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Clark Refractor Telescope

The heart of the astronomical observatory at Keystone College since 1973.
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Observatory at Keystone College

The Thomas G. Cupillari ’60 Observatory, located a short drive from our La Plume campus in Fleetville, PA, promotes an understanding of the night sky along with a general knowledge of astronomy for the Keystone College community and the general public.

Whether you’re taking an astronomy course or just interested in the night sky, the observatory at Keystone College offers a unique, hands-on learning experience. Observing the night sky and finding objects using a telescope will help open the wonders of the universe. Whatever your ambitions in astronomy, we can help you get started.

Photo of a red colored moon links to Minor Planet Project

Minor Planet Project

Thomas G. Cupillari Observatory ’60 has been issued an Observatory Code I17 designation from the Minor Planet Center.

Observatory Public Viewing and Lecture Programs

Our programs offer an illustrated lecture, and if the sky is clear, observation of the night sky through the telescopes. Objects to be viewed include the moon, the planets, double stars, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies, weather permitting. The scheduled programs are provided as a community service and are free of charge. No registration required.

Fall Observatory Schedule

Nov. 11, 2019

The Keystone College Thomas G. Cupillari ’60 Observatory will be open for the transit of Mercury from 7:15 a.m. – 1:20 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 11. Several properly filtered telescopes will be available to safely view this event.

A transit is when a planet passes directly between the Earth and sun and Mercury will be a small black dot moving across the face of the sun. Transits are rare and the next one will not be visible locally until 2049.

To safely view the transit of Mercury, individuals should view this event through a telescope with a solar filter in front of the scope. Mercury will not be big enough to see without magnification and solar eclipse glasses will not show the planet and are not safe to use with binoculars or a telescope.

The Mercury transit will begin at 7:36 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 11 with the planet moving onto the face of the sun. The midpoint of the transit is at 10:20 a.m. and it ends as Mercury moves off the sun at 1:04 p.m. The entire event will be visible in the eastern United States.

Reminder: Solar eclipse glasses will not allow individuals to see Mercury as it passes in front of the sun. Solar eclipse glasses are not safe to use with a telescope or binoculars.

Sept. 4 – Nov. 22, 2019

The Thomas G. Cupillari ’60 Astronomical Observatory will begin its fall program on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 7:30 p.m. and will continue each Wednesday and Friday evening through Friday, Nov. 22.

The astronomical programs will feature an illustrated classroom lecture that changes weekly followed by observation through telescopes. The main objects planned for observation include the Moon, the stars, and the planets, including Jupiter and Saturn. Open to the public and free of charge, the fall sessions at the Observatory will be held regardless of sky conditions and will be cancelled only by threat of severe weather. Visitors should dress for outdoor temperatures.

The Observatory is located in Fleetville, a short distance from the College’s main campus. The Observatory is located at the intersection of Route 107 and Hack Road and is approximately two miles west of exit 202 of I-81. From I-81 North turn left on Route 107; from I-81 South turn right on Route 107. Travel 1.8 miles and turn left onto Hack Road. The observatory entrance road is almost immediately on your left.

Groups Welcome

Groups such as school classes, scouts, and community organizations should reserve a separate night to avoid overcrowding. For more information or to make group arrangements, contact Jo-Ann Kamichitis at 570-945-8402 or email observatory@keystone.edu to arrange a private appointment.

Check out the 2019 sky almanac.

January 2019

Meteor shower: Jan. 3 Quadrantids Meteors peak. Very little interference from Moonlight.

Morning Sky, 30 minutes before Sunrise in the east. 

  • Jan.  1 Crescent Moon is the upper right of -4.3 magnitude Venus, -1.8 magnitude Jupiter is shinning 20 degrees lower.
  • Jan.  2 Crescent Moon is between Jupiter and Venus.
  • Jan.  3 Thinner crescent Moon is 3 degrees left of Jupiter.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Jan. 10 Fat crescent Moon and 8th magnitude Neptune are 4 degrees apart, Mars is 24 degrees higher and brighter. Requires a telescope to see Neptune.
  • Jan.12 Moon and Mars are 5.5 degrees apart.
  • Jan.14 First Quarter Moon and 8.0 magnitude Uranus 8 degrees apart. Mars is 14 degrees right of the Moon. Requires a telescope to see Uranus.

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise.

  • Jan.12 – 31 Venus moves towards the east passing above Jupiter; a thin crescent Moon between them on the 30th.

TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE
Late evening to early morning, and yes it just may be cold outside.

  • Jan. 20 10:36 pm Lunar Eclipse, Enter Penumbra, Alt=51°
  • Jan. 20 11:05 pm Lunar Eclipse, Penumbra First Visible, Alt=56°
  • Jan. 20 11:32 pm Lunar Eclipse, First Contact,  Alt=60°
  • Jan. 21 12:39 am Lunar Eclipse, Second Contact, Alt=67°
  • Jan. 21 01:12 am Lunar Eclipse, Mid-eclipse,   Alt=69°
  • Jan. 21 01:45 am Lunar Eclipse, Third Contact, Alt=68°
  • Jan. 21 02:52 am Lunar Eclipse, Last Contact,  Alt=60°
  • Jan. 21 03:19 am Lunar Eclipse, Penumbra Last, Alt=56°
  • Jan. 21 03:48 am Lunar Eclipse, Exit Penumbra, Alt=51°

February 2019

Evening Sky in the south

  • Feb.  1  Mars and Uranus are 7.0 degrees apart and getting closer each passing day. Requires a telescope to see Uranus.
  • Feb. 10  Fat crescent Moon is closest to Mars and Uranus.
  • Feb. 13  Mars and Uranus are less than one degree apart.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Feb. 26 Mercury Greatest Eastern Elongation; magnitude -0.4; 17 degrees, a good height above the horizon.

March 2019

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise in the east.

  • Mar. 2 Moon to the right of Venus and 4 degrees apart.
  • Mar. 3 Moon to left of Venus and  6 degrees apart.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Mar. 11 Moon is 6.5 degrees right of Mars; Mars has dimed to 1.6 magnitude

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise in the east.

  • Mar. 21  Saturn and Jupiter 26 degrees apart.
  • Mar. 26  Moon is 4 degrees left from Jupiter.

April 2019

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise in the east.

  • Apr. 1 Thin crescent Moon and Venus are 9 degrees apart

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Apr. 8 Crescent Moon is 7.5 degrees below Mars; orangish 0.8 magnitude star Aldebaran is 7.5 degrees left of Mars
  • Apr. 9 Crescent Moon is 3.4 degrees above Aldebaran; Mars is 7.2 degrees right of Aldebrarn. Another nice triangle.

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise in the east.

  • Apr. 10 Bright Venus, 3.9 mag, is 17 arc SECOND below 8.0 mag Neptune. Mercury at 0.4 mag, is at the lower left. Requires a telescope to see Neptune.
  • Apr. 11 Mercury Greatest Western Elongation; magnitude 0.4; Poor height above the horizon.

May 2019

Meteor shower: May 6 eta-Aquarids peak. Very little interference from Moonlight.

Morning Sky, 30 minutes before Sunrise in the east.

  • May 2 Thin Crescent Moon and Venus are 4.5 degrees apart. Nearby is Mercury 10 degrees left of the Moon and closer to the horizon.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • May 7 Fat crescent Moon is lower left of 1.7 magnitude and Mars.

Evening Sky in the Southeast

  • May 19 Near Full Moon is 7 degrees right of magnitude -2.6 Jupiter

Morning Sky, after midnight.

  • May 23 Moon is 4.5 degrees left of 0.3 magnitude Saturn

June 2019

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Jun. 16 – 19 Mercury pass Mars
  • Jun. 18 Mars, at 1.8 magnitude, is 17 arc seconds below 0.2 magnitude Mercury. **EXTREMELY CLOSE**

Morning Sky, after midnight.

  • Jun. 18 Moon is 1.8 degrees lower left of 0.3 magnitude Saturn

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Jun. 23  Mercury Greatest Eastern Elongation; magnitude 0.6. Good height above the horizon

July 2019

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Jul. 4 Thin Crescent Moon is 9 degrees above and left of 1.8 magnitude Mars. Mercury at 1.6 magnitude, is 3.5 degrees lower left of Mars.

Evening Sky, in the SSW sky before midnight.

  • Jul. 13 The Near Full Moon is 4 degrees left of -2.5 magnitude Jupiter
  • Jul.16 The Full Moon and 0.1 magnitude Saturn are 2 degrees apart.

August 2019

  • Meteor shower: 2019 Aug 11-12 Perseids peak Moon interferes early evening, better after Midnight.

