Jeff's Driveway Astronomy Page


Hi there, my name is Jeff, and welcome to my 
"Driveway Astronomy Page"

Godspeed Chuck Crumley and John Jones!!



One of my hobbies is amateur astronomy.  I am a member of the Chicago Astronomical Society and a Board Member of the Fox Valley Astronomical Society.    You can usually find me at these two club's Public Observing Sessions with one of my telescopes, showing the public some of the wonderful objects in the night sky!!    If you live in the Chicagoland Area and are interested in astronomy, visit the web sites of both of these clubs and plan to attend one or more of their Public Observing Sessions.   (They're usually free and you don't need to own a telescope to attend!)
See below for a list of the upcoming Public Observing Sessions and more great astronomy information!
I also participate in the SWAOG  (South West Astronomy Observers Group)'s weekly Amateur Radio Astronomy Net and observing events.
Ham Radio & Scanner Operators:  Listen and check in to the Southwest Astronomy Observers Group Ham Radio Information Net on Thursday evenings at 8:30 PM on the DARC Repeater (145.430 MHz. / -600 KHz. / 107.2 Hz. PL) and tell them that you heard about the net here! (Scanner operators can check in via e-mail)
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Upcoming Public Observing Sessions:
Public Observing Sessions or 'Public Star Parties' are events where various Astronomy Club members set up their telescopes for the public to look through.   You'll see several different types & designs of telescopes, and some of the nicer objects in the night sky at these events.   If you would like to learn more about astronomy,  plan on attending as many of these sessions as you can . . . especially if you're thinking about purchasing a telescope!!
Saturday Night, December 14th, 2019 - Triton College / Cernan Earth & Space Center    NEW START TIME!!!
2000 Fifth Avenue, River Grove, IL (1/2 mile north of North Avenue on Fifth Avenue) 7:00 PM Skywatch Show in the planetarium (admission $8) / 6:00 PM Public Observing (free - sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society  and Cernan staff)
Saturday Night, March 7th, 2020 - Peck Farm Park in Geneva  -  8:00 PM Observing  (weather permitting)
Indoor presentation starts at 7:00 PM - Topic TBD.  
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva, IL (free - sponsored by the Fox Valley Astronomical Society  click for info & directions)
Saturday Night, April 4th, 2020 at - The Little Red School House - 7:30 PM Indoor Presentation then Observing 
Featuring:  'Venus, Orion, and the Moon'  (download the LRSH 2019 Schedule
9800 So. 104th Ave (Flavin / Willow Springs Rd.), Willow Springs, IL (free - sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society)
See you in 2020 at - Lake Katherine Nature Center - 7:30 PM Observing Starts 
Featuring:  the Moon and Mars 
7402 Lake Katherine Drive, Palos Heights, IL 60463  --  Lake Katherine 2016 Observing Schedule
See you in 2020 at - Heritage Park in Homer Glen - 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM Observing    
14240 W. 151st Street  - Homer Township, IL (free - sponsored by Homer Township)  
(held at Homer Glen's new location - Heritage Park )
Take a copy of the monthly sky map with you when you go observing -- go to  and download a  free  copy of their monthly sky chart.
And... make sure you take your binoculars and a copy of Jeff's Monthly Binocular Objects with you, too!

Comet PanSTARRS - March 21, 2013


The Moon!   

Pictures of a few phases of the September 27th, 2015 Lunar Eclipse



BlackBerry Z-10 Smart Phone Camera help up to a Tele-Vue 8-24 Zoom Eyepiece in a Borg 76mm ED Refractor Telescope
The picture on the left was taken using a Sony Mavica MVC-FD81 Digital Camera held up to a 40mm eyepiece (a-focal coupling) of my Meade LX10 8" Schmidt-Cassegrain Telescope producing 50 power.   The bluish tint was from an Orion Variable-Polarizing Filter. The picture on the right was taken at much higher power, around 200x, with no filter, along what's known as the 'terminator(notice the crater within the crater)   Click Here to visit my Driveway Astronomy Pictures Page for more Astronomy Pictures, and stop back periodically for new pictures & info!      

February 20th, 2008 Lunar Eclipse


June 10th, 2008  Lunar "X"


March 22nd, 2010  Lunar "X"

Want to learn more about the Lunar "X" ?  CLICK HERE!





