Category Archives: Observing

T-2 Years? The Anticipated Fizzle-Out Of The Iridium Flares – Do Not Take Them For Granted!

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The following thoroughly depressing link was sent off – with a specific mention of the possibly extra-short future of the Iridium Flares many of us enjoy observing at night – by Kopernik member (and celebrity volunteer! – featured in a great article last month readable at pressconnects.com) George Normandin earlier this year. We’ve potentially lost 7 months already from the possible countdown with this approximate-ish late post to the CNYO site (my bad).

Iridium satellite #6 (upper) and its replacement, #51, flaring 6 seconds apart in a 21.4-second exposure. The bright object on the right is Jupiter. Arcturus is the bright star at about the 7 o’clock position. Spica is just out of view in the lower right. The satellites were moving left to right. Image by Jud McCranie.

For the record, the bbc.com article title was a little less dramatic than the also excellent nationalgeographic.com and spaceflightnow.com articles about the same.

From the article at bbc.com:

One thing the new [Iridium NEXT satellites] satellites will not be capable of doing, however, is producing Iridium “flares”. These are the flashes in the sky that result when sunlight glints off the antennas of the old spacecraft.

The new satellites do not have the same configuration, so once the original constellation is de-orbited the flashes will cease.

“I’m afraid those who’ve been tracking that phenomenon over the past 20 years have another year or two to see it,” Mr Desch told BBC News.

“As someone who’s seen a couple myself, you can imagine what a thrill it is to be the CEO of a company like this and watch your satellite go overhead. But we weren’t going to spend money just to make angular shiny things on our satellites, so that phenomenon will go away – but it’s been fun.”

For the full article: www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38613275

Iridium Flares are very easy to find once you know where – and when – to look. Predictions for your locale are easy to obtain from www.heavens-above.com/IridiumFlares.aspx.

Astrophotography Workshop At The Adirondack Public Observatory In Tupper Lake, 19-22 October 2017

Greeting, fellow astrophiles!

This in from several sources recently – announcing the APO 2017 Astrophotography Workshop in Tupper Lake, NY. This year features at least one (and, hopefully, two) of our friends in the Kopernik Astronomical Society. Registration can be done on the official website:

adirondackpublicobservatory.org/events/Astrophotography-Workshop

Thursday, October 19, 2017 – 12:30pm to Saturday, October 21, 2017 – 12:30pm

An opportunity to meet, trade secrets and perform astrophotography under the darkest skies in the Eastern USA.

Who should attend?

Simply put: Everyone. Very few astrophotographers, regardless of their level, have access to dark skies. We invite you to take advantage of our location to capture images at your own level. Avoid light pollution with us. Come with your own equipment or use ours to shine with your best images.

The registration fee for the four-day Astrophotography Workshop 2017 is $120.00 per participant, with a 10% discount for APO Members.

Events will occur from October 19 – 22, and will be held at the Roll Off Roof Observatory (178 Big Wolf Rd., Tupper Lake). More details coming soon!

Visit www.TupperLake.com for lodging and dining information.

Call the APO office at (518) 359-3538 for further information about the workshop. The registration fee can be paid using PayPal (which also accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover cards for payment).

Registration instructions:

* Select your registration fee below: APO Members: $108, non-Members: $120
* Log in to your PayPal account
* After your transaction is complete, you’ll be sent to a registration form to enter your contact information

To register: adirondackpublicobservatory.org/events/Astrophotography-Workshop

Dark Sky Astrophotography Exchange 2016 @ The Adirondack Public Observatory – September 23-25

Greetings, fellow astrophiles!

The following landed in my inbox from new friends at the Adirondack Public Observatory up in Tupper Lake, NY (likely the most prime-est observing location in New York State if the light pollution maps are any indication). For those who don’t know about our neighbor to the Northeast…

The Adirondack Public Observatory Inc. is a charitable organization recognized under the laws of the IRS 501(c)(3) Not For Profit, and is also incorporated in the state of New York.

The Adirondack Public Observatory provides quality educational experiences for people of all ages through the science, technology and history of astronomy.

The Adirondack Public Observatory is free and open to the public!

The Adirondack Public Observatory, located at 178 Big Wolf Road, is open for viewing on Friday evenings from Memorial Day through Labor Day; after Labor Day it is open for public viewing on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month.

