Chagrin Valley Astronomical Society


Indian Hill Observatory
Calendar of Events 
The Log Book
Monthly Web Newsletter
Monthly Sky Calendar
We Observe - by A. Mallama

Updated February 16, 2008

In 1987, we started a log book at the observatory to record a history of building construction/updates, weather conditions, club events/conventions and objects observed. It's fun to look back at earlier years when many objects we looked at are relatively bright and well-known. Today, member telescopes of 20 and 22 inches are used to observe much fainter objects. Below is a synopsis of recent CVAS activities, including new highlights of observing sessions. We'll keep this list updated as events occur.

February 2008

  • February 16. We've had about 4 sunny days in northeast Ohio this winter and this was 1 of those days. The sky also stayed clear tonight for 8 telescopes and 12 public showing up at The Rookery for a frosty night of observing. The 1st quarter moon, Mars and Saturn were the highlights for the evening.

August 2007

  • August 3. About 60 people show up for a night at Mentor Headlands along with 5 CVAS members. . A brilliant meteor is the highlight of the evening.
  • August 8. Bob Modic held a daytime astronomy discussion for some school kids at Chapin Forest, a Lake County Metropark..
  • August 10. A very humid and dewey night at Girdled Road Reservation for 5 CVAS members and about 30 people. Jupiter and a few Perseid meteors are highlights of the evening.
  • August 11. 3 events this evening. A successful OTAA convention at the Mahoning club was attended by about 10 CVAS members. President Tom Quisenbery wins a 5 inch refractor in the raffle. 30 girl scouts attend a discussion and observing session at Indian Hill. About 20 people join 6 CVAS members at The Headwaters, a Geauga County Metropark, for a Moths and Meteors program. We observed 2 flyovers of the International Space Station. Jupiter, some deep sky objects and a few Perseid meteors.
  • August 18. Super Star Party at Penitentiary Glen. Over 400 people attended this evening, unfortunately with cloudy skies. Nevertheless, about 20 CVAS members brought telescopes to the Park. Events for the evening include a slide show by CVA S members Ron Baker, Larry Boros, Vickie Ford and Dan Galdun at the picnic shelter, another talk by a NASA Glenn speaker at the same location and presentations with the Star Lab Planetarium inside the auditorium.

June 2007

  • June 16. A successful OTAA convention at Indian Hill. Partly cloudy skies cleared up by nightfall. Aoubt 40 people attended to observe The Moon, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and many deep sky objects. Danny put Denny's refurbished and realuminized 12 inch on the pedastal for its first light views at Indian Hill. Dan reported the scope gives very sharp and pinpoint star images.
  • A double header. On June 8, we cancelled the Swine Creek star party because of afternoon thunderstorms and clouds. It cleared up at dark, so one CVAS member set up his scope at Swine Creek along with 6 visitors. The rescheduled event for June 9 was covered by 9 CVAS telescopes and 12 visitors. It was a very clear and cool night with no haze. We looked at Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and a bright Iridium flare at 10:39 PM. Various well known deep sky objects, galaxies, globular clusters and planetary nebula were observed. Russ Swaney treated the group to a view of La Superba, an unusual red carbon star in the constellation Canes Venatici and real time photography of some galaxies. Also, Dan Best, the park naturalist, set up a white sheet and light at the shelter to attract moths.

April 2007

  • April 21. Various CVAS members assist the Cleveland Museum of Natural History with Astronomy Day.

February 2007

  • February 16. Nine CVAS members along with 30 public observe at Geauga County's Rookery Park under clear and very cold skies.

September 2006

  • September 29. Marty, Steve Kainec, Steve Mordarski, Phil Sherman, Russ Swaney and electrician (Mark Pegritz), complete the electric installation, running the underground cable from the north shed to the observatory.
  • September 16. The Autumn chill starts to fill the air as we held a star party at Geauga County's Big Creek Park. 7 club members showed partly to mostly cloudy skies to 10 visitors. By 10 PM, everyone packed up and went home. Not a good night for observing.

August 2006

  • August 12. A perfect Cleveland weather day, mid-70's with low humidity led to a great night at the Penitentary Glen Super Star Party. About 500 people enjoyed very clear skies and mildly cool temperatures along with about 20 telescopes brought by CVAS. Jupiter was spotted at 8:40, then an Iridium flare at 8:54 as the sky darkened for deep sky observing. The highlight of the evening was a very bright Perseid meteor at 10:06 that lasted several seconds. A train (cloudlike pattern) lasted for about 1 minute. Moonrise came early that evening which blocked out all but the brightest meteors.

July 2006

  • July 15. A very warm night at Geauga County Beartown Lakes Park. About 10 club members and 12 people show up to observe Jupiter and many deep sky objects.
  • Morning of July 15. A contingent of CVAS members also with a professional electrician bury our electric line up to the shed in the parking lot. Pictures to follow in a few days.

