Geauga’s Observatory Park grand opening August 20

Photo: Oberle Observatory in Geauga Park District's Observatory Park. Photo by James Guilford.
Oberle Observatory in Geauga Park District's Observatory Park. Photo by James Guilford.

A special evening of activities is planned marking the 50th anniversary of the Geauga Park District. The event also serves as the public’s first viewing of its newest park, Observatory Park. Plans call for everything to get underway at 4:00 PM with a park dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony. Tours, entertainment, a hot dog dinner, and evening concert are planned. The evening culminates in a first-light ceremony at the new Oberle Observatory itself. Click here for the full schedule of events.

9:15 PM: “First Light Ceremony” Dedication and Ribbon-Cutting of the Oberle Observatory and Telescope. The Newtonian reflector boasts a universe-grabbing 25.5-inch mirror created by legendary local astronomer Norman Oberle. Sandy Oberle donated her late husband’s telescope to the Geauga Park District to continue his legacy by opening the heavens to the public. The ceremony will feature the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society’s Ian Cooper and Sandy Oberle.

9:15 PM – Midnight: Stargazing hosted by the Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society.

Observatory Park, 10610 Clay Street, Montville Township
Event Open to the Public • Free Entertainment and Education for All Ages • Registration is not required. Call: (440) 286-9516 with questions.

Geomagnetic storm expected

NOAA Space Weather Bulletin August 4, 2011
NOAA Region 1261, very active over the past few days, produced the third of a sequence of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and Solar Radio Blackout Events early today. The net effect of that activity is convergent CMEs expected to disturb the geomagnetic field in the early hours, Universal Time (UTC) of August 5. G3 (Strong) Geomagnetic Storm conditions are likely as well as a distinct chance of S2 (Moderate) Solar Radiation Storm levels being surpassed.

From SpaceWeather.com….
Moving at an estimated speed of 1950 km/s, this CME is expected to sweep up two earlier CMEs already en route. Analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab say the combined cloud should reach Earth on August 5th at 13:55 UT (9:55 AM EDT) plus or minus 7 hours: “The impact on Earth is likely to be major. The estimated maximum geomagnetic activity index level Kp is 7 (Kp ranges from 0 – 9). The flanks of the CME may also impact STEREO A, Mars and Mercury/MESSENGER.” High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. Please visit SpaceWeather.com for full details and latest news!

If we happen to have clear(ish) skies Friday night, Aug. 5, it might be worth stepping outside well after twilight and taking a look. You never know, we might get auroras!