North Jersey Astronomical Group

The North Jersey Astronomical Group (NJAG) is an astronomy club composed of about fifty people interested in all aspects of stargazing, including the sun as well as the stars, the planets, and deep sky objects. The NJAG meets regularly (usually the second Wednesday of each month except August) at Montclair State University in Upper Montclair, NJ. We also hold weekly Public Telescope Nights during the Fall and Spring semesters. These are clear Thursdays, and will be from January 18 to April 26, except fot March 8 (Spring Break) and from September 6 to December 13, 2018 except for November 22 (Thanksgiving). A recorded message on cancellations will be at 973-594-6524 (NJAG).

The next monthly meeting will be Wednesday December 12, 2018 at 8 PM in CELS 110 and will feature our annual Winter Solstice Celebration. Please bring some food to share.

Join us in the CELS science building, in room 110 at the far left in the atrium at 8 PM.

The Wednesday evening monthly meetings are free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be served. Visitors are to park in the Red Hawk Deck, or if you find one of the few metered spots, remember to pay the parking meter machine, even after dark.

The following meeting (January 9) will be training on the telescopes

Upcoming Events:
April 6 and 7, 2019, NEAF in Suffern NY

Recent events:
November 17 (Saturday, 8-2 pm) solar observing at Walnut Street Farmers' Market in Montclair
October 12 (Friday, 7-9 pm) at School no. 15 in Clifton (700 Gregory Ave)
October 16 (Tuesday, 8:30-9:30) at BAMS (Buzz Aldrin Middle School, 173 Bellevue Ave, Montclair)
October 23 (Tuesday, 6:30-8 pm) at School no. 4 in Clifton (194 West Second Street)
October 27 (Saturday, 8-2 pm) Walnut Street Farmers' Market in Montclair, cancelled by Nor'easter
September 15 (Saturday, 4 pm) Club picnic at Jenny Jump in Hope
September 19 (Wednesday, 7:30-9 pm) at Schuyler school in Kearny
October 6, Nov 3, 10 (Saturdays, 7:15-11 pm) at Wallisch Homestead (65 Lincoln Ave, West Milford), all rained out on a soggy field
Saturday May 12, 8:30, Star gazing at Wallisch Homestead (65 Lincoln Ave, West Milford), cancelled by clouds
Tuesday April 24, 8:30, Star gazing at Buzz Aldrin Middle School (173 Bellevue Ave, Montclair), cancelled by rain

NEAF, April 21, 2018, RCC, Suffern NY, ProAm Collaboration talks, Room 5140, Mary Lou West
Josh Walawender, W.M. Keck Observatory, PANOPTES Project and Photometry
Sean League, Space Fab: the first app-controlled space telescope
Aparna Bhattacharya, Goddard SFC, Exoplanet Masses by Microlensing
Dennis Conti, AAVSO, TESS Exoplanet Mission and Amateur Astronomer Participation
Mike Reynolds, Florida State University, The Depth and Quality of 2017 Eclipse Observations
David Dunham, IOTA, Getting Started in Occultation Science for Amateurs
Kirsten Howley, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, And Bob Stephens, AAVSO, Near Earth Asteroids
Jim Cole and Stephen Riggs, Lowell Observatory, GODO Public Observatory

January 10 and 16, Getting to Know the Night Sky, 109 Montclair Ave, Montclair
Saturday, Jan 13, 2018 Liberty Science Center, Jersey City

December 29, 2017 Chevys for dinner, then Star Wars: The Last Jedi, AMC at Clifton Commons
Saturday, October 28, Farmers' Market, Walnut Street Montclair
Monday, November 27, star party at Clifton School #4 (194 West Second Street, Clifton)
Thursday, September 28, star party at Schuyler Middle School (644 Forest Ave, Kearny) August 21, 2017 from 1:30-3 PM to watch the partial solar eclipse at the Haworth Public Library, 300 Haworth Ave, NJ 07641. Haworth is near Oradell.

NEAF, April 8 and 9, 2017, RCC, Suffern NY, ProAm Collaboration talks:
SATURDAY, April 8, 2017, Room 5140, Mary Lou West
10 – 10:50 AM, Ted Blank, IOTA,Getting Started with Asteroid Occultation Timing
11 – 11:50 AM, Nathaniel Frissell, NJIT, HamSCI and the 2017 total Solar Eclipse
1:30 – 2:20 PM, Dennis Conti, AAVSO, Exoplanet Observing by Amateur Astronomers
2:30 – 3:20 PM, Mario Motta, AAVSO, Observing a Disintegrating Asteroid Around a White Dwarf
3:30 – 4:20 PM, Josh Walawender, W.M. Keck Observatory, PANOPTES Project: Finding Exoplanets with DSLR cameras
4:30 – 5:20 PM, Dennis Conti, AAVSO, Exoplanet Detection via Microlensing
SUNDAY, April 9, 2017, Room 5140, Mary Lou West
11 – 11:50 AM, Stephen Ramsden, Charlie Bates Solar Astronomy Project, and Tom Field, Narrowband Solar Imaging and Solar Spectroscopy
12:30 – 1:20 PM, Michael West, Lowell Observatory, Galaxy Cannibalism
1:30 – 2:20 PM, Ted Blank, IOTA, Getting Started with Asteroid Occultation Timing

