*** SWAOG ***
South West Astronomy Observers Group

Godspeed Mike Ruffolo!!   

    The SWAOG Flag proudly
    displayed at Astrofest 2006
This page is updated frequently, so keep checking back! (and remember to refresh your browser)

 

Our name is the South West Astronomy Observers Group.  We are a group of astronomical observers and Ham Radio operators in the Chicago Metropolitan Area who like to go observing and share our hobby via Amateur Radio.  We meet on the DuPage  (DARC)  Repeater - 145.430 MHz. (TX offset -600KHz. / 107.2 Hz. PL) every Thursday evening at 8:30 PM  to discuss our wonderful hobby of astronomy, and plan observing sessions.
 
The Astronomy Net was founded in February 2001 by Mark - KB9WLX, and is open to all licensed Amateur Radio Operators (Hams).   3rd party traffic is permitted, providing it's done as per FCC rules.   If you have children in the shack, we'd love to hear from them as well!   All Ham Radio Operators are welcome to check in and participate in the net, you DO NOT have to be an astronomer to participate.   Just check in, listen, and learn if you'd like!   Astronomical data reports and other interesting astronomy-related reports are given each week by the Net Control Operator.   Hams that have checked in can exchange any information they may have about astronomy related activities & events, and share any observing experiences that they have had.   Articles, reports, and astronomy discussion sessions are usually provided.   We frequently have some of our listeners check in with live, up-to-the-minute, observing reports during the Net!    Listening to the net on a scanner?   Scroll down to see how you can check in via e-mail!    Interesting astronomy-related web sites can also be shared with the group.   Astronomy-related Product Reviews are also encouraged to help our fellow astronomers make informed purchases!

 

On the next edition of the Astronomy Net:
 
*Learn about astronomy and get help with your equipment and observing skills.  The group will try to answer most of your questions!
*Participate in 'live'  ISS and Iridium Flare Observations!  (when available)
*Listen for interesting & informative astronomy-related Reports and Segments.
*Reports or segments on astronomy are welcomed and encouraged from any members of our listening audience.  Please feel free to share your information with the group on the Weekly Astronomy Net!
* Listen and see if you can answer the "Astronomy Trivia Questions of the Week" (when available)
* Visit Mark's Page for articles that will be presented during the Astronomy Net
 

           Rest in Peace Scanner Chuck!    Godspeed!!

             Click here for Chuck's Memorial Page

    Comet PanSTARRS - March 21, 2013

 

CLICK HERE for the latest pictures on the SWAOG Astro-Photos Page!

 

Visit the...    SWAOG Astro-Swap Page

 

 

 

 

Important SWAOG News!!

 

 

SWAOG Adler Planetarium Trip

The 2018 SWAOG Adler Planetarium Trip was a great time!   

Unfortunately, we did not get a group picture.  Here is the 2017 Adler Planetarium Trip Group Picture

 

 

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Let's start planning for our next pizza party, hopefully in February or March 2019!

 

 

View our 2011 Pizza Party Page!

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IMPORTANT Astronomy Information!!

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Cloudynights Magnitude 7 Star Charts (link provided by Scanner Dave #1)

(PDFs require free Adobe Reader  )

SWAOG Earth Size Comparison Page (with info provided by Terry - KW9L)

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CLICK HERE for pictures from the Girl Scout Night held on January 27th, 2007

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See the report on Asteroid 126749 that Dave - KC9KPQ shared on the 8/2/07 Astronomy Net

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CLICK HERE for pictures from the SWAOG Presentation at the DARC Meeting on August 27th, 2007

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CAS and SWAOG Members Answer a Call for Help from Several Suburban Chicago Cub Scout and Boy Scout Troops!

 

Upcoming Observing Highlights for December 2018!  (from skymaps.com)
3 Moon near Spica (morning sky) at 9h UT.
3 Moon near Venus (41° from Sun, morning sky) at 21h UT. Mag. −4.7.
• Venus (Wikipedia)
5 Moon near Mercury (17° from Sun, morning sky) at 22h UT. Mag. 0.9.
7 New Moon at 7:21 UT. Start of lunation 1187.
• Lunation Number (Wikipedia)
7 Mars 0.04° NNW of Neptune (88° from Sun, evening sky) at 14h UT. Mags. 0.1 and 7.9.
9 Moon near Saturn (evening sky) at 5h UT. Mag. 0.5.
• Saturn (Wikipedia)
12 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 12h UT (distance 405,177 km; angular size 29.5').
14 Geminid Meteor Shower peaks at 12:30 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)
15 Moon near Mars (evening sky) at 2h UT. Mag. 0.2.
• Mars (Wikipedia)
15 Mercury at greatest elongation west (21° from Sun, morning sky) at 11h UT. Mag. −0.4.
15 First Quarter Moon at 11:48 UT.
20 Moon near the Pleiades (evening sky) at 16h UT.
• The Pleiades (Wikipedia)
21 Moon near Aldebaran (evening sky) at 7h UT.
• Aldebaran (Wikipedia)
21 Mercury 0.8° NNE of Jupiter (20° from Sun, morning sky) at 20h UT. Mags. −0.4 and −1.8.
21 December solstice at 22:25 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)
22 Full Moon at 17:49 UT.
• Full Moon Names (Wikipedia)
23 Jupiter 5.2° N of Antares (22° from Sun, morning sky) at 20h UT. Mags. −1.8 and 1.0.
24 Moon near Castor (morning sky) at 3h UT.
24 Moon near Pollux (morning sky) at 7h UT.
24 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 9:57 UT (361,062 km; angular size 33.1').
25 Moon near Beehive cluster M44 (morning sky) at 5h UT.
• Beehive Cluster (Wikipedia)
• M44: The Beehive Cluster (APOD)
26 Moon near Regulus (morning sky) at 18h UT.
• Regulus (Wikipedia)
29 Last Quarter Moon at 9:36 UT.
30 Moon near Spica (morning sky) at 15h UT.
 

