Archive for July, 2011

Darling Hill Will NOT OPEN Tonight (July 29) But Will Be Open For BOTH The NOON And 6:30 p.m. Sessions Tomorrow (July 30)!

Friday, July 29th, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

I refer you to the animated gif below that shows Sun Spot activity from July 15 to July 29 (images taken from the SOHO website, sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov). Pay particular attention to Sun Spots 1260, 1261, and 1263:

You’ll note there’s a large (LARGE!) band of Sun Spots approaching from the left in the last few images. For those who cannot see the labels in the bottom-right corner, the big circle is JUPITER, the smaller circle is EARTH. This all means that our Barlow Bob-hosted Solar Session tomorrow will have several large targets for observation in the observatory scopes. This is excellent timing on the part of our closest star!

In preparation for this event, we’ve prepared a small brochure for your reading pleasure available for download (and copies will be on hand at the Observatory):


And I’ve already had a few interested parties bringing scopes to the collimation session by Bob Piekiel Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m., which will precede our Public Viewing session.

All are welcome to all of tomorrow’s sessions!

SAS Astronomical Chronicle For July 2011

Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophile!

The July 2011 newsletter has been posted in advance of the next Public Viewing Session and can be downloaded below:

Astronomical Chronicle for July 2011

If the weather holds, this should prove to be a busy Saturday at Darling Hill. The originally-scheduled lecture/demonstration on telescope collimation by Bob Piekiel is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. This lecture provides you an opportunity to learn about the most important post-purchase piece of telescope maintenance at the hands of the arguably the most knowledgeable telescope owner in Central New York. The 6:30 start provides plenty of daylight as well, meaning you can also see the Darling Hill Observatory grounds in the daytime for a change!

NOTE 1: If the weather is bad on SATURDAY we will be hosting Bob Piekiel on FRIDAY at 7:00 p.m. (a reverse rain date). Be sure to check the website at 5:00 p.m. on Friday for the final announcement.

To this evening activity we have added a special Solar Observing Session from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. lead by none other than Barlow Bob himself! The only thing more extensive than the collection of solar observing equipment that will be at DHO is Barlow Bob’s knowledge on the subject of solar observing. If you’ve never observed out closest star through proper equipment, I guarantee you will thoroughly enjoy this rare (for Darling Hill, that is) daytime observing session.

NOTE 2: The final announcement for this session (weather-pending) will be by 10:00 a.m. on Saturday on the website.

In the event you need it, copies of the sky chart for the afternoon will be available at the observatory, else feel free to print out the chart below:

Two great sessions on one (hopefully) clear day (and night) and the three hour buffer in between gives you a chance to cram all of your other Saturday activities in. Please join us for both!

Darling Hill Will NOT OPEN Tonight (July 2) Due To Cloud Cover And Unpredictable Conditions

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

With a rather late notice to possible late-night observers, Darling Hill Observatory will not be opening tonight. While the Clear Sky Clock indicates improving conditions around 11:00 p.m., unpredictable cloud cover makes this a very small window that likely will not lead to good observing.

Darling Hill Will OPEN Tonight (July 1) For Its Public Viewing Session!

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Greetings fellow astrophiles!

Anyone out observing last night was treated to excellent dark skies (albeit a bit shaky along the Western horizon for those observing Saturn before its late setting) and fantastic viewing through high-power. Tonight looks to be more of the same, so we will be opening the observatory around 8:30 (plenty of time to walk the grounds and see the building and member scopes during the daylight).

For myself, I will be spending a bit of my observing time trying to see the remaining light of a recent supernova in M51 (the Whirlpool Galaxy in Canes Venatici/Ursa Major – just off the handle of the Big Dipper). The view was excellent last night but I didn’t know I was also seeing a 13 mag tail of the explosion). Sky and Telescope provides the following image from Stéphane Lamotte Bailey that pinpoints the location:

From Sky&Tel: French observer Stéphane Lamotte Bailey created this animation of the Whirlpool galaxy’s new supernova using images he took with his 8-inch telescope on May 30 and June 2, 2011.

Better still, for the first Public Viewing in quite a few months, we will be treated to a reasonable-hour ISS fly-by at 9:50 p.m. (shown below, from heavens-above.com).

Date Mag Starts Max. altitude Ends
Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az. Time Alt. Az.
1 Jul -1.9 21:50:22 10 WNW 21:53:08 27 SW 21:55:27 13 SSE

Directions to Darling Hill can be found at www.syracuse-astro.org/dho-occ-directions/. We hope you can join us!