Star parties were Saturday, May 20, 2017 8:39 PM at Wallisch Homestead (65 Lincoln Ave, West Milford), Monday April 3, 2017 at Clifton School #4 (194 West Second Street, Clifton), Friday Nov 4, 2016 at Clifton Schoool #15 (700 Gregory Ave, Clifton), Monday Nov 7, 2016 at Little Falls Public Library (8 Warren St, Little Falls), Saturday September 24, 2016 at the Farmers Market, , Saturday Nov 12, 2016 at the Montclair Farmers Market (solar observing, 86 Walnut St, Montclair), and Saturday Dec 3, 2016 at Wallisch Homestead (65 Lincoln Ave, West Milford).

Other Activities included:

We had a field trip to the Newark Museum (69 Central Avenue) on Sunday January 4, 2015 to see the hands-on exhibit "Great Balls of Fire" and the planetarium show at 2 PM. Good fun was had by eleven members.

On Saturday April 5, 2014 we represented astronomy at the Glen Ridge STEM festival. John and Mary Lou had an interactive poster on astronomical disasters and also used a SunSpotter to show families the sun's surface. The "Reading Under the Stars" event at Clifton School #11 on November 19, 2014 was clouded over about half way through. On Tuesday November 12, 2013 we had had a more successful star party with 150 excited students and their families at Clifton School #11 (K-5). Laura, Paul, Marc, Mark, Jan, and Mary Lou showed them the first quarter moon, Uranus, Albireo (non-identical twin stars), Vega, Epsilon Lyrae (identical twins), the Pleiades, the double cluster in Perseus, and the Andromeda galaxy despite wind and freezing temperatures.

We had a beautiful star party at the School of Conservation on Thursday June 30, 2011 for the LSAMP program. Jan, Jim, Mary Lou, Roger, Laura, and Paul used four telescopes (including two 12 inch Dobs) to show people Saturn (of, course!), Albireo, Antares, Alcor and Mizar, the double double in Lyra, M13, M27 (the Dumbbell Nebula), M51, M57 (Ring Nebula), M81, M82, the veil in Cygnus, and told lots of constellation stories. We were also treated to the International Space Station, several faint satellites, and a bright shooting star. Jan took a nice picture of the summer Milky Way.

Here are directions to MSU. For more information visit our club webpage at

For 2018 the NJAG Club Officers are:

President: Mark Zdziarski
Vice President/Program Chair: Kevin Conod
Treasurer: Marc Elfenbein
Membership: Joe Marzullo
Recording Secretary: Jan Krakora
Corresponding Secretary: Terry Baz
Website ( Adrian Oradean and Kevin Conod
Trustee: Mary Lou West
Observations: Joe Marzullo
Education/Outreach: Ken Udani, Mary Lou West, Maja Britton

The NJAG offers the following to the general public:

P.O. Box 1472
Clifton, NJ 07015-1472


The NJAG's business meetings are held on the second Wednesday of each month at 8:00 p.m. at Montclair State University (CELS Science Building, Room 110 or 207) in Montclair, NJ. These meetings are open to the public and prospective members. Each meeting features light refreshments and a one hour lecture/slide presentation by an amateur or professional astronomer, and then a bussiness meeting. There is usually no meeting in August.

2018 Meeting Calendar

January February March
Wednesday, January 10 Wednesday, February 14 Wednesday, March 14
April May June
Wednesday, April 11 Wednesday, May 9 Wednesday, June 13
July August September
Wednesday, July 11 NO MEETING Wednesday, September 12
October November December
Wednesday, October 10 Wednesday, November 14 Wednesday, December 12

Events in 2019:

July 10, 2019, Chris Mauro (NJAG), The Apollo 11 Moon Landing Program

June 12, 2019, Clif Ashcraft (AAI), Mars Through the Dust

May 8, 2019, MSU Student Reports

April 10, 2019, Adam Broussard (Rutgers), Starburst! Looking at Galaxies as Stellar Factories

March 13, 2019, Ken Udani (NJAG), The Arecibo Radio Telescope

February 13, 2019, Hyomin Kim (NJIT), Doing solar physics while living in Antarctica

January 9, 2019, training on the telescopes, later a trip to the Newark Planetarium

Events in 2018:

December 12, Annual Winter Solstice Celebration

November 14, Kathy Wydner Kawalek (St. Peter's U), Astrobiology

October 10, Mark Zdziarski (NJAG), "Eyepiece Choices for Astronomical Observing: Optimize your observing with the proper eyepieces and filters for your telescope."

September 12, Members describe their summer astronomy activities. These include Kevin Conod (Stellafane), Mark Zdziarski and Jan Krakora and Mary Lou West (David Levy’s Adirondack Astronomy Retreat, and Wallops flight Facility), Chris Mauro (getting started with a C8 telescope), Terry Baz (International ecology conference in Greece, pictures with telescope), and Ken Udani (Arecibo Radio Telescope), Joe Sardina (remote observatory).