Visit our website for more details: www.apobservatory.org

The three-day event is chock-full of instructional sessions during the daytime and plenty of (hopefully) clear dark skies at night. The informational brochure is available for download below. If you plan on going, tell’em CNYO sent you!

Astrophotography2016_ver5.pdf

2016may4_apo_brochure

2016 U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events Calendar – Still Remembering Barlow Bob (By Helping Keep The Community Connected)

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

www.cnyo.org/2016-u-s-star-parties-and-astro-events/

I wanted to get this post out before the year gets any further (not farther) along. I am pleased to announce that the 2016 edition of U.S. Star Parties And Astro Events calendar is available on the CNYO website for your star party planning pleasure (and/or download). This is an as-complete-as-google-and-email-will-allow list of all of the star parties happening in the U.S. for the year (complete as of this posting, so check back to the main page often), including all of the events that were announced in 2015 but that haven’t had 2016 dates announced yet (and we’re keeping track of those links as well).

2016feb2_Barlow-Bob-FullThis list, now maintained by Chuck Higgins of Mohawk Valley Astronomical Society and myself and is a continuation of the same original star party list compiled by the late-great Barlow Bob (shown at-play at right, who co-managed it with Chuck Higgins starting a few years back and before BB’s passing in 2014. For those who don’t know about Barlow Bob, his contribution to NEAF in the form of the NEAF Solar Star Party (Astronomy Technology Today article downloaded from www.asgh.org), or his own solar astronomy outreach, please check out THIS LINK on the CNYO website. The image above comes from a nice remembrance at Stargeezer Radio).

You can always find the page by hovering over the CALENDAR link the top menu list on the CNYO website. The excel file and list will be updated as we find new info for new events. If you want to add events to this list, please do so (contact Damian at info@cnyo.org, or use our CONTACT page)! We are also awaiting corrections, comments, new links, additional announcements, etc., from current items on the list – specifically the blue items at the bottom of the page.

And What Is This Star Party Of Which You Speak?

2016feb2_TexasSta-Party2009_341Very briefly – a chance for you to join many other enthusiastic amateur astronomers for a night of group star gazing, comparing eyepieces, assorted discussions, wandering around to see the variety of scopes in the community, and generally having a great time spending as much of the night as you can looking up. You should try to take in at least one each year!

And might one of the events on this list be your first Star Party? Have you been kicked out of one lately and don’t know why? Do you want to NOT face the wrath of several hundred dark-adapted, caffeine-crazed astronomers in a single flicker of a flashlight? The I strongly encourage you to take a look at a few of the links below – which all cover proper Star Party Etiquette. As you will see, all the links basically say the same thing. With that kind of a consensus view, you know that we fellow attendees mean business. If you need more reading, just google star party guide. Attendees have a lot to say!

* www.astrohbg.org/CSSP/images/CSSP_Images/PDF/StarPartyEtiquette.pdf
* www.astro-tom.com/tips_and_advice/star_party_tips.htm
* www.company7.com/library/starpty.html
* www.astromax.org/faq/aa01faq16.htm
* bfsp.org/rules-and-faq/

I hope to see your dark, featureless outline at at least one of the events on the list. If you find one happening right in your own vicinity that you didn’t even know existed, thank Barlow Bob.

2015 Geminid Meteor Shower Sessions At Baltimore Woods – Event And Weather Updates

UPDATE: Sunday, December 13th, 6:00 p.m.

We’re going to try for Monday night (Dec. 14th) instead given the poor conditions over Marcellus and the hope that patchy forecasts tomorrow will mean holes enough to see meteors. Check back around 5:00 p.m. Monday evening for a final announcement.

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

As of 9:00 a.m. Sunday, the weather is only looking slightly promising for Bob Piekiel’s scheduled session at Baltimore Woods, and for the observing of any Geminids from CNY in general. According to the current Clear Sky Clock

2014december13_geminidcsc

… there may be a slight amount of clearing this evening. While the CSC looks a little better for some of tomorrow night, the other forecasts you might see online differ as to if and how much rain to expect.

We’ll make a final post here and on our Facebook Group page around 5:00 p.m. In the meantime, if you’re in a location with a large clear patch over the next few days, this handy-dandy sky chart from Sky & Telescope gives you all the important information. If you can find Orion’s Belt, you’re well on your way to orienting yourself for the Geminids.

Map of the Geminids from Sky & Telescope. Click for a larger view.

For all sorts of useful info on Meteor Showers in general, have a look at our CNYO Brochure:

A Guide To Meteor Showers