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Photo: Waxing Gibbout Moon. Photo by James Guiilford.

The Waxing Gibbous Moon – Night Before First Quarter

UPDATE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED DUE TO CONTINUED AND FORECAST OVERCAST/MOSTLY CLOUDY CONDITIONS. 

Stephens Memorial Observatory of Hiram College will be open for public observing Saturday, October 28, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM. That night will feature Hiram’s participation in International Observe the Moon Night, a global event celebrating our nearest neighbor in space. Given good skies, Earth’s Moon will be viewed in spectacular detail via the Observatory’s 1901 telescope. Other objects of interest may also be viewed. Visitors are invited to bring their smart phones or cameras and try lunar photography — it’s harder than you may think!

Cloudy skies at the starting time cancel the event and, in that case, the observatory will not open. No reservations are required and there is no admission fee for observatory public nights.

The Observatory is located on Wakefield Road (Rt. 82) less than a quarter of a mile west of Route 700 in Hiram. There is no parking at the Observatory. Visitors may park on permissible side streets near the Post Office, a short distance east of the observatory.

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Photo: Mare Imbrium region of Earth's Moon. Credit: James Guilford/Stephens Memorial Observatory

Mare Imbrium and Crater Copernicus. Credit: James Guilford/Stephens Memorial Observatory

We hosted our September Open Night as scheduled on the 30th with Earth’s Moon as our primary subject. The sky was (for once) completely clear of clouds and full of stars when we opened the dome for the 9:00 start. In all, 19 folks from small children to senior citizens attended and enjoyed spectacular views of our nearest neighbor in space. Two or three individuals attempted smart phone photography of the Moon with varying degrees of success. We also observed the Andromeda Galaxy and the Perseus Double Cluster. The image above was made just before we closed up and has been corrected for the telescope’s optical “flipping” of the image. Camera used was a Canon EOS 7D equipped with a 50mm lens and held to the telescope’s massive eyepiece. We will look at the Moon again October 28 when we celebrate the annual International Observe the Moon Night. See you then?

Stephens Memorial Observatory of Hiram College will be open for public observing Saturday, September 30, from 9:00 to 11:00 PM. Featured that night will be Earth’s Moon, the Andromeda Galaxy, and the Perseus Double Cluster. Other objects of interest may also be viewed. Visitors are invited to bring their smart phones and try lunar photography via our grand century-old telescope! Patience will be a necessity as acquiring good smart phone images through a telescope is more difficult than it might seem!

The night’s observing depends upon clear skies and those have been in short supply this season! Cloudy skies at the starting time cancel the event and, in that case, the observatory will not open. No reservations are required and there is no admission fee for observatory public nights.

The Observatory is located on Wakefield Road (Rt. 82) less than a quarter of a mile west of Route 700 in Hiram. There is no parking at the Observatory. Visitors may park on permissible side streets near the Post Office, a short distance east of the observatory.

Here is a link to a map of the Moon with some of its most visible features labeled. The map may be helpful in figuring out just what it was you photographed, or what you may be able to see through binoculars or a telescope!

Photo: The partial solar eclipse reaches its maximum at 2:23 PM EDT as viewed from Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio. Photo by James Guilford.

The partial solar eclipse reaches its maximum at 2:23 PM EDT as viewed from Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio

On Monday, August 21 millions gathered along a thin path crossing the United States to watch a total eclipse of the Sun, the first to cross the continent since June 1918. Those with favorable viewing conditions along the path of totality enjoyed a truly amazing sight and experience; a total solar eclipse is truly awe-inspiring. From Northern Ohio, outside of the eclipse path, 80 percent of the solar disk would be covered by the Moon. Public interest in the event was high and so we hosted the Hiram Eclipse Watch

 

Photo: People Watching and Waiting for the Big Event - Credit: James Guilford

Watching and Waiting for the Big Event – Credit: James Guilford

We estimate at least 375 people came to the campus lawn to share nature’s show and enjoy the sight together. Some families brought blankets and had picnic lunch in the shade of trees while waiting for the eclipse to begin. Driven by media reports, demand for Sun-safe eclipse viewing glasses was tremendous. Hiram had 300 eclipse viewers available for free distribution and even with restriction to one viewer per family or group, we ran out of glasses long before the eclipse ended. The offer of free eclipse glasses did, however, encourage some of our attendees to come out to Hiram College and discover there was more to enjoy than a giveaway; the view through our telescopes was tremendous.

Photo: Woman watches eclipse through specially-equipped telescope. Credit: Dave Dreimiller

Woman watches eclipse through specially-equipped telescope. Credit: Dave Dreimiller

Three telescopes offered safe views of the eclipsing Sun three different ways. One scope employed a glass filter with metal compounds that absorbed the Sun’s dangerous radiation and presented an orange-tinted image. The largest telescope present, a six-inch refractor, was outfitted with a modern version of the Herschel Wedge; that telescope focussed unfiltered light into the wedge which, in turn, deflected all but a small amount of light with a green tint and offered tack-sharp viewing of the disappearing Sun, sunspots, and granulation texture in the solar atmosphere. A third instrument was a telescope specifically made to view the Sun only hydrogen alpha (Ha) light. Ideally, an Hscope will show details of the solar atmosphere invisible to those using other methods, and include solar prominences — geysers of plasma arcing high above the Sun — but none were seen this day.

Photo: Girl Watching the Eclipse with Safety Glasses - Credit: Dave Dreimiller

Watching the Eclipse with Safety Glasses – Credit: Dave Dreimiller

People of all description came and went during the event though most stayed until the maximum eclipse had been reached and the Moon began to recede from Sun. Lines of folks waited patiently to see the telescopic views, even attempting smart phone photos; there were many repeat views, observing the progress of the eclipse with each fresh look. We estimate at more than 375 people came to the campus lawn to share nature’s show and enjoy the sight together.