>>> 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)
 

 
Major Meteor Showers in 2018
Shower Radiant and direction Morning of maximum Best hourly rate Parent
Quadrantid* Draco (NE) Jan. 4 60-100 2003 EH1
Lyrid Lyra (E) April 22 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. 21 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. 22 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.

 

 * * *  IMPORTANT INFORMATION!!  * * *   Learn about the latest solar predictions from the AAS Solar Physics Division 

 

Moon Phases for Chicago, Illinois, USA in 2018

Lunation New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Third Quarter Duration
1175         1-Jan 8:24 PM 8-Jan 4:25 PM 29d 19h 47m
1176 16-Jan 8:17 PM 24-Jan 4:20 PM 31-Jan 7:26 AM 7-Feb 9:53 AM 29d 18h 48m
1177 15-Feb 3:05 PM 23-Feb 2:09 AM 1-Mar 6:51 PM 9-Mar 5:19 AM 29d 16h 06m
1178 17-Mar 8:11 AM 24-Mar 10:35 AM 31-Mar 7:36 AM 8-Apr 2:17 AM 29d 12h 46m
1179 15-Apr 8:57 PM 22-Apr 4:45 PM 29-Apr 7:58 PM 7-May 9:08 PM 29d 9h 51m
1180 15-May 6:47 AM 21-May 10:49 PM 29-May 9:19 AM 6-Jun 1:31 PM 29d 7h 55m
1181 13-Jun 2:43 PM 20-Jun 5:50 AM 27-Jun 11:53 PM 6-Jul 2:50 AM 29d 7h 05m
1182 12-Jul 9:47 PM 19-Jul 2:52 PM 27-Jul 3:20 PM 4-Aug 1:17 PM 29d 7h 10m
1183 11-Aug 4:57 AM 18-Aug 2:48 AM 26-Aug 6:56 AM 2-Sep 9:37 PM 29d 8h 04m
1184 9-Sep 1:01 PM 16-Sep 6:14 PM 24-Sep 9:52 PM 2-Oct 4:45 AM 29d 9h 45m
1185 8-Oct 10:46 PM 16-Oct 1:01 PM 24-Oct 11:45 AM 31-Oct 11:40 AM 29d 12h 15m
1186 7-Nov 10:01 AM 15-Nov 8:54 AM 22-Nov 11:39 PM 29-Nov 6:18 PM 29d 15h 18m
1187 7-Dec 1:20 AM 15-Dec 5:49 AM 22-Dec 11:48 AM 29-Dec 3:34 AM 29d 18h 08m
* All times are local time for Chicago. Time is adjusted for DST when applicable. Dates are based on the Gregorian calendar.
 
 Scanner Dave has provided a new list for our  SWAOG Messier Marathon page!  
 
  Download Scanner Dave's  Lunar "X"  illumination Dates and Times for 2018, HERE!  
   (Bold dates & times are viewing opportunities for those of us in the Chicagoland area!) 

 

 CLICK HERE for Jupiter's Great Red Spot Transition 2018 dates & times -- also provided by Scanner Dave!  

 

To locate these and other treasures of the night sky,  go to  www.Skymaps.com  and download a  free  copy of their monthly sky chart.
 
CLICK HERE for a copy of Jeff's Monthly Binocular Objects   There are a few challenging objects this month, as well as some easy ones!  (good for small scopes, too!)    

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Six SWAOG Observers,  John - KN9R, Dave - KC9KPQ, Scanner Chuck, Scanner Dave, and Eric - KC9MDO went out to the SWAOG Dark Site for a night of observing on Saturday, Oct. 9th, 2010.   See some pictures and read their report HERE!      See some pictures and story from the 8/31/07 Session HERE!!  
Join us at our next observing session,  the SWAOG observing dates are posted here!
CLICK HERE for a map and directions and to see the sky & viewing conditions for the SWAOG Dark Site!  If you'd like to go observing with us, listen to the DARC Repeater - 145.430 MHz at 7:00 PM  (6:00 PM November thru March)  on the evenings of the scheduled event for the "GO / NO-GO" decisions, as well as further plans & details.
 

