Category Archives: Cny Science

CNYO Joins The NASA Night Sky Network

The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA’s missions to the general public.

We share our time and telescopes to provide you with unique astronomy experiences at science museums, observatories, classrooms, and under the real night sky.

In our continuing effort to make it easy for CNYers to get outside and observing, Larry Slosberg has set up CNYO as a new member of the NASA Night Sky Network (NSN). The NSN, among its many other benefits to the amateur astronomy community, acts as a conduit through which all of the other astronomy clubs in the U.S. can find each other, see what those other clubs are doing, steal good presentation ideas, find out about NASA-related and club-related events, etc.

You can find our NSN page at: nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/club-view.cfm?Club_ID=1599

2014april4_nsn_mainpage

CNYO and other astronomy clubs gain exposure through an official NASA channel, making it easier for people to find local societies (such as ourselves). The NSN also provides clubs with instructional materials, demos, and varied projects throughout the year so that all of the clubs have science presentations ready-to-go at their events. We also hope that NASA gains by our participation as well – specifically by increasing the number of people interested in astronomy, space science, and science education (and that it certainly us!).


A bit about the Night Sky Network (from youtube).

We’ll be populating our NSN page with our event schedule once it’s finalized (and, if you take a look at the events calendars, you’ll note that the NSN people have already done some of the bookwork of adding astronomically-significant events to the global calendar. A great starting point as you ponder your own observing sessions!). In the meantime, you can learn more about the NSN and keep up-to-date with their activities by checking out the links below:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nightskynetwork
Twitter: twitter.com/nightskynetwork/
youtube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/NightSkyNetwork

Regulus Occultation Update #2 – Everyone Else Is Seeing The Event – But Will CNY?

NOTE: For additional information about the Regulus occultation, we’ve three previous posts at cnyo.org that cover the official IOTA (International Occultation Timing Association) press release, a little more info about the event itself, and a previous update from last week. Links are below:

Official IOTA Press Release: www.cnyo.org/2014/02/20/iota-official-press-release-best-and-brightest-asteroid-occultation-ever-to-be-visible-across-new-york-state/

Additional Information: www.cnyo.org/2014/03/04/central-new-york-take-note-and-help-out-the-occultation-of-regulus-by-asteroid-erigone-on-march-20th/

CNYO Update #1: www.cnyo.org/2014/03/12/regulus-occultation-update-weve-got-erigone-on-our-minds/

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

With only 3 full days (and a few hours to either side) left before the occultation of Regulus by Main Belt asteroid Erigone, the news media is starting to feature this event in their always-to-infrequent science snippets (that said, it has been a busy week).

Within the amateur astronomy community came this announcement from the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers):

Alert Notice 499: Predicted occultation of Regulus

And this ever-thorough analysis from Astro Bob (this is a plug to get you to subscribe to Astro Bob’s RSS feed. His writings are some of the very best in the community):

Asteroid Erigone makes a bright star vanish for 14 seconds – Don’t miss this rare event!

Beyond the larger amateur astronomy community, this announcement and interview (with IOTA members) comes from usatoday.com:

Asteroid to dim a bright star for some in Northeast

Our blogging about the occultation even caught the eyes of Shannon Ash, in-house astrophysicist at the Rachel Maddow Show Blog (I guess we can call this a “link out” instead of a “shout out”), who included a link to our announcement of the IOTA press release.

Week in Geek: This week, a big star ‘winks’

We will await similar “link outs” from Fox News.

So, the good news is that the event is starting to make its rounds in the media. The bad news is, as of Sunday evening, that we in CNY may not get a clear shot at observing the occultation. A smattering of weather predictions from weather.com, News Channel 9, and a youtube post of the forecast from CNYCentral are shown below (the youtube bad news shows up around 3min40sec). We all know that 24 hours in CNY is a LONG time when it comes to weather changes, so we await the predictions on Tuesday (Then Wednesday. Then Wednesday afternoon. Then Wednesday, 11:00 p.m.).

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Above: Weather predictions from weather.com.

2014mar15_newschannel9

Above: Similar predictions from News Channel 9.

Above: More similar predictions from CNYCentral.

Regulus Occultation Update – We’ve Got Erigone On Our Minds

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

Despite the torrential snowfall at present, we remain ever optimistic (and it’s too far out to trust any weather predictions anyway) about the possibility of clear skies on the early-early morning of March 20th, when the Main Belt asteroid Erigone will occult the star Regulus in Leo the Lion.


Richard Nugent’s silent youtube movie about the Regulus occultation.

We’ve already posted two lengthy articles on the topic, including the official press release:

* IOTA Official Press Release: Best And Brightest Asteroid Occultation Ever To Be Visible Across New York State

And an article describing the occultation measurement and data-collection process itself for determining Erigone’s shape:

* Central New York: Take Note (And Help Out)! – The Occultation Of Regulus By Asteroid Erigone On March 20th

I am happy to report that the press release has now appeared on the Kopernik Astronomical Society website (thanks to the efforts of their postmaster general Patrick Manley – the Vestal observatory may be on the far, far western edge of the occultation measurement, but hopefully a good spread of members down there can cover the measurements of the asteroid’s far western side):

* Best And Brightest Asteroid Occultation Ever To Be Visible Across New York State

And a recent universetoday article on the occultation even gives CNYO a linked shout-out (which we gladly accept):

* How to Watch an Asteroid Occult a Bright Star on March 20th

Expect a small flurry of posts next week as we prepare for 14 seconds of pure adrenaline between 2:00 and 2:10 a.m. E.D.T. on March 20th (and, to clarify – because it came up – this means you’ll be staying wide awake on the 19th, pass midnight, then kill two more hours before going outside. Plenty of time to practice while you wait, and hopefully your thumb won’t freeze over waiting to push your stopwatch app).

In the meantime, if you plan on measuring the occultation time, do consider giving the official Regulus Occultation FAQ a thorough once-over: Volunteer observers invited to time the March 20, 2014 Occultation of Regulus

And, to keep track of official International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) announcements and anything else that might come across the page, consider joining the Regulus2014 Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/Regulus2014