Category Archives: Events

Mercury Transit – Monday May 9th

UPDATE – 5/9 @ 12:10 pm –  APL Astro Event CANCELLED due to inclement weather.  See http://www.nasa.gov/transit for great views!

UPDATE – 5/9 @ 8:20 am  Weather not looking good.  You must be able to see distinct shadows for us to see an image of the sun through a solar telescope.  There will be nothing to see if there are no distinct shadows.

 

Monday is the next (and last until 2019*) Mercury Transit of the Sun! We will be well placed for  viewing the entire thing – if only we had a full day to take off and observe it! The last time this event occurred was 10 years ago (November 2006).

The current weather forecast for Monday is: Mostly sunny! High of 71!  We have to have a clear view of the sun to view it through our special-purpose Solar telescopes (NEVER LOOK ANYWHERE NEAR THE SUN WITH A CONVENTIONAL TELESCOPE!).

The transit will start at 7:12:19am EDT, and be fully underway (the entire disc of Mercury will be silhouetted against the Sun) within a few minutes, at 7:15:31am EDT. The midpoint of the transit will happen at 10:57:26am EDT. Finally, the finish to the transit will begin at 2:39:14pm EDT, when the outer edge of Mercury’s disc will touch the far edge of the Sun. The transit will wrap up a few minutes later when Mercury completely disappears from view at 2:42:26pm EDT.

Based on volunteer availability, we expect to have the Lunt 60 mm H-alpha telescope set up on the lawn in front of Building 200 and the Coronado 40 mm H-alpha telescope set up on Central Green near the pergolas.

Approximate times –

Central Green – 11 – 1:30 pm

Bldg 200 – once at the beginning of transit, a couple times during the middle/near lunch (around 11am and again around noon), and once at the end of transit.

 

 

Spring Friends/Family Star Party – Friday April 15, 2016

The APL Astronomy Club’s Friends & Family Star Party will be held on Friday, April 15th from 8 pm to 10 pm or so, depending on sky conditions. Rain date is May 13th.  Sunset is at 7:45.  Club members will be setting up telescopes prior to that, so if you are interested in club telescopes or their setup feel free to come earlier.  Setup will likely commence by 7 pm or so.  We expect to have several types of telescopes set up, including:

  1. Refractor – Stellarvue 102 mm Apochromat
  2. Reflector – Orion 12″ Dobsonian
  3. Schmidt-Cassegrain – Celestron NexStar 6″
  4. Aplanatic (Schmidt-Cassegrain with corrector for flat field and coma-free) – Celestron EdgedHD 8″
  5. Binoculars – Celestron 15 x 70 on parallelogram mount
  6. Schmidt-Cassegrain with Mallincam video camera and display – Celestron 9.25″
  7. 125 mm Maksutov or 6″ RV Reflector

Where: On the lawn by the Big Dish, outside the security fence, on the west side of the main campus.

Star Party on the West lawn near the Big Radio Dish
Star Party on the West lawn near the Big Radio Dish

 

Clothing: dress as if the temperatures will be 10 degrees colder than what the weather prognosticators are calling for! (standing around looking through telescopes is not the most heat-generating activity you can do at night) Hats and hoods are most helpful in keeping warm.

Star gazing (and telescope viewing) is always dependent and contingent upon the weather. Please check back to this post as the date draws near to verify whether or not the star party has been cancelled due to inclement weather (rain or significant cloud cover). We will be putting weather updates here as necessary.

APLers and their friends and families are all invited to attend. Club members will have several telescopes out for your viewing pleasure, but feel free to bring your own optics if you have them – the more, the merrier!

PLEASE: NO FLASHLIGHTS! (red light or red cellophane covered flashlights would be perfectly fine, though) Also, turn the screen brightness *down* on personal electronics.
Sunset: 7:45 pm EDT

End civil twilight: 8:13 pm EDT

Moonset: ~3:30 am EDT April 16

Moon phase: First Quarter (~50% illuminated)

Solar Viewing

Solar viewing using special SOLAR telescopes (NEVER point a conventional telescope anywhere near the sun!) FRIDAY October 23 by one of the pergolas (wooden structures) in Central Green from around 11:30 to around 1:00 pm. Come out and see a few sunspots along with some spicules and prominences if we are lucky! Bring a hat. We should have the Coronado PST and the Lunt H-Alpha set up. Please watch this page for updates – we need mostly clear to clear skies for observation.

