2015-2016 Frontiers of Astronomy

From the Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s website

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s “Frontiers of Astronomy” is a free lecture series that offers those with an interest in astronomy the chance to learn about the latest research in the field. Presentations begin at 8 PM in Murch Auditorium. No tickets or reservations are required. Limited parking is available in the Museum lot for $6. On clear evenings, the Ralph Mueller Observatory will be open afterward. Click Here to Download this year’s brochure.


Dr. Frank Summers, Space Telescope Science Institute
In April 1990, astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery deployed the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth’s orbit, and launched a new era of astronomical discovery. Now, 25 years later, we celebrate a remarkable milestone for a space observatory whose groundbreaking investigations have brought revolutionary changes in our understanding from planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies to the very frontiers of the cosmos. Dr. Summers will share the trials and triumphs of NASA’s first Great Observatory, and display a compendium of some of the greatest imagery the Universe has ever known. It’s a celestial silver celebration!

Dr. Jennifer Johnson, The Ohio State University
Our Galaxy, the Milky Way, did not always look as it does now, a multi-armed spiral galaxy with at least one neighborhood hospitable to life. The Milky Way has been growing and evolving for the last 13 billion years, creating billions of stars throughout its life. These stars, through their age, chemical composition, and motions, record the history of the galaxy and provide a “fossil record” to observe and interpret. Dr. Johnson will discuss both how a large number of astronomers, engineers, and technical staff come together to relentlessly probe the night sky and how this enormous amount of data is revolutionizing our understanding of our home galaxy.

Dr. Edo Berger, Harvard University
Representing nature’s biggest explosions since the Big Bang itself, gamma-ray bursts were first accidentally spotted in the 1960s by Department of Defense satellites hunting for terrestrial nuclear blasts. Dr. Berger will describe the ensuing decades-long quest to decipher the origin and energy source of these mysterious explosions.

Dr. Kathryn Johnston, Columbia University
Images of galaxies are awe-inspiring—spirals of billions of stars, along with the gas and dust from which stars form, spinning slowly and serenely in the sky. Yet these majestic objects are thought to have formed quite violently through the agglomeration of smaller objects. Even our own home, the Milky Way Galaxy, seems to be in the process of devouring several smaller galaxies! Dr. Johnston examines why we think galaxies are cannibals in general, and what this means about the past and future evolution of the Milky Way in particular.

Dr. James Bullock, University of California, Irvine
The Universe on the grandest scales is a vast network of galaxies. Dotted along an expanding cosmic web, galaxies shine with the collective light of thousands to billions of stars, forming dynamic ecosystems. They allow multiple generations of stars to build new atoms that had never before existed. They foster complex chemistry, even organic chemistry, in an otherwise sterile Universe. One galaxy, the Milky Way, is special to us. Without it, we would not exist. Dr. Bullock will share the story of how it happened, and how, once revealed, the Milky Way led the way to a revolution in our understanding of Universe’s origins, its makeup, and possibly its ultimate fate.

The Department of Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University through the support of the Arthur S. Holden, Sr. Endowment; The Cleveland Museum of Natural History; and The Cleveland Astronomical Society.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Beautiful “Gulf of Mexico”

Photo: four panel mosaic of an area called the "Gulf of Mexico" which is part of a much larger area of nebulosity called The North American Nebula or NGC7000. Image by Joe Golias

“Gulf of Mexico” Region of NGC7000

CAA member and local astronomy business owner Joe Golias has shared a new image with us that, well, all we can say about it is that it’s astounding! Here’s Joe’s description of how he produced his photograph of a region of NGC7000…

This was by far the most challenging imaging project I have attempted to date. It represents a four-panel mosaic of an area called the “Gulf of Mexico” which is part of a much larger area of nebulosity called The North American Nebula or NGC7000. This object is located in the constellation of Cygnus. This four-panel mosaic was acquired over a period of three weeks. Total exposure time was 56 hours. We’ve had a long stretch of clear skies here in Ohio which made this image possible.

Object: Gulf of Mexico | Telescope: Takahashi TOA 150 refractor | Telescope Mount: Losmandy G-11 | Camera: SBIG STT8300 with self-guiding filter wheel | Exposure: 56 hours of combined narrowband HA, OIII & SII filters | Location: “Astrozap Ridge,” Medina, Ohio. | Image processing: MaxIm DL, Images Plus, PixInsight, Photoshop CS6

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too cloudy to see the total lunar eclipse? Try a webcast!

If local conditions don’t allow viewing tonight’s total lunar eclipse or if you just can’t get out, try one of the several live webcasts. Seeing the eclipse would be much better “in person,” but watching via computer or TV is better than nothing!

