Summer Solstice Celebration: Who we are

Photo: On the Solstice Steps - 2017, by Alan Studt

On the Solstice Steps – 2017, by Alan Studt

by Jay Reynolds, CAA Observatory Director

June 22 — If you could not attend last night’s Lakewood Summer Solstice Celebration, it was something extra special.

The clouds dissolving into blue skies, a small crowd building into thousands gathered by the water’s edge. Without instruction, slowly quieting, to watch the magic that they had come for: a magnificent sunset. As the top of the Sun, disappeared, the quiet, polite, spontaneous sound of applause could be heard.

CAA was there.

Aside from all the “other” activities, the solstice steps and CAA telescopes were the most embraced by the crowd. At each scope, lines and lines to catch a glimpse of Sun and Jupiter!  All while a “friend of the club” provided event drone coverage, with a requested emphasis on CAA.

Photo: Suzie Dills, Michael Estime, Jay Reynolds Observe the Sun, by Carol Lee

Suzie Dills, Michael Estime, Jay Reynolds Observe the Sun, by Carol Lee

Our friends at Channel 3 came out in force, with their drone, a live remote truck, a reporter doing a story on Lake Erie, and Michael Estime doing weather hits. Michael specifically pointed out CAA several times, with CAA, busy in the background doing what we do best! Our own Nora Mishey, specifically, in one of the “weather hits” to show how much fun she was having.

Photo: Climbing High to See the Sun, by Alan Studt

Climbing High to See the Sun, by Alan Studt

Last year was the first city of Lakewood Solstice event. Last year’s attendance estimates, by police, were 3000-4000 people. This year, Lakewood police estimated attendance… 15,000. They base that on Lakewood’s, usual Fourth of July attendance. Last night was equivalent. Not all 15,000 were by us, or the steps. At the Celebration’s peak, people were spread out over the entire park.

Photo: Solar Filter Card, by Alan Studt

Solar Filter Card, by Alan Studt

While we can only estimate how many actual people we served, attendance makes last night one of the largest non-dedicated astronomy events that we’ve supported. (Our largest dedicated astronomy event was 2012 Transit of Venus which 7,500 attended.)

Photo: A Bucket Full of Sunlight, by Alan Studt

A Bucket Full of Sunlight, by Alan Studt

Members were on their feet from 4:30 till 10:30 with no breaks, too many smiling people to speak with! As the evening progressed, you could hear the familiar sounds from telescope viewers expressing the happy appreciation of the views of our Sun, Jupiter and its moons. Of course when Saturn came into the scopes, you heard breathless disbelief and the question, “Is that a sticker?”  “That can’t be” or the quiet statement “Wow!”

Photo: Anticipation Grew High as Sun Drew Low, by Alan Studt

Anticipation Grew High as Sun Drew Low, by Alan Studt

We can be proud of not only our representation, but the patience and kindness of our members. Even members who did not have scopes were engaging the audience and making sure visitors “got the most” out of it.  Visitors were polite and showed outright appreciation and said thank-you a lot!

Photo: Gary Kader's Antique Telescope Projecting Solar Image, by Alan Studt

Gary Kader’s Antique Telescope Projecting Solar Image, by Alan Studt

Finally, we earned the gratitude of Lakewood City Hall organizers and the mayor’s office.  Not just gratitude but increased equity in our already good relationship. Organizers, and the mayor, expressed their appreciation so many times during the evening. At the end of the night, overwhelmed by such success, we were asked three times, “what can the city do for CAA?”  Not something we generally hear after an event.

Photo: Spectacular Solstice Sunset, by Alan Studt

Spectacular Solstice Sunset, by Alan Studt

All this, is a demonstration of this organization, it’s who we are!

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Telescope Night

Photo: G.J. "Gus" Waffen points out features of his elegant Vixen Cassegrain telescope system. Photo by James Guilford.

G.J. “Gus” Waffen points out features of his elegant Vixen Cassegrain telescope system. Behind him is a vintage Thomas Cooke & Sons refractor Waffen once owned.

The June 12, 2017 meeting of the CAA featured, as its program, Telescope Night. Several members brought telescopes to the meeting and talked about their scopes’ history, qualities, and use. Equipment ranged from a large Thomas Cooke & Sons refractor built in the 1800s to a modern Vixen Cassegrain. The post-program social interlude allowed for plenty of close-up viewing of the telescopes and lively discussion. Telescope Night is an annual program taking place at the group’s June meeting.

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June 12 Meeting: “Telescope Show and Tell”

Photo: Broadhurst, Clarkson & Company Refractor from England. Photo by James Guilford.

