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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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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Feb
2
7:30 PM19:30

February NSA Club Meeting

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.

 

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Jan
5
7:30 PM19:30

January 2018 NSA Club Meeting

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.

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Dec
1
7:30 PM19:30

December NSA Club Meeting

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.  

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Nov
3
7:30 PM19:30

November NSA Club 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.

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Oct
19
7:00 PM19:00

Annual NSA Star Party at Cary Library

The Northwest Suburban Astronomers return with their high-tech telescopes to offer you views of the planets Neptune and Uranus, as well as numerous deep sky objects such as the Andromeda Galaxy, the Pleiades, and the globular cluster M15. Telescopes will be set up the front parking lot. If the lot is full, please park at Three Oaks School.

Please note, in case of inclement weather, the rain date for this event is 26 October, when the moon will be just short of first quarter, and at its best for dramatic views of lunar mountain ranges, maria, and craters.

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Oct
6
7:30 PM19:30

October NSA Club Meeting

This month's meeting is devoted to “the Astronomical Year in Pictures” (aka Brag Night), the annual roundup of pictures of astronomical objects taken by our members during the past year.  Members who wish to present their most recent work should contact Tim Klepaczyk (htjester@yahoo.com). Please give reasonable notice to Tim of your intention to participate.

After the meeting we will adjourn to Rosati’s at 1770 W. Wise Rd in Schaumburg for pizza and discussion.

 

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Sep
16
7:00 PM19:00

NSA Public Star Party at Marengo Ridge Conservation Area

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

Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA) for an evening of stargazing at Marengo Ridge Conservation Area, located just north of Marengo on Route 23.  NSA members and their telescopes will be on hand to show visitors Saturn, Neptune, various stars and star clusters in the Milky Way, and our near neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy.  Feel free to bring your own telescopes or ask club members any questions you have about telescopes and astronomy in general. 

Visitors are requested to arrive by 6:45 so as not to have to use headlights when driving into the parking area and blinding other observers.  If possible, bring a red flashlight to better maintain your night vision, and don't forget to dress for a late September evening.  In the event of inclement weather the event will be cancelled. There is no cost to attend and no registration is necessary. 

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Sep
8
7:30 PM19:30

September NSA Club Meeting

NSA members will be observing the Great American Eclipse of 21 August from many different locations throughout the U.S.  At this evening's meeting, members will recount their experiences in viewing this rare and spectacular phenomenon.  Please contact club VP for Programs Tim Klepaczyk with content (pictures and videos) you plan to present.

Note that the meeting will be held at the Schaumburg Library, located at 130 S. Roselle Rd. in Schaumburg.  Afterwards club members and guests will adjourn to Rosati's on Wise Rd. for the usual pizza and further discussions.

 

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Sep
2
7:00 PM19:00

Public Star Party at Afton Forest Preserve near Dekalb

The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with the Dekalb County Forest Preserve District, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, September 2nd, at Afton Woods Forest Preserve, located at 13600 Crego Road, south of Dekalb, Illinois.  Come and let NSA astronomers show you the Planets Saturn and Neptune, double stars, galactic as well as globular star clusters, our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and our “neighbor”, the Andromeda Galaxy. Club members will be on hand to answer questions on astronomy and telescopes as well. 

Dress for evening and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane ( red light helps preserve night vision ) and don’t forget insect repellent.  Please arrive by 7:15. ( sunset is at 7:21 ) so that car headlights don’t blind other participants.  You are also welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars.  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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Aug
27
12:00 PM12:00

Solar Observing with the Northwest Suburban Astronomers

Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers and 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, take a hike on your own or join a walk led by Stillman’s naturalist.

If you like, bring a dish and join us for a potluck picnic. Remember to call Stillman at 847-428-OWLS (6957) and let them know if you’re coming. If the weather is iffy, call Stillman for an update before making the trip.

 

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Aug
4
7:30 PM19:30

August NSA Club Meeting

Joe DalSanto, College of DuPage, will present an introduction to the remarkable theories of relativity and how they have changed our understanding of the universe. The most important theory of physical science is Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, yet it remains mysterious to nonscientists.
The Special Theory describes how perceptions of space and time must be revised at high velocities: motion is always relative, no object can travel faster than light, and time actually slows down. The General Theory describes a new view of gravity as a distortion of spacetime; time runs slowly in gravitational fields and mysterious black holes and gravity waves exist.

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