Photo: Solar Telescopes Trained on the Eclipse - Credit: Dave Dreimiller

Solar Telescopes Trained on the Eclipse – Credit: Dave Dreimiller

There was learning, and laughter, and a fine day shared under Sun and Moon. It may not have been a total eclipse for those watching from Hiram College, but it was a total pleasure.

Photo: Sun in process of being eclipsed by Moon. August 21, 2017. Photo by James Guilford.

Before Maximum Eclipse – Credit: James Guilford

Cooperative weather plus plenty of happy and excited people made the afternoon a wonderful occasion sharing a fine day featuring a dance by the Sun and Moon.

Photo: Edge of lunar silhouette shows mountains on Moon. Photo by James Guilford.

Before Maximum – Rough Edge. Look closely along the dark curve of the Moon moving over the Sun and note “bumps” along the edge: the silhouettes of craters and mountains on the Moon.

The (Ravenna) Record-Courier made it front-page news!

Image: The Record-Courier - August 22, 2017 -- Page 1

The Record-Courier – August 22, 2017 — Page 1

Community Event from 12:30 to 4:00 PM, August 21, 2017 on the campus of Hiram College

Photo: This photo shows the March 2016 solar eclipse as seen from South Tangerang, Indonesia. Credit: Photo copyright Ridwan Arifiandi; Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 2.0

This photo shows the March 2016 solar eclipse as seen from South Tangerang, Indonesia.
Credit: Photo copyright Ridwan Arifiandi; Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 2.0

On Monday, August 21 people across United States will be able to witness a solar eclipse. Viewed from Hiram, the long-awaited event will take place from 1:07 PM – 3:52 PM local time.

Hiram College will host a local Eclipse Watch event from its campus lawn along Hayden Street, just north of the Hiram village Post Office (map). The event is open to the public, is free of charge, no reservations required, and visitors may come and go at any time during the eclipse. The Eclipse Watch will feature safe telescope viewing of the Sun, free solar eclipse glasses, and indoor “live” TV viewing of the total solar eclipse from remote locations. The narrow path where the total eclipse will be seen will cross the country from the Pacific Northwest to the Atlantic. The path of totality passes south of Ohio but that doesn’t mean the eclipse won’t be noticed here.

Image: Maximum Eclipse Coverage - Hiram, Ohio. Simulation via SkySafari 5

Maximum Eclipse Coverage – Hiram, Ohio. Simulation via SkySafari 5

While Ohio sits outside the path of totality, we will experience a deep partial solar eclipse. At maximum, 80 percent of the Sun’s disk will be covered (eclipsed) by our Moon, as seen from Northeastern Ohio. Maximum eclipse will be reached at 2:32 PM EDT in our area when the Sun will appear as a brilliant sliver high in the afternoon sky.

It is important to note: even during the maximum point of our partial eclipse it is NOT SAFE to look at the Sun without proper vision protection. According to a statement from NASA, “The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed Sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as ‘eclipse glasses’ or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even very dark ones, are not safe for looking at the sun.”

The eclipse glasses to be provided at the Hiram event are certified safe for viewing the sun. The telescopes we will use for solar observing use several different processes for safe viewing and will offer an interesting perspective on the eclipse event and our nearest star.

Click Here – Read more about the Hiram Eclipse Watch

Stephens Memorial Observatory of Hiram College will be open for public observing Saturday, July 22, from 9:30 to 11:00 PM. Featured that night will be Saturn, red supergiant star Antares, and the M4 Star Cluster in the constellation Scorpius. Other objects of interest may also be viewed.

The night’s observing depends upon clear skies and those have been in short supply this season! Cloudy skies at the starting time cancel the event and, in that case, the observatory will not open. No reservations are required and there is no admission fee for observatory public nights.

The Observatory is located on Wakefield Road (Rt. 82) less than a quarter of a mile west of Route 700 in Hiram. There is no parking at the Observatory. Visitors may park on permissible side streets near the Post Office, a short distance east of the observatory.

Photo: Storm over Portage County, Ohio, June 24, 2017 - by James Guilford

Storm over Portage County, Ohio, June 24, 2017 – by James Guilford


 
Saturday night’s Open Night presented “interesting” situations. Shortly after arriving at the observatory, we saw rain arrive and heard thunder. Rain stopped, then started again as another compact thunderstorm passed over the village of Hiram. To the north we could see clear sky just outside the borders of the storm. To the south, over Garrettsville and Manuta, we could spy towering cumulus clouds and radar revealed intense rainfall. All of this weather around 8:30 to 9:00 and even a bit later. But at the appointed hour of 9:30, the sky began to clear overhead and we opened the dome.

There, in the southern shy, was Jupiter shining brightly. Hope? Nope! Storm delays and perhaps a bit of spring growth allowed Jupiter to slip behind the upper branches and leaves of a neighboring tree! Visitors arrived and we looked at mushy images of Jupiter pulled through little gaps between tree leaves. Surprisingly, occasional glimpses were had of the giant planet’s distinctive cloud bands and blurry dots of light — the Galilean Moons — could be seen. Then nothing, as Jupiter arced deeper into the branches. We fished around for a while, looking at a couple of bright stars through the murky atmosphere to the south. Saturn was lost in other trees and the messy air.

The faint, fuzzy Ring Nebula would be impossible, no? No. The sky to the east-northeast, inhabited by Lyra and the Ring, was crisp and clear. We rotated the dome, swung the big scope into position, and quickly found Messier 57 – the Ring Nebula. Of the night’s 19 visitors, those who were able to wait out the passage of clouds and darkening of sky were rewarded with clear, bright views of the famous planetary nebula; the beautiful end to a strange and frustrating evening.