Upcoming Observing Highlights for December 2019!  (from
4 First Quarter Moon at 6:58 UT.
5 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 4h UT (distance 404,446 km; angular size 29.5').
10 Moon near the Pleiades (evening sky) at 19h UT.
The Pleiades (Wikipedia)
11 Venus 1.8° S of Saturn (30° from Sun, evening sky) at 10h UT. Mags. −4.0 and 0.6.
11 Moon near Aldebaran (evening sky) at 12h UT.
Aldebaran (Wikipedia)
12 Full Moon at 5:12 UT.
Full Moon Names (Wikipedia)
13 Moon at northernmost declination in year at 21h UT. Declination +23.23°.
14 Geminid Meteor Shower peaks at 12h UT. Produces bright, medium-speed meteors at its peak (up to 80 meteors/hour). Most reliable meteor shower. Easy to observe (radiant on sky map). Best after midnight.
Meteor Shower Calendar (IMO)
Geminids (NASA)
Geminids of the North (APOD)
14 Moon near Castor (morning sky) at 14h UT.
14 Moon near Pollux (morning sky) at 18h UT.
15 Moon near Beehive cluster M44 (morning sky) at 18h UT.
17 Moon near Regulus (morning sky) at 8h UT.
Regulus (Wikipedia)
18 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 20:16 UT (370,265 km; angular size 32.3').
19 Last Quarter Moon at 4:58 UT.
21 Moon near Spica (morning sky) at 4h UT.
22 December solstice at 4:21 UT. The time when the Sun reaches the point farthest south of the celestial equator marking the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
December Solstice (Wikipedia)
23 Moon near Mars (morning sky) at 5h UT. Mag. 1.6.
Mars (Wikipedia)
24 Moon near Antares (morning sky) at 12h UT.
Antares (Wikipedia)
26 Annular Solar Eclipse from 3:34 to 7:01 UT. Greatest eclipse at 5:18 UT. The narrow path of annularity extends from Saudi Arabia to southern India, northern Sri Lanka, Sumatra, Singapore, Borneo and to Guam. Partial eclipse extends across Asia and northern Australia.
Annular Solar Eclipse of 2019 December 26 (GIF) (NASA)
Solar Eclipses: 2011 - 2030 (Mr Eclipse)
NASA Solar Eclipse Page (NASA)
26 New Moon at 5:13 UT. Start of lunation 1200.
Lunation Number (Wikipedia)
27 Moon near Saturn (15° from Sun, evening sky) at 13h UT. Mag. 0.6.
Saturn (Wikipedia)
29 Moon near Venus (34° from Sun, evening sky) at 3h UT. Mag. −4.0.
Venus (Wikipedia)

>>> All times in Universal Time (UT).    USA Central Standard Time = UT-6 hours.  (DST = UT-5 hrs,)


The Zodiacal Light is caused by sunlight reflected off meteoric dust in the plane of the solar system. Choose a clear, moonless night, about 1-2 hours after sunset, and look for a large triangular-shaped glow extending up from the horizon (along the ecliptic). The best months to view the Zodiacal Light is when the ecliptic is almost vertical at the horizon: March and April (evening) and October-November (morning); times reversed for the southern hemisphere.
Zodiacal Light (Wikipedia)
Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)
Photographing the Zodiacal Light (Weatherscapes)


CLICK HERE to download a copy of Jeff's Monthly Binocular Objects  

 - a few challenging objects, and several easy objects for ordinary binoculars . . . GREAT for small scopes, too!  


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Major Meteor Showers in 2019

Shower Radiant and direction Morning of maximum Best hourly rate Parent
Quadrantid Draco (NE) Jan. 4 60-100 2003 EH1
Lyrid* Lyra (E) April 23 10-20 Thatcher (1861 I)
Eta Aquariid Aquarius (E) May 6 20-60 1P/Halley
Delta Aquariid Aquarius (S) July 29 20 96P/Machholz
Perseid* Perseus (NE) Aug. 13 90 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Orionid* Orion (SE) Oct. 22 10-20 1P/Halley
Southern Taurid* Taurus (S) Nov. 5 10-20 2P/Encke
Leonid* Leo (E) Nov. 18 10-20 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
Geminid* Gemini (S) Dec. 14 100-120 3200 Phaethon
Ursid Ursa Minor (N) Dec. 23 10 8P/Tuttle

* Moonlight will wash out fainter meteors in these showers.

The meteor showers listed above are the easiest to observe and provide the most activity. Particular attention should be noted to the time and moonlight conditions. All these showers are best seen after midnight. Some are not even visible until after midnight. Showers that peak with the moon's age between 10 and 20 days will be affected by moonlight and difficult to observe this year. While the time each shower is best seen remains much the same year after year, the moonlight conditions change considerably from one year to the next. 

Please use the form found HERE from the American Meteor Society to report any Meteors that you see.    Instructions on how to complete the form can be found HERE.