June 2006

May 2006

  • May 5. A sunny day turns mostly cloudy by sunset. Yet, we still held a small star party at the Wickliffe Public Library. About 20 people showed up to view the Moon and Saturn.
  • May 21. 10 members and 10 public show up for this Saturday session at Big Creek. A humid evening.

April 2006

  • April 28. Finally had a clear night for a star party after getting clouded out the last few months. About 30 people showed up at Painesville City Park to observe Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, some double stars and Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3. We also saw an Iridium satellite and the International Space Station.

September 2005

  • September 23.  About 30 people showed up this Friday night at Beartown Lakes, a Geauga County Metropark. A bright Iridium flare was spotted about a 1/2 hour after sunset, then we observed Venus, several deep sky objects and double stars. Mars made an appearance around 10:30, but was too low to see much detail on the planet. Partly cloudy skies started out the evening, but it cleared up by the time the event was over.

August 2005

  • August 6.  Super Star party at Lake County's Penitentary Glen Park -  Over 600 people showed up to enjoy skies that cleared up right after sunser. We observed double stars, star clusters galaxies and an occassional meteor from the Perseid meteor shower. Jay Reynolds from 2 Iridium satellites and various stars, clusters and galaxies were observed. Other events included a NASA speaker, viewing the skies using the Starlab Planetarium, night hikes and rides on model trains.
  • August 26.  About 40 people showed up this hazy/partial cloudy Friday night at Swine Creek, a Geauga County Metropark. Jupiter and Venus were hidden by clouds in the western horizon, but we did observe some double stars, clusters and galaxies.

July 2005

  • July 8.  A star party at Mentor Headlands State Park. About 75 people show up to observe the Moon, Jupiter, Venus Mercury, double stars and some deep sky objects. Click here for pictures.
  • July 29.  Another star party at Mentor Headlands. About 50 people show up to observe Jupiter, Venus and some deep sky objects.

June 2005

May 2005

  • May 21.  Work session to prepare a site for the new shed. Click on the link to see the pictures and some movies.

April 2005

February 2005

  • February 12.  About 70 people showed up this clear Saturday night at The Rookery, a Geauga County Metropark, to view the Moon, Saturn and various deep-sky objects. Not a bad night, about 25 degrees Fahrenheit, no wind, but high humdity that made the evening a bit cold. We also saw Comet Machholz.

August 2004

  • August 22.  About 80 people showed up this clear Sunday night at Case Western Reserve Univertiy's Nassau observatory for a public star party

  • August 14.  Star party at Lake County's Penitentary Glen Park -  About 400 people showed up to enjoy skies that eventually cleared around 10:30. 2 Iridium satellites and various stars, clusters and galaxies were observed. Other events included a NASA speaker, viewing the skies using the Starlab Planetarium, night hikes and rides on model trains.  

July 2004

  • July 9. Another star party at Mentor Headlands State Park. About 50 people show up this time to observe Jupiter, double stars and some deep sky objects.

June 2004

  • June 19.  OTAA convention at Indian Hill. About 50 people show up. 4 CVAS members also help out at Nassau Observatory where the Geauga Park District is hosting a special open house for donors to the Park District.
  • June 25 .  Star party at Mentor Headlands State Park. About 20 people show up to observe Jupiter, the moon, a bright Iridium satellite and some deep sky objects.

April 2004

  • April 23.  About 20 people show up at the Wickliffe Library to observe the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.  

January-February 2004

  • CVAS members Larry Boros, Steve Fishman and Dan Galdun mentor 3 Mayfield Middle School students for the February 29 Science Olympiad.  Our students came in 2nd place.

August 2003

  • August 27 and 28.  Over 350 people show up on both nights to observe Mars.   This is the largest turnout we've had at the Hill.
  • August 9.  Star party at Lake County's Penitentary Glen park - totally clouded out this year.  About 500-600 people showed up to participate in other events,  such as a NASA speaker, viewing the skies using the Starlab Planetarium, night hikes and rides on model trains.  

July 2003

  • July 9 to end of month.  Larry and Steve make a road trip Cumberland maryland to pick up our new Home Dome.  Later this month, various CVAS members, led by foreman Marty Neimi construct the building.  Story and photos are at  

June 2003

  • June 28.   OTAA convention at Indian Hill Observatory.  The joy of this 40th anniversary of CVAS's founding and 25th year at the observatory were subdued by the passing of long-time member Denny Jefferson.  50 CVAS members friends and neighbors assembled at Indian Hill this evening to pay tribute to his memory.   Thank you Denny for being a mentor to many amateur astronomers in the Chagrin Valley.

  • June 20.   About 50 people attend a partial cloudy night at Nassau Observatory.