Image of Sun, 22 October 2015
Image of Sun, 22 October 2015

Fall Friends and Family Star Party – 18 September 2015

The APL Astronomy Club’s Friends & Family Star Party will be held on Friday, September 18th, at 7pm until 9pm or so, depending on how things are going, how many enthusiastic people are present, etc.

Star gazing (and telescope viewing) is always dependent and contingent upon the weather. Please check back to this post as the date draws nigh to verify whether or not the star party has been cancelled due to inclement weather (rain and clouds being the biggest impactors). We will be putting weather updates here as they are necessary, though at this point the conditions for Friday evening look favorable for us (finally!). There will be no rain date.

APLers and their friends and families are all invited to attend. Club members will have several telescopes out for your viewing pleasure, but feel free to bring your own optics if you have them – the more, the merrier!

PLEASE: NO FLASHLIGHTS! (red light or red celophane covered flashlights would be perfectly fine, though) Also, turn the screen brightness *down* on personal electronics.

Where: On the lawn by the Big Dish, outside the security fence, on the west side of the main campus. See map to right.

Clothing: dress as if the temperatures will be 10 degrees colder than what the weather prognosticators are calling for! (standing around looking through telescopes is not the most heat-generating activity you can do at night) Hats and hoods are most helpful in keeping warm.

Sunset: 7:11 pm EDT
End civil twilight: 7:38 pm EDT

Moonset: ~10:16 pm EDT
Moon phase: 5 days old(~30% illuminated)

Fall Friends/Family Star Party – October 30, 2014

The APL Astronomy Club’s Friends & Family Star Party will be held on Thursday, October 30th, at 7pm until 9pm or so, depending on how things are going, how many enthusiastic people are present, etc.

Star gazing (and telescope viewing) is always dependent and contingent upon the weather. Please check back to this post as the date draws nigh to verify whether or not the star party has been cancelled due to inclimate weather (rain and clouds being the biggest impactors). We will be putting weather updates here as they are necessary, though at this point the conditions for Thursday evening look favorable for us (finally!). There will be no rain date.

APLers and their friends and families are all invited to attend. Club members will have several telescopes out for your viewing pleasure, but feel free to bring your own optics if you have them – the more, the merrier!

PLEASE: NO FLASHLIGHTS! (red light or red celophane covered flashlights would be perfectly fine, though) Also, turn the screen brightness *down* on personal electronics.

Where: On the lawn by the Big Dish, outside the security fence, on the west side of the main campus. See map to right.

Clothing: dress as if the temperatures will be 10 degrees colder than what the weather prognosticators are calling for! (standing around looking through telescopes is not the most heat-generating activity you can do at night) Hats and hoods are most helpful in keeping warm.

Sunset: 6:09 pm EDT
End civil twilight: 7:30 pm EDT

Moonset: ~12:22am EDT Oct 31
Moon phase: First Quarter (~50% illuminated)

Spring Friends/Family Star Party – Canceled

The APL Astronomy Club’s Friends & Family Star Party will be held on Friday, May 2nd, at 7:00pm until 10:00 pm or so, depending on how things are going, how enthused the telescope volunteers are for staying late, etc. is canceled due to clouds. We will try again in the Fall.

Star gazing (and telescope viewing) is always dependent and contingent upon the weather. Please check back to this post as the date draws nigh to verify whether or not the star party has been cancelled due to inclimate weather (rain and clouds being the biggest impactors). We will be putting weather updates here as they are necessary. If we are clouded/rained out, we will regroup in the Fall.

APLers and their friends and families are all invited to attend. Club members will have several telescopes out for your viewing pleasure, but feel free to bring your own optics if you have them – the more, the merrier! And even though there is plenty of light pollution around, PLEASE: NO FLASHLIGHTS!

Where: On the lawn by the Big Dish, outside the security fence, on the west side of the main campus. See map to right.

Clothing: dress as if the temperatures will be 10 degrees colder than what the weather prognosticators are calling for! (standing around looking through telescopes is not the most heat-generating activity you can do at night)

Sunset: 8:01 pm EDT
End civil twilight: 8:30 pm EDT

Moonset: 11:21 pm EDT
Moon phase: Waxing Crescent (12% illuminated)