Starlight Astronomy Club Web Site

[Key Personnel    Upcoming Events    External Links]

Application for Membership ] Bylaws of the Starlight Astronomy Club ] Information for New Observers ] Three Astronomy Books ] New and Full Moons in 2015 ] Primary Meteor Showers ] Monthly Sky Tour Podcast ] Sky & Telescope's Weekly News Bulletins ] Sky & Telescope's AstroAlert News Service ] Sky & Telescope's Online Archive ] Photo Archive ] Clark Thomas' Astronomy Links ]

Next Meeting:  Thursday, April 16, 7:00 PM,  Penn-Mont Academy, Hollidaysburg

undercon.gif 40 x 38This page is always under construction!

Welcome to the Starlight Astronomy Club web site, hosted by the Web Space Outlet in State College, Pa.


Comet Lovejoy, C/2014 Q2

Comet Lovejoy is past perihelion but didn't fade in magnitude as rapidly as expected as it moves further from the Sun and the Earth.  It's a VERY easy object for large binoculars if your skies are dark and clear and you know exactly where to look.  It remains around
magnitude 5.8 (as of March 21).  Comet Lovejoy is currently located high overhead in the early evening in the constellation Cassiopeia where it will remain throughout all of March.  By the end of April it will pass within 1 degree of the North Celestial Pole.

Q2 is a very long-period comet, and this is not its first time coming through the inner solar system.  On the way in, its path showed an orbital period of roughly 11,500 years, but perturbations by the planets during this apparition will alter the orbit so that it will next return in about 8,000 years.



Public Sky Watch

    April 17,
8:30 - 11:00 pm
Canoe Creek State Park
(Rain Date: Saturday).
This is the last public event for the year.


Updated for 2015: Plan your observing schedule around New and Full Moons

Download Sky & Telescope's monthly sky tour Podcast for your MP3 player


The address for the club's e-mail list-server is

The club runs a Yahoo! chat group at

Bill, one of our more active members, maintains a help page for the club.  It's address is


Celestial Almanac

Evening Events Morning Events

Mar 20  Earth at vernal equinox, 6:45 p.m. EDT, spring begins

Apr 17  Starlight Astronomy Club Sky Watch

May 6    Mercury at greatest eastern elongation
               (21 degrees from the Sun)
May 22  Saturn at opposition

Jun 6    Venus at greatest eastern elongation
               (45 degrees from the Sun)
Jun 21  Earth at summer solstice, 12:38 p.m. EDT, summer begins
            Longest day of the year
40 deg N (15 hrs, 01 min)
Jun 24  Latest twilight
Jun 27  Latest sunset

Jun 30  Jupiter 0.3 degrees northwest of Venus

Jun 14  Earliest sunrise
Jun 17  Earliest morning twilight
Jun 24  Mercury at greatest western elongation
               (22 degrees from the Sun)



The table of New and Full Moons now includes the approximate time of sunset for your planning purposes.



When was the last time you viewed an Iridium Flare?

The Iridium satellites provide voice and data communications for users around the globe.  Each is equipped with 3 door-sized aluminum antennae protected by a highly reflective layer of silver-coated Teflon. When sunlight reflects off of one of these antennae, we see what has come to be known as an Iridium flare.  Flares range in brightness from magnitude +1 (as bright as Antares or Deneb) to magnitude  8.4 (dozens of times brighter than Venus).  The brightest flares are even visible in daytime!
Planning to view one of these glints is very easy thanks to Chris Peat's excellent satellite-prediction website, Heavens-Above.  First, enter your location.  Then click the Iridium flares link under the Satellites menu.  You'll be directed to a page listing Iridium satellite passes for the coming week. The date and time, brightness, altitude, and direction are shown.  Click on the date link for an easy-to-use sky map showing the satellite's arc across the sky and the time and location of the flare.  You can also fine the location of the flare's center line where it will shine brightest.  Just scroll down below the sky map for a ground track map showing the location of the center line.



