CNYO Observing Log: Attempted Observing, Successful Lecture, And Maker Hall Session For January, 2016

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

A brief summary of events already had in January. For the most part, this is the time of year when most activities slow to a crawl (unless you’ve got a good few pairs of thermals to wear, in which case you’re observing is limited by conditions and the build-up of water vapor as you breath too close to an eyepiece).

Solar @ Green Lakes, Nighttime @ Baltimore Woods, January 9th

With the Friday night session a complete wash at Baltimore Woods, Bob Piekiel and I ran a double on Saturday, January 9th. The first event was a solar observing run at Green Lakes State Park (amid current construction around the main building). Sadly, this was the best-attended failed session yet, with considerable cloud cover only providing the most fleeting glimpse of the Sun before taking it away again. Attendance peaked near 25, though, which is great news otherwise. Bob will be running (and I wing-man’ing) a few more solar sessions, for which we hope the skies agree at least once.

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Observers observing, but not as planned @ Green Lakes. Click for a larger view.

I am pleased to mention that, near the end of the session, a few mountain bikers came by the scopes to ask what we were looking at. When I said it was a failed solar observing session, one of the bikers (in an SOS shirt) mentioned that he had learned some observing with “A guy named Stu.” Taking a few minutes to remember local amateur astronomer extraordinare Stu Forster was a treat that made my otherwise overcast day.

Later that night, during what was maybe-sort-of predicted to be an opening in the sky from 7 to 8, Bob and I waited patiently at Baltimore Woods for his monthly New Moon weekend session. We went with hope, then left with 90 minutes remaining in the session as the cloud cover only got worse-and-worse. Our loss was other’s gain, of course – as we’ve had a few previous January sessions that were painfully cold but clear. 2016 has started warm but painfully cloudy.

Ceres & Pluto @ DPL 4 CNY Skeptics, January 21st

The lecture given at DeWitt Community Library for our fellow science-minded friends in CNY Skeptics was a repeat (mostly) of the Ceres & Pluto lecture given at Liverpool Public Library late last year. With a few new pics and the benefit of one full pass of the lecture, this session went fairly well (minus at least one softball-stump-the-speaker question). Plans are already in the works for a few more lectures, including one at DPL for the non-affiliated library audience.

TACNY Maker Hall @ The Dr. King Community Celebration, January 30th

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A view from the CNYO table (and a Meteor Game). Click for a larger view.

This past Saturday, CNYO hosted a strategically-placed table to talk astro-shop for a third MLK Community Day Celebration in a row (with continued thanks to STEM Superstar Mary Eileen Wood for the invitation to the event at Nottingham High School). With brochures, Prof. John McMahon’s graciously donated table-top scope (and a 38mm eyepiece to be able to get *anything* into focus in the background), Mars and Ceres pebbles, and a gyroscope in tow, we had about 50 kids and adults stop by over the course of the 2 hour 30 min event. Directly behind us, Dr. David Wormuth made a guest appearance and put his surgical skills to the test (well, not really) in a live demo for the attending audience.

“My Sky Tonight” – MOST Offering A Three Week Astronomy Course For Preschoolers, Feb. 24 – Mar. 9

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

How cool is this? The following announcement was sent by Maria Welych, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at the MOST, to syracuse.com, then posted by Brenda Duncan (every astro-related article makes up for ten sports articles). If you’ve a preschooler running around (and you can find them) or know of one, please pass the info along.

Link: syracuse.com/…/2016/01/most_offers_astronomy_program_for_preschool_children.html

19614032-mmmainThe Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology is offering preschool students the opportunity to learn astronomy in a three-week class created just for them called My Sky Tonight. Classes will be held at the MOST, 500 S. Franklin St., Syracuse.



The class will offer astronomy exploration and inquiry with an emphasis on observing, formulating questions, designing experiments, and testing to answer the children’s questions. The classes were designed with the assistance of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.



Each week will focus on different topics and activities:

* Feb. 24: The Sun. Children will learn about how the sun creates shadows and affects solar beads.

* March 2: The Moon. Attendees will take a close look at the lunar landscape and learn about moon phases.

* March 9: Into the Sky. Preschoolers will build a space explorer and enjoy a planetarium show.

The class, which runs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. each day, is aimed at children 3 to 5 years old. Each child must be accompanied by a parent or adult. Adult and child pairs can sign up for single classes, but the program is designed as a series.



The cost for adult/child pairs who are members is $15 for a single class or $35 for all three, a savings of $10. The cost for an adult/child pair who are not members is $20 for a single class and $50 for all three, a savings of $10.



The deadline to register for classes is Feb. 20. Space is limited. For more information and to register, contact Betty Jones at bjones@most.org or 315-425-9068 ext. 2143.

Google map to the MOST. Click to make directions.

Bob Piekiel Hosting His Monthly New Moon Baltimore Woods Session Tonight, 5 February 2016, 7-9 p.m.

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

Tonight is looking reasonable enough to warrant trying to get at least one February observing session in. Pending any final weather update (by 5:00 p.m. tonight here and on the Facebook Page), Bob and I will be at Baltimore Woods Nature Center from 7 to 9 p.m. to enjoy some of the very best (and, to me, THE best) observing of the year.

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Not only is the Southern Sky full of some of the very best Messier Objects of the year (click on the image above, centering Orion at 9:00 p.m. for ease-of-orientation, for a larger view), but we’ll (hopefully) be treated to a sight of Comet Catalina, currently in the direction of Polaris.

For those going out to look at the conditions around 6:00 p.m. – wait! At 6:13 p.m., the ISS will be flying overhead and hitting mag. -3.1 (you can’t miss it! MAP #1 courtesy of heavens-above.com). Attendees will be treated to a second, dimmer fly-by at 7:51 p.m. (only mag. -0.4. MAP #2 courtesy of heavens-above.com).

As with all Baltimore Woods events, they request that you RSVP for the event through their facility. Also note that Baltimore Woods is supported by hosting these events, so there is an associated fee for the event ($5 for BW members, $8 for non-BW-members). To RSVP, contact the BW office at (315) 673-1350 or info@baltimorewoods.org.