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We live in an amazing Universe, come explore with us.

Image by History in HD
Image by Alexander Andrews
Looking Through Telescope

Upcoming Events

All events are free to the General Public

(Unless stated otherwise)

Educational Fun for all Ages 

 

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Solar Stargazing

Mercer Public Library, Saturday 10 am - Noon, Sep 30

(Backup date Oct 7)

We are setting up a Hydrogen-alpha Solar Telescope to view the sun's chromosphere, to show in detail sunspots, prominences larger than planet Earth, flares, filaments and more! We will discuss the upcoming annular eclipse on Oct 14, and the total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024. Fun for all ages. Free event.

We use specially-filtered systems that are built to safely view the sun.

 

Never look at the sun with your eyes or with binoculars or a telescope. It can permanently damage your eyesight.

Mercer Public Library

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Partial Solar Eclipse

Saturday, Oct 14, Torpy Park

Minocqua, 10 AM to 2 PM 

In northern Wisconsin the moon will cover about 40% of the sun for this annular eclipse. We will use specially-filtered instruments to safely observe sunspots, prominences, flares, and other features. We will show how eclipses work and discuss the upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, 2024.

Free event, open to all ages!​

Never look at the sun with your eyes or with binoculars or a telescope. It can permanently damage your eyesight.

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Northland Pines School District Astronomy Night 

Oct 20 or 21 (Private)

6:30 PM to 9:00 PM

We'll begin with a short talk on the night sky followed by walking out the Solar System. Then we'll observe the crescent moon, Saturn, and Jupiter, followed by the Andromeda galaxy, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules - M13, the Ring Nebula in Lyra - M57, the Dumbbell nebula - M27, and a few open clusters and double stars.

 

Please park your vehicle toward the highway, 

facing away from the telescope viewing area.

Parking attendants can help point the way. 

If Saturday's weather forecast looks better than Friday, we will try to let everyone know by 10 AM Thursday, Oct 19. You can also visit the Northwoods Explorers Website for the latest information.

White light flashlights are NOT allowed.  Please use red lights or cover your white light with many layers of red cellophane or a thick red balloon.  A white light shined into dark-adapted eyes is painful; it might take 20 minutes to recover, resulting in missing something important!

Red lit flashlights are available with a $5 donation to the Northwoods Explorers

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Arbor Vitae Woodruff School Stargazing (Private)

Oct 22 or 23 7:00PM - 8:30PM

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North Lakeland School - Lighted Schoolhouse

 

November 10 6 - 8 PM

Beginning Stargazing Simplified 

 

This program will provide insight into how our Solar System, the Milky Way Galaxy, and the Universe fit together. We'll cover the scale and times to travel to different locations. You'll learn more about what you'll see in the sky throughout the year, and discover when it's best to view planets, meteor showers, aurora,  eclipses, the Milky Way, and distant galaxies. We'll cover the tools used and stargazing aids, along with how to select binoculars or a small telescope. If it is a clear evening, we'll shorten the class to include stargazing.

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 Aurora Watch

Signup to receive email alerts!

When there's a good probability of aurora

we'll let you know. (emails are not shared with anyone) 

 

When weather permits, we may have the opportunity to watch the Northern Lights at the Minocqua Winter Park's Squirrel Hill Lookout.

 

Our Sun looks like it's on the way to Maximum. This might increase the probabilities of seeing Aurora over the next few years.

Check our calendar to take advantage of the opportunities to

safely observe Prominences on the limb of our Sun through

Hydrogen-alpha (Ha) Telescopes during our daytime events.

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Northwoods Explorers' Membership Program

 

The Northwoods Explorers membership program offers the opportunity to learn more about our Universe and how to find your way among the nearby stars along with supporting our public outreach programs

Visit our Membership Page

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Past Events:

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Discovery Center Astronomy Night

 

Friday Sep 22 

 

It was too cloudy for stargazing, Bob Krueger gave a talk on Saturn, the audience asked great questions! 