NASA TV — both a webcast and a cable TV service, the space agency’s coverage begins at 8:00 EDT through 11:30 PM. See it: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc or directly from Griffith Observatory at: http://livestream.com/GriffithObservatoryTV

Slooh, the remote telescope company, offers their own 9:00 PM webcast at: http://live.slooh.com/?utm_campaign=space&utm_medium=textlink&utm_source=launch which will also be carried by Space.com at: http://www.space.com/19195-night-sky-planets-asteroids-webcasts.html

The venerable “Sky & Telescope” magazine hosts a program beginning at 9:00 here: http://livestream.com/SkyandTelescope/Sept27eclipse

And the University of Arizona will stream their coverage live at: http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/css/eclipse/

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming September 27: a marvelous total lunar eclipse

Photo: Total Lunar Eclipse Sequence, February 2008

Total Lunar Eclipse Sequence, February 2008

On the night of September 27, 2015 Earth’s shadow will cross the face of its Moon and viewers across North America will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. We, in Northeastern Ohio, are in luck this time as the entire eclipse will be visible to us and in “prime time” — a marvelous and relatively rare situation!

As the partial phase of the eclipse begins, at 9:07 PM, viewers will see the Full Moon gradually covered by the dark portion of Earth’s shadow. As the Moon moves deeper into shadow it will begin to glow a copper-red until at totality, 10:11 PM, Luna will hang colorfully in our star-sprinkled sky. As the eclipse ends, the process reverses until in the wee hours of Monday, the Full Moon will brightly shine again. Click here for a detailed, somewhat technical chart.

Though they are useful, eclipse watchers don’t need telescopes to enjoy the transition and wonder of a total lunar eclipse; if you can see the Moon, you can see the eclipse, and it’s perfectly safe to watch … it’s only moonlight, after all! Click here for a very good article by our friends at Sky & Telescope Magazine on how to watch a lunar eclipse.

Don’t be confused by Universal Time (UT) timings which will also say the eclipse takes place September 28! This chart (below) provides events and timings for Sunday night’s, September 27 eclipse correct for Eastern Daylight Time.

Table: Local Event Timings for Total Lunar Eclipse of September 27, 2015

Local Event Timings for Total Lunar Eclipse of September 27, 2015

Sadly, the CAA will not be hosting a public eclipse watch event. CAA’s plans for a public Lunar Eclipse event were disrupted due to fees imposed at our intended venue.

BTW… we don’t use the weird “blood moon” moniker for total lunar eclipses; those natural events are far too wonderful and beautiful for us to use terms meant to elicit primal fear!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , ,

Saturday, September 19: International Observe the Moon Night

Photo: Moon Just Before First Quarter

Moon Just Before First Quarter

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) will host a public observing night at their Letha House Park observatory Saturday night, September 19, from 8:00 to 10:00. For location and observatory information, click here!

Come see the moon (and other objects) via members’ telescopes. The observatory will also be open for public viewing, and members will be available to answer your questions. No registration or fees, just show up and enjoy the night sky!

The event will feature Earth’s Moon but planets and deep space objects will also be observed, weather conditions permitting. The night’s event will serve as a local venue of International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN). The InOMN is an annual, world-wide public engagement program that encourages observation, appreciation, and understanding of Earth’s Moon.

Everyone on Earth is invited to join the celebration by attending an InOMN event — and uniting on one day each year to look at and learn about the Moon together.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Now Showing: CAA’s 2015 astrophoto exhibit

by William Murmann, CAA President
Photo: Gallery wall at the Rocky River Nature Center. Photo by James Guilford.

CAA’s 2015 Astrophoto Show

CAA’s astrophoto display is now up and running on the Gallery Wall at the Rocky River Nature Center!  Come and see the excellent work done by our members! The display is from September through October 2015.

Thanks to Steve Gallant, Dave Watkins, Dave Nuti, James Guilford, Chris Christe, Steve Spears, Alan Studt , and Joe Golias for providing photos for the display. We had more photos than we could fit on the Gallery Wall, so we mounted some images on nearby walls in the gallery room.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of room not all the images could be displayed. I helped hang the photos, however, and made sure that everyone who submitted images was represented. Thanks again to everyone for participating!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Convention sociable, except for skies

Photo: Jay Reynolds reports on DAWN and New Horizons

Jay Reynolds reports on DAWN and New Horizons

The 2015 OTAA Convention, hosted by the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA), was a friendly gathering featuring socializing, information, and hot weather. Members from area astronomy groups were in attendance, mixing with CAA membership at the Letha House Park Observatory site.

Observatory Director and CSU Research Astronomer Jay Reynolds gave an up-to-date presentation on space mission results from DAWN (at asteroid Ceres), and New Horizons and its just-completed flyby of the Pluto-Charon system.

After the lecture came a convivial cookout and potluck dinner which, in turn, was followed by the highly-anticipated annual door prize drawing. The hoped-for late-night star party was thwarted by clouds that moved in from the north. Spirits remained high, however; this is Northeastern Ohio after all, and clouds go with the territory!

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association would like to thank the following vendors for their generous contributions to our recent convention.  Their donations of raffle items helped to make the event such a great success.

Astrozap – Member-Owned Purveyor of Telescopes and Accessories

Bob’s Knobs – Seller of Collimation Thumbscrews

OPT Oceanside Photo & Telescope – Sellers of All Manner of Astronomy Gear

Orion Telescopes & Binoculars – Astronomy Gear Galore

TeleVue Optics – Telescopes, Accessories, Imaging

Woodland Hills Camera & Telescope – Serving Photo & Telescope Enthusiasts Since 1952

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , ,