NSA Club

Northwest Suburban Astronomers

Club Meetings: Meetings are on the Friday nearest the full moon each month.
Check our Events page for each month's meeting location.
Business Correspondence: The club's official mailing address for business correspondence is
PO Box 261, Dundee, IL 60118.

Our club is based in the northwestern suburbs of Chicago. With a wide range of interests, experience, and equipment, our membership is over 150, making us one of the largest astronomy clubs in the mid-west. Here you can find out about our public meetings, star parties, and the benefits of becoming a member. Thanks for visiting, and clear skies.

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Aug
25
1:00 PM13:00

Public Solar Observing at Stillman Nature Center in South Barrington

Observe our nearest star - the Sun - with members of the Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA) at the Stillman Nature Center, at 33 W. Penny Rd, in South Barrington, between 1 and 4pm on . 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.

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Sep
13
7:30 PM19:30

September NSA meeting

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Long-time club member Tom Auchter will present a tour of the Arecibo Observatory radio telescope based on a recent visit to Puerto Rico. Completed in 1963 and operational to this day, Arecibo Observatory's 1,000-foot (305-meter) radio telescope was the world's largest single-aperture telescope for over fifty years. Tom will summarize the history and discoveries.

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Aug
16
7:30 PM19:30

August NSA Meeting

Professor Roger Kolman of Harper College provides a program about The Astronomical League Leslie Peltier Award. Following Leslie Peltier's death in May, 1980, an award was created to honor individuals making significant contributions to observational astronomy. Roger will review Leslie's life and the history of the award and discuss recipients of the award. Roger hopes it will inspire others to follow the trail blazed by Leslie, whom Harlow Shapley called "the world's greatest living amateur astronomer".

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Jul
19
7:30 PM19:30

July NSA Meeting

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.

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Jun
29
1:00 PM13:00

Public Solar Observing June 29th at Palatine Library

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.

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Jun
14
7:30 PM19:30

June NSA Meeting

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  (htjester@yahoo.com).   Please  give reasonable notice to Tim, who will be organizing the order of the presentations.

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May
25
7:30 PM19:30

Public Star Party at Afton Forest Preserve

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. 

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May
17
7:30 PM19:30

May NSA Meeting

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.

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Apr
27
7:00 PM19:00

NSA Public Observing at Marengo Ridge

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.

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Apr
12
7:30 PM19:30

April NSA Meeting

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.

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Mar
15
7:30 PM19:30

NSA March Meeting

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.

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Feb
22
7:30 PM19:30

NSA February Meeting

  • Schaumburg Township District Library (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

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Jan
11
7:30 PM19:30

NSA January Meeting

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

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Nov
30
7:30 PM19:30

November NSA Club Meeting

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

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Oct
26
7:30 PM19:30

October NSA Club Meeting

  • Schaumburg Township District Library (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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 (htjester@yahoo.com).

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Oct
13
6:30 PM18:30

NSA Hosts Public Star Party at Marengo Ridge on October 13th

  • Marengo Ridge Conservation Area (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

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Oct
10
7:00 PM19:00

NSA Hosts 10 October Public Stargazing at Cary Area Public Library

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 )

 

 

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Sep
28
7:30 PM19:30

September NSA Club Meeting

  • Schaumburg Township District Libary (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

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Sep
15
6:30 PM18:30

NSA Hosts Public Star Party at Afton Forest Preserve

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).

 

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Aug
31
7:30 PM19:30

August NSA Club Meeting

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.

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Aug
26
12:00 PM12:00

Public Solar Observing with the Northwest Suburban Astronomers

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.

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Jul
28
1:00 PM13:00

NSA Hosts Public Solar Observing at Palatine Library

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.

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Jul
27
6:00 PM18:00

NSA Hosts Public Observing at Town Square, Schaumburg

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.

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Jun
29
7:30 PM19:30

June NSA Club Meeting

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.

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May
25
7:30 PM19:30

May NSA Club Meeting

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?

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May
5
7:30 PM19:30

NSA Public Star Party at Afton Forest Preserve

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.

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Apr
28
1:00 PM13:00

NSA Public Solar Observing at Cary Library

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.  

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Apr
27
7:30 PM19:30

April NSA Club Meeting

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.

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Apr
21
5:30 PM17:30

NSA Hosts Astronomy Day 2018 at Harper College

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.

 

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Mar
30
7:30 PM19:30

( Second ) March NSA Club Meeting

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.

 

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Mar
2
7:30 PM19:30

March NSA Club Meeting

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.

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