June's meeting is the next installment of the regular program of members’ do-it-yourself projects that enhance their observing experience and other aspects of the hobby. If you'd like to participate, please contact VP of Programs Tim Klepaczyk (email@example.com). Please give reasonable notice to Tim, who will be organizing the order of the presentations.
Observe our nearest star - the Sun - with members of the Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA) at Palatine Library, located at 700 N. North Court in Palatine, between 1 and 4pm on June 29th. NSA club members will be using telescopes that are both safe and specially designed for solar viewing. Visitors will see the surface of the sun, any sunspots making an appearance, and solar prominences flaring off the edge of the sun. NSA members will be available to answer any questions on the Sun as well as astronomy in general. Note: the event will not be held in case of overcast.
NSA member and regular contributor Jim Kovac will present a program entitled “Fantastic Space Discoveries and Where to Find Them”. First he’ll explore one of the most puzzling stars ever discovered in our galaxy, KIC 8462852. More widely known as Tabby’s Star, KIC 8462852 has displayed brightness variations that have yet to be definitively explained. Jim will also update us on the incredible discoveries of exoplanets within the TRAPPIST-1 system.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with Dekalb County Forest Preserves, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, May 25th, 2019, at Afton Forest Preserve, located at 13600 Crego Road, just south of Dekalb, Illinois. View the galaxies of the Virgo Cluster, including M87, the black hole at the center of which was recently in the news, along with other galaxies, the beautiful globular star clusters M3, M13, and M92, the Ring Nebula, and many other celestial objects. NSA members will be on hand to explain these objects and answer questions on them, as well as on astronomy and telescopes in general.
Dress for evening and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic ( red light helps preserve everyone’s vision ), as well as insect repellent. Please arrive by 8:15 ( sunset is 8:13 ). You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. In the event of inclement weather the event will be cancelled. There is no cost and no registration is required.
May's program is "Virtual Astronomy", presented by Hal Snyder. Hal is a scientific programmer at SageMath, Inc. His prior careers include math professor, physician, and software architect. Hal is also a library trustee and has been the Palatine city lead for the March for Science for three years. His talk will describe the use of open source tools, online data, and exploratory computing to improve one's understanding of astronomy. Examples include locally accurate eclipse & occultation timing, machine learning to study the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram, and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory’s ( LIGO) studies of gravitational waves.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with the McHenry County Conservation District, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, April 27th, at Marengo Ridge Conservation Area, located at 3100 IL-23, just north of Marengo, Illinois. NSA members will be aiming their telescopes at the beautiful globular star clusters M3 and M13, the many galaxies of the Virgo Cluster, and numerous other objects as well.
Dress for evening and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves everyone’s night vision) as well as insect repellent. Please plan to arrive by 7:45 ( sunset time is 7:44). You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. NSA members will be happy to provide guidance in their use. In the event of inclement weather the event will be cancelled. There is no cost to attend and no registration is required.
Professor Kevin Cole of Harper College presents "Exploring the Solar System’s Smallest Objects". His talk will focus on encounters with a few of the smallest bodies in the solar system: Hayabusa-2 at asteroid Ryugu; OSIRIS-Rex at asteroid Bennu; and New Horizons at Kuiper Belt Object Ultima Thule. Professor Cole will introduce each of these missions, describe their science objectives, and report on what these small bodies are telling us about the formation processes that occurred early in the history of the solar system.
Larry Bartoszek joins us from the Chicago Society for Space Studies for a program about astronomy and the periodic table. Larry will start with the origin of atoms. He'll show how electron shell structure is related to the emission of light of varying wavelengths and how the light from distant atoms in galaxies changes as they recede. We'll see how spectroscopy leads to the expansion of the universe and its acceleration, now thought to be caused by Dark Energy. All of this comes from an understanding of the unique “fingerprints” of the light emitted by atoms.
Jim Plaxco of the Chicago Society for Space Studies joins us for a program called "Planet Earth as Art: The View from Space". He opens with an overview of remote sensing and the image processing techniques used to process Landsat scenes. This is followed by a variety of images of landforms and natural scenes that demonstrate that Earth, as seen from orbit, can be considered a work of art.
NSA member and regular presenter Mark Christensen enlightens us with "The Jantar Mantar: The Biggest Calculating Instrument in the World". The Jantar Mantar is a World Heritage site in Jaipur, India, consisting of 19 different sundials. Its builder, Rajput King Jai Singh, was an astrologer in the 1700s and observed that astronomical positions in the tables then in use did not correspond to reality. So he directed the construction over almost 40 years of a series of more accurate instruments. Recent photographs of the restored site will be exhibited, along with examples of the types of measurements made and details about its history.