May 2003

  • May 15.  A long winter and cloudy wet cloudy spring kept CVAS indoors and with no public programs.  That bad luck also hit this evening as we had planned a lunar eclipse observing session at The Rookery, Geauga Park District location.   Potentially partly to mostly cloudy skies turned to heavy rain  an hour before the eclipse started.  Nevertheless, a couple of hopeful CVAS members and a park ranger showed up.  The evening wasn't a total washout as the rain helped in efforts to collect various species of frogs.

September 2002

  • September 28.  About 70 public and 10 CVAS members attended the 4th and final Nassau Station astronomy program for 2002.  Sky conditions were mostly clear and the crowd was treated to an Iridium flare and a pass of the International Space Station with a Progress supply ship trailing the station by 10 degrees, as well as many fine views of various deep sky objects. 

  • September 7.  After a quick business meeting and the induction of new members, an aurora kicked up for about 20 minutes starting around 9:15 PM local time.   Check the September 7, 2002 Aurora link to the left for a few photos.  Very nice night for observing, no bugs and t-shirt weather.

August 2002 

    August 17.  Thank you Hiram Scout Group 751 for a wonderful star party near Hiram, Ohio.  About 40 scouts and a few parents from the group joined CVAS to view the Moon, Venus, bright clusters and the close flyby of an asteroid.   Much thanks to Joe Petrick for bringing his AstroVid camera and monitor for viewing these objects.  It looked like the evening was going to be clouded out.  Clear skies at 8 PM, quickly clouded over, then cleared out by 9:30.   Here's a few pictures from the event.   Click on this link for pictures of our star party.

    August 10.  A very successful night at Lake County's Penitentary Glen Park.  Over 800 people showed up on a slighty hazy, but pretty clear night.   Indoor activities included Don Himes gaving a talk on "Astronomy 101" and the Cleveland NASA Glenn's Aerobus showed various videos of past shuttle missions.    Observing highlights included the Moon, Venus, the usual double stars, bright clusters and various satellite passes including the International Space Station and 2 bright Iridium satellites.  It was 2 days before maximum of the Perseid, and we saw a few bright ones. 

June 2002 

    June 19.  4 CVAS members present a program at Camp Cheerful in Strongsville.

    June 8. The annual CVAS/OTAA convention was held at IHO on Saturday, June 8, 2002.  About 35 - 40 people from four OTAA clubs attended.  A pot-luck picnic was held during the afternoon, followed by a demonstration of the newly rebuilt GOTO drive system on the CVAS 16" scope.  After dusk, observing began through light cirrus.  Venus & Jupiter, an Iridium flare, the ISS & Shuttle (docked together), Comet Ikeya-Zhang and various deep sky objects were observed. Observing continued until 3am, when thicker clouds rolled in.

May 2002 

    May 28/30  An astronomy program for some local students was held on May 28 & 30 at Holden Arboretum.  In addition to a Starlab planetarium and some astronomy related crafts, CVAS members Gus Saikaly and Bob Modic demonstrated how telescopes work using their 8" reflectors.  A total of about 45 students and parents attended these programs. 

    May 10.  Very nice night at Nassua Station, home of Case Western Reserve University's observatory.   The event was hosted by the college and the Geauge Park District.   Over 90 people showed for a very clear night.   Venus and Mars were at their closest approach this evening.   Comet Ikeya-Zhang was easily observed in binoculars and an Iridium satellite made an appearance shining as bright as Jupiter.

April 2002 

    April 20.  Astronomy Day, hosted at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  CVAS and the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association set up exhibits for the hundreds of people that visited the museum today.

    April 19.  A very nice April night at Punderson State Park.  About 20 people from the Newbury area showed up to look at Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and the Moon. 

February 2002 

    February 15.  65 people showed up at the Rookery, a Geauga County Metropark, for a slide show and brief glimpses of Jupiter and Saturn through 2 telescopes. 

December 2001

    December 1, 2001. Annual CVAS Christmas party at Steve Kainec's house. Video of Lick Observatory and a slide show of the Indian Hill construction.

November 2001 

    November 23. Star party for a couple of kids and their teacher from St. Mary's school in Painesville. Unusually warm weather and clear skies provided a couple hours of good observing. Most notable part of the evening is Marty's upgrade of the telescopes drive system. It is now setup as a Goto telescope. While some kinks need to be worked out, this is another significant upgrade for our observatory. Morning of November 18. About 20 members and public show up in the early morning to observe the Leonid meteor shower. An "awesome" event as described by all who attended. Even more awesome for Northeast Ohio as November is one of our cloudier months. It was also clear for the November 5 aurora, which was an unscheduled event, but was also observed by many members.

    November 3, 10 and 17. Work sessions to clear out the woods and expand the parking lot.

September 2001 

    September 22. 60 guests and 15 members show up for a very clear night of observing at Nassau observatory. 

