Bob Piekiel Hosts Observing Sessions At Baltimore Woods – 2013 Observing Schedule

I’m pleased to have obtained the official schedule for Bob Piekiel’s Baltimore Woods programs for the 2013 observing season and have added them to the CNYO Calendar. For those who have not had the pleasure of hearing one of his lectures, attending one of his observing sessions, or reading one of his many books on scope optics (or loading the CD containing the massive Celestron: The Early Years), Bob Piekiel is not only an excellent guide but likely the most knowledgeable equipment and operation guru in Central New York. I’ve (Damian) attended two of the Baltimore Woods sessions already and plan to be present for as many of the scheduled events below as possible.

Note:

The Baltimore Woods events calendar is updated monthly. As such, I’ve no direct links to the sessions below. Therefore, as the event date nears, see the official Calendar Page for more information and any updates on the event.

Also…

* 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: info@baltimorewoods.org
* To Register By Phone: (315) 673-1350

* Friday, February 8th (Backup – Saturday 9th), 7-9 p.m.

(Available link HERE) Another fabulous look at the bright winter skies and all the glories surrounding the constellation of Orion, the Hunter. The king of the planets, Jupiter, visible as well, as will the ice giant Uranus.

* March 15 (Friday) – 16 (Saturday), 7-9 p.m.

Comet Panstarrs should be visible in the west shortly after sunset. Its brightness is a guess at this time, but it could be quite a stunning sight. Jupiter will be visible, along with the winter skies and some of the brightest examples of nebulae and star clusters.

* April 5 (Friday) – 6 (Saturday), 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Comet Panstarrs will be visible in the northwest after sunset, right next to the Andromeda galaxy! While we can’t be certain of its brightness, it may be a stunning sight. Jupiter will be visible all evening, and Saturn will be rising in the east.

* May 4 (Saturday) – 5 (Sunday), 8-10 p.m.

Eta Aquariids meteor shower, Saturn and Jupiter visible all evening, and hello to spring skies.

* June 14 (Friday) – 15 (Saturday), 9-11 p.m.

Because it gets dark very late in June, it makes sense to do a 1st-quarter moon program, as we don’t need dark skies to get great views of the moon. Saturn will also be visible, and the start of summer skies.

* July 12 (Friday) – 13 (Saturday), 9-11 p.m.

The summer milky way at its finest. During the summer, we look directly into the core of our own milky way galaxy, giving great views of many beautiful star clusters and nebulae. The planet Saturn will be visible as well.

* August 12 (Monday) – 13 (Tuesday), 9-11 p.m.

It’s the annual Perseid Meteor Shower, one of the year’s finest, along with great views of the summer Milky Way, the ringed planet Saturn, and also Uranus and Neptune. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to lie back and watch for meteors when you’re not at a telescope.

* August 24 (Saturday) – 25 (Sunday), 1 p.m.

Solar observing session, with safe views of solar detail using specially-filtered telescopes.

* September 27 (Friday) – 28 (Saturday), 7-9 p.m.

Uranus will be in best viewing position all night long, plus Venus and Saturn in the west just after sunset. We will say goodbye to the Summer Skies.

* October 11 (Friday) – 12 (Saturday), 6:30-9 p.m.

Oct. 12 is National Astronomy Day, Part 2, but let’s do our usual Friday the 11th with Saturday being the backup. This will be our best chance to see Mercury for the remainder of the year, along with a crescent Moon and Venus as well, plus hello to Fall skies. We will need to start early to glimpse Mercury.

* November 4 (Monday) – 5 (Tuesday), 7-9 p.m.

Nov. 4-5 for the Taurid Meteor shower, plus hello to Winter skies. The Taurids are a modest shower, but in contrast, the Leonids, which occur on the 17th, are going to be completely washed out this year by a full Moon.

* December 13 (Friday) – 14 (Saturday), 7-9 p.m.

The Geminid Meteor Shower – the year’s best (it sure was fantastic last year!) and Winter skies, with the brightest examples of clusters and nebulae, such as the great Orion Nebulae.

TACNY John Edson Sweet Lecture Series – Technology for the Onondaga Lake Cleanup

Tuesday, February 12 2013

Onondaga Community College, 101 Whitney Applied Technology Center


John McAuliffe, Honeywell Program Director for the Onondaga Lake Cleanup, will present Technology for the Onondaga Lake Cleanup, a talk about the multiple technologies used as part of the Onondaga Lake Cleanup Program.

People interested in learning more about the Onondaga Lake Cleanup technologies are invited to attend the free TACNY Sweet Lecture presentation on Tuesday, February 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room 101 of the Whitney Applied Technology Center on the Onondaga Community College campus. Networking starts at 5:30 p.m., the speaker is introduced at 6 p.m., the presentation is slated to run from 6:15 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and the event ends at 8 p.m. following questions from the audience. Admission is free and open to the public. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing sweet.lecture@tacny.org by February 7, 2013.

