Public observing night at Letha House September 9

Photo: Saturn, by Rochus Hess

Saturn. Credit: Rochus Hess

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) will host a public star party this Saturday (Sept. 9) from 8:00 to 10:00 PM at the Medina County Park District’s at Letha House Park (West). The club’s observatory will be open and CAA members will offer viewing through their personally-owned telescopes.

The weather forecast is looking good for Saturday.  If skies are clear, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune will be visible at dusk. Later, Uranus, Saturn, and Neptune will be visible.
The waning Gibbous Moon will clear the horizon at 10:15.  When the sky grows dark enough, and before moonrise, there about 30 Messier objects visible. Messier objects include such things as brighter star clusters, nebulas, and galaxies.
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August 21 solar eclipse: an amazing day

Photo: Crowd watching eclipse. Credit: Alan Studt

A Day of Eclipse Excitement at Edgewater Park. Credit: Alan Studt

by Jay Reynolds

What an amazing day we had.

I don’t think I need to describe the spectacular event we had August 21 at Edgewater Park. While not in the path of totality for the day’s solar eclipse, we still experienced our own version of magic. From the first contact at 1:06 PM to the spontaneous applause at 2:30, we all experienced and shared something very special indeed.

Photo: Group viewing eclipse via projection. Credit: Alan Studt

Sharing the View via “Sun Funnel” Projector. Credit: Alan Studt

It was totally awesome at 2:30 when we were bathed in that eerie light of an 80 percent eclipse. Temperature decrease was noticeable and measurable. A nice break from the oppressive heat of our sun earlier that day.  Also surprising, at 2:45, was the Mass Exodus, leaving only a few remaining for last contact at 3:50 PM.

All of our nonprofit organization friends who said they would be there, were there on time, and ready to go.

A summary of activities:

  • Four Physical activities from City of Lakewood and “Lakewood Alive”
  • Flying airplanes from Discovery Aviation
  • Making “Galaxy Goo” from Spaces Art Gallery
  • Discussing weather with school outreach program, “Wise on Weather”, illustrated by Dick Goddard, was also present.
  • We even had the traveling butterfly enclosure from Put-n-Bay’s Lake Erie Island Nature & Wildlife! (Solar Eclipse and butterflies… J )  This is the same group who does the Stargazing Cruise on Lake Erie.

Also attending was Cleveland Metroparks with their “Nature Tracks” trailer and “Sand Art” craft. NASA Glenn was present with their “Live” truck showing a feed from totality.

We also can’t forget those who showed up extra early to do five segments of: Fox 8’s “Kick’n It with Kenny” morning show: Dave Nuti, Suzie Dills, Nora Mishey, and new member Sarah Drab.  I received nothing but positive feedback for all the work that they did. Those folks came out early and represented our organization extremely well! I was down at Fox 8 the next day and there were numerous compliments.  (They like us.)

Besides, CAA’s own “photographer of awesomeness” Alan Studt, we had guest photographers, David Taggart, and event photographer Sharon Connelly.  Dave has been photographing many of our events since 2005. Sharon and I have worked together for 15 years and had amazing day with us and just loved everyone she met.  Sharon and Dave also pitched in where they could to help.

Photo: Jay Reynolds Interview at Edgewater. Credit: Alan Studt

Jay Reynolds Interview at Edgewater. Credit: Alan Studt

Media Present:

At the event, besides WJW (8), WKYC (3) and WOIO (19) were present for the entire event. Even Scene Magazine did social media throughout the afternoon. We also had news helicopters from WJW (8), and WEWS (5).  A Cleveland Police helicopter was up around us as well.

Interviews:

  • 8/14 Cleveland Plain Dealer Event information
  • 8/16  WTAM Wills & Snyder
  • 8/20  Fox 8 “In the Morning”
  • Fox 8 Maia Belay
  • 8/21 WTAM Wills & Snyder
  • Fox 8 “Kick’n it with Kenny” (4) CAA interviews
  • WOIO – commentary (1)
  • WKYC – Brandon Simmons (2 at event)
  • Fox 8 Stacy Frey (1)
  • Fox 8 Matt Wright (2 at event)
  • 8/22 Fox 8 “In the Morning” Wrap Up
  • Fox Matt Wright – Life of solar glasses
  • Fox Matt Wright – Facebook “Live”- Wrap Up

On the weather side, everyone called for clouds and possible rain. In typical CAA style, it was essentially clear till the end of the event. Forty minutes later, clouds roll in, 10 minutes after that, rain.  CAA was in control!