This meeting of the Northwest Suburban Astronomers ( NSA ) will be devoted to our annual swap meet, when members bring in equipment to trade, give away, or sell. Entire telescopes, optical tube assemblies, mounts, eyepieces and various other astronomy-related gizmos as well as books and star charts are often offered. Just looking over the items can be very entertaining even if you have no intention of acquiring any new equipment. During the meeting the NSA will also elect new officers for the coming years.
This evening's program will be “The Astronomical Year in Pictures” (aka Brag Night), the annual roundup of pictures and video recordings of astronomical objects and club activities taken by our members during the past year. Those who wish to present their most recent work should contact Tim Klepaczyk (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers will be hosting a public star party at Marengo Ridge Conservation Area just north of Marengo, Illinois, on October 13th. Look through NSA members' telescopes at Mars, with its polar caps and dark albedo features once again visible after the recent dust storm, Saturn and its rings, globular and open star clusters, nebulae, and even the Andromeda Galaxy. Feel free to bring your open telescope to observe with us and receive free guidance on using a telescope from veteran observers.
Dress for evening and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves your night vision). Please arrive by 5:45 p.m. (sunset is at 6:12 p.m. ) or come early and picnic or hike the trails. In the event of inclement weather the event will be canceled. There is no cost to attend and no registration is required.
Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers ( NSA ) at the Cary Area Public Library on the evening of October 10th for two hours of stargazing. NSA members will be pointing their telescopes at Saturn with its beautiful rings, Mars and its polar caps, the Andromeda Galaxy, and other stars, star clusters, and nebulae. NSA members will be happy to answer any questions on astronomy and telescopes. Viewing begins at 7pm. Families are most welcome, but remember to dress for an October evening. The viewing event will be cancelled in the event of inclement weather.
Additionally, while NSA telescopes are viewing the heavens in the field behind the Cary Area Public Library, inside the library NSA member Jim Kovac will be presenting a lecture entitled "Fantastic Space Discoveries and Where to Find Them: The Search for Planet 9", also starting at 7pm. ( registration open - contact the library with questions on attending the lecture )
Shane Larson of Northwestern University joins us for a presentation on gravitational waves. Up to now, virtually everything we know about the universe has been discovered from the study of photons. However, advanced technology now enables us to study ripples in the fabric of spacetime itself. Over the past two years the first gravitational waves have been detected. They reveal black holes dancing a death spiral billions of light-years distant and neutron stars ripping themselves apart in a titanic burst of light and gravitational energy. Shane's program will explore what gravitational waves are, how we measure them, and what we are learning from them.
Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers ( NSA ) on September 15th at Afton Forest Preserve for an evening observing stars and planets. Among the targets for NSA members' telescopes will be the planet Mars, where the recent planet-wide dust storm has ended and its darker features and polar caps are visible again, Saturn and its beautiful ring system, star clusters and nebulae of the Milky Way, and even the Andromeda Galaxy.
Dress for evening and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves your night vision), also insect repellent if needed. Please arrive by 6:45 p.m. (sunset is at 6:59 p.m. ) or come early and picnic or hike the trails. You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. In the event of inclement weather the event will be canceled. There is no cost to attend and no registration is required. Afton Forest Preserve is located at 13600 Crego Road, DeKalb, Illinois (approximately 1 mile east of Illinois Route 23 and 1 mile south of Perry Road).
Join Jim Kovac, NSA member and NASA Solar System Ambassador, for another installment of his program series about the search for life elsewhere in the cosmos. Is life common or rare? This presentation will extend the search to Triton, the ice moon of distant Neptune, and to the extreme micro-environments on our home planet Earth.
Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers on Sunday, August 26th, to observe our nearest star with special telescopes and filters. See sunspots and solar prominences in remarkable detail! This will be a fun and safe activity for the entire family. After observing the sun, feel free to hike the trails. If you like, bring a dish and enjoy a potluck picnic. Remember to call Stillman at (847) 428-OWLS and let us know if you’re coming (public attendees). If the weather is iffy, call Stillman for an update before making the trip.
Join members of the Northwest Suburban Astronomers on Saturday 28 July for a public solar observing session from 1pm to 4pm at the Palatine Library. A variety of telescopes specially equipped for solar observation will be available for observing sunspots and solar prominences. The event will be cancelled in case of inclement weather.
