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Public Events at the ONU Observatory

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The best way to see the fantastic 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 2015 Schedule

Monday, Jan 26, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public event. "Asteroid Close Encounter" 
  Join the ONU Astronomy Club for a special event on Monday, January 26, from 8-10 pm. Normally we meet on Fridays, but on this day, a small asteroid (0.3 miles across) will fly safely past the Earth close enough to be seen through our telescopes. The closest approach is about three times the distance to the Moon. Asteroid 2004 BL86 is scheduled to pass through the constellation Cancer during the evening, so its motion should be detectable to the eye (unlike most asteroids).
But wait, there's more!! Comet Lovejoy will still be an easy target to see through the telescopes and binoculars. We'll help you see glimpses of this comet, Jupiter, the close-call asteroid, and the Moon as well.
   This event is free to the public but it is contingent on mostly clear skies, temperatures above 15 F, and no snow build-up. Check here for cancelations on Monday after 2 pm.

Friday, Feb 6, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "The Opposition of Jupiter"
  ONU Physics and Astronomy welcomes you to the ONU Observatory on Friday, February 6, 8:00-10:00 pm for "The Opposition of Jupiter". The biggest planet of our solar system, the gas giant Jupiter, will be in opposition on February 6, meaning that it will be at its closest approach to the Earth. That makes it particularly easy to see features like the Great Red Spot, the Galilean Moons, and the shadows the moons cast on the planet. Jupiter will be well placed for observing with our telescopes throughout the event. We will also target the spectacular Comet Lovejoy as it recedes from the Earth in Andromeda. The moon will rise at 8:50 pm presenting still another target.
Check here for cancelations on Friday after 2 pm.

Friday, Mar 20, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Spring Equinox and a New Moon"
  The ONU Observatory will be open to the public from 9 - 11 pm on Friday, March 20 to celebrate the Spring Equinox and a New Moon. The spring, or vernal equinox is the start of spring and it is marked by the northward passage of the Sun across the celestial equator. There also happens to be a total solar eclipse on this day, but it will not be visible from the United States. Since the Moon is lined up with the Sun, it's phase will be the New Moon, and that means that the light of the Moon will not interfere with our dark sky. Targets for our telescopes will include Venus, Jupiter, Comet Lovejoy, and deep sky objects.
The event is contingent on the weather and will be cancelled if the expected cloudcover is over 50%. Check this web page after 2 pm on Friday for cancellations.

Note:  There will be a total lunar eclipse on April 4th, but the middle of the eclipse occurs at 7 am EST and the Moon sets in the West around 7:19 am.   No public event will be held this early, but those who rise a few hours before the Sun might see about half of the event by looking west.

Friday, Apr 10, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Galaxies of Spring"
  The ONU Astronomy Club is hosting a free, public viewing event called "The Galaxies of Spring" on Friday, April 10. The ONU Observatory will be open from 9:00-11:00 PM. The Moon will be below the horizon allowing us to view faint objects, like galaxies. The months of April and May are especially good for finding galaxies since the North Galactic Pole (NGP) is high in the sky by midnight. Many nearby groupings of galaxies are concentrated near the NGP in constellations like Leo, Virgo and Coma Berenices. When we look at stars in our sky, we are looking hundreds to thousands of years into the past. But when you look at even the nearest of galaxies, you are looking several million years into the past. So come and look through ONU's ``time machines" and intercept some very old photons with your eye. Other prime targets will be the planet Jupiter and several globular clusters.

Friday, Apr 24, 9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public event.  "Craters and Maria; Observing the Moon"

  Come to the ONU Observatory on Friday evening, Apr 24, anytime between 9 and 11 pm for our event "Craters and Maria". The Moon will be high in the sky for easy viewing tonight. It will be in the crescent, or first quarter, phase, (40% illumination) which is a good time to explore the Moon's treasures with a telescope. These include the sites of ancient meteor impacts called craters and maria. We will keep a live image of the Moon on our flat panel TV. We can also observe Jupiter and Venus tonight, as well as double stars and star clusters.

Friday, May 8,  9:00-11:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Spot Mercury and Venus"  

Come to the ONU Observatory on Friday evening, May 8, any time between 9 and 11 pm to "Spot Mercury and Venus". Venus has been impressive lately as the brightest dot in the western sky and now Mercury is coming to join it. Mercury only reaches a maximum angular distance of 28 degrees from the Sun, and this means that it is usually too close to the horizon to view at night. On May 8, Mercury will be relatively easy to view: it will be 15 degrees above the horizon at 9 pm. Mercury will set around 10 pm so don't arrive too late if you want to scratch it off of your celestial "bucket" list. If you do miss Mercury, we will also be targeting Venus, Jupiter, Saturn, and assorted deep sky objects with our telescopes. This event celebrates not only Mercury's greatest eastern elongation, but also the successful Messenger mission to Mercury that ended last week with a (planned) crash onto its dark, hot surface.

Check this spot for cancellations due to weather by 2pm on Friday.

Maps to the ONU Observatory: http://www2.onu.edu/~j-pinkney/astro/ONUObservatory.html
For weather cancelations see:

Fall 2014 Schedule

Friday, August 29, 8:30-10:30 pm. -- Public event. "Comet Rendezvous / Neptune Opposition" 

Friday, Sept 19, 8:30-10:30 pm. -- Public Event. "The Andromeda Galaxy" (Time change to 8:30.)

Note: On the morning of Wednesday, Oct 8, there will be a Total Lunar Eclipse visible from Ada, OH.  No observatory event is planned because of the early hour.  The Earth's umbra begins to cover the Moon around 5:15 am EDT and the Moon sets during totality, around 7:30 am EDT.  It should be a beautiful sight and no telescope is needed.

Friday, October 17, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "The Opposition of Uranus"

Friday, October 31, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "Halloween and the Moon"

Friday, November 14, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public event.  "Seeing in the Leonids"

Friday, December 12,  8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "The Geminid Meteor Shower"

Spring 2014 Schedule

Friday, January 31, 8:00 - 10:00 pm. --
Public event. "Supernova in M82!"    

Friday, February 21, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event. "Star formation in Orion"

Friday, March 7, 8:00-10:00 pm. -- Public Event.  "The Moon in Taurus"

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

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."

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

See Archive of previous Astronomy Events at ONU.

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