Stargazing at Heritage Park
Friday, September 30, 2022
6:30 to 9:00 p.m. Nighttime animals from Big Run Wolf Ranch
8:00 to 10:00 p.m. Telescope set up and stargazing
Experience Stargazing at Heritage Park and celebrate the International Dark Sky recognition of the Village of Homer Glen by spending an evening with the stars!
The Village of Homer Glen will host a summer and fall stargazing at Heritage Park. Heritage Park is located at 14240 West 151st Street behind Village Hall. The event is coordinated by the Homer Glen Environment Committee with the assistance of the Homer Glen Emergency Management Agency,
Also joining us in the Village Hall Community Room, nocturnal animals from Big Run Wolf Ranch. Come meet Yokie the Canada Lynx, Penelope the porcupine, and the skunks Elroy and Lloyd.
With special thanks to the Kankakee Area StarGazers, the Naperville Astronomical Association, and the South West Astronomy Observers Group, amateur astronomers from these groups will have their large telescopes available for free viewing. Viewing will start when it is dark.
On May 6, 2022, the moon will be the main attraction. The Beehive Cluster, and globular star clusters M3 and M13 will be showcased. During the spring, our nighttime sky points outside the galactic plane which makes other galaxies visible as they are not hidden by the clutter of the Milky Way. With good viewing conditions, we should see M81 and M82 near the Big Dipper, and perhaps the Leo Triplet. A couple of minor meteor showers will occur on this night, so everyone should keep their eyes on the sky for a chance to see one.
On September 30, 2022, the Moon will be waxing crescent (1st quarter phase) and setting in the West next to the star Antares as it begins to get dark. Jupiter and Saturn will be the only planets visible, but will provide great views. As typical with this time of year, many star clusters and nebula near the center of the Milky Way in the South will be targets. Some favorites include the Swan Nebula M17, Trifid Nebula M20, Lagoon Nebula M8, the Great Sagittarius Star Cluster M22, and the Wild Duck Cluster M11. Higher up the Ring Nebula M57 and the Dumbbell Nebula M27 are popular targets. The Andromeda Galaxy M31 will likely close out the night as it rises high in the East.
For more information on what else can be seen download a sky map at the Sky Map website.
Dark Sky Community in Illinois
As the 4th International Dark Sky Community, the fall stargazing event is a way for the Village to bring the wonders of the night sky to the public. The Village is the first to be designated as a Dark Sky Community in Illinois and also the first community East of the Mississippi River. The Village received this award from the International Dark Sky association because of its "exceptional dedication to the preservation of the night sky through the implementation and enforcement of quality lighting codes, dark sky education and citizen support of dark skies". The Village has been promoting starry night viewing since 2008 and educating the public about dark sky awareness with Stargazing events. The “First International Starry Night” took place with a Stargazing event on July 12, 2013 in which approximately 225 people from across the Chicagoland area participated.
For more information call the Village of Homer Glen at 708-301-0632.
Praise Regarding the Village’s Night Sky Protection from a Homer Glen Resident
"For the second year in a row I attended the Stargazing event held at Trantina Farm with my grandson, Liam, who is 8 years old. Thanks to this event, he has become an astronomy buff and is saving his money for his own telescope. The number of people that attended this year was impressive (and included a number of neighbors), well overflowing the regular parking lot. The astronomy members from the Kankakee Area Stargazers, the Naperville Astronomical Association, and the South West Astronomy Observers Group, came from some distance to share their knowledge and enthusiasm and are an impressive group. They provide a great variety of sights from the Moon to Venus and Saturn and the Ring Nebula. Every one of these astronomy volunteers commented on how great the sky was in Homer Glen. A few of them talked about how difficult it is anymore to find any dark sky in the metropolitan area.
Our commitment to minimizing light pollution in our community is a great asset and one that contributes to our quality of life. Once lost, we can never get it back, so thank you for your continuing efforts in protecting our environment." Ken Lomasney Homer Glen, IL