October 2019 Newsletter

Welcome to Fall!

Pittsburgh Constellation is on Facebook!
Like us on Facebook and follow us for the latest Astronomy news @PittsburghConstellation

Local IDA Meeting
Tuesday, Oct 1 is the next IDA local meeting is at Allegheny Observatory. 6:30 - 8 pm.

Join us for a discussion of the new city streetlights for 2020 and the creation of IDAPA to raise awareness about the importance of dark skies in the Commonwealth. The leaders of the statewide organization are:
Michael Lincoln, Pittsburgh (Chapter Director)
Stan Stubbe, Philadelphia area   
Barry Johnson, Philadelphia area   
Sue Campbell, Erie 
Mark Grosz, Mechanicsburg

Open to the public, free parking, no dues, no membership necessary.
Allegheny Observatory Open House
Friday, October 4, the Allegheny Observatory Open House annual event is out of free reservations, you can still join us on the front lawn after dark, where AAAP members will have many telescopes available for public viewing.
AAAP star parties at Wagman Observatory
Saturday, October 5 and Saturday, October 19, AAAP star parties will be held at Wagman Observatory, only if the weather is clear.

AAAP Site:
AAAP star parties at Mingo Observatory
Friday and Saturday, October 25 and 26, AAAP star parties will be held at Mingo Creek Observatory. Solar observing will be held before dark. On star party nights, the planetarium is open, even when the weather is uncooperative for telescope viewing.

AAAP Site:
AAAP Off-Site Star Parties
Oct. 4 – “Fall Wonders,” Schenley Park, 8:00 to 10:30 PM
Oct. 11 – and presentation, Baldwin Borough Public Library, 6:30 to 8:30 PM
Oct. 12 (rain date Oct. 13) Monroeville Public Library
Oct. 18 – and presentation, Hillman State Park, 6:30 to 9:00 PM
Oct. 21 (rain date Oct. 23) East Allegheny School District

AAAP Site:
Draconids Meteor Shower
Saturday, October 5 Draconids Meteor Shower 
Looking Backwards with the Cosmic Microwave Background.
From Dr. Fred Gilman, CMU Buhl Professor of Theoretical Physics
I am very pleased to invite you to this year’s Buhl Lecture given by Suzanne Staggs. The title of her talk is “Looking Backwards with the Cosmic Microwave Background. She is the Henry DeWolf Smyth Professor of Physics at Princeton, and a leader in the international research effort to use the cosmic microwave background radiation to probe the growth of structure in the universe over the last 13 billion years and to search for a signature due to gravity waves in the early universe."  

The lecture will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 8th in the Mellon Institute Auditorium with a reception in the Mellon Institute Lobby immediately following the lecture. The lecture is free and open to the public. I have attached a flyer with additional information to this email. I hope that you and your guests will be able to attend, I look forward to seeing you there.

For More Information Click Here
The Food Truck for the Physics Mind
Thursday, October 10, 9:30 am - 5:30 pm, CMU campus: “The Food Truck for the Physics Mind” will be bringing a 44-foot long vehicle full of modern advanced physics experiments. The Buffalo-based company is also planning to visit the University of Pittsburgh with their van full of physics fun. More information will be forthcoming about exactly where it will be parked, who is invited to attend, a possible cost and which experiments will be run.
University of Toledo NATIONAL LAB DAY
Register Now (Registration is open to the academic and commercial research community.)

Thursday, Oct. 10 and Friday, Oct. 11. The University of Toledo is proud to host the Ohio National Lab Day 2019 to explore opportunities for partnerships and connect students and researchers with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories. The Department of Energy maintains 17 preeminent labs across the country, providing unique scientific and technological capabilities that are often beyond the scope of academic and industrial institutions. The labs maintains user facilities as shared resources that may be accessed by the scientific community. Learn how to access world class facilities and connect with DOE lab researchers.

Meet Laboratory Directors, representing 15 DOE labs. Meet 40 DOE scientists participating in nine topical areas and four plenary sessions. Explore funding and fellowship opportunities. Discover DOE user facilities open to academic and industry scientists. Establish collaborations with DOE lab scientists. Learn about student internships and post-doctoral fellowships. National Lab Day at The University of Toledo will be held on the University’s Main Campus at the engineering complex. Participants will check-in on Oct. 10 and 11 at the Nitschke Auditorium.

National Lab Day features a dozen DOE lab directors, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (current ranking member of the Energy Appropriations Subcommittee), and many other guests.  JD Smith will be co-chairing a short astrophysics panel discussion on Thursday afternoon, with panelists from four different DOE labs (see below).  This will be an open discussion, with panelists giving an overview of the science, resources, and career opportunities in astrophysics available at their respective labs.  We’ll also have science discussions on the early Universe and time domain astronomy.

Risa Wechsler is the Director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology and a Professor of Physics at Stanford and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. 

Nick Gnedin is a Senior Scientist at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the Particle Physics Division. 

