How far do you have to travel to see the stars clearly? Join lecturer, author, and astronomer Diane Turnshek as she discusses how light pollution not only prevents us from living under a sky bright with stars, but also negatively impacts human health and the environment. Turnshek will examine how innovative science and technology can reverse this steady creep of sky glow, allowing us to view the same star-filled sky that all past generations did.

Time: Doors open at 6 pm, and the program is 7-9 pm.
Location: Carnegie Science Center
Admission: FREE!

Presenter's Photo

Diane Turnshek is a lecturer in the Department of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh and is a member of the AAAP. She has published hard science fiction with a focus on space colonization and first contact. Her love of both astronomy and science fiction led her to crew the Mars Desert Research Station near Bryce Canyon, Utah in 2012, where she turned her attention to dark sky advocacy. Her fight against light pollution has taken many forms, including giving a TEDxPittsburgh talk. Turnshek is also a 2015 Dark Sky Defender award recipient, recognized by the International Dark-Sky Association for her contribution to light pollution mitigation.

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                    AAAP Meeting Program and Speakers 2016-2017  

September 9 – Space Electronics and Robotics, John Branthoover, Senior Engineer, Astrobotic Technology. ~ Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center.

October 14 – New Horizons: The Adventure to Pluto, Mark “Indy” Kochte – NASA New Horizons Mission Specialist, John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. OmniMax Theater, Carnegie Science Center. 

November 11 – Astrophotography Contest, Allegheny Observatory.

January 13 –  Well, Now What? What to Do Once You’ve Found Another Earth, Thomas Beatty, PhD, Post-doctoral Fellow, Pennsylvania State University Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds,  Science Stage, Carnegie Science Center.

February 10 – Annual Planetarium Show, Buhl Planetarium Theater, Carnegie Science Center. 

March 10 – High-Energy Astrophysics: the fascinating world of supernova explosions and pulsars, Harsha Blumer, PhD, Post-doctoral Researcher, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WVA and Greenbank Observatory,  Science Stage , Carnegie Science Center. 

April 7* – Hunting for powerful monsters: supermassive black holes in distant galaxies, Chien-Ting Chen, PhD, Astrophysicist, Pennsylvania State University, Buhl Planetarium Theater, Carnegie Science Center. 

May 12**- Speaker and topic to be disclosed,  Science Stage.

AAAP meets 7:30 PM, 2nd Friday of the month at the Carnegie Science Center,  Science Stage unless otherwise noted. Meetings open with the speaker followed by an intermission before the business meeting. The November meeting is to be held at the Allegheny Observatory and the April meeting is scheduled to April 7 from April 14ˊand will be held in the Planetarium. For updates, please see the AAAP website,  AAAP Guide Star Newsletter and Facebook Page . *Nomination of Officers at April Business Meeting. **Election of Officers at May Business Meeting.

Download a pdf of the 2016-2017 AAAP Meeting Schedule  here aaapmeetingspeakers 2016-2017.


Leonid Radiat Credit:

Pittsburgh weather is favorable for viewing tonight’s Leonid Meteor Shower, but the Moon is bright in the night sky diminishing the show.  Leonids have been known to product dramatic “meteor storms” with hundreds of meteors per hour some years.  This year expect 10 -15 meteors per hour in ideal viewing between Midnight and dawn. Elevated rates will drop and then taper off in coming days.  Above is a depiction of the Leonid Meteor Shower Radiant in the constellation Leo ( from another year) showing where Leonid meteors appear to originate in the sky. If you cannot go outside, the Slooh Telescope Community will offer online viewing after 8 PM this evening.  To view tonight’s Leonid Meteor shower through the Slooh click here. The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh offers Perseid Meteor Shower Viewing at its Wagman and Mingo Observatories at the Perseid peak in August.


Please share your Moon photographs on our Facebook Page. Happy Moon Gazing!