    September 1. I guess you can call it an informal dedication of the expanded parking lot. 1 year after starting the project, we were able to park a few vehicles in the new parking area for the September business meeting. About 20 members showed up on every nice evening. Too bad the full moon was out. An Astrovid and monitor were used to observe M13 and a couple other objects. We also saw a couple of bright Iridium satellites before calling it an early evening.

August 2001 

    August 24. 77 people attend a hazy night at Nassau Observatory. The first quarter moon, mars and a few deep sky objects are observed.  August 14. Major work session at Indian Hill. We hired an excavator to pull out the stumps, grade the land and lay new culvert pipes in the new parking lot. 40 tons of gravel have also been spread on the site. Our parking lot is now 50% larger.  Thanks to the many members who contributed their time over the last year and a half by surveying, chopping trees and burning brush.  August 11.  Super Star Party at Penitentiary Glen. Ah, Northeast Ohio. It was a very nice mostly clear day, which bode well for a good turnout for the evening. At least 900 people turned up to ride the model trains, do night hikes, listen to a NASA Glenn speaker talk about the International Space Station and various other arts/crafts activities. The Park District also presented a plaque to CVAS officers in thanks for 20 years of assisting the park in providing this public service. According to Park personnel, astronomy nights at the park draw the largest crowds. All went well, except that the clouds rolled in at sunset. The clouds could not dampen the spirits of all who attended including many nonmembers who brought their own scopes. The evening was a success. Many thanks to club member Joe Petrick who brought his outstanding CCD photographs of planets and deep-sky objects. They were placed right at the entrance to the park building where all 900 attendees could at least observe many favorite objects, if not through a telescope that evening. Thanks also goes to club member Jim Szorady who raffled off his Sky Window, a combination mirror, binocular and tripod that takes the pain out of using binoculars for astronomical observing. And, congratulations to club member Steve Kainec for winning it. 

    August 4. The monthly meeting was preceded by the last burning of the brush. We are now ready for the bulldozer to pull out the tree stumps, level the parking lot and gravel it over. After the meeting, we observed Mars with the 16 inch and saw a pass of the International Space Station and a couple of Iridium satellites. A full moon prevented any deep sky observing, so we called it an early night.

July 2001 

    July 21. The dedication of the Cuyahoga Astronomical Association's observatory is attended by 70 people at their Letha House site in Medina County.  July 13.  Jack Smith, Gus Saikaly and Ian Cooper host a daytime solar observing session at Burton's Geauga County Fairgrounds for some Boy Scouts.  July 7. The monthly meeting was preceded by another burning of the brush, a 15 minute downpour and a pretty nice double rainbow. 

    A major concern is the disappearance of the toilet seat. A replacement will be acquired very soon.   

June 2001 

    June 23. 40 people from various northeast Ohio clubs attend the OTAA convention at Indian Hill. It was a dewy night, but observing was accomplished before the rain hit at 3 AM. John Gorka was awarded the George Deidrich award for his light pollution efforts in northeast Ohio. John was key in convincing Chester Township in enacting a lighting ordinance. Since its passage, most street lighting in Chester has been converted to full cut-off. John has also approached other northeast Ohio cities, townships and villages with similar lighting proposals.

    June 16. About 100 people attend a very good night at Nassau Observatory. 

May 2001 

    May 19. About 100 people attend a very good night at Nassau Observatory. A couple of Iridium flares were observed between 11:18 and 11:28.

    May 12. Observing session at Indian Hill with 15 students from an Ashtabula city school. 

    May 5. CVAS Meeting and observing with 10 children from the local community. 

April 2001 

    April 29. Work session at Indian Hill. The September 2000 trees that we cut down were cut into firewood today. A debate followed on how we'll prepare the land with parking, driveway and access to the top of the hill.  April 28. Private star party at Indian Hill for 20 home schoolers in the Huntsburg area. Pretty clear night. 

    April 21. It was cloudy for most of the evening at the Penitentiary Glen star party. But, it cleared up enough to view the International Space Station flyby and do some deep-sky observing About 150 people showed up to observe with us, listen to a NASA speaker from the local Glenn Research Center and get unobstructed views in the inflatable planetarium. 

March 2001 

    March 24. At our April 1 meeting, one member reported that it was clear at Indian Hill for the Messier Marathon. But, it was cloudy closer to Cleveland where most members lived, so no one went out to observe at the Hill. 

February 2001 

    February 16-17. Curses, foiled again!!!!. Clouded out for the Rookery star party. Almost had a shot at Saturday as it was partly cloudy during the day. 

December 2000 

    December 9. The annual Christmas party was held at Steve Kainec's house.

November 2000 

    November 20. There was a light turnout at the Chagrin Falls Library as a result of cold, light snow and clouds. President Bob Modic gave a slide show of solar system and galactic objects. 

    November 5. A milestone in CVAS history. We have received our tax-exempt status from the IRS. 

