Category Archives: Cny Science

Bob Piekiel’s August 12th Baltimore Woods Perseid Session Now Listed As An “International Starry Night” Event

UPDATE: 28 July 2013 – The International Starry Night page for the Baltimore Woods event can be found @ THIS LINK.

Check cnyo.org on the 12th (and 13th) for final event details.
To Register By Email: info@baltimorewoods.org
To Register By Phone: (315) 673-1350
Please register for this event! Low registration may cause programs to be canceled.
Date: Monday, August 12th (weather-alternate: Tuesday, August 13th)
Cost: $5 for Baltimore Woods members/$15 for BW families; $8 for non-members/$25 for families
Time: 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. (maybe beyond?)
Bring: Chairs (or something to lay on), bug spray, and long sleeves
About The Perseids: See THIS EXCELLENT SUMMARY at earthsky.org
Location: Baltimore Woods Nature Center in Marcellus, NY (directions)


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Greetings fellow astrophiles!

Bob Piekiel, Baltimore Woods, and CNYO are pleased to be hosting a local session for the “International Starry Night,” (herein referred to as “ISN”) an event organized by the “One Star at a Time” Program. While the official ISN night is scheduled for Saturday, August 10th, ISN-related events are being scheduled throughout the days around the Perseid Meteor Shower, and we have opted to host this event during the peak nights of the Perseids. Dedicated amateur astronomers cannot be bothered with such trivialities as their mental states at work on Tuesday (or weather-alternate Wednesday) mornings!

The ISN, which coincides with the Perseid Meteor Shower this year, is being used as a way to organize meteor shower observers and amateur astronomers around to world in the interest of both increasing nighttime observation and decreasing the amount of light pollution through understanding of the issues and public action. As described on the starry-night.org website (and note that their August 10th date is NOT our August 12th date):

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Click on the image for a full-sized version (8 MB).

The “One Star at a Time” program is a worldwide effort to create accessible public spaces to view a starry night sky. The program uses night sky conservation to unite people across the planet, their cultures and their skies. This is a story of how people from around the world united together to give the gift of natural starlight for all children of this planet.

A National Parks Service study predicts that unless we can significantly reduce light pollution, by 2025 only 10% of people in the United States will EVER see a starry night sky in their LIFETIME. Similar concerns are coming from all around the world.

“One Star at a Time, Reclaim the starry night sky” is a campaign to engage and unite the public on a global scale to reduce light pollution so that we may reconnect with the stars and each other. The motto of Astronomers Without Borders is “One People*One Sky”. If we can unveil the inspirational night sky we share with all people of this planet, and share experiences and explorations of the cosmos together, we may regain steps toward peace… the greatest gift we could ever give to our children.

On Light Pollution…

Overcast skies and light pollution are THE biggest problems facing amateur astronomy. Unlike the weather conditions, light pollution is a problem that CAN be addressed through legislation and education. International organizations, such as the International Dark-Sky Association, and local groups that lobby for proper lighting legislation, such as SELENE-NY (selene-ny.org), have been pushing for years to educate the public on the potential health risks of light pollution, the importance of dark nights for other species, the best choices of lighting fixtures that help reduce light pollution, and the obvious cost benefits that come from lighting ONLY places that need lighting with ONLY the amount of lighting that is required.

Observers throughout CNY have noticed the increase in light pollution from many familiar observing locations – including Darling Hill Observatory, Beaver Lake Nature Center, and Baltimore Woods. The problem is one of engagement – if more people, organizations, municipalities, and companies know how to illuminate the night in keeping with pro-dark sky practices, light pollution could be greatly reduced. Imagine how much more observing could be done if the sky near our horizons were that much darker!

On the Perseid Meteor Shower…

The issue of light pollution aside, the Perseids and the Leonids often tie for the best meteor showers of the year, with the Perseids benefiting from their appearance in the mid-Summer nighttime sky. The International Starry Night event will find groups around the planet observing the Perseids together (provided the nighttime sky remains clear). And, as an added bonus, the Perseids coincide with the tail end of the Delta Aquarids, a much smaller meteor shower that is more prominent at Southern Latitudes. But we will take any additional shooting stars we can!

But wait, there’s more! The Perseids peak during a Waxing Crescent Moon, meaning the Moon will have set before or near 10:00 p.m. for all five reasonable observing nights (August 10th – 14th). Attendees will have Saturn and the Moon to observe in early-evening skies, then intrepid observers will have Neptune, Uranus, and a host of deep-sky objects to find and observe for the rest of the night.

On the Entire Perseid Meteor Shower Weekend…

The week around the August 12th peak is a busy one for CNYO members. CNYO will also be hosting a lecture and observing session on August 8th (on the 15th as a weather-alternate) at Beaver Lake Nature Center. Maybe a few decent shooting stars on the 8th will hint at a busy Perseid peak on the 10th-12th. We will keep you posted!

