*** 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)
 
 

           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 2019 SWAOG Adler Planetarium Trip was Saturday, Nov. 23rd!   

 

 

We didn't get a group photo this year, this photo was from a previous year's event.

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Let's start planning for our next pizza party, hopefully in February or March 2020!

 

 

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 June 2020!  (from skymaps.com)
2 Moon near Spica (evening sky) at 8h UT.
Spica (Wikipedia)
3 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 3:35 UT (distance 364,366 km; angular size 32.8').
3 Venus at inferior conjunction with the Sun at 18h UT. The brightest planet passes into the morning sky.
4 Mercury at greatest elongation east (24° from Sun, evening sky) at 13h UT. Mag. 0.5.
5 Moon near Antares (midnight sky) at 12h UT.
Antares (Wikipedia)
5 Penumbral Lunar Eclipse from 17:46 to 21:04 UT, mid-eclipse at 19:25 UT. Best seen at mid-eclipse. Visible worldwide except from most of the Americas.
NASA Lunar Eclipse Page (NASA)
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse of 2020 June 05 (PDF) (NASA)
5 Full Moon at 19:12 UT.
8 Moon near Jupiter (morning sky) at 19h UT. Mag. −2.6.
Jupiter (Wikipedia)
8 Moon, Jupiter and Saturn within a circle of diam. 5.1° (morning sky) at 22h UT. Mags. −2.6 and 0.4.
9 Moon near Saturn (morning sky) at 4h UT. Mag. 0.4.
Saturn (Wikipedia)
13 Moon near Mars (morning sky) at 3h UT. Mag. −0.2.
Mars (Wikipedia)
13 Last Quarter Moon at 6:24 UT.
15 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 1h UT (distance 404,595 km; angular size 29.5').
18 Moon near the Pleiades at 23h UT (morning sky).
The Pleiades (Wikipedia)
19 Moon near Venus (23° from Sun, morning sky) at 9h UT. Mag. −4.3.
Venus (Wikipedia)
19 Moon, Venus and Aldebaran within a circle of diam. 4.9° (morning sky) at 11h UT. Mags. −4.3 and 0.9.
19 Moon near Aldebaran (20° from Sun, morning sky) at 17h UT.
Aldebaran (Wikipedia)
20 Venus 8.9° SE of the Pleiades (30° from Sun, morning sky) at 12h UT. Mag. −4.3.
20 June solstice at 21:45 UT. The time when the Sun reaches the point farthest north of the celestial equator marking the start of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
June Solstice (Wikipedia)
Equinoxes and Solstices from Space (NASA)
21 Annular Solar Eclipse from 4:48 to 8:32 UT. Greatest eclipse at 6:40 UT. The narrow path of annularity extends from central Africa to south Asia, China and the Pacific. Partial eclipse from Africa, SE Europe and Asia.
Annular Solar Eclipse of 2020 June 21 (GIF) (NASA)
Solar Eclipses: 2011 - 2030 (Mr Eclipse)
NASA Solar Eclipse Page (NASA)
21 New Moon at 6:41 UT. Start of lunation 1206.
22 Moon near Mercury (13° from Sun, evening sky) at 8h UT. Mag. −4.3.
Mercury (Wikipedia)
22 Moon near Castor (evening sky) at 22h UT.
23 Moon near Pollux (evening sky) at 2h UT.
24 Moon near Beehive cluster M44 (evening sky) at 3h UT.
Beehive Cluster (Wikipedia)
M44: The Beehive Cluster (APOD)
25 Moon near Regulus (evening sky) at 18h UT.
Regulus (Wikipedia)
28 First Quarter Moon at 8:15 UT.
29 Moon near Spica (evening sky) at 14h UT.
30 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 2:07 UT (distance 368,958 km; angular size 32.4').
 

>>> 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 2020  (from Sky & Telescope)
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 5 20-60 1P/Halley
Delta Aquariid Aquarius (S) July 29 20 96P/Machholz
Perseid Perseus (NE) Aug. 12 90 109P/Swift-Tuttle
Draconid Draco (N) Oct. 7 10-100 21P/Giacobini-Zinner
Orionid Orion (SE) Oct. 21 10-20 1P/Halley
Southern Taurid * Taurus (S) Nov. 5 10-20 2P/Encke
Leonid* Leo (E) Nov. 17 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.