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August 26, Saturday, Astronomy Night at the YMCA of the Northwoods

( Rhinelander ) 8 PM to 10 PM.

Saturn was at opposition! We viewed Saturn and its rings, the ring nebula, the great globular cluster in Hercules and the moon, although clouds and humidity softened the view. 

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August 18 YMCA Day Camp

(YMCA campers only)

Dozens of campers enjoyed shooting rocket ballons off of our planet, discoverd moon phases, and learned a little about the scale of our solar system. Most saw a few prominences and sunpots on the sun through a solar telescope.

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Perseid Meteor Shower Stargazing

AUG 12, 8 PM - 11 PM Gates open 7 PM

Minocqua Winter Park 

The clouds separated for a few hours and we were able to witness a few meteors, as well as gaze far into our galaxy and universe to view M57 the Ring Nebula, M13 the great cluster in Hercules, M82 a galaxy millions of light years distant.

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Yawkee Lake Association

July 22, 5 PM

Sky Tonight, Light Pollution

(Private)

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Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers

 

 Lowenwood, Three Lakes, July 16

We fought the mosquitos and as the temps dropped

we were able to view M13, M57, M82, and a few double stars,

with amazing science teachers!

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July 13, 11 AM, Mercer Public Library

Sun, Moon, Stars

Learn how rockets work using rocket balloons, Hold a moon in your hand and learn about moon phases. Make a bracelet that detects UV rays. Inspect a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite.

 

Fun for families! 

 

Mercer Public Library

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June 21 Summer Solstice Solar Exploration

Minocqua  -  Torpy Park

11 AM - 4 PM

Celebrate the beginning of summer with the 

June 21 solstice at Torpy Park!

Safely observe the sun through a dedicated solar filtered telescope to view sunspots, prominences, and maybe a few flares. Learn about our nearest star and when to look for the Northern Lights. Make a bracelet that detects UV rays. Learn how to make a safe solar eclipse viewer, and easily measure the diameter of our nearest star. Inspect a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite. Hear about the race to the moon! Family fun!

We will use a Hydrogen-alpha filtered telescope to safely

view the sun's chromosphere up close. Click here to learn more

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June 15, 1-2 PM, Minocqua Library

Sun, Moon, Stars

 

We all had a good time, there were about 60 participants, where they learned a little about how rockets work using rocket balloons, made UV bracelets to detect harmful solar radiation, the scale of the solar system, and moon phases.

 

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Mercer Public Library

Earth Day Fair

April 22 - 10 AM- 12 PM

We handed out lighting recommendations from the International Dark Sky Association

and other materials.

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Beginner's Guide to Stargazing

3 Class series - Fe University - Hurley, WI

March 21, 28, April 4, 2-3:30 PM

Field stargazing trip April 11 7:30-9:30 PM

We had a full class and enjoyed a great evening stargazing seeing Venus, the Pleiades, the Orion Nebula and the trapezium, M3 the globular cluster 28,000 light years distant, the planetary nebula NGC 3242, M82 the starburst galaxy 12 million light years away, and a faint M51 - the whirlpool galaxy 31 million light years away.

 Beginner’s Guide to Stargazing – Fe University

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Scale of the Solar System and the Milky Way

Arbor Vitae Woodruff School

March 8

The classes enjoyed the program and I was amazed about their many great questions!

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Northwoods Explorers January Meeting

Saturday, January 21, 1-2:30 PM

Minocqua Public Library

"Explorer 1"

Open to the general public. We will have the latest news then we will watch the NASA/JPL Movie "Explorer 1" (53 min). 65 years ago the Space Race started. We'll discover how we blew up many rockets trying to catch up to the Russians, who had just launched Sputnik 1.  From this confusion NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory were created, and the space race was on! Discussion will follow.

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Northwoods Explorers Fall Public Meeting

Saturday November 19, 6:30 - 8:00 PM

Dr. Sebastian Zamfir, Quasars!