Upcoming Events: Baltimore Woods This Friday, Star Search! @ Green Lakes, NMT @ MVAS, And A Photo-Op From Saturn!

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

Several events are occurring in the next few days and next few weeks for those hoping for a respite from recent CNY weather. In rapid succession:


1. Bob Piekiel At Baltimore Woods This Friday (July 12)

The weather-alternate is Saturday, July 13th. Several CNYO Observing Logs have been produced from these sessions this year already (1, 2, 3, 4) and we hope for clear skies this weekend to take in some prime Summer views of Saturn, the center of the Milky Way, and the many clusters and nebulae therein. Details about this event (directions, fees, etc.) are available @ THIS Link.


2. “Star Search!” At Green Lakes State Park on Friday, July 26

The weather-alternate is Saturday, July 27th. This is a free observing session at one of the gems of our local state park system (although you won’t be able to appreciate much of it unless you get there early) hosted by CNY’s own Bob Piekiel. The poster for this event, start-end times, and directions are available @ THIS Link.

NOTE: While the temperature might beckon shorts and T-shirts, I bring you this word of caution from Dr. John McMahon: Green Lakes is one of the areas identified in Onondaga County where Black-legged Ticks (Ixodes scapularis) — aka deer ticks –have been identified as being abundant.

He (and I) refer you to the following NY Department Of Health sites for more info.

health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/lyme/ & health.ny.gov/publications/2813/

In short: Bug spray ( I will have a DEET-free bottle on hand) and long sleeved everything is the order of the night (including tucking pants into socks. Remember, it’ll be dark. No one will see you).


3. Ryan Goodson & New Moon Telescopes Present: The Evolution of the Alt-Azumith Telescope At MVAS, Wednesday Sept. 11

Mark your calendars! Ryan is presently scheduled to give a one hour lecture for the Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society on Wednesday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m. We do not know know if this will be open to the public or just to MVAS members, so you should consider joining and supporting this very active and very knowledgeable organization to our east. I consider their monthly newsletter – Telescopic Topics – to be one of the very best amateur astronomy club newsletters out there. This month’s edition includes Ryan’s article “Going Big” – posted on the CNYO site this past June 27th.

We will provide more details on the CNYO site as the date approaches.


4. Wave At Saturn Day – Friday, July 19 − 5:27 To 5:42 p.m. EDT

The Cassini Space Probe is set to image Saturn as Saturn occults (that is, passes in front of in a “greater than” eclipsed manner (although I’ve seen it described as “eclipsing”). This is not a transit, as the Sun will not be directly visible behind Saturn, and a transit requires that the “passing” object be smaller than the object being passed) the Sun (from the vantage point of the probe, that is) on July 19th. This is guaranteed to be a spectacular image of Saturn by all metrics (anyone who’s seen the image serving as this post’s banner knows what a remarkable combination Saturn and sunlight are).

It just so happens that this will occur (1) while the Earth will be in the field of view of the probe’s imagers and (2) while the North American continent is being illuminated by sunlight. The images below (from NASA/JPL-Caltech) summarize the situation on the 19th.

2013july10_saturn_sayhello

If we don’t host an official event (it is cutting it close to quittin’ time, after all), consider getting outside for a few minutes of Saturnian exposure and give your tax dollars a big wave.

CNY Skeptics Lecture: The Myths and Magic of Hypnosis, This Wednesday (March 20) At The DeWitt Community Library

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

In a busy evening of science announcements, David Harding with CNY Skeptics has sent the following announcement along to the TACNY listserve. Details below:

The Myths and Magic of Hypnosis – Presentation by Karen Schwarz

Sponsored by CNY Skeptics

Time: Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 7:00 PM

Where: Dewitt Community Library in the Shoppingtown Mall, Dewitt, NY

Event is Free and Open to the Public

Please contact David Harding at 315-636-6533 for more information


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Presentation Summary:

Karen Schwarz will speak about the myths and magic of hypnosis and hypnotherapy. At the close of the evening, attendees will be able to identify the issues for which hypnosis is useful as well as those for which it is not, what makes someone a good – or bad – candidate for hypnosis, learn a bit about the history, understand why hypnosis has a “bad rap”, and more. Come with questions!

2013march15_cnyskeptics

Presenter Bio:

Karen is a practicing psychotherapist with 28 years experience in the private and public sector. She received 210 hours in hypnosis training at the American Hypnosis Training Academy in Maryland, is a National Board Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, and has been using hypnosis in her practice, along with traditional therapy, since 2006. She is also a successful recipient of hypnosis, winning a 1987 National Powerlifting Championship.

Central New York Skeptics (CNY Skeptics) is a community organization dedicated to the promotion of science and reason, the investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims, and the improvement of standards for science education and critical-thinking skills.