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!!
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Saturday Night, July 8th, 2017 - The Little Red School House - 8:00 PM Indoor Presentation then Observing 
Featuring:  Constellation Mythology  (download the LRSH 2017 Schedule
9800 So. 104th Ave (Flavin / Willow Springs Rd.), Willow Springs, IL (free - sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society)
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Saturday Night, July 1st, 2017 - Peck Farm Park in Geneva  -  8:00 PM Observing  (weather permitting)
Featuring:   Indoor Presentation 'Observing in July' starts at 7:30 PM!   
4038 Kaneville Rd., Geneva, IL (free - sponsored by the Fox Valley Astronomical Society  click for info & directions)
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Saturday Night, July 1st, 2017 - 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) / 8:00 PM Public Observing (free - sponsored by the Chicago Astronomical Society  and Cernan staff)
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Friday Night, October 13, 2017 at - Trantina Farm in Homer Glen - 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM Observing    
15744 W. 151st Street  - Homer Township, IL (free - sponsored by Homer Township)  
(May be held at Homer Glen's new location - Heritage Park.   More info to come..... )
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SEE YOU IN 2017 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.
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
 
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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

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June 10th, 2008  Lunar "X"

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March 22nd, 2010  Lunar "X"

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

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Upcoming Observing Highlights for June 2017!  (from skymaps.com)
1 First Quarter Moon at 12:42 UT.
3 Venus 1.7° SSE of Uranus at 5h UT. Mags. −4.3 and 5.9.
3 Venus at greatest elongation west (46° from Sun, morning sky) at 12h UT. Mag −4.3.
4 Moon near Jupiter (evening sky) at 1h UT. Mag. −2.2.
Jupiter (Wikipedia)
4 Moon near Spica (evening sky) at 22h UT.
Spica (Wikipedia)
8 Moon near Antares (midnight sky) at 20h UT.
Antares (Wikipedia)
8 Moon at apogee (farthest from Earth) at 22h UT (distance 406,401 km; angular size 29.4').
9 Full Moon at 13:10 UT.
10 Moon near Saturn (midnight sky) at 2h UT. Mag. 0.0.
15 Saturn at opposition (opposite the Sun) at 10h UT. The ringed planet is at its closest and brightest at Mag. +0.0. Saturn's rings are spectacular even in a small telescope.
Saturn (Wikipedia)
16 Moon near Neptune (101° from Sun, morning sky) at 13h UT. Occultation visible from southern South Pacific Ocean. Mag. 7.9.
17 Last Quarter Moon at 11:34 UT.
20 Moon near Venus (morning sky) at 22h UT. Mag. −4.2.
21 June solstice at 4:24 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 Mercury at superior conjunction with the Sun at 14h UT. The elusive planet passes into the evening sky.
21 Moon near the Pleiades (morning sky) at 23h UT.
The Pleiades (Wikipedia)
22 Moon near Aldebaran (22° from Sun, morning sky) at 15h UT.
23 Moon at perigee (closest to Earth) at 10:52 UT (357,937 km; angular size 33.4').
24 New Moon at 2:32 UT. Start of lunation 1169.
Lunation Number (Wikipedia)
26 Moon near Beehive cluster (evening sky) at 11h UT.
Beehive Cluster (Wikipedia)
M44: The Beehive Cluster (APOD)
28 Moon near Regulus (evening sky) at 1h UT. Occultation visible from west South America.
Occultation of Regulus (IOTA)

>>> 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 2017
Shower Radiant and direction Morning of maximum Best hourly rate Parent
Quadrantid Draco (NE) Jan. 3 60-100 2003 EH1
Lyrid Lyra (E) Apr. 22 10-20 Thatcher (1861 I)
Eta Aquariid* Aquarius (E) May 6 20-60 1P/Halley
Delta Aquariid Aquarius (S) July 30 20 96P/Machholz
Perseid* Perseus (NE) Aug. 12 60-80 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. 17 10-20 55P/Tempel-Tuttle
Geminid Gemini (S) Dec. 14 100-120 3200 Phaethon


* 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 2017

Lunation New Moon First Quarter Full Moon Third Quarter Duration
1163     Jan 5 1:46 pm Jan 12 5:33 am Jan 19 4:13 pm 29d 17h 14m
1164 Jan 27 6:07 pm Feb 3 10:18 pm Feb 10 6:32 pm Feb 18 1:33 pm 29d 14h 51m
1165 Feb 26 8:58 am Mar 5 5:32 am Mar 12 9:53 am Mar 20 10:58 am 29d 11h 59m
1166 Mar 27 9:57 pm Apr 3 1:39 pm Apr 11 1:08 am Apr 19 4:56 am 29d 9h 19m
1167 Apr 26 7:16 am May 2 9:46 pm May 10 4:42 pm May 18 7:32 pm 29d 7h 28m
1168 May 25 2:44 pm Jun 1 7:42 am Jun 9 8:09 am Jun 17 6:32 am 29d 6h 46m
1169 Jun 23 9:30 pm Jun 30 7:51 pm Jul 8 11:06 pm Jul 16 2:25 pm 29d 7h 15m
1170 Jul 23 4:45 am Jul 30 10:23 am Aug 7 1:10 pm Aug 14 8:14 pm 29d 8h 45m
1171 Aug 21 1:30 pm Aug 29 3:12 am Sep 6 2:02 am Sep 13 1:24 am 29d 11h 00m
1172 Sep 20 12:29 am Sep 27 9:53 pm Oct 5 1:40 pm Oct 12 7:25 am 29d 13h 42m
1173 Oct 19 2:12 pm Oct 27 5:22 pm Nov 4 12:22 am Nov 10 2:36 pm 29d 16h 30m
1174 Nov 18 5:42 am Nov 26 11:02 am Dec 3 9:46 am Dec 10 1:51 am 29d 18h 48m
1175 Dec 18 12:30 am Dec 26 3:20 am         29d 19h 47m
* 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 2017

*** ORION ***     January 19-28,  February 18-27

*** LEO ***     March 20-29,  April 18-27, May 17-26

*** HERCULES ***     June 16-25, July 15-24, August 14-23  

*** CYGNUS ***     September 12-21, October 11-20

*** PEGASUS ***     November 10-19,  December 9-18

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 25, 2017 / 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
 
 
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.  SkyMaps.com, 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

 
 
 
2017 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
Saturn

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