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise in the east.

  • Aug. 9 Mercury Greatest Western Elongation at magnitude 0.4; Good height above horizon.

Evening Sky in the south after Sunset

  • Aug. 9 The First Quarter Moon is 1.4 degrees above -2.4 magnitude Jupiter.
  • Aug. 11  The Gibbous Moon is 4 degrees right of 0.4 magnitude Saturn.

September 2019

Evening Sky in the south after Sunset

  • Sep. 5 First Quarter Moon is right of Jupiter and 4 degrees apart. Less 2 degrees apart near sunrise.
  • Sep. 7 Gibbous Moon is right of Saturn and 6 degrees apart.

October 2019

  • Meteor shower: Oct 8-9 Draconids peak, some interference from moonlight
  • Meteor shower: Oct 20-21 Orionids peak, some interference from moonlight

Evening Sky in the south after Sunset

  • Oct. 10 Near Full Moon is 4 degrees below 7.8 magnitude Neptune. Requires a telescope to see Neptune.
  • Oct. 15 Full Moon is below and 5 degrees from 5.7 magnitude and Uranus. Requires a telescope to see Uranus.
  • Oct. 20 Mercury Greatest Eastern Elongation; magnitude -0.1, Extremely poor event, very low to the horizon.
  • Oct. 31 Crescent Moon is 4 degrees left of Jupiter

November 2019

Evening Sky in the south after Sunset

  • Nov.  2 Gibbous Moon and Saturn 8.2 degrees apart.
  • Nov. 7 Fat Gibbous Moon is 5 degrees below 7.8 magnitude Neptune. Requires a telescope to see Neptune
  • Nov. 11 TRANSIT of Mercury in front of the SUN. WARNING, requires a telescope with a SOLAR FILTER  to view this event. WARNING Those “Solar Eclipse glasses” will not reveal Mercury due to the planet’s small size. Therefore do not stare at the Sun with “Solar Eclipse glasses”  for extended period of time. Mid Transit occurs at 11:20 am
  • Nov. 11 Near Full Moon and Uranus 5 degrees apart. Requires a telescope to see the planet Uranus.
  • Nov. 24 Jupiter (-1.9 mag) and Venus (-4.3 mag) are 1.5 degrees apart. ****

Morning Sky in the east before Sunrise

  • Nov. 24 Crescent Moon is left of 1.7 magnitude Mars. Mercury, at magnitude -0.2, is 9.5 degrees below Mars.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Nov. 28  Crescent Moon is 1 degree above Venus. Jupiter is 4 degrees right of Venus.

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise in the east.

  • Nov. 28 Mercury Greatest Western Elongation; Magnitude -0.5: Very good height above the horizon.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Nov 29 Crescent Moon is 1.5 degrees below Saturn.

December 2019

  • Meteor Shower: Dec. 13-14 Geminids Meteors peak, MoonLight Interferes.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Dec. 11 Venus at -4.0, magnitude is 2 degrees below Saturn.

Morning Sky, 1 hour before Sunrise.

  • Dec. 22 Crescent Moon and Mars are 6.0 degrees apart.

Evening Sky in the west after Sunset

  • Dec. 28 Thin Crescent Moon and Venus 3 degrees apart.

 

Will the sky be clear at the observatory?

The clear sky chart numerical weather forecast is specifically designed for astronomers and will predict if the Thomas G. Cupillari ’60 Observatory will have good weather for astronomical observing. At a glance, the sky chart shows when it will be cloudy or clear for the next two days.

Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another. ~Plato

Directions to the Observatory

Hack Rd, Dalton, PA 18414 – GPS Coordinates: 41.5965 – 75.6780

The Observatory is located in Fleetville, PA, a short distance from the College’s main campus in La Plume. It is conveniently located near Interstate 81, at the intersection of Route 107 and Hack Road.

From Interstate 81, take exit 202 onto Route 107 West towards Fleetville. Travel 1.8 miles and turn left onto Hack Road. Observatory entrance is on your left.

From the College’s main campus in LaPlume, take Routes 6 & 11 West to Route 107 West. Continue 7 miles, then turn right onto Hack Road. Observatory entrance is on your left

Print local map.

Observatory comet streaking night sky

All Sky Camera

TGC Observatory contributes to astronomy data by means of an All Sky camera to detect and capture images of fireball meteors and bolides. You can see whatever it does catch at Sky Sentinel Network.