Peter Nugent is a Senior Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Computational Research Division where he’s the Department Head for Computational Science. 

Jarrett Johnson is a scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) whose research spans astrophysics and weapon physics. 
AAAP Rregular Monthly Meeting
Friday, October 11: AAAP regular monthly meeting at Pitt’s Alumni Hall Room 343 at 7:30 pm. with Terry Trees presenting on “Asteroids, Discovery, Composition, Deflection and Observation.”
Full Moon Hike in the Park
Sunday, October 13, 8 - 9 pm Full Moon Hike in the Park

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.

Registration is required for this event.

This hike is geared towards teens and adults. Dogs are not permitted to join this hike. This hike is rain or shine. Weather-appropriate clothes and footwear with good tread are encouraged.

The hike will meet at the Frick Environmental Center. We'll be relying on moonlight for this hike, so please leave your flashlights at home.

Frick Environmental Center
2005 Beechwood Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
More Info
Allegheny Observatory Lecture Series
Friday, October 18th, Allegheny Observatory Lecture Series Eta Carina, Supernovae, and “Seeing the Past Again”
John Hillier Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh)

Free lecture, very limited seating, Reservations must be made by calling Lou Coban at 412-321-2100.

More Info
159 Riverview Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15214
Orionids Meteor Shower
Monday, October 21, Orionids Meteor Shower
From Pittsburgh to the Moon

Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh monthly talk — Wednesday, October 23 joint AAAP/SSP meeting at Duquesne University
“From Pittsburgh to the Moon” by Emily Ruby

This talk focuses on the Destination Moon exhibition that the Heinz History Center hosted in the fall of 2018. A national touring exhibition put together by the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, this exhibit marked the first time the Command Module Columbia left the Smithsonian since it was installed there in the early 1970s. This talk highlights the important contributions that Western Pennsylvania made to the success of the space program and to the Apollo 11 mission.

Emily Ruby has been a curator at the Heinz History Center for more than 11 years. She serves as the point of contact for those interested in donating artifacts to the collection as well as curating exhibitions as diverse as Heinz and Destination Moon. Emily is a graduate of the Hagley and Museum Studies programs at the University of Delaware.

Further programming will be Dr. Silvana Andreescu, Clarkson University, talking about, “Chemical and Biological Sensors for Improving Food Quality through Sensitive Packaging

The Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh, along with our sister society, the Society for Analytical Chemists, is a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering science education in the Western Pennsylvania region.

More information and dinner reservation link here:

It is open to the public and the dinners are inexpensive and wonderful — highly recommended. The program runs like this:
5:30 PM Social Hour: Power Center Ballroom
6:30 PM Dinner: Power Center Ballroom
Student Affiliate Meeting: Shepperson Suite
7:30 PM Business Meeting: Power Center Ballroom
8:00 PM Technical Program: Power Center Ballroom

College Hall, 600 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15282
AAAP Astronomy Equipment Silent Auction
The local AAAP Astronomy Equipment Silent Auction at Mingo Observatory will be held Saturday, October 26 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM prior to that evening’s star party. The auction features astronomical equipment from the estate of the late Dick Haddad and others. Do you have items you no longer want? Looking for something new? This is an annual event.
New Moon
New moon, Monday, October 28
Dan Peden on Mount Washington
Dan Peden on Mount Washington (300 block Grandview, Mt. Washington, setting up about 8:00.)

On clear nights, Dan Peden frequently sets up his telescope on the sidewalk on Mount Washington. Consider joining him with your telescope or just come and talk to about astronomy with the people in his line. On nice nights, it’s always a tourist hit! There are always at least a few dozen interested people and many times more.
Triangulation: Dark Skies
Triangulation: Dark Skies is available from Amazon:
$17.99 for the paperback, $2.99 for the e-book

This themed compilation of 21 speculative stories from around the universe focuses on light pollution and beautiful starry nights skies. It is published by Parsec Ink and edited by Diane Turnshek and Chloe Nightingale. Free for anyone who might be interested in reviewing it HERE (only during the month of September) 
Astronomical League Good Lighting Awards
Nominations for the Astronomical League Good Lighting Awards as a Component of Community Enlightenment – Thanks to Terry Trees and the AAAP for this information.

We’ve been asked to gather examples of good, attractive lighting in our community. Select the best, and award the winner a plaque for display.
Three important factors for evaluation:
Are the outdoor lights properly shielded?
Is the illumination at a proper level?
If the lights are LEDs, are their color temperatures less than or equal to 2700K?

We will invite the media to our late spring presentation at Allegheny Observatory. Hoping to spark others into action. Contact Terry at for more information.

Here’s an example of decent lighting that meets all these criteria:
Transit of Mercury
November 11, 7:36 am to 1:04 pm, Public events will be held to view the transit of Mercury at Mingo Observatory (hosted by the AAAP) and at CMU (hosted by the Astronomy Club).

More Info