July's meeting is the next installment of the regular program of member do-it-yourself projects. If you'd like to participate please contact Tim Klepaczyk (email@example.com). Please give reasonable notice to Tim, who will be organizing the order of presentation. Tim can't promise late contributions can be accommodated.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers ( NSA) will be hosting a public observing session at Town Square on the south side of the Schaumburg Library from 7pm to 9:30pm on the evening of August 1st. View the "half moon" phase of Venus, Jupiter and its moons, Saturn and its beautiful ring system, and Mars at its close approach to the Earth. NSA astronomers will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate their telescopes to guests. The event will be cancelled in case of inclement weather.
June's program is "Painting the Sky: Art of the Cosmos" by Mark Paternostro. Mark is a renowned astronomical artist whose work has been featured in print media and television. His presentation traces his career from fine art school to Astronomy magazine to Adler Planetarium and beyond and includes a detailed visual chronology of the art he created along the way.
Kent Nebergall of the Mars Society will discuss human planetary expeditions. After four decades of limited launch capability, the U.S. is at the threshold of having three major systems, with two of them being highly affordable. Are we ready? There are also serious issues that may hamstring the next space technology revolution. How will this new space age compare to our dreams from the late Apollo Era?
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with the Dekalb County Forest Preserve District, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, May 5th, at Afton Forest Preserve, located at 13600 Crego Road, south of DeKalb, Illinois. View and learn about planets, stars and star clusters, galaxies, and nebulae with the help of NSA members and their telescopes. Observing highlights will include Venus, Jupiter and its moons, Globular Cluster M3, various galaxies in Leo and the Virgo Cluster, and many other fascinating celestial objects.
Dress for evening and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves everyone’s night vision) as well as insect repellent. Please arrive around 7:45 p.m. (sunset is at 7:53). You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. In the event of inclement weather the event will be canceled. There is no cost to attend and no registration is required.
Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers for an afternoon of solar observing from 1 to 4pm at the Cary area Public Library. Enjoy views of our nearest star, including sunspots and solar prominences ( if there are any visible ), through telescopes specially equipped for solar observing. The event will be canceled in case of inclement weather.
NSA's guest speaker will be Professor Kevin Cole of Harper College. Kevin's topic is the Juno mission to Jupiter, which has been in orbit around the planet since July, 2016. He will provide an overview and discuss Juno's primary goal of studying Jupiter’s interior structure and the nature of the planet's core. He will also review the Juno Cam instrument and its connection with NASA’s public outreach program.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers will be marking Astronomy Day 2018 at Harper College in Building Z on Saturday, April 21st. NSA members who will be on hand discuss all aspects of their hobby and demonstrate the use of telescopes and other astronomy accessories, books, and charts. Throughout the evening club members and other experts will be giving talks on astronomy in classrooms as well. Please check out the dedicated "Astronomy Day" page available from our homepage menu for exact times and classroom locations for the talks.
Comets have fascinated people since ancient times, when they were often seen as portents of significant events. We know better in our scientific age, but they still engage us. NSA member Todd Augustyniak will give a brief history of comets, discuss their composition, and review their orbital mechanics. He will also provide tips for observation and photography of some of the brighter comets of 2018.
Professor Roger Kolman of Harper College will present current scientific theories about the birth of the sun. A widely-regarded postulate is that a nearby supernova triggered the collapse of the sun's gas cloud, but this conjecture has some discrepancies. Professor Kolman will elaborate and enlighten us on other details of the sun's formation.
Saturn is often the first object that people see through a telescope, and the view is often the event that hooks people on astronomy forever. Why? Because it looks like a real place. And what's more, the entire Saturnian system is astonishing. Michelle Nichols of Adler Planetarium provides a presentation that highlights the astounding discoveries by the Cassini spacecraft, and showcases stunning imagery of Saturn, its rings, and its varied moons.
NSA member Mark Christensen presents a program on the Neutron star Interior Composition ExploRer (NICER) X-ray telescope that was installed on the International Space Station last summer. Its purpose is to provide very high resolution timing data and energy spectra. While we have a broad understanding of the nature of neutron stars, their internal composition remains largely a mystery. NICER’s secondary objective is to examine the use of soft X-ray emissions as timing beacons for GPS-like navigation in deep space.
Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers at the Arlington Heights Library for their annual Swap Meet. Members bring in all kinds of astronomy-related equipment, including telescopes, mounts, eyepieces, books, and all kinds of gadgets and what-not for swapping or purchase. Just looking at the items can be entertaining in itself and lead to interesting and informative conversations.
The election of 2018 club officers will also be held at this meeting.
Frances Dellutri, Deputy Education Manager for Enterprise in Space ( EIS), will be speaking about the EIS. This program will launch and return from space an orbiter with 100 student experiments. EIS is the educational arm of the National Space Society and is involved in bringing space science to students of all ages around the globe.