Free event, all are welcome! First, we'll hand out a few awards, 

announce our future programs, and a quick update on what's up in the Night Sky,

then Dr. Sebastian Zamfir from the Astronomy and Physics Dept of UWSP

will speak about quasars, active galactic nuclei, and how these discoveries

fit in with how our Milky Way Galaxy developed. 

Refreshments Included

Exploring Quasars through Optical Spectroscopy 

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North Lakeland School

Manitowish Waters

Friday, November 11th, 6:30pm-8:00pm
 

 

Do you find yourself gazing towards the stars on our beautiful Northwoods nights? This class will cover what's up in the sky each season of the year,

what to look for in binoculars, when to look for meteor showers,

and find out where we are in our Milky Way Galaxy.

If the weather permits, we'll observe Jupiter-and four of its moons, Saturn and its rings, a few double stars, and other deep sky objects through high
powered telescopes for community members to see out of this world sights!

This is a 3 part series covering the observation of the Solar System,

objects in our Milky Way Galaxy, and beyond.

 

This unique class is sure to fill
up quick with specific viewing nights to follow after this class.

Register Now at

North Lakeland School District - Community Education / Lighted Schoolhouse

 

 *Registrants can bring their own binoculars to this class for enhanced viewing*

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Mercer Public School Stargazing Oct 26

 

The students were rewarded with one of the best viewing nights

we've had up here, We could easily see Saturn's shadow

on the rings as well as many storm bands on Jupiter!

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers

at the Minocqua Winter Park, Friday, October 28th

6:30 - 9 PM

We had great weather, Bob gave a talk on Jupiter, then we viewed Saturn, Jupiter, M13, M57, M31, the Plieades and a few clusters. Folks were amazed with the image-stabilized binoculars

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers

at the North Lakeland Discovery Center

October 22, 6:30 - 9:00 PM

It was a great evening, Bob began with a talk on the Moon, then we went outside and viewed Jupiter, Saturn, the globular cluster M13, the Ring Nebula M57, the Andromeda Galaxy M31, and the Milky Way with image-stabilized binoculars. Everyone had a great time!

 

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The Space Race with the Northwoods Explorers

Minocqua Public Library

 

Thursday, October 6

Everyone seemed to enjoy Bob's presentation and discussion around the current space race. Why the rush, isn't it dangerous, and what is the benefit? We'll reveal the amazing opportunities building bridges to the future, and the challenge of finding scientists and engineers. 

It was too cloudy to view Saturn, Jupiter and the moon

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers

at the YMCA of the Northwoods 

Saturday, October 1st

The clouds came in, so we showed a presentation on the Solar System inside the YMCA, the audience participated with many questions.

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers

at the North Lakeland Discovery Center

 Saturday, September 3rd, 7:15 - 10:00 PM

Another amazing night at the Discovery Center, after watching a presentation on our Solar System many saw the crescent moon up close with many craters, then Saturn with its rings and 4 of its many moons, later we saw Jupiter with 4 moons and a few storm bands, we were going to view more but the clouds came in. 

 

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Artemis Presentation, Stargazing

with the Northwoods Explorers

at the Minocqua Winter Park, 

Friday, August 5th

8:30-10:30 PM

Our speaker, Bob Kreuger, presented a great perspective into NASA's Artemis mission to the moon. Our visitors had a chance to look through 3D glasses at Mar's rover's images while on Mars, and checked out a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite. 

 

We then went outside and observed the moon with many of its craters using high-performance telescopes, then M13 - the great globular cluster in Hercules, next was M57, the Ring Nebula, and viewed the beautiful double star Albireo in Cygnus.  Later in the evening we saw Saturn and its rings, but it was low on the horizon, so it wasn't the best view. In a few weeks it will be higher - check out our events in the Fall to get a better view of Saturn and Jupiter. 