October 2000 

    2 Weekends in October 2000. Various CVAS members start clearing the land to prepare the new parking lot and observing field.  October 27. A pretty good night of aurora observing. We expected to spend most of the time with deep-sky and planetary observing. However, the northern lights started about 8:30 PM local time and lasted past midnight. Nice pink/red color and many spikes and curtains rising halfway up the northern horizon.  October 20. Over 140 people attend a great evening of observing at Ridgeview Farm in Middlefield.  October 20. 20 home schoolers attend a great evening of observing at our Indian Hill Observatory. 

    October 7. Our last Saturday night monthly meeting at Indian Hill for this year and what a night; rain, sleet, snow, thunder and lightening. But no stars. Regardless, 50 parents and children from an Ashtabula school came out tonight to see the observatory. 

September 2000 

    September 29. A very pleasant and cool evening at Nassau observatory. About 70 people showed up under very clear skies to observe the late summer/early fall objects. This evening made up for the prior rainy weekend. 

August 2000 

    August 19. Another good night of observing at Nassau Observatory with 70 visitors. After a mostly cloudy day, the clouds finally cleared out by dark. The International Space Station, various other satellites and a few meteors were observed. 

    August 12. Over 600 people show up at Penitentiary Glen for the Park's Summer Star Party. While a nearly full moon drowns out the fainter deep sky objects, the public is treated to excellent views of the moon (via Don Hime's video setup), double stars and bright clusters. Several Perseid meteors and satellites are also observed. A few CVAS members also report seeing the excellent
    aurora display around 4 A.M. local time on the 12th.

    August 11.  Over 30 people show up for a "moths and meteors" star party hosted by 4 CVAS members at the Geauga County Swine Creek Park. 

    August 5. After the monthly business meeting, CVAS opens the observatory to an invitation only event for our Huntsburg neighbors. About 10 families showed up to view the moon and few stars through mostly cloudy skies. 

July 2000 

    July 22. Bob Modic, Steve Fishman, John Soltis and Florida visitor Paul Alexendar view Comet Linear at Indian Hill Observatory.

June 2000 

    June 3, 2000. OTAA convention at CVAS's Indian Hill Observatory. The day looked pretty bleak, but the mostly cloudy skies cleared at dusk. John Gorka and Larry Boros are recognized with the CVAS backbone award for their efforts in the light pollution battle. Several communities in northeast Ohio have passed lighting ordinances as a result of their persistent lobbying and public education.

    About 50 CVAS and other OTAA club members showed up for the convention with a myriad of scopes; refractors, Dobsonians (up to 20 inches), various computerized Meade and Celestrons and a new generation of binocular stand. Mercury put on an excellent display as it hung a few degrees above a slim crescent moon in the colorful evening dusk sky. On the other end of the solar system, using our 16 inch scope's computerized drive, we easily found and observed Pluto. Using one CVAS member's I-3 image-intensifying eyepiece, we were able to observe excellent detail in the Cat's-Eye Nebula, NGC 6543, a highlight for the evening. Various satellites, including some tumbling ones that varied in brightness were also observed. The evening cooled considerably as a mild dew covered the telescopes in observing field.

May 2000 

    May 5.  50 people join CVAS members, the Geauga Park District and Case Western University for a star party at the Nassau Observatory in Montville Township. Skies are mostly clear, but hazy on this very warm evening. Highlight observations of the evening include 2 Iridium satellites, the MIR space station and various double stars and deep-sky objects. This is also the day where 5 major planets are aligned in the evening sky. The world survives this event.

    The following evening, we hold the first summer meeting at Indian Hill Observatory.

April 2000 

    April 15.  Another successful night for observing at Lake County's Penitentiary Glen as partly cloudy skies eventually cleared. 250 people showed up to observe through 15 scopes brought by club members. The nearly full moon lit up the landscape, preventing views of faint galaxies, clusters and nebula. But, we observed the many lunar craters and seas, Mars, Saturn and double stars. The International Space Station and and an Iridium satellite also made impressive passes. Indoors, a NASA speaker, an inflatable planetarium worked by member Jack Smith and an astrophotography exhibit by Don Himes rounded out the evening.

March 2000 

    March 31. About 20 members and guests show up on a mostly clear night for a Messier Marathon.

    Weekends during March 2000. Led by Larry Boros, the land surrounding Indian Hill is surveyed and staked out. After 22 years of leasing the property from the landowner, we are preparing to purchase 2 acres to insure a permanent observatory and home for CVAS. Future plans include moving the driveway to a new location, clearing land for additional observing space and running a separate power line to the observatory.

