This beautiful new shot of an “old” Moon rising was made by Cuyahoga Astronomical Association member Frank Shoemaker. The photographer writes, “I shot this image this morning [September 27] at 5:50. The moon was about 32.5 hours until new. So far, this is the closest I’ve shot the moon to being new.”
The “new” phase is the end of the lunar cycle aging from Full, and fully-lit, to New and fully-dark; it’s also the beginning of the next cycle, thus New Moon.
“I shot it from the west end of Edgewater Park on the new pier down at the water. I used a Canon 7D Mark II with the 100-400 mm lens at about 260 mm. It’s a single exposure, 2 seconds at f/9, ISO 2000.” Shoemaker explained. “I processed the image through Topaz Labs DeNoise AI and finished it in Lightroom. I planned the shot with the Photographers Ephemeris app.”
What do we lose when we lose sight of the stars? Excessive and improper lighting robs us of our night skies, disrupts our sleep patterns, and endangers nocturnal habitats. Saving the Dark explores the need to preserve or restore night skies and what we can all do to combat light pollution. This film will be shown October 5 & 6 at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival
Note: This post will be updated with additional photos and narrative as provided by CAA members.
The 2018 occurrence of the annual Perseids meteor shower was not particularly outstanding but among sky watchers the event’s timing offered some promise; it peaked on a weekend and Earth’s Moon offered no interference! Overall, members enjoyed the experience but were not impressed by the Perseids’ performance!
A few intrepid members of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) spent late nights into early mornings at darker sites around the area ranging from Observatory Park in Geauga County, to Letha House Park in Medina County, Findley State Park in Lorain County, and Salt Fork State Park in Guernsey County.
Saturday night observers were largely frustrated by clouds moving over the Northern Ohio area though some did report seeing meteors. The passing clouds were illuminated not only by city light pollution but also by flashes of lightning from thunderstorms over Lake Erie!
Member Lonnie Dittrick, out Saturday night, reported, “Spent about 2.5 hours out near Wellington and snagged 23 meteors (about 1 every 9.6 minutes). Conditions fair with lots of high clouds and a cloud-out for 30 minutes. Reoccurring lighting north over the lake. Three very bright shooters that left trails. 11:10 to 1:40 AM.”
Joining the crowd at Observatory Park, Nancy Whisler wrote, “We counted 34 up until midnight, then we left because it was getting so cloudy and moist. We had a great time!”
Some folks tried watching from their own back yards. “Stayed home in Brunswick on my backyard patio Saturday night and Sunday,” wrote Jon Salontay. “Saturday started out with promising skies and weather but the sky got very hazy and smoky early and cloudy later. Saw only one sporadic meteor around midnight and didn’t catch any with my camera. Limiting magnitude was at best 3rd magnitude, probably 2nd. Sunday night saw better conditions; much darker and clearer.”
“Saw only two Perseids though: one early at 11:30 PM, and another around 4 AM, in an early and later session. Three meteors, in two days, in five hours observing.” Reflecting the feelings of many observers, Salontay concluded, “I’ve had better nights.”
Watching from his home’s deck in Brunswick Hills, Matt Franduto wrote, “The last two nights (2 – 3:00 AM) have been awful. Zero on Friday. Three (Saturday) night.”
Sunday night, inconvenient for many due to Monday work schedules, offered better skies and a nice selection of fireballs (exceptionally bright meteors) in addition to more ordinary “shooting stars.”
Watching the sky from “the lovely skies of North Olmsted,” was Steve Korylak. “I took about 200 15-second exposures covering Cygnus and Cassiopeia starting at 1:30 AM and caught not 0ne. However the next half-hour I saw three Perseids and four sporadics. Some shower, more like a drizzle!”
From Findley State Park, James Guilford watched and photographed from twilight until 1:30 AM Saturday to Sunday. He did not keep count as photography was his main interest. “I saw a few dim Perseids and several fireballs and captured one as it passed Mars,” he wrote. “The main problem became dew; one after another the camera lenses fogged up and I had to keep swapping them out. The camera and tripod were dripping wet by the time I had to call it quits!”
Dark skies matter when it comes to spotting meteors. Member Frank Shoemaker, who went to Salt Fork, reported, “My daughter and I went down to Salt Fork state park and were out from 11:30 PM to 4:30 AM on Sunday night/Monday morning. The clouds completely cleared out about 1:30 AM and we eventually lost count of Perseids in the 70s. I think we saw at least 80 of them.” That was a good night! See his composite photo at top of this story.
Member John Burkett took a different approach in making his meteoric image: as an experiment he attached cameras to a CGEM which tracked with background stars. The image above was produced from a Nikon D810, Nikon 35mm f/1.4 @ f/4, ISO-200, single-frame 76-Seconds, cropped. It was just below and to the right of the big “W”. He was three miles out of Seville, time stamp is 5:29 AM.
The CAA’s annual OTAA Convention event has been rescheduled to take place on September 24, 2016 at Letha House Park West; registration should begin at 3:00 PM. The gathering was to have been held July 30 but a scheduling issue prevented it taking place.
Socializing, a cookout, door prize raffle, astronomy talk, and (weather permitting) star party are planned for the day and night. Members of the CAA and other regional astronomy clubs are invited to attend. In the event of cloudy or inclement weather, all events except for stargazing will take place.
Letha House Park West features an enclosed, heated and air conditioned event building with modern lighting, projection equipment, and restrooms. The CAA maintains its observatory at Letha House Park and that facility will be open during the star party. The parking lot is paved and a large, grassy area adjacent to the lot makes for easy telescope setup. Nighttime skies are good (considering the Northeastern Ohio location) allowing for rewarding observations.