John McAuliffe, P.E., is Honeywell’s Syracuse Program Director with responsibility for Honeywell activities being conducted for Onondaga Lake and associated sites and former Allied Signal properties. Special interests include the areas of environmental stewardship, and green remediation. John is a STEM advocate, supporting programs such as the MOST developed Honeywell Summer Science Week which has provided unique learning opportunities to help excite and inspire a new generation of scientists in Central New York.

John is a lifelong resident of Central New York with over 30 years of experience in environmental remediation and construction. He began his career as an Environmental Engineer with the consulting firm of O’Brien & Gere in Syracuse, NY. Subsequently, he was with Parsons in Liverpool, NY, as Vice President and NY Operations Manager. He has been with Honeywell for over 10 years. McAuliffe is a Registered Professional Engineer and earned both a Bachelors Degree in Civil Engineering and a Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering at Clarkson University

Technology Alliance of Central New York

Founded in 1903 as the Technology Club of Syracuse, the nonprofit Technology Alliance of Central New York’s mission is to facilitate community awareness, appreciation, and education of technology; and to collaborate with like-minded organizations across Central New York.

For more information about TACNY, visit www.tacny.org.

NASA News – Herschel Finds Star Possibly Making Planets Past Its Prime

Above: This artist’s concept illustrates an icy planet-forming disk around a young star called TW Hydrae, located about 175 light-years away in the Hydra, or Sea Serpent, constellation. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

From NASA News: RELEASE: 13-036 – 30 January 2013

WASHINGTON — A star thought to have passed the age at which it can form planets may in fact be creating new worlds. The disk of material surrounding the surprising star called TW Hydrae may be massive enough to make even more planets than we have in our own solar system.

The findings were made using the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Telescope, a mission in which NASA is a participant.

At roughly 10 million years old and 176 light years away, TW Hydrae is relatively close to Earth by astronomical standards. Its planet-forming disk has been well studied. TW Hydrae is relatively young but, in theory, it is past the age at which giant plants already may have formed.

“We didn’t expect to see so much gas around this star,” said Edwin Bergin of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Bergin led the new study appearing in the journal Nature. “Typically stars of this age have cleared out their surrounding material, but this star still has enough mass to make the equivalent of 50 Jupiters,” Bergin said.

In addition to revealing the peculiar state of the star, the findings also demonstrate a new, more precise method for weighing planet-forming disks. Previous techniques for assessing the mass were indirect and uncertain. The new method can directly probe the gas that typically goes into making planets.

Planets are born out of material swirling around young stars, and the mass of this material is a key factor controlling their formation. Astronomers did not know before the new study whether the disk around TW Hydrae contained enough material to form new planets similar to our own.

“Before, we had to use a proxy to guess the gas quantity in the planet-forming disks,” said Paul Goldsmith, the NASA project scientist for Herschel at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif. “This is another example of Herschel’s versatility and sensitivity yielding important new results about star and planet formation.”

Using Herschel, they were able to take a fresh look at the disk with the space telescope to analyze light coming from TW Hydrae and pick out the spectral signature of a gas called hydrogen deuteride. Simple hydrogen molecules are the main gas component of planets, but they emit light at wavelengths too short to be detected by Herschel. Gas molecules containing deuterium, a heavier version of hydrogen, emit light at longer, far-infrared wavelengths that Herschel is equipped to see. This enabled astronomers to measure the levels of hydrogen deuteride and obtain the weight of the disk with the highest precision yet.

“Knowing the mass of a planet-forming disk is crucial to understanding how and when planets take shape around other stars,” said Glenn Wahlgren, Herschel program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Whether TW Hydrae’s large disk will lead to an exotic planetary system with larger and more numerous planets than ours remains to be seen, but the new information helps define the range of possible planet scenarios.

“The new results are another important step in understanding the diversity of planetary systems in our universe,” said Bergin. “We are now observing systems with massive Jupiters, super-Earths, and many Neptune-like worlds. By weighing systems at their birth, we gain insight into how our own solar system formed with just one of many possible planetary configurations.”

Herschel is a European Space Agency (ESA) cornerstone mission, with science instruments provided by a consortium of European institutes and with important participation by NASA. NASA’s Herschel Project Office is based at JPL, which contributed mission-enabling technology for two of Herschel’s three science instruments. NASA’s Herschel Science Center, part of the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, supports the United States astronomical community. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For NASA’S Herschel website, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/herschel

For ESA’S Herschel website, visit: http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/index.html