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M82 supernova image by Rex Parker

Enthusiasm for observational astronomy, curiosity about cosmology, achievements with CCD imaging and technology. These and all other aspects of astronomy are interests shared by members of the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton. The club is based in Princeton, (Mercer County) New Jersey.

This organization of 100 + promotes astronomy-related activities for members and non-members, novice to expert.  A wide spectrum of astronomy interests are explored at the AAAP through regular meetings, workshops, use of the two club observatories, public outreach and regional star parties.

Come explore our web site.  Here you'll find details about our organization's meetings, discussion topics, members and their scopes, and a lot more. Our organization maintains two observatories: the larger in Washington Crossing State Park (housing a research-grade 355mm Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric and historic 159mm Hastings-Byrne refractor). A second facility is found at Jenny Jump State Park in northwestern New Jersey. This houses a 318mm custom-built Newtonian reflector.

Read about the AAAP in this article from a recent issue of Princeton U.S. 1.

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Tuesday - April 8, 2014 --- 8:00 PM    Imaging the Universe

Spring is finally here. Amateur astronomers can now rejoice in the fact that they can look up at the sky without being part of the film “Frozen”. It is time to take out your cameras and scopes and all that connects the two, because this month Gene Ramsey will tell you about a new app he uses for stargazing. He will be followed by Prof. Robert Vanderbei of Princeton University who will describe modern techniques for astrophotography.

Now a little bit about our two speakers -

Gene’s interest in astronomy started in 1955 when he was in high school. One clear night, a friend of his asked if he would like to look at the heavens through his 4” Newtonian telescope. Of course, Gene being a curious person was keen to do so. What he saw, changed him forever and he became an avid amateur astronomer – Jupiter, with its famed red spot and those moons that Galileo had first brought to the attention of the world. Smitten, Gene bought his own telescope and started observing the heavens.

In 1994 when comet Shoemaker-Levy crashed head-on into Jupiter, Gene’s interest in astronomy was reinvigorated and in 1995 he joined the Amateur Astronomers Association of Princeton (AAAP).

Gene is currently co-chair of AAAP’s Simpson Observatory at Washington Crossing State Park and trains new key holders. On all nights when the observatory is open to the public, Gene is there to help with observations and visitor traffic control.

Our second speaker is the talented Dr. Robert Vanderbei. He is a mathematician, statistician, chemist, astrophysicist, astro-photographer, macro-photographer, author of books and hundreds of research papers.

Dr. Vanderbei is a AAAP member and Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering at Princeton University. Beyond Princeton, he is a Fellow of both the Society for Applied and Industrial Mathematics (SIAM) and the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS). He has degrees in Chemistry (BS), Operations Research and Statistics (MS), and Applied Mathematics (MS, PhD). He received his PhD from Cornell University in 1981. He has written three books: (i) a textbook entitled “Linear Programming: Foundations and Extensions”, published by Springer, (ii) “Sizing Up The Universe”, written jointly with J. Richard Gott and published by National Geographic, and (iii) “Real and Convex Analysis”, a textbook written jointly with Erhan Cinlar and published by Springer.

See you this Tuesday April 8th at 8:00 p.m. in Peyton Hall, 4 Ivy Lane, Princeton.
Gene Ramsey,Bob Vanderbei

September 2013 through June 2014 Monthly Meeting Season (at Peyton Hall)
Peyton Hall (right) is the location of the 2013 - 2014 AAAP monthly meetings. The building is home to the Department of Astrophysical Sciences, and is located just east of Washington Road, adjacent to Palmer Stadium, on the Princeton University campus.  Meetings are on the second Tuesday of each month and begin promptly at 8:00 PM in the lecture hall (first floor) of Peyton.   

Meetings start with brief announcements of general interest, followed by a guest speaker presentation.  After the guest speaker, the general meeting commences, reviewing current and future club activities, astronomy news, and public outreach projects.   Regular attendees of the lectures are encouraged to become paid members to support these popular speaking events.  Please email the AAAP for additional details.
Princeton University students also host a telescope open house at Peyton Hall concurrent to the end of our meeting. If the sky is clear, stop up to glimpse the universe.

Peyton Hall

The AAAP Observatory Weekly Open House   ( 2014 Season Begins Friday Evening, April 4th )

The Simpson Observatory Public Open House schedule has ended, for the 2013 season..  Our thanks to all the guests who visited use during this observing year.
Public nights will resume April 4th, 2014.   The facility is located in Washington Crossing State Park, a few miles outside Pennington, NJ.

Guests are shown a myriad of astronomical wonders including planets, The Moon, galaxies, nebulae, star clusters and much more. Learn the seasonal constellations and how to identify them.  AAAP astronomers operate a 6.25" Hastings Byrne refractor and a research-grade Celestron 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain on a Bisque Paramount ME mount.  AAAP members often set up additional equipment adjacent to the observatory. Visitors are welcome to bring telescopes.

For directions, and further details, please visit the observatory page.

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 AAAP 50th Anniversary Gala Sponsors