Wanted: A Little Common (Sky) Sense

When it comes to things astronomical, why do so many people with no knowledge of the sky try to figure things out for themselves and come to the wrong conclusions?   Read more


Starlight_Astronomy_Club.jpg 800x600
The Starlight Astronomy Club at their January 15, 2015 meeting.


Welcome to the Starlight Astronomy Club.  We are based in Altoona, Pennsylvania, with members active from the surrounding counties of south-central Pennsylvania.  You're welcome to join us and get involved as we continue to build the organization.  It's an exciting project.

Meetings are usually held monthly on the third Thursday of the month at Penn-Mont Academy in Hollidaysburg.  (See the schedule.)  Public sky watches are usually conducted on the third Friday of the month (the Friday evening after the club meeting) from April through October at Canoe Creek State Park.  (See the schedule.)  Cloud dates are the following Saturday evening.

Anyone with an  interest in astronomy is invited to become active in the Starlight Astronomy Club.  Even if you are just getting started in amateur astronomy or if your interest is only casual, you'll find that we're a group which is open to beginners.  (Our group has many members who are just getting started.)  Families are welcome!

One of the primary benefits of membership in the Starlight Astronomy Club is the opportunity for membership in the Astronomical League.  The League is designed to be an association of affiliated clubs.  Individual members enjoy the benefits of a quarterly newsletter, access to excellent instructional programs, observing clubs, and opportunities to participate in conferences, symposiums, and expeditions.

Below, you will find a schedule of upcoming events, and on the following pages you'll find our current bylaws, brief instructions for subscribing to our list server, and information on getting  started in amateur astronomy.  Your contribution to the dialog is greatly desired.  We want you to be involved in an organization that you can be proud of. 


Key Personnel:

Office Name E-Mail Address
President Tom Kasner
Vice-President Chris Detweiller
Secretary/Treasurer Diana Worley
   Harold Fultz


Upcoming Events:

Subscribe to and monitor the e-mail list server for any announcements of observing plans

Event Date Time Venue
Next Outdoor

April 17

8:30-11:00 p.m.

Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.


Next Meeting

April 16

7:00 p.m.

Penn-Mont Academy
Next Indoor



Future Meetings April 16

7:00 p.m.

Penn-Mont Academy
  May 21

7:00 p.m.

Penn-Mont Academy
  June 18

7:00 p.m.

Penn-Mont Academy
  July 16
August 20

7:00 p.m.

Penn-Mont Academy
  September 17
October 15

7:00 p.m.

Penn-Mont Academy
  November 19
December 17

7:00 p.m.

Penn-Mont Academy
Hollidaysburg             Club Christmas Party
Public Sky Watches

 April 17

8:30-11:00 p.m.

Location: Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.

 May 22*

8:30-11:00 p.m.

Location: Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.             *Note: 4th Friday of the month

 June 19

8:30-11:00 p.m.

Location: Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.
  July 17*

8:30-11:00 p.m.

Location: Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.                                *Club Picnic
  August 21

8:30-11:00 p.m.

Location: Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.
  September 18 7:00-11:00 p.m. Location: Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.
  October 16 6:00-9:00 p.m. Location: Canoe Creek State Park
Rain Date: Sat.


NOTICE: Due to numerous abuses, online applications are no longer being accepted!
To join, you may submit an application in person at the next meeting.
(If you insist, you may join online by paying the $100 Online Application Fee
per application submitted within the past year!)



External Links:

SKY Online
Astronomical League
Heavens Above
Intellicast National Radar Map
Orion Telescope & Binocular Center


Discover the cosmos!
Visit the Astronomy Picture of the Day web site.

Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.


Visit the Altoona Clear Sky Chart web site
configured for Altoona, PA


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Last Modified: Saturday, March 21, 2015 11:06 PM


Web Site created and occasionally maintained by Eric Hilbert

Last Revision: 03/21/15