November - December 2019 Newsletter

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Leonid Meteor Shower
The annual Leonid meteor shower is active from ~ Nov. 6 - 30.

The debris from the path of Comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle falls to Earth mostly in the wee hours of the morning, as the Earth turns into the stream of particles. The streaks you see are the particles vaporizing due to the heat of entry.

Unfortunately, a waning gibbous moon will brighten our night sky; otherwise we would see about 10 meteors per hour, even past the peak.

If you want to look, find a dark site and position yourself so the moon is hidden from direct view behind a building or tree.
Faraday Lecture
Faraday Lecture Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 19 and 20 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall at the University of Pittsburgh.

David D’Emilio (Chemistry) will give the lecture “Stardust Musings and Memories” at 7 pm Tuesday, Nov. 19, free, open to the public, no ticket required.

Tuesday and Wednesday’s daytime lectures are for school students.

Sponsored by the Society of Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh and the Spectroscopic Society of Pittsburgh.
4141 Fifth Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Astronomy on Tap
Astronomy on Tap, Wednesday, Nov. 20 at Franktuary (
3810 Butler Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201
See Flyer

Three speakers will talk at the event, each for about 20 mins with astronomy content aimed at a general audience. Also there will be a lot of fun astro-themed games and memorabilia to be won!

Events are held several times a year featuring informal presentations by professional astronomers, held in bars and restaurants around the Pittsburgh area. Need not be 21 to attend.

1. Talk on Black holes: Alan Pearl
2. Talk on Supernovae: Daniel Perrefort
3. Talk on the existence of Planet 9: Arthur Kosowsky Meeting meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11, Allegheny Observatory, 6:30 – 8:00 pm.

Come talk about dark skies – what regulations do we need in place to halt further brightening of the night skies? How can we educate people on the best practices for outdoor lighting? Catch up with friends and fellow enthusiasts.

Open to the public. Free parking. No need to register or join an organization. Just come!
Full Moon Hike
The Full Moon Hike in the park -- Thursday, Dec. 12!

“Enjoy a free moonlit stroll through Frick Park led by a naturalist.

This relaxing one-hour hike is designed to connect participants to the cycles in nature and the seasonal phenomena each month brings.”

Tickets are available starting Thursday, Nov. 21 at 12:00 am EST.
Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Carnegie Science Center Skywatch
Carnegie Science Center Skywatch, Friday, Dec. 13, (meet in the first floor of the CSC at either 7 or 9 pm).

$2 for members and $4 for non-members, unless you bring a fully assembled telescope to share with others and then it’s free.

Rain or shine, since the Henry J. Buhl Planetarium is open for the event. The rooftop observatory has a 16-inch Meade LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope.
No Allegheny Observatory Public Lecture
There will be no Allegheny Observatory Public Lecture in either December or January. On the third Friday of January, we’ll be hosting over 200 students from the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), a joint effort of Pitt, CMU, Duquesne and W&J ( They’ll be touring the observatory that Friday evening.

The return of the Public Lecture Series in Astronomy will be on February 21, 2020.
Nighttime Drone Photography

Complete nighttime drone photography over the CMU campus will soon be viewable!

Thanks to Mike Lincoln (, Steve Quick and Diane Turnshek for the map that may be used by campus designers to determine possible changes to the existing lighting.

We hope to soon have the full nighttime city map taken with a high definition camera affixed to the underbody of a Cessna aircraft.

This research is part of the Dark Skies Initiative at CMU, funded through Metro21, which included:
• the first annual summer conference (
• the Triangulation: Dark Skies anthology of stories about light pollution (
• the map of Pittsburgh’s skyglow, taken from the ground during moonless clear nights ( Scroll on the map to Pittsburgh and close-up on the city. It’s surprising how many fairly dark areas exist to see the night sky inside the city limits.
• drone and Cessna aircraft photography of the city to be uploaded to Burgh’s Eye View when completed