July 11, Jim Brown, Beyond the K/T Boundary: Other “interesting” impact events in Earth’s History

June 13, Andrew Baker (Rutgers), Dense gas in distant dusty galaxies

May 9, MSU Student Reports, CELS 110

April 11, Rodica Martin (MSU), Interferometry and LIGO, CELS 110

March 14, Nathaniel Frissell (NJIT, NJAG, W2NAF), What we learned from the All-American Eclipse in the radio, CELS 110

February 14, Albert Carcich (NJAG), IOTA: Timing occultations to measure size and shape, CELS 110

January 13, Saturday, Field trip to Liberty Science Center in Jersey City to see the huge new planetarium

Events in 2017:

December 13, Annual Solstice Celebration, CELS 110

November 8, Terry Baz (NJAG), The Southern Skies, CELS 110

October 11, Missy Holzer (SOFIA Ambassador), Exploring Our Invisible Universe on SOFIA, CELS 110

September 13, Our Experiences at the All-American Eclipse, NJAG club members, CELS 110

July 12, Jim Nordhausen (AAI), Extreme Astronomy: Science from the Bottom of the World, the South Pole, CELS 207

June 14, John Lowe (NJAG, AAI, UACNJ), Chasing Total Solar Eclipses: My Journeys into the Lunar Shadow, CELS 110

May 10, MSU Student Reports, CELS 110
• Gravitational wave “sounds” from supernova explosions and spinning neutron stars – Lita de la Cruz and Kevin Chen
• Orbits in a wormhole spacetime – Manuel Albrizzio
• Seismic Imaging of Kilauea Volcano– Korie Vee

April 12, Kevin Conod, Jumping Jupiter: Juno's Mission to the Giant Planet, CELS 110

March 8, Dr. Nathaniel Frissell (W2NAF, NJAG, NJIT) Solar Eclipse 2017 at Radio Frequencies, ham radio plans for the August 21, 2017 eclipse (, CELS 207

Training sessions for observers, Tuesday Feb 21, Wednesday Feb 22, Wednesday March 1, 8-10 PM in CELS 207

February 8, Al Witzgall (AAI), Preparing for Apollo:The tale of two meteorites, and how they were used for training the astronauts, CELS 207

January 11, the excellent movie "Hidden Figures" at 7 PM at the AMC at Clifton Commons. Dinner at 5:30 at Chevy's nearby.

Events in 2016:

December 14, Annual Solstice Celebration and webinar “Colors of the Universe” by Dr. Travis Rector, in CELS 110

November 9, Clif Ashcraft (AAI), Speckle interferometry of close double stars, in CELS 110

October 12, Mark Zdziarski and Mary Lou West (NJAG), Meteorites and the Formation of the Earth, in CELS 110

September 24, Saturday, 8 AM-2 PM, Solar observing outreach at the Walnut St. Farmers' Market in Montclair

September 14, Rob Teeter, Designing a TeeterScope: From Concept to Cosmic Time Machine, in CELS 110

August 27, Saturday, ~4 PM, picnic at our observatory at UACNJ, Jenny Jump State Park, unveiling the C14

July 27, Controlling a computerized telescope, training for for Public Stargazing Nights, CELS 207

July 16, Saturday, 8 PM Star Party at our observatory at UACNJ, Jenny Jump State Park

July 13, Jay Gowers (NJAG), Planetary Probes: Exploring the Solar System and Beyond, in CELS 207

July 9, Saturday, 8 AM-2 PM, Solar observing outreach at the Walnut St. Farmers' Market in Montclair

June 29, Observing the night sky, training for for Public Stargazing Nights, CELS 207

June 25, Star Party at Wallisch Homestead, West Milford NJ

June 8, Tolga Gumusayak, NJAG, The Science Behind Astrophotography in CELS 110

May 11, MSU students presenting their projects in astronomy and physics: • Using software defined radio to test the internet of things, and Experiences at Keck Observatory in Hawaii – Kevin Miller • Designing a windwalker: An undergraduate open-ended physics project– Ceire Monahan • Splash Dynamics– David Baron • Application of non-equilibrium thermodynamics to pattern selection in fluid solid interactions - Blas Ortega

May 7 or May 14, 7 PM Star Party at Wallisch Homestead in West Milford, cancelled by bad weather

April 13, Marc Favata, MSU, The first detection of gravitational waves by LIGO in CELS 120

March 9, Jason Kendall, William Patterson University, History of Astronomy: Ptolemy to Galileo in CELS 110

April 6, 7:30 Star Party at Bradford School in Montclair

February 10, Jana Grcevich, AMNH, Dark Matter in Ghost Galaxies

January 13, "Star Wars, The Force Awakens" at 8:15 at AMC Cinema at Clifton Commons on Route 3 eastbound. Dinner at 6:15 at Chevys nearby.

Previous years' programs were also interesting, back to August, 1996.

Directions to Montclair State.

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This page is and is maintained by Mary Lou West.