Moon Phases for Chicago, Illinois, USA in 2019

Lunation New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Third Quarter Duration
1188 5-Jan 7:28 PM 14-Jan 12:45 AM 20-Jan 11:16 PM 27-Jan 3:10 PM 29d 19h 35m
1189 4-Feb 3:03 PM 12-Feb 4:26 PM 19-Feb 9:53 AM 26-Feb 5:27 AM 29d 19h 00m
1190 6-Mar 10:03 AM 14-Mar 5:27 AM 20-Mar 8:42 PM 27-Mar 11:09 PM 29d 16h 47m
1191 5-Apr 3:50 AM 12-Apr 2:05 PM 19-Apr 6:12 AM 26-Apr 5:18 PM 29d 13h 55m
1192 4-May 5:45 PM 11-May 8:12 PM 18-May 4:11 PM 26-May 11:33 AM 29d 11h 16m
1193 3-Jun 5:01 AM 10-Jun 12:59 AM 17-Jun 3:30 AM 25-Jun 4:46 AM 29d 9h 14m
1194 2-Jul 2:16 PM 9-Jul 5:54 AM 16-Jul 4:38 PM 24-Jul 8:18 PM 29d 7h 56m
1195 31-Jul 10:11 PM 7-Aug 12:30 PM 15-Aug 7:29 AM 23-Aug 9:56 AM 29d 7h 25m
1196 30-Aug 5:37 AM 5-Sep 10:10 PM 13-Sep 11:32 PM 21-Sep 9:40 PM 29d 7h 49m
1197 28-Sep 1:26 PM 5-Oct 11:47 AM 13-Oct 4:07 PM 21-Oct 7:39 AM 29d 9h 12m
1198 27-Oct 10:38 PM 4-Nov 4:23 AM 12-Nov 7:34 AM 19-Nov 3:10 PM 29d 11h 27m
1199 26-Nov 9:05 AM 4-Dec 12:58 AM 11-Dec 11:12 PM 18-Dec 10:57 PM 29d 14h 08m
1200 25-Dec 11:13 PM             29d 16h 29m
* All times are local time for Chicago. Time is adjusted for DST when applicable. Dates are based on the Gregorian calendar.




Observing Events and Programs that YOU can participate in...

(You won't need a fancy telescope or even binoculars - just your eyes!)








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GLOBE AT NIGHT - constellations & dates in 2019

*** TAURUS ***     Dec 29 - January 7 

*** GEMINI ***     February 26 - March 7 

*** LEO ***     March 27 - April 5; Apr 25 - May 4

*** BOOTES ***     May 25 - June 3  

*** HERCULES ***     June 24 - July 3; July 24 - Aug 2   

*** CYGNUS ***     August 22 - 31; September 20 - 29

*** PEGASUS ***     October 19 - 28

*** PERSEUS ***     Nov 18 - 27; Dec 1 8 - 27

The GLOBE at Night program is an international citizen-science campaign to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone. Light pollution threatens not only our “right to starlight”, but can affect energy consumption, wildlife and health. The GLOBE at Night campaign has run for two weeks each winter/spring for the last six years. People in 115 countries have contributed 66,000 measurements, making GLOBE at Night one of the most successful light pollution awareness campaigns.

Check out the new web application data submission process. The GLOBE at Night website is easy to use, comprehensive and holds an abundance of background information. The database is usable for comparisons with a variety of other databases, like how light pollution affects the foraging habits of bats.

Once again the GLOBE at Night Team would like to express their thanks to all the participants who contributed measurements locally to make a global difference.


Globe at Night measurement reporting period has started, check the Globe at Night Reporting web site  for the results!


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Lights Out / Earth Hour - Saturday, March 30, 2019 / 8:30-9:30 PM Local time!

Switch off all your lights for one hour at 8:30 Local Time.

On Earth Hour hundreds of millions of people, organizations, corporations and governments around the world will come together to make a bold statement about their concern for climate change by doing something quite simple—turning off their lights for one hour.  In the U.S. where we are already feeling the impacts of climate change, Earth Hour sends a clear message that Americans care about this issue and want to turn the lights out on dirty air, dangerous dependency on foreign oil and costly climate change impacts, and make the switch to cleaner air, a strong economic future and a more secure nation.

Participation is easy.  By flipping off your lights on at 8:30 p.m. local time you will be making the switch to a cleaner, more secure nation and prosperous America.  Find out what else you can do to get involved including leading the Earth Hour movement in your community.

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My Favorite Objects include:
The Moon, the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, the Dumbbell Nebula (M27), M29 - the cooling tower cluster, the Ring Nebula (M57), the M3 globular cluster in Canes Venatici, the Hercules Cluster (M13), the A/B Cluster (IC-4665), the Veil Nebula (NGC 6960 & 6992) the Coathanger (Brocchi's Cluster - Cr 399), the M81/M82 galaxy pair, the Swan Nebula (M17), the "ET" Cluster (NGC 457), the 'Mini Dipper' (M103), and the Great Orion Nebula (M42)
And.... M51 in the MallinCam!!