October 1999 

    October 30.  28 people from the Sam Wharram Nature Club are treated to a slide show by President Bob Modic, then 2 hours of observing at the Ashtabula campus of Kent State University. Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and various clusters are observed on a warm and clear evening. October 7  Don and Marty experiment again with a borrowed Astrovid camera. Don's note that evening are; "As plugged into a 9 inch TV/VCR combo, the Adirondak Video product displayed remarkable images of Jupiter, Saturn and faint stars through the 16 inch plus 2 inch Barlow. Through bouncy seeing and sometimes brisk wind, Jupiter was fascinating! The black and white camera's forte' is CONTRAST as set by juggling the gain and shutter speed. The great red spot was magnificent, and plenty of structure in the belts revealed. Cassini's division in Saturn's rings was obvious at the extensions. The shadow of the planet on the rings was seen, as were the dark southern polar region. Marty and I watched as the generally good seeing waved in and out. Efforts to grab frames were not successful at this moment."

    October 2  Don, Steve, Bob and Dan display astrophotos and telescopes at the Huntsburg Pumpkin Festival (a daytime event), which is a couple of miles from Indian Hill Observatory. The Sun, Venus and the moon are observed with an 8 inch Celestron. Venus is also sighted with the naked eye in fairly clear skies.

    Later that evening, the October meeting is held at Indian Hill. Don and Marty experiment with another member's Astrovid camera attached to the 16 and 8 inch scopes. Unfortunately, cloudy skies prevent any deep sky observing. Stay tuned for more on this front as real-time video and frame grabs are in our future. 

September 1999 

    September 17.  Another clear night for our final program at Nassau Observatory. Over 100 guests attend to observe the moon, Mars and a few of the brighter deep-sky objects. Another spectacular view of an Iridium satellite is observed at 8:51.

    100+ screaming kids and their parents from Gilmour Academy are shown similar objects at Lake Metroparks Farm Park. The same Iridium satellite is also seen at this site, but being 20 miles to the west of Nassau Observatory, the satellite is not as brilliant. 

    September 4.  The roof is finally completed. Many thanks to members who contributed to the effort, suffering through 90+ degree weekends. Dan, Ian and Marty finished the job this day to prepared for the evening meeting. Partly clear skies eventually clouded over by 10:30. An Iridium satellite was spotted. 

August 1999 

    August 14.  About 75 people show up at Penitentiary Glen. A full day of rain and clouds leads to partially clear skies by 10 P.M. Once again, the SL-16 rocket booster is observed. August 7.  Another work session at Indian Hill Observatory to do more work on the roof. The roll roofing was finished and the flashing was partially done.

    August 6.  Another good night of observing at Nassau Observatory. Over 90 people showed up shortly after the clouds cleared. As with the July 10 event, 2 more Iridium satellites are spotted, with the first obtaining at least a -8 magnitude. This is over 20 time brighter than Venus. We also spotted a tumbling rocket booster, named SL-16, that ranged from just above naked eye visibility to about 3rd magnitude. 

July 1999 

    July 24-25.  Work session to replace the roof on the observatory's' warm-up room The old roof was torn off, plywood was installed and felt was laid on the plywood. Roll roofing and flashing to be purchased and installed in a later work session.

    July 10.  Excellent night of observing at Nassau Observatory. Over 110 people showed up, many with personal telescopes to receive instructions on how to set up and find objects. The evening was highlighted to 2 sightings of Iridium communication satellites. Sponsored by the Geauga Park District and Case Western University. More information about Case's Robotic Observatory can be found at The Robotic Telescope Site

June 1999 

    June 19.  10 people show up for a public night at the observatory. Held in conjunction with Lake Metroparks.

    June 12.  OTAA convention at Indian Hill Observatory. Marti Niemi is presented with the CVAS backbone award for his outstanding contributions of upgrading the 16 inch telescope with computer controlled software

May 1999 

    May 1  First 1999 summer meeting at the observatory topped off by another clear low humidity evening, the 6th in a row. While a full moon blots out most deep sky objects, we observe the moon, Venus, Mars and a few artificial satellites. Several visitors also attend the meeting.

    May 21  50 people join CVAS members, the Geauga Park District and Case Western University for a star party at the Nassau Observatory in Montville Township. Skies are partly cloudy. Don Himes makes a valiant attempt to photograph the lunar occultation of Regulus but is foiled by clouds 2 minutes before the event.

April 1999 

    April 24  A successful night for observing at Lake County's Penitentiary Glen. 245 people showed up to observe through 14 scopes brought by club members. Aside from the obvious objects; Mars, Venus and the moon, someone showed up with artificial satellite predictions. The space station and several others were pointed out to the crowd. A NASA speaker and an inflatable planetarium rounded out the evening.

    April 18  It's spring clean up time. Several members showed up to sweep out the observatory, continue demolition of an obsolete concrete pier, tune up the telescope electronics and clean up the grounds.