Bold Shower Names indicate the best predicted 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 2020

Lunation

New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Third Quarter
1200 2-Jan 10:45 PM 10-Jan 1:21 PM 17-Jan 6:58 AM
1201 24-Jan 3:42 PM 1-Feb 7:41 PM 9-Feb 1:33 AM 15-Feb 4:17 PM
1202 23-Feb 9:32 AM 2-Mar 1:57 PM 9-Mar 12:47 PM 16-Mar 4:34 AM
1203 24-Mar 4:28 AM 1-Apr 5:21 AM 7-Apr 9:35 PM 14-Apr 5:56 PM
1204 22-Apr 9:25 PM 30-Apr 3:38 PM 7-May 5:45 AM 14-May 9:02 AM
1205 22-May 12:38 PM 29-May 10:29 PM 5-Jun 2:12 PM 13-Jun 1:23 AM
1206 21-Jun 1:41 AM 28-Jun 3:15 AM 4-Jul 11:44 PM 12-Jul 6:28 PM
1207 20-Jul 12:32 PM 27-Jul 7:32 AM 3-Aug 10:58 AM 11-Aug 11:44 AM
1208 18-Aug 9:41 PM 25-Aug 12:57 PM 2-Sep 12:22 AM 10-Sep 4:25 AM
1209 17-Sep 6:00 AM 23-Sep 8:54 PM 1-Oct 4:05 PM 9-Oct 7:39 PM
1210 16-Oct 2:31 PM 23-Oct 8:22 AM 31-Oct 9:49 AM 8-Nov 7:46 AM
1211 14-Nov 11:07 PM 21-Nov 10:45 PM 30-Nov 3:29 AM 7-Dec 6:36 PM
1212 14-Dec 10:16 AM 21-Dec 5:41 PM 29-Dec 9:28 PM
* 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 2020, HERE!  
   (Bold dates & times are viewing opportunities for those of us in the Chicagoland area!)
 
  Next good viewing opportunity is: April 29th at 21:04 CDT!

 

 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, May 9th, 2020 ??? - Peck Farm Park in Geneva  -  8:00 PM Observing  (weather permitting)
Indoor presentation starts at 7:30 PM - Topic TBD.  CANCELED!!!
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva, IL (free - sponsored by the Fox Valley Astronomical Society  click for info & directions)
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The entire campus is closed until further notice!!! - Triton College / Cernan Earth & Space Center    
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) / afterwards Public Observing (free - sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society  and Cernan staff)
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The Schoolhouse is closed thru May 11th!!! - The Little Red School House - 7:30 PM Indoor Presentation then Observing 
Featuring:  'Venus, Orion, and the Moon'  (download the LRSH 2020 Schedule
9800 So. 104th Ave (Flavin / Willow Springs Rd.), Willow Springs, IL (free - sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society)
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The May 8th Stargazing event is canceled 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 )
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Stargazing has been canceled at - Lake Katherine Nature Center -
 
We lost a dear friend who ran the Stargazing Events - Joe Mayer - Rest in Peace Joe! 
 
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 28, 2020 / 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 2020

New for 2020: During many of the 2020 Globe at Night campaigns there will be more than one choice for which constellation is optimal to use. This will depend on your location around the globe. To decide which one is best for you at your location for the dates listed below, check to see if the constellation is more than halfway above the horizon. If so, you can use that constellation for the campaign. If not, try another suggested constellation for that month.

*** PERSEUS / TAURUS / ORION ***     January 16 - 25 

*** GEMINI / ORION ***     February 14 - 23 

*** GEMINI / ORION ***     March 14 - 24

*** LEO ***     April 14 - 23

*** LEO / BOOTES ***     May 14 - 23  

*** BOOTES / HERCULES ***     June 13 - 22 and July 12 - 21   

*** CYGNUS / HERCULES ***     August  10 - 19

*** CYGNUS ***     September  9 - 18

*** CYGNUS / PEGASUS ***     October  8 - 17

*** PEGASUS  / PERSEUS ***     November  7 - 16

*** PERSEUS ***     December  5 -15

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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2020 Star Parties . . .

 

Bootleg 2020 Spring Star Party - June 11th-14th! 

  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 2020 Fall Star Party - September 17th - 20th.

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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