Photo: Smart Phone held to Eyepiece. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Smart Phone held to Eyepiece. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Besides being the “presenting and organizing agent of record” CAA provided other services and activities…

Photo: Using telescope whilst holding parasol. Credit: Alan Studt

Too Much Sun Might Ruin the Day. Credit: Alan Studt

Everyone on the telescope line did awesome! They were so helpful and generous.

But I must offer special recognition to two ladies who took on the toughest jobs. Nora Mishey, and Sarah Drab.

Photo: Home-Built "Sun Funnel" works Remarkably Well. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Home-Built “Sun Funnel” works Remarkably Well. Credit: Nancy Whisler

Sarah anxiously volunteered to hand out the solar glasses to the guests. None of us realized it would be like “Thunder Dome”! We had to cut off distribution at 10:30 AM because people were taking glasses and leaving and we wouldn’t have any for the guests at 12:30 PM. The line was nearly to the beach! Sarah took a lot of guff! Wow! The demands! The stories! Thank you, Sarah.

Photo: Boy wearing eclipse glasses. Credit: Alan Studt

Youngster is Thrilled by the View of Eclipsing Sun. Credit: Alan Studt

CAA’s own Education Director, Nora Mishey, took a simple craft and “Nora-ized” it into a Tri-C certificate program in the electromagnetic spectrum. People could create special bracelets using UV-sensing beads. They learned about the visible EM spectrum, how we can’t see UV, and why we need to be careful.  Guests received an understandable lesson and a great souvenir.  She never stopped, even when she was stung by a bee or by the oppressive heat.  She was so awesome.

Bottom line: It was an awesome event for the city and for the CAA.

(At the Medina County Park District’s Wolf Creek Environmental Education Center, Bill & Carol Lee and Dave Watson represented CAA with telescopes and park staff presented other Sun-related activities for the public. We were informed by park officials that the park’s gates were closed when attendance topped 1,000. — ed.)

Everyone who was a part of this eclipse, whether it was Edgewater, Wolf Creek, Avon Lake, or just sharing with a neighbor, should be very proud of all of the smiles, enthusiasm for science that was experienced by guests, you served.  CAA continues to live up to the meaning of science outreach and serves as a great example of what a nonprofit can be.
None of this would be possible, without our members’ culture of caring for each other, cooperation and devotion.

Amazing.

Jay Reynolds is astronomy professor at Cleveland State University and serves as the CAA’s observatory director. He regularly coordinates public events in which CAA plays a major part. An estimated 8,000 people were in attendance at Edgewater Park, Cleveland, for the solar eclipse.

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Clouds, clouds, go away!

Photo: Panoramic view of Letha House Park Lake. Photo by James Guilford

August 26: Day’s End – Letha House Park – Photo by James Guilford


After a day featuring fair skies, the evening saw a layer of clouds slide in messing with our Public Night. The slender crescent Moon slowly disappeared into a light smudge. Later, a few stars showed up overhead but, overall, not much to look at. We hope for better weather on September 9, at 8:00 PM when we will host our next Public Night at Letha House Park and our Observatory.

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Member Photos: Solar Eclipse 2017

This is a gallery of eclipse photographs made by members of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA). Some members traveled to various places along the path of totality to experience the total solar eclipse. Some CAA members stayed behind, photographing the deep partial eclipse. We are fortunate to have a number of talented photographers and astrophotographers as members and pleased to be able to exhibit their amazing work here. We will add new images to this post as they are received so check back on occasion! Please note: these images are the property of their individual creators and may not be used without the photographer’s expressed permission.

Photo: Total Solar Eclipse by David J. Watkins

The solar corona visible at totality. Photographed from Lebanon, Tenn., Monday, August 21, 2017. Credit: David J. Watkins

Photo: Total solar eclipse. Photo by David J. Watkins.

The diamond ring effect prior to second contact. You can also see some of the chromosphere along with some prominences (orange-red color). Photographed from Lebanon, Tenn., Monday, August 21, 2017. Credit: David J. Watkins

Photo: Early eclipse with sunspots. Credit: Alan Studt

Early eclipse with sunspots. Credit: Alan Studt

Photo: Partial eclipse progression. Credit: Alan Studt

Partial eclipse progression. Credit: Alan Studt

Photo: Partial eclipse at maximum. Photo by James Guilford.