Telescopes & Binoculars:
I have the following equipment that I use to observe from my Lombard, IL driveway and other observing sites:
~ Astronomy Technologies AT-80 f/6 Refractor
~ Celestar 8 f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain with Star-Bright optics 
~ iOptron SmartStar G R80 GoTo GPS 80mm f/5 Refractor
~ Meade  390 - 90mm f/10 Refractor - SOLD IT  : (
~ SkyWatcher 90mm f/10 Refractor 
~ Coronado MaxScope 40 <.7 angstrom HA Solar Scope
~ SkyWatcher 102mm f/10 Refractor on a Meade LXD-55 "GO-TO" EQ mount
~ Borg 76mm f/6.6 ED Refractor on a Tele-Vue mount
~ Coronado PST Personal Solar Telescope on a CG-3 mount
~ Meade 70AZ-ADR 70mm f/10 Refractor on an Alt-Az mount
~ Celestron Star Hopper 8-inch f/6 Dobsonian Reflector
~ Meade Starfinder 12.5-inch f/4.8 Dobsonian Reflector with Magellan-1 computer
~ Meade LX-90  "GO-TO"  8-inch f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain with UHTC optics
~ Meade LX-10 Deluxe 8-inch f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain with Magellan-1 computer - SOLD IT  : (
~ Celestron Wide View 80mm f/5 Refractor on a CG-3 EQ mount with logic drive
~ Jason 60mm Alt-Az, early 1970s (my first scope!)  
~ Miyauchi 22x60 45º Fork-mounted Binoculars
~ Apogee BT-15x50 45º Binoculars on a Celestron Fluid-Head Tripod
~ Celestron 15x70 SkyMaster Binoculars
~ Celestron 8x56 Ultima Binoculars
~ Orion 8x40 Scenix Binoculars
~ Meade 9x63 Astronomy Binoculars
~ Celestron 12x60 SkyMaster Binoculars
~ Pentax 20x60 WP PCF Binoculars
~ Nikon 7x50 Action Extreme Binoculars
~ Sears 10x50 Wide-Angle Binoculars
~ Oberwerk 10x42 Sport RP Binoculars
~ Oberwerk 11x56 Astronomy Binoculars
~ MallinCam Extreme - Astronomy Video Camera
~ Eagle Optics 10x42 Ranger Binoculars
~ Astro-Video DSO-1 - Astronomy Video Camera
~ Revolution R2 Imager - Astronomy Video Camera
Other Driveway Astronomy Observers:
* My friend Randy came out to observe from my driveway with his new Meade ETX-125 AutoStar scope!
* My friend Mary Alice comes out to observe from my driveway with her keen eyes, and her Orion XT-10 Dob!
* Mark - KB9WLX, of the SWAOG, has also observed from my driveway with his Meade LX-90 SCT 'GO TO' Scope!
* Pete & "Re-Pete" came out to observe from my driveway and to check out my new LX-90!
* My friend Doug was out with his Celestron 8-inch Dobsonian Reflector
* Dave - KC9KPQ came out on June 2nd to observe through my new PST solar telescope
Tip for anyone interested in starting out in astronomy:
Start with a set of binoculars & a seasonal star chart and learn some of the major stars & constellations to help you navigate your way around the night sky., Sky & Telescope Magazine, and Astronomy Magazine have excellent monthly star charts. A good set of binoculars will remain an important observing aid no matter how far you advance in astronomy!  (CLICK HERE for a list of interesting binocular objects)  Attend as many different club's Public Star Parties as you can, and check out all the different types of telescopes before purchasing one.  Also, read the information provided in this Sky & Telescope "How To" section for beginners, this Learning Center resource site, and this web site.  
Items for sale:
I have a couple of astronomy-related items for sale:


Astronomy Conventions / Star Parties!


2007 Boot Leg Astronomer's Star Party


Epoch 2007


2007 Prairie Skies Star Party


2008 Astrofest Star Party


Above are pictures of my campsites at the 2007 Boot Leg Astronomer's, Epoch 2007, the 2007 Prairie Skies Star Party, and Astrofest 2008.   With me at these events were friends Doug, Dave - KC9KPQ, Don-KB9SWI, Scanner Chuck, Mark - KC9DSN & his Daughter Amy, Doug, John - KN9R, Sergio - AK9S & Mike
I had a fabulous time at all of these events, and look forward to the next one!
CLICK HERE  for a report on the Boot Leg Astronomer's Star Party.

Click Here for a report on Astrofest 2007 from the President of the Sheboygan A/S

2020 Astronomy Convention / Star Party Dates
Handy Astronomy Links:
SkyMaps.Com (free  copy of monthly sky map)
More Handy Astronomy Links:
International Dark-Sky Association                 
CLICK HERE to download a copy of Jeff's Monthly Binocular Objects  - a few challenging, and several easy objects for ordinary binoculars - GREAT for small scopes, too!   
Jupiter & 1 Moon
My Ham Radio Web Page - WD9GVU's Amateur Radio Web Page

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