Bong State Rec Area Astronomy Association
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About the group

This astronomy group is located at Richard Bong State Recreation Area in southeastern Wisconsin.

Every Saturday evening that is clear from Spring through Fall we host an informal gathering of campers and others who are interested in astronomy or just curious about what's up there.

We normally begin to set up right at sunset and the presentation begins just as the last bit of sunlight fades.

People are encouraged to listen to a brief tour of the current night's highlights then to look through the available telescopes.

Generally we are able to see Nebulae, Galaxies, Open & Globular Clusters and the Milky Way. Sometimes there will be a flyover of the International Space Station or other satellites that are easily visible.

There are no fees or dues of any kind if you'd like to come to the presentation, bring your own telescope out and observe or just get some help in getting started. State Rec Area fees do apply and you will need to purchase either a day pass or an annual pass at the main gate when you enter. Link to Fees

Special thanks to the Bong Rec Area for allowing us the opportunity to use the park for observing!

Do's & Don'ts

Do check the forecast

If it's partly cloudy or better, in most cases, we're there. Sometimes if a few of us have other commitments the others won't go out.

Don't use white lights

If you drive up with your headlights on or use even a small white flashlight it makes it difficult to see for several minutes after. There is normally plenty of ambient light to get around without difficulty. When you leave, if your headlights come on automatically, try setting the parking brake 1 click till you're out of the parking lot.

Don't grab the telescopes

This might sound like a no-brainer, but human nature is to steady one's self when put in an awkward position. With one eye closed and bending over to something that's hard to see, it's normal to want to hold onto something. Don't! The telescope won't break but it may get bumped out of alignment. Which means several minutes to re-align it and resume observing.

Do dress warm

Standing outside at night, not moving around can cause you to get cold quickly. Bring a little more than you think you'll need for the cold. You'll be more comfortable, stay longer, and enjoy the experience much more if you're not shivering.

Do bring bug spray

Especially when it's warm out. The bugs can be bad at the observing site. Please be careful where and what you spray. Telescopes don't need bug spray!

Do ask questions

If we don't know the answer we'll it up.

Do keep an eye on children

Small or old. Please don't run or goof off around the equipment. It's expensive.

Observing Status

Normal observing times are Saturdays, Spring through Fall, if the forecast is partly cloudy or better.

The red vertical lines indicate midnight for the current and next night. Darker is better, lighter is bad. Click on the chart for more detailed information.

© 2010