Maximum Eclipse – Hiram, Ohio. Northeastern Ohio witnessed an 80 percent coverage partial eclipse on August 21, 2017. Several sunspots were visible before the Moon covered them leaving only one in sight at the left end of the crescent seen here. Credit: James Guilford.

Photo: Edge of lunar disk against Sun. Photo by James Guilford.

Before Maximum Eclipse – Note the “bumps” on the edge of the Moon’s dark curve: silhouettes of lunar craters and mountains against the brilliant Sun. Canon EOS 50D: ISO 320, f/11, 1/1600 sec., 800mm telephoto. Credit: James Guilford

Photo: Partial Solar Eclipse. Credit: Bruce Lane.

Partial eclipse taken east of Glendo State Park, Wyoming on Highway 270, about .7 mile north of the center line for totality. Technical: Canon EOS 60Da, ISO 320, 1/160 sec., ETX-125 telescope with polar alignment. Credit: Bruce Lane

Photo: Partial Solar Eclipse. Credit: Bruce Lane

Nearing Totality: Partial eclipse taken east of Glendo State Park, Wyoming on Highway 270, about .7 mile north of the center line for totality. Technical: Canon EOS 60Da, ISO 320, 1/160 sec., ETX-125 telescope with polar alignment. Credit: Bruce Lane

Photo: Totality with Venus. Credit: Ted Sauppé

Totality with Venus: From southern Illinois, where he took a shot of the totality, Venus showing to the right. Taken with a Samsung Galaxy Note5. Credit: Ted Sauppé

Photo: Total Solar Eclipse by Steve Koryak.

Totality, Casper, Wyoming. Credit: Steve Koryak

Photo: Total Solar Eclipse. Credit: Steve Koryak

I took these two photos in Casper, Wyoming. These are the first and the eighth in the sequence made under thin clouds! I missed the diamond ring at first and second contact because of helping five other people seeing their first eclipse! Technical: Nikon D5100,ISO 800, 6-inch f/4 telescope on clock drive, starting at 1/4000 sec. down to a few seconds. Credit: Steve Korylak

Image: Temperature Plot, August 21, 2017; Medina, Ohio. Credit: James Guilford

Temperature Plot, August 21, 2017; Medina, Ohio. Credit: James Guilford

Photo: Colander as Eclipse Projector. Credit: Matt Franduto

Colander as Eclipse Projector. Credit: Matt Franduto

Photo: Totality with Earth Shine - Handheld. Credit: Matt Franduto

Totality with Earth Shine, Regulus to the Left – Handheld Photograph. Credit: Matt Franduto

Photo: Diamond Ring Effect. Credit: Chris Christe

Diamond Ring Effect. Credit: Chris Christe

Photo: Totality Composite showing Corona, Prominences, and Earthshine. Credit: Chris Christe

Totality Composite showing Corona, Prominences, and Earthshine. Credit: Chris Christe

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August 14 Meeting: “Gemini: Forgotten Middle Child”

Photo: Gemini 7 Spacecraft as seen from Gemini 6. Image Credit: NASA

Gemini 7 Spacecraft as seen from Gemini 6. Image Credit: NASA

This month’s General Membership Meeting of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association will take place on August 14, starting at 7:30 PM at the Rocky River Nature Center; 24000 Valley Parkway; North Olmsted, Ohio, in the Cleveland Metroparks.

The meeting will begin with a program featuring Tom Benson, Senior Aeronautical Engineer at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. His presentation is, “Gemini: The forgotten Middle Child of the American Space Program!” The two-man capsules helped with the transition from the one-man Mercury capsules to the three-man Apollo spacecraft with lunar landers. Gemini pioneered such things as on-orbit rendezvous and docking, “space walks,” and spacecraft design and control. Gemini was vital to the U.S. effort to reach the Moon. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

A social break follows the program, then the business portion of the meeting will take place. Final planning for solar eclipse activities will be discussed along with other items.

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It’s Happening August 21: Edgewater Eclipse Watch

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA), in cooperation with Cleveland Metroparks, will host an Eclipse Watch event at Edgewater Park, on Cleveland’s western Lake Erie shore, from 12:30 to 4:00 PM, Monday, August 21. The event will be free and open to the public, no reservations required, to observe the day’s solar eclipse. In case of rain, the event will be canceled.

