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: or directly from Griffith Observatory at:

Slooh, the remote telescope company, offers their own 9:00 PM webcast at: which will also be carried by at:

The venerable “Sky & Telescope” magazine hosts a program beginning at 9:00 here:

And the University of Arizona will stream their coverage live at:

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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!


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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.

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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!

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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

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Clear skies for July 25 public stargazing

CAA Observatory - Photo by Alan Studt

CAA Observatory – Photo by Alan Studt

by William Murmann, CAA President

We had another successful public star party last night (July 25) for the Medina County Park System. CAA members brought 12 personal telescopes to Letha House Park for the 9 PM event. Our observatory director, Jay Reynolds, manned our observatory so guests could also use the club’s large scopes.

Our park hosts, Ron and Mary Hank, estimated that we had at 50 or more guests attend the star party. This included a mixture of adults and children. We had clear skies until about 11:30 PM when things clouded over. Jay said the sudden appearance of clouds had something to do with the dew point.

So far our programs for the park district in May, June, and July have had clear skies and great turnouts from the public. Let’s hope this is a trend that continues through the summer.

Apologies if I miss anyone but thanks to: Bill & Carol Lee, Larry Smith, Carl Kudrna, Rich & Nancy Whisler, Tim Campbell, Bruce Lane, Jay Reynolds, Bob Wiersma, Dave Watson, Dave Nuti, Chris Christe, Susan Petsche, and Alan Studt who joined me for our program.

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New Horizons images the icy “heart” of Pluto

Photo: Icy Plains of Pluto

The Icy “Sputnik Planum” Area on Pluto – Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

In the center left of Pluto’s vast heart-shaped feature – informally named Tombaugh Regio – lies a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains and has been informally named Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain), after Earth’s first artificial satellite. The surface appears to be divided into irregularly-shaped segments that are ringed by narrow troughs. Features that appear to be groups of mounds and fields of small pits are also visible. This image, released July 17, was acquired by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14 from a distance of 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers). Features as small as one-half mile (1 kilometer) across are visible. The blocky appearance of some features is due to compression of the image.

Photo: Annotated View of "Sputnik Planum" Area of Pluto.

Annotated Version of “Sputnik Planum” Image -Credits: NASA/JHUAPL/SWRI

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