Monthly Archives: April 2016

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CNYO Spring 2016 Observing Session At Beaver Lake Nature Center On Thursday, April 28th (Raindate: May 5th)

FINAL UPDATE: 4 May – 2:00 p.m. – The weather for tomorrow night is predicted to be lousy for observing, so we’re making the official call early to CANCEL tomorrow night’s event at Beaver Lake Nature Center. Stay tuned for an event announcement about The Mercury Transit happening on May 9th!

UPDATE: 28 April – 2:00 p.m. – Sadly, the cloud cover is not agreeable for observing tonight (as also reported by Glenn Coin at, so we are pushing the observing session off to next Thursday, May 5th. Stay tuned!

UPDATE: 28 April – 10:00 a.m. – The sky conditions for tonight are not looking good for observing. We’ll make a final call around 2:00 p.m. and, if necessary, plan for next Thursday instead.

H/T to Glenn Coin for posting the announcement to (and various related pick-up CNY sites).

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The time has come again to make our seasonal Thursday night trek [beaver lake announcement; event] to the Beaver Lake parking lot for views of the Nighttime Spring Sky. For 2016, we’ve the added bonus of having prime planetary viewing for the entire session, featuring Mercury to our West just after sunset (and even before if Bob Piekiel’s GOTO scope is ready) and Jupiter, biting at the feet of Leo the Lion, in the sky throughout – having reached opposition in early March.


Views from the 2006 Transit of Mercury. Photo from

Mercury will be giving us a double-dose of observing in the next few weeks as we approach its Transit on the morning of May 9th (for which Bob Piekiel is hosting a special (and unusually early!) event at Baltimore Woods from 8 to 10 a.m. On Monday, May 9th – event notice to follow!). For those who managed a view of the Transit of Venus in 2012, this is your chance to say you saw the only two planetary Transits you can from Earth – you’ll then have to move to Mars to try to make any kind of inferior planet trifecta.

Google map for Beaver Lake Nature Center. Click to get directions.

LeoTripletHunterWilsonThe Thursday session at Beaver Lake will be our last chance to see any sign of the Orion Nebula (and it will be heroic observing at that, given how close to the tree line it may be by the time it’s dark enough), but M13 in Hercules, the Leo Triplet (shown at right – and they will not look this good from Beaver Lake! Image from, several other notable Messier Objects, and whatever satellites happen to fly over will be on hand to keep the observing and conversation going.

By the usual ending time for the event, the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra will just be rising above the Northeastern skyline, striking the chord to herald the soon-approaching return of Summer Skies and our views into the heart of our Milky Way Galaxy.

Girls Summit 2016 – STEM Career Orientation Day, 7 May 2016

From the TACNY email list – see for registration information – and I’m assuming they mean Friday, April 22nd.

What: Girls Summit is a STEM Career Orientation day that aims to:

(1) spark the spirit, trigger the imagination and encourage young women to consider new and exciting career opportunities

(2) Increase a girl’s interest in math, science and technology and in sticking with school

(3) Provide girls with opportunities to meet and form personal contacts with women working in non- traditional fields

(4) provide hands-on learning about alternative careers in a format that is committed to benefiting girls of all ethnicities, races, religions and abilities.

When: The event will be held on Saturday, May 7th from 9:00am to 3:30pm (PRE-REGISTER BY FRIDAY APRIL 25TH)

Where: (SUNY College of Environmental Science and ForestryMarshall Hall)

How Much: $5.00

For additional information please contact Flavia Rey de Castro, Program Director, at or at 315-424-0040


Click for a larger view.

Explore Our Energy Future – Onondaga County Tour On Saturday, 23 April 2016


For all of the details, see

2016april13_fb_eventSee renewable energy sources of the future in action today. Learn how they work in our environment. Find out why owners installed them; costs and benefits and ask your questions.

Climate Change Awareness & Action has organized a self-guided tour of over 20 sites in Onondaga County where you can see geothermal, solar, and wind energy in action in homes, farms, commercial buildings, schools and municipal settings as well as alternative fuel transportation sites and innovative efficiency technologies.

Tour takes place: Saturday, April 23, from 11 am to 3 pm (Self guided: visit as many sites as you wish)

Learn how these clean energy sources are transforming energy production across Onondaga County and helping safeguard the environment for future generations.

* Visit homes in the city and county where geothermal and solar energy provide 100% of their energy needs;

* See a geothermal system that taps into the salt aquifer running beneath Salina St. that provides heating & cooling of 30,000 sq. ft. of commercial space;

* Find out how farms use solar and wind to provide energy for crop and livestock production; tour buildings that require no additional electricity or natural gas for heating, cooling, lighting and or water;

* Learn the significant commitment Onondaga County has made to solar energy;

* Hear a presentation at an electric car charging station on how they work; differences in charging technologies; learn of over 120 charging stations in the county and the future for new technologies. See an electric car in action.

Visit our web page at for information on the tour, (open 11 am to 3 pm), description of the sites and directions.

The owners will explain how their systems work and answer questions Information will be provided on how homes and businesses can install these systems; an exciting new program on accessing solar through “power purchase agreements” just made available this year in NY state and why climate change needs to be addressed now.

Recent reports show that February was the hottest on record. The New York Times reports coastal flooding is rising at the greatest pace in 28 centuries, up more than tenfold in Annapolis in 50 years.

Individual actions on energy choices, transportation decisions and consumption habits do make a difference in reducing greenhouse gases, the primary cause of climate change.

For more information contact Peter Wirth at or 315-476-3396.

Climate Change Awareness & Action is a local organization of volunteers who believe that climate change is a serious issue that needs to be addressed now through education and action to make it possible for future generations to adapt to a new environment.

For more information go to or call 315-637-0331.

Syracuse-centric readers may have also seen the cover story in this week’s edition of the Syracuse New Times by my friend Renée K. Gadoua. Click the image below to be taken to the full article online.


Bob Piekiel Hosts A Mercury/Jupiter-Centric Observing Session At Baltimore Woods, Friday – 15 April 2015

UPDATE: FRIDAY, APRIL 15 – The Baltimore Woods observing session is A GO for tonight! Dress accordingly and come enjoy some excellent views of Mercury, Jupiter, and the Moon!

Greetings fellow astrophiles!


The view at 8:00 p.m., Friday, April 15th. Click for a larger view.

The temperature’s spiked up just in time for Bob Piekiel’s monthly observing session at Baltimore Woods.

A quick note from Bob about the session:

My program highlight is Mercury, which is at greatest elongation. I’m actually listing the program with a 6pm start time (the Sun will still be up!) because we will also have the Moon and Jupiter as easy targets, and with my NexStar GPS I can lock on them and find Mercury very early. I don’t think it’s necessary to get there much before 6:30, but Mercury does drop below the tree line during twilight.

A Note About Baltimore Woods

Part of Baltimore Woods’ support for their facility and programs comes from event fees – take in some keen sights and keep the place going at the same time!

* Registration for these events are required. Low registration may cause programs to be canceled.
* $5 for members, $15/family; $8 for nonmembers, $25/family.
* To Register By Email:
* To Register By Phone: (315) 673-1350

The Detection Of Gravitational Waves – Lecture At Cazenovia College On Thursday, 14 April 2016

Fresh from the ACS and TACNY email lists – and quite topical!

There’s still time to RSVP to attend this free event!

The Detection of Gravitational Waves

with Dr. Steven Penn at Cazenovia College
Thursday, April 14th, 2016, 6:30 – 8:30 pm
RSVP to Dr. Venera Jouraeva at