October 1998 

    October 10.  Fall Star Party at Penitentiary Glen.  150 people showed up to mostly clear skies for views of Jupiter, Saturn double stars and other bright objects.  Guest speakers included a representative from NASA Lewis Research Center and Sky Publishing cartoonist Jay Ryan.

September 1998 

    September 26.  CVAS hosts an observing session at Nassau observatory in conjunction with the Geauga Park District and Case Western Reserve University. Warm and slightly hazy evening is enjoyed by 80 visitors. A favorable MIR pass, Jupiter, Saturn and various deep sky objects are observed. September 19.  CVAS acquires an 8 inch Schmidt Newtonian telescope at the Hidden Hollow convention. Well mount the scope to our 16 inch for observing and photography.

    September 12.  Dan and Steve paint the observatory. Much more work needs to be done to fix the roof and gutters.

August 1998 

    August 22.  Summer star party at Penitentiary Glen is mostly clouded out.

July 1998 

    July 17.  Public observing session at Nassau Observatory in Montville Township

June 1998 

    June 20.  OTAA Convention at Indian Hill Observatory. Mostly clear night is topped off by an Iridium satellite sighting. This is the 35th anniversary of CVAS and the 20th year that we've used the Indian Hill site.

May 1998 

    May 2. CVAS breaks with a 35 year tradition and holds its first Saturday night meeting at the observatory. Saturday meetings to continue through October. Mostly cloudy night, but the moon was observed for a half hour.  

March 1998 

    March 27. A dozen boy scouts camp out at the observatory site and are given a tour of the building. Very warm night (60+ degrees Fahrenheit) for March. We observed double stars with the 16 inch scope.  

January-February, 1998 

    No activity. What can I say, it's Northeast Ohio and perpetual cloudiness.  

December 1997 

    December 16. I normally don't document general observing, but when we have a clear December night in Northeast Ohio, it's to be celebrated. Andy, Lester and Steve spend a couple of hours at Russell Park. Saturn looked pretty good with 4 moons visible. There is some excellent Saturn moon software from Dan Bruton of Texas A&M University that shows moon locations for Saturn. There is also Jupiter moon location software and links to other astronomy software.

    December 13. Annual CVAS Christmas Party at Outback Steakhouse. Clouded out.

October 1997 

    October 25. Fall Lunacy at Penitentiary Glen. Typical northeast Ohio weather. I left my house, located in southeast Cuyahoga county, under totally overcast skies. It's partly to mostly cloudy at the park, which is located about 5 miles south of Lake Erie. Looks like the lake helped clear us out for awhile. Only 30 people showed up, because of the Cleveland Indians being in the World Series. Nevertheless, another successful event thanks to a NASA Lewis Research speaker and clear skies.  

September 1997 

    Beautiful September 18 night at the Middlefield library. Bob and Dan entertain about 40 people. 

    September 25. Another successful night at Nassau Observatory. 80 people show up to view through Case's 36 inch reflector and several club telescopes.   

August 1997 

    It's been a slow month for CVAS. Don and Kim Himes traveled to the Stellafane Telescope making convention in Springfield Vermont with both daughters in tow. The Stellafane group offers a prize for the family who brings the youngest attendee. Five years ago, Don and Kim brought their 4 month old Diana Mariah, who lost by 2 months. This year, their 5 month old daughter Rayna Ann is also bested by a younger attendee. The following week, Don reports tremendous observations of Jupiter back home in Chagrin Falls. 

    The Perseid meteor shower is clouded out (typical northeast Ohio weather).

July 1997 

    July 18. In conjunction with Lake County Metroparks, 20 guests visit Indian Hill Observatory. Mercury and Venus are spotted before clouds slowly take cover the sky. An immature bald eagle was spotted before sunset.

June 1997 

    June 28. Convention at Indian Hill. Don Himes presents excellent pictures of Hale-Bopp in his "How Not to Photograph a Comet" talk. Keynote speaker Bob Modic is rescued from the Chardon McDonalds after his brakes lock. He arrives just in time to deliver his presentation about building his 20 inch Dobsonian telescope. One of the highlights of the evening is observing the sky with an image intensifier. This device, brought by a CVAS member, brightens objects by 20,000 times. Unfortunately, it also highlights the partly cloudy conditions that affected our observing for most of the night.

    June 6. Public observing session at Indian Hill Observatory. In conjunction with Lake County Metropark. Andy, Earl, Mark Pete and Steve show the observatory to 20 visitors. Mostly cloudy skies limit viewing to Mars and a few bright stars.

May 1997 

    May 30. Open house at Nassau Observatory in conjunction with Geauga Park District and Case Western Reserve University washed out. (Sigh).

