The Amateur Astronomers Association of New York hosts observing sessions, free and open to the public, one Friday night each month from April through October at Carl Schurz Park in Manhattan. Carl Schurz Park is located along East End Avenue at the end of East 86th Street. The park has a lovely view of a lot of sky above the East River, Roosevelt Island, Queens, and the Queensborough and Triborough bridges.
We meet on the park esplanade (John Finley Walk), overlooking the East River. The 86th Street entrance to the park is the closest to where we set up, though that entrance requires climbing stairs to reach the esplanade. One may enter the park at many other points, including 87th street, thereby avoiding the stairs.
We encourage anyone wishing to bring a telescope or binoculars to do so, but it is not required. You are more than welcome to look through ours.
Contact Bruce Kamiat, 212-923-7021, for more information about the Carl Schurz Park sessions.
Please note that solar observing now takes place on Tuesdays on the High Line and one Sunday each month from May through September at Pier i. Please use the vertical bar on the left side of this page for more details and for the many other AAA public observing sessions.
Contact Tom Haeberle for more information about the High Line solar-observing sessions.
These sessions are held on one Friday evening each month from
April through October
Starting time for all sessions during the academic year is at 8:30 p.m.,
so as not to conflict with the AAA lecture series held at the
American Museum of Natural History
Sessions will be canceled if weather forecasts give a high probability of cloudy skies.
Cancellations will be posted on this web page.
Cancellations may be posted as late as 4 p.m. on the day of the event,
so please check here to be sure the event is on before you come out.
The AAA board is extending the cancellation of all AAA observing events until further notice.
We’re continuing to follow guidelines of government and health officials
and will extend that date as needed.
See below for times of sunset
and starting times of these events.
All times on this schedule are Eastern Daylight Time.
April 3: Starting at 8:30 p.m. Canceled.
The Sun sets at 7:23 p.m.
The Moon is about three nights past first quarter, waxing gibbous, about 78% illuminated. It will not set until 4:50 a.m.
The only naked-eye planet in the evening sky is Venus. That blazing, bright object shines at magnitude -4.3, high in the evening sky—the highest it’s been for the past eight years. It will reach its greatest luminosity later this month, on the 28th, at -4.7 magnitude. Its greatest eastern elongation was on March 24th, at 46°, and it’s still 45.6° away from the Sun on the sky tonight. It may be possible to make out its crescent phase in the telescope (use a filter to cut the glare). Venus sets at 11:27 p.m. It will head down the sky, toward the Sun, over the following months, reaching inferior conjunction June 3. It’s now about 59 million miles away, and gaining on us. At its closest, it will be about 41 million miles from Earth.
In a rare event, Venus passes right through the Pleiades tonight. That should be a spectacular telescopic sight.
Jupiter, the next bright planet to appear in the sky, does not rise until 3:05 a.m. Saturn and Mars follow close behind.
Among the many other objects we may observe are the Orion Nebula, multiple star Castor, the Alpha Persei Association and the Double Cluster in Perseus, Mizar and Alcor in Ursa Major, open clusters M41 and M44, and globular star clusters M3 and M13 (late in the evening). Somewhat more challenging from the city are the Auriga clusters.
May 1: Starting at 8:30 p.m. Canceled.
The Sun sets at 7:52 p.m.
June 5: Starting at 8:30 p.m. Canceled.
The Sun sets at 8:24 p.m.
July 3: Starting at 8:30 p.m. Canceled.
The Sun sets at 8:30 p.m.
August 7: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 8:03 p.m.
September 4: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 7:22 p.m.
October 2: Starting at 8:30 p.m.
The Sun sets at 6:35 p.m.