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Solar Exploration at the YMCA

 of the Northwoods

Friday, July 22, 9-11 AM

The seeing was very good, we saw many prominences, flares, sunspots, filaments, over the course of one hour, one prominence grew and flew away from the sun!

We setup 4 stations to rotate 70 K-5 campers, with learning how moon phases work, the central pressure point and center of gravity with rocket balloons, sunburn detector UV bead bracelets, modeling the Solar System's scale, 3D images of Mars from our rovers (thanks JPL), investigated a 4.5 billion year old meteorite, and with an 80mm Lunt Solar Scope, many had their first experiences looking through a telescope and seeing the Sun up close in Ha light, we all had a great time!

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Stargazing with the Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers

at Lowenwood

July 18

At the beautiful Lowenwood retreat with amazing science teachers, we discussed some of the successes using hands-on models to teach astronomy. They continued to explore how to weave astronomy into their programs.

Thunderstorms prevented the opportunity to observe.

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Solar Observing with the Northwoods Explorers

at the Minocqua Winter Park Sunday 1-3 PM June 26

We had a great time observing the Sun in between the clouds, we saw a few prominences, flares, filaments, and sunspots. We showed a short presentation on how stars are created and how they blow up sometimes. 

Warning: Do not look directly at the Sun without proper equipment, it can be very harmful to your eyes.

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers

at the Minocqua Winter Park, Friday, June 3rd

We had great skies but the mosquitos bugged us for the first hour, then they disappeared! We saw a beautiful Crescent Moon, then as it became darker, M13 - the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, then M57 the Ring Nebula, which is a star that has expelled most of its mass, we also saw a couple of faint fuzzies near M81 which were spiral galaxies that are about 12 million light years distant. Dew appeared at 10:30 so we packed up. Even at that hour, it was still somewhat light, sky glow was bright, this time of year there's only about 3 hours of astronomical darkness! 

 

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Total Lunar Eclipse

Sunday, May 15th, 2022

Minocqua Winter Park, 9-11 PM

 

The weather cooperated at first, we set up, then went inside the Chalet for our moon hands-on activity, learning about eclipses, moon phases, supermoons, the moon's day, and more. We went back outside to catch the moon's entry into the Umbra, sprinkles started then turned into rain! Yikes! We packed up what we could, then watched the rest with binoculars. What we saw was Beautiful!! We hope to see the next total Lunar eclipse on Nov 8th, 2022, in the very early morning.

In-between the clouds we saw the International Space Station zoom overhead.

For more information see Total Lunar Eclipse on May 15–16, 2022 – Where and When to See (timeanddate.com)  and EarthSky | Total lunar eclipse on May 15-16, 2022

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers

 at the Minocqua Winter Park, Saturday, May 7th, 2022

Another fantastic evening at the Minocqua Winter Park, the wind died down, clouds were thin, we observed the crescent moon at 250x and M13, the Great Globular Cluster in Hercules, some 25,000 light years distant, at 250x however, we only counted about a thousand stars, not the 500 thousand that are supposedly there!

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Aurora Watch on Squirrel Hill October 30th, 2021

The CME went south of our planet!!

We had a great time at the Squirrel Hill Lookout but the G3 rated storm didn't occur. However, we had an amazing view of our Galaxy! We observed Jupiter and 3 of its moons, Saturn and its rings, and the amazing moon Titan, then M13 the great Hercules Globular Cluster of around 500,000 stars, and the Ring nebula. The skies were clear enough to see M31, the Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away, with our naked eyes! Then we looked at it through imaged stabilized binoculars, it was as wide as a few full moons.

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Wisconsin Science Festival

A statewide celebration for school-aged children and their families.

 

Solar System Science Oct 21 - 5 PM, 2021 

Minocqua Public Library

We had a great turnout at the Minocqua Public Library, they watched a presentation on  “Solar System Science - Order out of Chaos” as a part of the Wisconsin Science Festival. They watched the Jet Propulsion Laboratory control center land Curiosity on Mars, then the JUNO mission's close-up views of Jupiter, and Cassini's mission revealing a wonderful view of Saturn.