The Supermoon occurs on Monday, November 14, peaking around 9 PM our time (8:52 EST). It will appear on our horizon just before 5 PM on Monday. Do not expect it to look dramatically different than any other full Moon. It will look big and bright like any full Moon near to the horizon. Monday’s Supermoon will be 14% larger and may appear 30% brighter. Yet you may not know it had you not been told to look for the “Supermoon.” Astronomers traditionally call this kind of moon a Perigee Moon. Term “Supermoon” comes to us from “astrology.” Since it was coined in astrology it has made its way into popular culture. Supermoon seems to be catchier than Perigee Moon. It occurs because the path of the Moon around the Earth is not a perfect circle but instead somewhat egg-shaped (elliptical). We say the Moon is 240,000 miles away but it varies. The actual distance varies over the course of the orbit of the Moon, from 356,500 km (221,500 mi) at the perigee to 406,700 km (252,700 mi) at apogee, resulting in a differential range of 50,200 km (31,200 mi). Interestingly the Moon is spiraling away from the earth at a rate of about 1.5 inches per year as detected by the Lunar Laser Ranging Experiment which utilizes LASERS and mirrors left on the Moon by the Apollo missions. The Moon is said to be at perigee when it is at its nearest and at apogee when it is at its farthest. This particular “perigee” occurring on Monday is the closest perigee since Continue Reading

aoAllegheny Observatory, Pittsburgh, PA
Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh will meet 7:30 PM, November 11, 2016 at Allegheny Observatory, 159 Riverview Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15214The featured program is the Annual Kevin J. Brunelle Astrophotography Contest. Photos submitted by members will be voted upon by the attendees with the winners announced at the end of the meeting. Join us to see the results of the area’s best astrophotographers. November business meeting follows the program. If you cannot be there check the AAAP Facebook Page for updates and for possible LiveStream.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Screen Capture of skies over mingo Observatory , November 12, 2016, 6PM, SW. Screen Capture of skies over mingo Observatory , November 12, 2016, 6PM, SW.

It is your last chance in 2016 to view Late Autumn Sky with the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh at the Mingo Observatory Star Party, SaturdayNovember 12 , 4:00 PMESTSafe Solar Observing; and approximately 5:30 PM EST, Night Sky Observing. Mingo Observatory, Mingo Creek County Park, Washington County, PA.,  Address: Mingo Observatory, 1 Shelter 10 Road, Nottingham Township, PA 15301 GPS Coordinates: 40.2110 N, 80.0190 W. PDF of Park map here. From Henry Covered Bridge follow Mansion Hill Road Extension up hill into park to the fork, where Shelter 10 Road branches to the right. Take Shelter 10 Road beyond Shelter 10 dimming lights at  the extensive clearing where atop hill to the left the observatory rests.  Park along the road below the observatory, handicapped parking at top of hill. It is suggested to use GPS coordinates rather than the address in programming a GPS to locate the site. Please call the observatory at 724-348-6150 if needed.   Mingo Creek Park Observatory and its grounds, as a part of Mingo Creek County Park, are a non-smoking and no alcohol permitted area.

Upon opening at 4:00 p.m. guests may experience SAFE Solar viewing through our 4” Lunt Hydrogen Alpha Telescope mounted on the 10” D & G Refractor also set up for  SAFE Solar viewing in filtered white light. At approximately 5:30 PM, as dark descends and weather permits we will open our 24” Optical Guidance Systems Reflector and the 10” D & G Refractor to viewing wonders of the night sky. Enjoy views of Venus, Saturn and its rings, Mars and the craters of the Moon, Star Clusters, Nebulae (Ring Nebula, Orion Nebula, and others), Galaxies, Double and Multiple Star Systems, etc.   Our Richard Y. Haddad Planetarium opens at 6:30p.m. rain or shine for Sky Shows, Movies and Lectures.

The Mingo Creek Park Observatory is accessible to persons with disabilities. Mingo Creek Park Observatory is operated by an all-volunteer staff of members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh. There is no charge for your visit, but we greatly appreciate donations to help cover operating expenses.  Continue Reading