Broadhurst, Clarkson & Company Refractor from England

The monthly general meeting of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association will take place June 12 at 7:30 PM, at the Cleveland Metroparks’ Rocky River Nature Center. The meeting will begin with the annual “Telescope Show and Tell. Several CAA members will bring telescopes of various types and explain the benefits of each. Sometimes the scopes are antique or unusual! The program will be ideal for beginners and those who might like to own a telescope but are not sure what type would best suit them. Questions from the audience will be taken and non-member visitors are welcome. The program is free and open to all interested.

The CAA’s monthly meetings take place at the Rocky River Nature Center; 24000 Valley Parkway; North Olmsted, Ohio, in the Cleveland Metroparks. Meetings begin with a brief business meeting followed by a refreshment and social break to discuss astronomical issues with other members; a business meeting follows.

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May Public Night

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Bob Wiersma talks telescopes and astronomy with a family at CAA’s Telescope Night

Many thanks to fellow club members who joined me to help with our public star party at Letha House Saturday night.  In spite of partly cloudy skies, we had a good turnout with about 30 guests joining us for the program–including 5 or 6 guests who brought their telescopes from home to get help in using their equipment.
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Explaining the operation of a nice reflector kit received as a gift from man’s wife

CAA members who helped with the program included: Jay Reynolds, Rich & Nancy Whisler, Bill & Carol Lee, Tim Campbell, Bob Wiersma, Ray Love, Carl Kudrna, Suzie Dills, Gus Waffen, Dave Nuti, Nora Mishey, Dave Watkins, and Bruce Lane.
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Sisters learn about their telescope and aim for the Moon.

Apologies for missing anyone.  If I missed you, thanks for your help and please let me know who you are!
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Mother and son get a look at Jupiter courtesy of Jay Reynolds and the CAA’s big SCT.

Special thanks to Jay, who spent the evening showing guests the night sky in our observatory, and to Nora Mishey who greeted and talked with guests and managed our display of astronomical materials inside the Letha House shelter.
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Nora Mishey set up a fine and impressive display in the Letha House Park meeting room that most missed – the wonders of the sky were too alluring!

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This big telescope provided views of Jupiter and moon Io casting its shadow on an equatorial cloud belt; Io’s changing position was observed over the course of the evening.

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Simulated view shows Io casting its shadow on planet Jupiter – seen via larger scopes at the star party! – Simulation by Gas Giants iOS app.

Thanks again, folks!  See you June 3 for our next public star party for the Medina County Park District!  — William Murmann, CAA President
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Spectacular view of Jupiter, courtesy Juno

Photo: South Polar Region of Jupiter

South Polar Region of Jupiter

This image shows Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers). The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter. Multiple images taken with the JunoCam instrument on three separate orbits were combined to show all areas in daylight, enhanced color, and stereographic projection.

JunoCam’s raw images are available at http://www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam for the public to peruse and process into image products. More information about Juno is online at http://www.nasa.gov/juno

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Betsy Asher Hall/Gervasio Robles

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Saturday, May 27: Our First Public Night of the season!

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) will host our first public star party of the year for the Medina County Park District starting at 8 PM this coming Saturday, May 27. A program and the star party will take place at Letha House Park.

The public program will be a “Telescope Night” with the visitors invited to bring their personal telescopes to learn how to set up and use them starting at 8 PM.  After it gets dark, we’ll have the usual star gazing program between 9 and 11 PM.

Members: Any and all help will be appreciated!  Please bring a scope if you can and assist with the program.

CAA’s observatory is located at 5800-5994 Richman Road – Just North of Spencer Lake Road Spencer, OH 44275. Click here for a Google Map and instructions on how to get to the observatory.

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Night Sky Network recognition

Image: NASA/JPL Night Sky Network Logo

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) has received recognitions from the Night Sky Network for its astronomy outreach efforts. The Night Sky Network is a nationwide coalition of amateur astronomy clubs bringing the science, technology, and inspiration of NASA’s missions to the general public, a partnership between NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

“Congratulations to your club on 60 years dedicated to astronomy, observing, and outreach,” Night Sky Network officials wrote. “We salute your commitment to your community and enjoy hearing about all of the incredible events you host.” The letter continued, “Over the last decade we have been honored to partner with you … may our partnership continue for many decades to come and further the interest of astronomy for everyone.”

A separate mailing included award pins imprinted, “Night Sky Network Star,” and certificates to be used in recognizing outstanding CAA volunteers. “We deeply admire your outreach efforts and activities; bringing the love of the stars to the public is hard but rewarding work.”

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