When the St. Charles County Parks Department of Missouri began development of their new Broemmelsiek Park, they gave the county community something very unique, a dedicated site for Astronomy.
The site, which is free and open to the public, features 24/7 access, with 9 paved telescope stations each with 20-amp electrical service for telescopes that can benefit from electrical power, a patio entrance area for non-powered telescopes, as well as connecting sidewalks. There is also ample paved parking, a water fountain, and accessible restrooms.
The Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM) hosts public star gazing events at this site. If telescope "seeing" conditions are good for the evening (i.e., the skies are not totally clouded out), each Friday night is an "Open House" of the Observatory (seen in the top photo, left of center, in the background), and usually of other scopes provided by members of ASEM as well. In addition, special observing events are also scheduled through out the year. For the members and the public, be sure to check the St Charles County Parks Events page for special astronomical event observing that ASEM will support as well.
ASEM members should also check the calendar, near the bottom of the ASEM's website (opening page) and news bulletins, near the top of the page, for any other special observing or digital imaging get togethers.
The observatory building contains a Celestron 14-inch telescope which is used at public star gazing events and is available to ASEM members for personal studies and astro-photography. There is a 16-in Dobsonian telescope also used at public programs and available to ASEM members for personal use on other occasions.
The site is on Schwede Road at Wilson Road in central St. Charles County. See maps and link to Google Maps, below.
Latitude: 38.72300 degrees (North)
Longitude: -90.81479 degrees (West)
Google Maps Link
(Written street directions are available on the St.Charles County Parks Events page)
In addition to the "Friday Night Open Houses", which are free and open to the public every clear Friday evening at Broemmelsiek Park, we have selectively scheduled some special dates this year with the St Charles County Parks department. These are our "Special Events", and most are related to special astronomical events that we choose to support. Note that meteor showers can be very negatively affected by a bright moon, so we selectively support them based on visibility.
Here are the "Special Events" events planned for 2015:
[ St Charles County Parks Info: Phone: 636-949-7535 ( or email: firstname.lastname@example.org) ]
[ ASEM Contact info: Outreach@asemonline.org ]Planned 2015 Events:
PERSEID METEOR SHOWER - Wednesday Aug 12 evening thru Thursday Aug 13 morning @ Broemmelsiek Park
The Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM) and St. Charles County Parks will be observing the Perseid meteor shower on the evening of Wednesday August 12 thru the morning of August 13 (weather-permitting). No formal presentation. Just a relaxing evening under the stars. This meteor shower is rated as one of the best, and the 2015 event will be near the New Moon, allowing more meteors to be seen. While counts of 60 per hour are rated for this shower, that number may be more like what one person may see all night long, if paying close attention, in the partially-dark skies of Broemmelsiek. Still, much darker and clearer horizons than from most backyards, and there will be plenty of other people to point out the ones that you missed! Ooohs and Aahhs are welcome noises that remind us to keep looking up!
Dress warm, in layers. Bring fluids and bug spray. Electrical outlets are handy for fans if it is hot or heating blankets if cold (extension cords and sharing may be necessary). Reclining chairs and blankets are very popular at this event. Some scopes may be present, and I'd recommend you bring binoculars if you have them, as the Milky Way will be prominent and binos and lounge chairs are delightful together. Our crowds for this event typically thin out greatly by midnight. Please be aware that sunset does not occur until 8:02PM CDT. It will not be dark enough to see the very brightest meteors until after 9PM, and it should be finally dark enough to truly BEGIN good viewing sometime between 9:30 and 10:00PM. Peak is forecasted for 2-3AM.
Per the American Meteor Society:
The Perseids are the most popular meteor shower as they peak on warm August nights as seen from the northern hemisphere. The Perseids are active from July 13 to August 26. They reach a strong maximum on August 12 or 13, depending on the year. Normal rates seen from rural locations range from 50-75 shower members per hour at maximum.The Persesids are particles released from comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle during its numerous returns to the inner solar system. They are called Perseids since the radiant (the area of the sky where the meteors seem to originate) is located near the prominent constellation of Perseus the hero when at maximum activity.
This shower is actually pretty good for a few days before and after Aug 12-13, so while the posted date above is official, meteor fans will be looking up on the days before or after the peak date depending on the weather!
TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE - Sunday September 27 @Broemmelsiek Park
The Astronomical Society of Eastern Missouri (ASEM) and St. Charles County Parks will be observing a total lunar eclipse (weather-permitting) on Sunday, Sept. 27, 2015 at Broemmelsiek Park and the public is invited to attend. Weather permitting, members of the prominent astronomy club will be on site of the Astronomy Viewing Area in the park, located at 1615 Schwede Road, Wentzville, MO 63385, from 7 p.m. to after 10 p.m. Maximum viewing of the Total Lunar Eclipse is expected to begin at 9:47 p.m. The total lunar eclipse will be visible across the United States and can be viewed with the naked eye.
A total lunar eclipse occur when Earth's shadow blocks the sun’s light, which otherwise reflects off the moon. During the event, the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (in "syzygy") exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon.
This September full moon is also called a Blood Moon because it presents the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart. The Blood Moon can be a spectacular event in the sky as the moon turns red during the total lunar eclipse cycle.
For more information, visit the ASEM website at www.asemonline.org or contact the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department at (636) 949-7535.
Max view in St. Louis Sunday, September 27, 2015 at 9:47 PM
Total Lunar Eclipse
Begins: Sun, Sep 27, 2015 at 7:11 PM Maximum: Sun, Sep 27, 2015 at 9:47 PM
Penumbral Eclipse begins Sep 28 at 12:11 AM Sep 27 at 7:11 PM
Partial Eclipse begins Sep 28 at 1:07 AM Sep 27 at 8:07 PM
Full Eclipse begins Sep 28 at 2:11 AM Sep 27 at 9:11 PM
Maximum Eclipse Sep 28 at 2:47 AM Sep 27 at 9:47 PM
Full Eclipse ends Sep 28 at 3:23 AM Sep 27 at 10:23 PM
Partial Eclipse ends Sep 28 at 4:27 AM Sep 27 at 11:27 PM
Penumbral Eclipse ends Sep 28 at 5:22 AM Sep 28 at 12:22 AM