but they do eventually die out. They are also born hundreds at a time out of giant clouds of gas and dust. One of the most frequently studied and nearby "stellar nurseries" is in the constellation Orion. It is called the "Orion Nebula" and it is one of the easiest nebulosities to see with a telescope. The Orion Nebula will be well-placed in the sky for observing during our event. There will also be a short presentation about star formation showing beautiful images of the Orion Nebula and other sites of star formation.

This event was cancelled because of clouds.

Friday, Mar 31, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Glimpse Mercury"-> "Comet Pours from Big Dipper"

The ONU Observatory will be open to the public from 9 - 11 pm on Friday, March 31. This event was originally meant to highlight Mercury, which is near its greatest eastern elongation away from the Sun. However, a periodic comet called 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak has come to steal the show. It is just a little under the naked eye limit but easily seen in a telescope. At its closest on Apr 1 (no fooling), the comet will be unusually close to the Earth: 14% of the Earth-Sun distance. It will be positioned in the constellation Ursa Major and flying out of the cup of the Big Dipper asterism. Also available for viewing will be the crescent Moon and the Great Orion Nebula.

This event is cancelled because of clouds and rain.

Friday, Apr 7, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Jupiter at opposition"

The ONU Astronomy Club hosts a free astronomy event on Friday, April 7 from 9-11 pm. The main attraction will be Jupiter which reaches opposition on this day. Opposition is when superior planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, etc), are seen in the opposite direction as the Sun from the Earth's perspective. That is, the Earth is located directly in-between the Sun and that planet. This is a great time to look at the planet since it is as close to us as it gets. Jupiter will rise around 9 pm in the constellation Virgo and reach an altitude of 10 degrees by 9:40 pm, EDT. A nearly-full Moon will be nearby in the constellation Leo. Weather permitting, it should be a good night to enjoy some of the brighter celestial objects!
Extra: the ONU Observatory has a new, improved mount for it's largest telescope.

This event was a success.

Friday, Apr 21, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Galaxies of Spring"


Ada and the surrounding communities are invited to the ONU Observatory on Friday, April 21 from 9-11 pm for "The Galaxies of Spring". Galaxies are a swirling collection of stars, gas, dust, and dark matter. They are generally difficult to see with telescopes because they are so far away and faint. During this time of the year, however, the closest concentrations of galaxies are positioned high in the sky by midnight. We will be targeting such galaxies as M66 in Leo and the "Black eye galaxy" in Coma Berenices for observation with the telescopes. By sheer luck, at 9:47 pm, an Iridium satellite is scheduled to flare brightly just as it passes into Coma Berenices; a dot as bright as Venus will momentarily mark our Milky Way's North Galactic Pole! So come and witness the wonders of the deep sky as you learn about extragalactic astronomy!

This event is cancelled due to cloudiness.

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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!"

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

Friday, Sept 30, 8:00-10:00 pm. - Public Event. "Mars Near the Lagoon"

Friday, Oct 21, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Orionid Meteor Shower"

Friday, Nov 4, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "The Blue Planets: Uranus and Neptune"

Friday, Nov 25, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "What We Learned From New Horizons"


Summer 2016

There are no public observatory events scheduled for summer 2016. We will have some private viewings for ONU summer programs and other community organizations. Generally, only if there is a special celestial event, like the solar eclipse of Summer 2017, will we schedule a public event during the summer.



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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