Afterward, many children enjoyed trying to lift an 18 pound 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite! The skies cleared enough for most everyone to observe Jupiter with 3 of its moons and Saturn. The seeing was very good considering the nearby streetlamps. Dew started around 7 PM with temps at 37 F.   

We plan to schedule more events at the Minocqua Library soon, stay in touch by signing up for event notifications.

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers of Space and Astronomy

Saturday, October 9th,  6:30-9:00 PM, 2021

 Minocqua Winter Park

Everyone seemed to enjoy the talk on our Solar System. The skies fully cooperated and we had a great view of Saturn and Jupiter in this beautiful park. The seeing was very good, we were able to use a 7mm eyepiece on a 1500mm FL telescope, we could have done even better but the scope wasn't tracking, to keep up with the rotation of our planet. We could see detail on Saturn and its shadow on the rings, Many bands on Jupiter could be seen, along with 4 of Jupiter's many moons. Just as soon as M13 was available on the 20" Dobsonian telescope the clouds came in along with an increase in dew, so we had to pack up.

We enjoyed the beautiful sky and the park was very accommodating. Stay tuned for future event announcements. 

Here's a news story covering this event from

WJFW Channel 12 Rhinelander

Northwoods Explorers host stargazing party // WJFW Newswatch 12

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​Friday September 10th 7:30 - 9:30 PM, 2021 

North Lakeland Discovery Center

The skies cleared and we had a wonderful evening under the stars at the North Lakeland Discovery Center in Manitowish Waters. We observed many objects -- Saturn and its rings along with Jupiter and its largest moons, the Andromeda galaxy some 2.3 million light years away. the great globular cluster in Hercules where 500,000 stars exist some 23,000 light years distant, and the Ring Nebula, which is the remains of a star's atmosphere expanding out into space.

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Stargazing with the Northwoods Explorers of Space and Astronomy

August 14th 2021

North Lakeland Discovery Center

We were fortunate to have a wonderful evening, no clouds, just a bit of smoke. We saw a few Perseids, a beautiful Crescent Moon, Jupiter and Saturn looked great but were low on the horizon so there wasn't as much detail. At our next event we may have a chance to view them higher in the sky. M13 looked fantastic through the 20" reflector, as well as a blue-hued M57 Ring Nebula. At the end a few were able to view M31, the Andromeda Galaxy, through image-stabilized binoculars.

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July 20th, 2021 "The Space Race"

Minocqua Country Club

(Private Event)

We presented to a wonderful group about the

amazing opportunities building bridges to the future in space,

and the challenge of finding scientists and engineers to help.

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July 13 2021 Solar Program 1-4 PM

North Lakeland Discovery Center

Our audience learned about the Sun and it's connection to planet Earth, then viewed a few small prominences that were bigger than Earth on the limb of the nearest star, and observed a sunspot's "hole" .

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Oct 9th, 2020 Starparty at the

North Lakeland Discovery Center

Success! The skies cooperated for a great night at the North Lakeland Discovery Center Friday Oct 9th. Two telescopes were setup, a 10" and a 12" Dobsonian Newtonian reflector.

 

We first saw Jupiter with 3 of its 60+ moons. Then IO became visible, coming out from behind the huge planet. Saturn was great too, but the "seeing" toward the horizon stopped us from using higher magnification, we could barely see the rings. Next was the distant M13, the great Globular Cluster in Hercules where over 500,000 stars fill the view of the eyepiece with light that started 23,000 years ago and remain a mystery. Next was M57, the Ring Nebula in Lyra, which looked like a small greenish-blue-gray cheerio or donut shaped object, which is the expanding atmosphere of a star which has turned into a White Dwarf.  With binoculars we saw M31, the great Andromeda Galaxy some 2.3 million light years away. At the end the Red Planet Mars was seen brightly in the East.  

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"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."

 

- Benjamin Franklin

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