Ohio Northern’s Astronomy Club has been around since 2002 with Professor of Physics and Astronomy Dr. Jason Pinkey as the head organizer for the club. The club’s mission is to learn about the sky, share it with others in the Ada community and experience the final frontier firsthand. ONU’s observatory is where most of the meetings take place if the sky is clear.
The observatory is not only used by the students for academic purposes but also just for general curiosity. Astronomy Club Member Nash White stated “there are things out there that we just simply don’t understand or explain with our current sciences. I think that’s cool and scary.” For a person that doesn’t know anything about Astronomy and hasn’t seen outside earth’s atmosphere besides on the internet, looking through a tool with that much power is exciting. You can finally see it and believe it. There are many things you can see through a telescope such as meteor showers, nebulas, comets and constellations.
Many people may confuse Astronomy with Astrology but there is a big difference between the two. Astronomy is the study of celestial objects, space and the universe. It is considered to be a natural science. Astrology is the study of movement and position of celestial objects and the effect it has on humans and the events that occur on earth.
According to Dr. Jason Pinkney, he uses planetarium programs such as Stellarium and Cartes du Ciel to help show the club members what objects are above the horizon and where to point the telescope. Online celestial calendars are also used to help tell what you may see on a given day and in a certain area.
A special Comet by the name Leonard didn’t show the night of the Deep Sky’s Comet event, it soared through the sky just after midnight the next morning. . Fortunately, Comet Leonard was close enough to the sun to sport a tail and was captured on video
Public events are hosted at the observatory a few times a semester and are usually open to all of the Ada community, but as of right now, due to Covid-19 cases steadily rising again, it is only opened up to students and staff until cases start to decline. These events are posted on the ONU Observatory’s website. Information about cancellations are posted there as well.
The observatory is a great place to go and learn something new. Dr. Jason Pinkey is also the building manager and will be there to answer any questions you may have about the observatory or what you may be looking at. High powered telescopes are provided for students to use at the observatory only during tours or events due to how expensive the equipment is. All of the telescopes and their mounts cost about 20 thousand to 22 thousand dollars.
If you want to take pictures in the observatory there are a few ways you could do it. Using a phone can be tricky depending on the camera quality but using a DSLR Camera without the lens is recommended to get better pictures. To take the pictures you would hold your device up to the eyepiece of the telescope.