April 1997 

    April 2. Bob Modic helps out at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Over 700 people observe Hale-Bopp in mostly clear skies. April 5. CVAS hosts a Hale-Bopp observing night at the Lake Farmpark. It's mostly cloudy, but we did glimpse the comet and Mars. Even with the poor weather prospects, about 500 people showed up. Don Himes gave a Hale-Bopp slide presentation, Farmpark naturalists used the inflatable Starlab planetarium for 15 minute presentations while several member scopes were set up to observe through broken clouds.  April 6. Another public presentation at Geauga County's Swine Creek Park for 50 people. Heavy winds bring in brief rain but the comet is successfully observed for several minutes.  April 19. CVAS members Andy, Bob and Steve assist the Cleveland Museum of Natural History in showing Hale-Bopp to 400 people. While the Museum, located about 4 miles east of downtown Cleveland, is moderately affected by the glow from street lights, the comet looks pretty good with binoculars. 

    April 25. A refreshing and comfortable night at Indian Hill Observatory. The object of the evening in Andy's 22 inch scope are the 16th magnitude twin Quasars Q0957+561 in Ursa Major. A large foreground galaxy is bending the light from this far distant object into 2 separate images. Not much detail was seen, but the challenge of finding it was worth the effort. Additional information about this object and the "lensing effect" can be found on Page 433 of the October 1991 issue of Sky and Telescope.  

March 1997 - Mostly Hale Bopp Activity 

    March 9. In response to threatening skies, Andy and Mark repeat their February 9 performance to observe Hale-Bopp. This time, it's a 120 mile run south to Salt Fork State Park. Fortunately for the rest of us, skies cleared about 2 A.M. and several CVAS members scattered to various dark-sky sites in the countryside east of Cleveland. March 26. Program for 150 students and parents at the Orange and Pepper Pike schools. Hale-Bopp and Mars are observed. The portable/inflatable Starlab is used to show constellations to the kids. The Museum of Natural History, with a 9 inch Refractor, was also open to the public. Earl shows up to help with the over 400 public that attended. Late March. OUT DARN CLOUDS, OUT. Foiled by persistent cloud cover, several members decide on desperate action to observe and photograph the comet. We've had a couple of clear mornings and evenings, however, several evening attempts were clouded out early. In response, hard core members run away from home: Dan and Steve take the cheap route by driving 480 miles from Cleveland to Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in north central Tennessee. Hale-Bopp is observed the first evening through thick haze, which turns into strong rains after 1 hour. The second and third days bring them excellent weather and observing conditions. See our Hale-Bopp page for examples of photos taken during the trip. We leave just as hunters storm in for turkey hunting season. 

    Mark, Andy and Denny take the more expensive alternative by flying to New Mexico. They spent their days traveling to famous natural and astronomical sites and observed the comet at night. Three of Mark's pictures are now on-line at our Hale-Bopp page. All travelers observed the zodiacal light. 

February 1997 

    February 9. Desperate for clear skies, CVAS members Andrew Winzer and Mark Pogany drove 120 miles west from Cleveland to escape persistent clouds enshrouding Northeastern Ohio. Comet Hale Bopp was observed from the Kane Observatory, a private site run by the Northwestern Ohio Visual Astronomers near Grand Rapids, Ohio. The comet was seen at 9:15 UT sporting a naked eye tail two degrees long and a brilliant coma. Views through Andy's 22" f/4.5 showed intense activity near an egg shaped nuclear region. Four jets spouted off the nucleus and streamed backwards toward the tail. An obvious shadow was seen behind the brightest central portion of the comet's center. Mark took several photos with his home grown barn door drive before rapidly advancing clouds overtook the sky. Many thanks to N.W. Ohio Visual Astronomers members Will and Frank for hosting us.

    February 20. Congratulations to Don and Kim Himes for the newest addition to their family and our membership. Rayna Ann joins the family along with her older sister Diana Mariah. Don and Kim observe comet Hale-Bopp during their drive to the hospital that morning. Another star baby is born.

January 1997 

    Week of January 13. Northeast Ohio weather is notoriously cloudy from November through February. Early in the week, clear evening weather raised our hopes for viewing Comet Hale-Bopp. Lake effect clouds ended up rolling in and spoiled most viewing. Bob and Steve glimpse the comet on a couple of mornings under marginal conditions.

    Sunday, January 19. Six members (Andy, Bob, Dan, Lester, Mark and Steve) make a run out to LaDue Reservoir as the temperature drops to -12 degrees Fahrenheit. Best view of the comet from Cleveland since it's reappeared in the morning sky. The comet was oblong is shape, had a bright central nucleus and at least a 1 degree fan shaped tail running to the northwest.

    Don observed the comet from his Chagrin Falls house reporting that the comet was distinctly visible with direct vision to the naked eye for the first time. 

    Thursday January 30, 1997 Harmon Middle School in Aurora, Ohio. Science Fair for the Elementary and Middle school students. Kim, Don and Steve kept the kids entertained inside while Lester showed off his 18 inch Dobsonian to passersby under cloudy skies.

Special Photos:
October 30, 2003 Aurora