 

 



 

 

 

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!!
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Saturday Night, December 8th, 2018 - 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)
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Saturday Night, December 15th, 2018 - Peck Farm Park in Geneva  -  7:30 PM Observing  (weather permitting)
Featuring:   Indoor Presentation 'December Skies' starts at 7:00 PM!   
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva, IL (free - sponsored by the Fox Valley Astronomical Society  click for info & directions)
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See you in 2019 at - The Little Red School House - 7:00 PM Indoor Presentation then Observing 
Featuring:  Gravity: to be announced  (download the LRSH 2018 Schedule
9800 So. 104th Ave (Flavin / Willow Springs Rd.), Willow Springs, IL (free - sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society)
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SEE YOU IN 2019 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
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Take a copy of the monthly sky map with you when you go observing -- go to  www.Skymaps.com  and download a  free  copy of their monthly sky chart.
CLICK HERE for a copy of Jeff's Monthly Binocular Objects take this list out observing with you, too!

 

Mark Your Calendar!!  (upcoming astronomy events in the Chicago area)

PDFs require free Adobe Reader  

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Lights Out / Earth Hour - Saturday, March 24, 2018 / 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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GLOBE AT NIGHT - constellations & dates in 2018

*** TAURUS ***     January 6-15 

*** GEMINI ***     February 5-14 

*** LEO ***     March 8-17,  April 6-15

*** BOOTES ***     May 5-14  

*** HERCULES ***     June 4-13, July 4-13    

*** CYGNUS ***     August 2-11, September 1-10

*** PEGASUS ***     October 1-10 

*** PERSEUS ***     Oct 30-Nov 8, Nov 29-Dec 8

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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2019 Star Parties . . .

 

Bootleg 2019 Spring Star Party - May 30th - June 2nd! 

  map available HERE

Read a report from the 2007 Boot Leg Astronomerrrr's Star Party HERE

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Michiana Star Party (Dr. TK Lawless Park - Vandalia, MI)

May 19-21, 2017

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Two Rivers Spring Star Party - May 5-8, 2016 

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Earth Wind and Sky Star Party -- waiting for 2019 dates...

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Bootleg 2019 Fall Start Party - September 26th - 29th.

map available HERE

Read a report from the 2007 Boot Leg Astronomerrrr's Star Party HERE

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Wisconsin Observers Weekend (WOW)

June 2-5, 2016

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Astrofest - waiting for 2019 dates

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  No Prairie Skies Star Party  

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SWAOG NEWS FLASH!!
The SWAOG is looking for additional Net Control Operators.  Running the Astronomy Net is EASY and FUN!   We have an easy-to-follow script available to help you!   (CLICK HERE to Download a copy of the Astronomy Net Script!)   Please email our Net Control Operators if you would like to volunteer.   We need a few more volunteers to keep the net alive and interesting!   Please consider becoming a Net Control Operator!   (CLICK HERE to download the rotation schedule.)

 

 

Net Control Operators
E-mail our Members and Regular Check-ins:
( *** = Astronomy Net Control Operators )
Do you have an Astro-Photo that YOU have taken recently? If so, send it via e-mail to our webmaster  and we'll feature our listeners' Astro-Photos on the SWAOG Astro-Photos Page!
(JPG format preferred, 100KB max, please)
Sergio - AK9S
John - KN9R ***
Dave - KC9KPQ ***
Mark - KB9WLX
 E-mail the Astronomy Net Control Operators  to:
* Request info or a QSL Card from the SWAOG group
* Share astronomy-related news or articles
* Let us know if you listen to the Astronomy Net on a scanner, but can't check in because you are not a licensed Amateur Radio operator
* Ask astronomy-related questions
* Become a SWAOG Net Control Operator!!
* Let us know that you'd like to go out observing with us 
 
 
 

 

SWAOG Favorite Astronomy Links:
SkyMaps.com  (download the monthly sky map!)
Earthlights  (satellite view of the Earth at night!)
ScopeReviews.com  (astronomy equipment reviews)
Cloudy Nights.com  (more equipment reviews)
 

Click Here to join us on the SWAOG Yahoo Group

SWAOG facebook page

 

 

SWAOG Member Personal Home Pages:
Objects in the Heavens  (Peter's New Book)
Gary's Astronomy Page  (*Astronomy Net MP3 files*)
Jeff's Astrofest Page  (Astrofest 2005 Info & Reg. Forms!)
Jeff's Lunar Eclipse Page  (10/27/04 eclipse photos)
 

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