Image: Eclipse at Maximum - Edgewater Park, Ohio, August 21, 2017 - SkySafari 5 Simulation

Eclipse at Maximum – Edgewater Park, Ohio, August 21, 2017 – SkySafari 5 Simulation

The Edgewater Eclipse Watch will include:

  • Telescopes equipped to safely view the eclipse, tended by CAA members
  • Eclipse viewing glasses provided by AstroZap, one per group, please!)
  • Non-profit organizations, including Cleveland Metroparks, with family activities.
  • Additional activities to be announced!

The venue for the Edgewater Eclipse Watch will be at the west end of Edgewater Park’s lower level parking lot (see map below). Telescopes and other activities will be in the grassy area adjacent to the parking lot. Visitors may come and go as they please during the event.

Image: Here is where the Eclipse Watch will take place.

Here is where the Eclipse Watch will take place. Click to visit Google Maps for a more complete map and directions.

Image: Timing of Our Partial Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017 - Via SkySafari 5

Timing of Our Partial Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017 – Via SkySafari 5

Millions of people will enjoy this eclipse of the Sun, some portion of which will be visible from everywhere in the continental United States; it’s even been dubbed “The Great American Eclipse” and “The National Eclipse.” Locations along a relatively narrow strip of land stretching from Oregon and the Pacific Northwest to the Atlantic off South Carolina will enjoy the full glory of a total solar eclipse. Here in Northeastern Ohio, we will see a deep partial eclipse with, at its peak, the Sun reduced to a brilliant crescent in our early afternoon sky.

CRITICAL: Vision safety is a major concern: It is important to note: even during the maximum point of our partial eclipse it is not safe to look at the Sun without proper vision protection. According to a statement from NASA, “The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as ‘eclipse glasses’ or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.Here’s a quick video about how to safely view the eclipse via WKYC and our own Jay Reynolds.

A solar eclipse takes place when our Moon comes between Sun and Earth casting its shadow on Earth’s surface. The illustration below shows how the depth of Moon’s shadow varies depending upon how much of Sun is covered. The small black dot indicates the area where all of the solar disk is covered and where a total solar eclipse is in progress; outside of that dot, a large shaded area shows where various levels of partial coverage — the partial eclipse — is visible.

Image: Diagram of the Solar Eclipse - Image Credit: NASA

Diagram of the Solar Eclipse – Image Credit: NASA

This video from NASA shows how eclipses work and why they don’t happen every month. Spoiler: Moon’s shadow “misses” the Earth most of the time…

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July 29: A great night for stargazers

Photo: Astronomers with their telescopes. Photo by Alan Studt.

Under Starry Skies – Photo by Alan Studt

by William Murmann, CAA President

We had one of our most successful public star parties for the Medina County Park District last night (July 29) at Letha House. I don’t have an exact count, but I think 100 or more guests came for the event under great clear skies and mild temperatures. The parking lot was full. Lots of young families came with children, many of whom got their first look at the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, and other objects through a telescope.

Photo: Waxing Crescent Moon, July 29, 2017. Photo by James Guilford.

Waxing Crescent Moon dominated the sky for the CAA’s Public Night. Photo by James Guilford.

Many thanks to all who helped! Observatory Director Jay Reynolds had a busy night showing the night sky with our 12-inch and 8-inch scopes. Education Director Nora Mishey spent the whole evening in the building, talking with folks about her educational astronomy displays, sharing home-baked cookies, and discussing our club. Three platters of Nora’s cookies quickly disappeared.

Photo: Woman using telescope in red-lit observatory under starry sky.

“First-light” observing with the just-completed eight-inch Meade. Photo by Alan Studt

 

 

 

 

We had 14 scopes at the event. Two of them were brought by nonmembers who hopefully will join our club. I was busy during the evening talking with people and showing the Moon with my scope, so I may not have a complete list of members who helped. If I missed anyone, please let me know.

Photo: Group pauses to watch a passage of the International Space Station. Photo by James Guilford.

Watching the Space Station. Photo by James Guilford.

A big thank you for helping to VP Tim Campbell, Bob Wiersma, James Guilford, Alan Studt, Rich & Nancy Whisler, Bill & Carol Lee, Carl Kudrna, Dave Nuti, Chris Christie, Bruce Lane, Jay Reynolds, Nora Mishey, and me. If you were there and I missed you, please let me know.

Thanks again everyone!

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