CNYO Observing Log: NASA Climate Day, 2 April 2013

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Tuesday April 2nd marked the Museum of Science and Technology‘s hosting of NASA Climate Day in Syracuse, NY. For CNYO members and attendees attempting to observe the Sun, April 2nd also marked one of the more remarkable mixtures of weather patterns to hit CNY.

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Patient attendees waiting for a clearing. Photo by Simon Asbury.

CNYO solar scope setup at Walt the Blue Dragon commenced promptly at 5:00 p.m. Given the expectation of snow and considerable cloud cover over the next few hours before the 7:31 E.D.T. p.m. sunset, I left my Dobsonian at home and Larry Slosberg opted to keep his Meade SCT in the car. Our equipment for the event consisted of a pair of 25×100 and 10×30 binoculars (both with homemade Baader filters) and one Coronado PST. Also in tow were several garbage bags for rapid covering of all the equipment.

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The author looking for a clearing through Baader’d Zhumell 25×100’s. Photo by Simon Asbury.

The sky was windy, cloudy, patchy, and fast-moving, intermixing light snow with perfect blue patches near (but not always overlapping) the Sun. Over the course of about 80 minutes, only 10 good minutes of solar observing were had, and most of these involved some amount of cloud cover obscuring prominent Sunspot 1711 and several smaller Sunspots. The Coronado revealed a large triangular prominence and plenty of surface detail with a 20 mm Plossl and a TeleVue 3mm-6mm Nagler Zoom. It was during the Coronado observing that Bob Piekiel mentioned a certain tweak that can be performed to the PST (and other models) to improve the view (a forthcoming article documenting the procedure is in the works!).

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View of the Sun on April 2nd, 2013. From sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov.

The outside part of the NASA Climate Day festivities ended as a massive grey cloud approached from the distant East (that proved to drop the largest amount of snow on Syracuse not 30 minutes later), instigating the packing up of equipment and migration into the MOST itself to see the rest of the event. In all, only a few left the climate-controlled confines of the MOST to see the filtered Sun, but we did get a few passers by to look, at least one of whom made it onto our facebook page recently.

LESSON FOR THE SESSION: When it’s freezing cold, blustering-ly windy, dark-grey overcast, and only a slight hope for long patches of clear skies exists, keep the solar scopes close to the exterior doors of the building where the main event is going on.

The indoor part of the CNYO session consisted of a small presentation area for showing a few videos of solar events, how the Baader and Hydrogen-alpha filters (in the Coronado) work (having stolen an incandescent light bulb from a bicycle-powered demonstration for the Baader demo), and the relative sizes of the Sun and planets in our Solar System. We moved inside just as Dave Eichorn began his keynote lecture and unfortunately missed his presentation, but that did give us time to walk around the displays near our little setup (appropriate placed next to the vision display).

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The indoor presentation setup.

The demo of the Baader film with the incandescent bulb (to easily see the spring inside) was one of the indoor highlights (well, I thought is was interesting), then we finished the evening with a few students asking some very good questions about solar activity, the dangers of space flight, and potential plans for Moon and Mars Missions (which is always the real highlight of any CNYO session for me).

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Syracuse Observing Double-Header (Weather-Pending) This Friday And Saturday – Baltimore Woods And CNYO’s Second Official Session At The Syracuse Inner Harbor

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

The skies are promising (if slightly windy) for the next few evenings, providing two observing opportunities that bring the two largest planets in our Solar System into view in one night.

Friday, April 5 – 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. – Baltimore Woods

The first opportunity is Bob Piekiel’s monthly Baltimore Woods observing session tonight (Friday, April 5th) from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Details on this event (directions, cost, etc.) can be found in this CNYO Announcement Page (which will then take you to the Baltimore Woods page for the official-official announcements). I have it on good authority (as I’ll be doing some of the lifting) that Bob will have his 16″ Meade on hand. This should provide views of Jupiter, the Andromeda Galaxy, the Orion Nebula, and many other soon-to-set-too-early objects that are remarkable enough to last until our Winter constellations reappear in the late-Fall. Saturn, which should clear the Eastern Horizon around 10:30 p.m., will arrive a little too late for this session, but we might get one more good look at Comet panSTARRS (especially in the 16″ Meade).

Saturday, April 6 – 7:30 to ??? – Syracuse Inner Harbor

CNYO hosts its second official session of the year (weather-permitting) back at the first location, the Syracuse Inner Harbor (map below). While we established that it is far from the darkest of dark-sky locations, our first event on March 8th provided more than enough celestial eye candy and excellent discussions. If you’re new to observing, the objects easily visible from the Inner Harbor will not tax your vision or your fuzzy-object imagination, making the Inner Harbor a great place to get your feet wet (no pun intended) in amateur astronomy.

If the weather stays reasonable, this session may be the first of the year to bring Saturn into the view of our eyepieces at around 10:30 p.m. (but will be decidedly better around 11).


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We hope you can join Bob Piekiel on Friday, then join CNYO on Saturday! Keep track of the website or facebook page for updates Friday and Saturday afternoon.

TACNY John Edson Sweet Lecture Series – Tour Of The Syracuse Center Of Excellence

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Syracuse Center of Excellence, 727 E. Washington Street, Room 203, Syracuse, NY 13210


Please note the change in usual location. Space is limited for this event and REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED.

What is Syracuse’s role in the advancement of innovations in environmental and energy technologies? Explore the SyracuseCoE, Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems, where the groundbreaking collaborative research is taking place. Edward Bogucz, Ph.D, Executive Director of the SyracuseCoE, will provide an overview and tour of the state-of-the-art research facilities of the Syracuse Center of Excellence. Discover how the green based projects taking place at the Center have an impact well beyond Central New York. People interested in learning more about green technology are invited to attend the free TACNY Sweet Lecture presentation on Tuesday, April 9, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room 203 of the Syracuse Center of Excellence, 727 East Washington Street. Limited parking is available in the lot across Almond Street from the Syracuse COE. 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. RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED FOR THIS EVENT AND LIMITED TO THE FIRST 40 REGISTRANTS by April 5, 2013.

Dr. Bogucz’ expertise is in computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer, multidisciplinary analysis and design, engineering education, and regional innovation clusters. He received his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University; MSc in Heat Transfer Engineering from Imperial College, University of London; and BS in Mechanical Engineering from Lehigh University. Ed’s special interests include the history of science and technology, Erie Canal, and Haudenosaunee culture.

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.