Happy Solstice 2019!

Photo: Solstice Sunset by Alan Studt
After Sunset: A crowd gathers at Lakewood Park, enjoying sunset on June 21, 2019. Photo by Alan Studt.

The Cuyahoga Astronomical Association (CAA) was well-represented this year at the annual Lakewood Solstice Celebration held on the shores of Lake Erie. CAA members brought 11 telescopes to help support a successful annual Summer Solstice program at Lakewood City Park.

Photo: Child gets support looking through telescope. Photo by Alan Studt.
Getting by with a little help, a boy is supported as he looks through a solar-safe telescope at the Sun. CAA President William Murmann tends his scope. Photo by Alan Studt.

Lakewood Park features an amphitheater-like Solstice Steps facility where visitors are able to view the Great Lake. The evening event draws thousands and boasts food, music, activities and, thanks to the CAA, safe solar viewing and after-sunset astronomy.

Photo: CAA Members at Lakewood Park. Photo by Carl Kudrna.
Plenty going on as CAA members tend their telescopes either offering views of the Sun or waiting til sundown and darkness. Photo by Carl Kudrna.

Attendees enjoyed clear, sunny skies for most of the day right up until just before sunset. Safe solar viewing was offered through a variety of telescopes and filters though, because Sun was at Solar Minimum, there wasn’t much to see on old Sol’s face.

Photo: Seeing the Sun. Photo by John D. Burkett.
Viewing the Sun through a large refractor telescope. Photo by John D. Burkett.

A group of clouds moved across the Lake Erie horizon from the northwest covering the Sun and obscuring Mars and Mercury, which also should have been visible at sunset.

Photo: Partial Sunbow. Photo by Alan Studt.
Clouds and crowds during sunset at the 2019 Lakewood Solstice Celebration. A portion of a sunbow forms an arc at the right. Photo by Alan Studt.

After sunset, however, Jupiter rose above the trees in the east, providing an opportunity to show visitors Jupiter and a few of his Galilean Moons.

Photo: Telescope silhouetted. Photo by Alan Studt.
A grand vintage telescope is silhouetted against the blue evening twilight as a guest views planet Jupiter. Photo by Alan Studt.

CAA member Jay Reynolds again organized and coordinated the Solstice astronomy program with the city of Lakewood. Reynolds passed along compliments from the city for the timely and organized manner in which members arrived, unloaded, and kept the flow going as members set up their telescope systems.

Photo: Telescope and Eyepiece. Photo by John D. Burkett.
Waiting for Dark. A telescope is set up, waiting for dark skies and an opportunity to view Jupiter. Photo by John D. Burkett.

Lakewood city officials and staff welcomed and supported CAA as part of their annual event. Lakewood Mayor Mike Summers and his wife, expressed how much they enjoy coming to the event and this (telescopes) was their favorite part!

Photo: Lakewood Solstice Steps. Photo by Alan Studt.
Lakewood Park’s Solstice Steps at sunset. Photo by Alan Studt.

The Lakewood Solstice Celebration is one of several public events in which CAA members provide astronomy outreach programming. “It’s what we do.”

This report by CAA President William Murmann and others.

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.”

Busy 2013 for CAA educational outreach

CAA President Bill Murmann recently reported on the club’s efforts in programming activity to the membership.

“Thanks to our members,” Murmann wrote, “we have done a great job meeting this goal in 2013. During this year, we have presented a total of 25 public programs that include:

  • 13 programs for the Cleveland MetroParks.
  • 6 programs for the Medina County Park District
  • 4 programs for the Cuyahoga County Public Library System
  • 1 program for the State of Ohio at Findley State Park
  • 1 program for the Avon Public School System

“In addition, thanks to Jay Reynolds and Suzie Dills we have made great strides this year in improving our club observatory at Letha House Park. If our plans work out, we possibly may have three working telescopes in our observatory in 2014.

“Our success has been made possible through the help of our members who have been generous in giving their time, their experience, and the use of their telescopes for our programs. Many thanks to all!”

He concluded, “Best wishes for the New Year!”