ShareThis Page

Jupiter and its moons will highlight Washington Township stargazing event

Emily Balser
| Sunday, April 9, 2017, 11:00 p.m.
Terry Trees of New Kensington is pictured with his telescope in his backyard. Monday, April 3, 2017.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Terry Trees of New Kensington is pictured with his telescope in his backyard. Monday, April 3, 2017.
Terry Trees of New Kensington is pictured reflecting inside his telescope in his backyard. Monday, April 3, 2017.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
Terry Trees of New Kensington is pictured reflecting inside his telescope in his backyard. Monday, April 3, 2017.

Alle-Kiski residents will have a chance to get an up-close look at Jupiter this month during a stargazing event at Kunkle Park in Washington Township.

Weather permitting, adults and children will have a chance to see Jupiter's rings and four of its moons during the free event on Saturday, April 22 held by the Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh.

"We don't really see its surface," said Terry Trees, member of the association who helps plan the viewings. "We see the tops of its clouds — that's what these belts and bands are."

The viewing party is the first of four to be held over the next several months.

Trees said the group has been holding stargazing parties at the park for about 10 years. The event starts around dusk and lasts for several hours.

"We'll stay there as long as the public stays," Trees said.

Members will set up their telescopes and guests can look through each one.

"People can just drift from one telescope to the other," Trees said. "The owners of the scopes will tell you about what you're looking at."

Trees said Kunkle Park is an ideal place to hold a stargazing event because it's relatively dark. Too much light from things like streetlights or businesses can cause what's called "light pollution" and make it hard to see the stars and planets.

"It's useless light," he said.

The Amateur Astronomers Association of Pittsburgh has been around since the 1920s and has about 300 members. The group holds meetings from September through May. The public can attend any meetings to listen to speakers the group brings in.

The association also runs two astronomical observatories — Nicholas E. Wagman Observatory in Allegheny County and Mingo Creek Park Observatory in Washington County — where people can attend events and viewing parties.

Trees said he also works with the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh to help educate people on astronomy at events throughout the year.

Eclipse coming this summer

Trees said residents will have a chance to see a rare event this summer during a total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

The degree to which people will see the eclipse depends on their location. Trees said people in the Pittsburgh area will get to see it about 80 percent eclipsed.

He hopes to travel to Wyoming, which is in the path of seeing the total eclipse.

"The total eclipse of the sun means that the moon will pass exactly in front of it," he said.

"It's a very unique experience."

He said the association will likely open its observatories for the event.

Emily Balser is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680 or emilybalser@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.