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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 - May 13, 2014 --- 8:00 PM    "THE DARK SIDE OF THE UNIVERSE" by Neta A. Bahcall

Neta A. Bahcall is the Eugene Higgins Professor of Astrophysics at Princeton University. She is the Director of the Undergraduate Program in Astrophysics, and past Director of the Council on Science and Technology of Princeton University. Her research interests include dark matter, the structure of the universe, quasars, and the formation of galaxies.

Bahcall is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Research Chair at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, past Vice-President and Councilor of the American Astronomical Society, Century Lecturer of the AAS, and Chair and member of various NASA, NSF, and Congressional committees.

She has won numerous awards during her distinguished career. Some of the most recent ones are:
   • The Cecilia Payne-Gasposkin Prize, Harvard University (2013)
   • Distinguished Research Chair, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Ontario, Canada (2009 -2013 )
   • Frontiers of Astronomy Lecturer, CWRU (2009)
   • Evnin Lecturer, Princeton University (2008)

Bahcall has penned hundreds of research papers. A few of her most recent ones are:
    “SDSSIII Photometric Quasar Clustering: Probing the Initial Conditions of the Universe Using the Largest Volume” (S. Ho et al), JCAP (2013)
    “On the Determination of Cluster Masses: Lensing versus SZ/Xray Mass” (N. Bahcall and Allison Hume), in preparation (2013)
    “Supermassive Black Holes in Quasars” (N. Bahcall, M. DiDonato, M. Medeiros), in preparation (2013)
    “Tracing Dark Matter and Baryons in the Universe”, (N. Bahcall and B. Cook), in preparation (2013)
    “Baryon Acoustic Oscillations Using Clusters of Galaxies” (N.Bahcall, H.Yesuf, P.Bode), in preparation (2013)

On Tuesday, May 13th, Bahcall will discuss the her observations on the Dark Side of the Universe. Her observations suggest surprising results: not only most of the matter in the Universe is dark and unconventional but, more surprisingly, the major component of the Universe may be in the form of 'dark energy' -- a form of energy that opposes the pull of gravity and causes the expansion of the universe to accelerate. By combining observations of large-scale structure, distant supernovae, and the cosmic microwave background, we find evidence for a Universe that has only 5% 'normal' baryonic matter, 20% non-baryonic dark matter, and 75% 'dark energy'. The observations suggest a Universe that is lightweight, with only 25% of the critical mass-density needed to halt the Universal expansion, and a geometry that is flat with no space curvature.

See you Tuesday May 13th at 8:00 p.m. in Peyton Hall, 4 Ivy Lane, Princeton.

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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