Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA) member Jerry Chern and his son, Adam, attended Astrofest in 1999 to help Adam choose an appropriate optical system for his first serious telescope. The Astrofest brought together astronomy enthusiasts and amateur telescope makers from a wide area and facilitated the sharing of information, techniques, and experience. The result of their visit was the acquisition of what turned out to be, with some modifications by Jerry, a very effective and optically excellent 8-inch telescope. At our June meeting, Jerry will present footage from his visit to Astrofest, featuring a wide array of telescopes as well as some faces familiar to the local amateur astronomy community. Additionally, Jerry will show some total eclipse videos as we continue to prepare for the August 21st solar eclipse.
Join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA) for a public star party at Heritage Community Park, 32250 Darrell Road, in Lakemoor, Illinois, on May 25, from 8 to 10 pm. NSA members will be on site with telescopes to share their love of astronomy with the public. We will be observing the Planet Jupiter, with its moons, and cloud belts, galaxies in Virgo and Leo, the spectacular globular star clusters M3 and M13, and other celestial objects.
Please try to arrive by 7:45 pm. Some of the best views of the planets, especially of Jupiter, are obtained in twilight, before the planet's glare becomes overpowering. Also remember to bring mosquito repellent and dress appropriately. In case of rain the event will not be held.
On Friday, May 12, Dean Ketelson of the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab of the University of Arizona in Tucson will speak on the Lab's primary project, the Giant Magellan Telescope. The telescope, scheduled for commissioning in 2022, will consist of 7 mirrors, each 8.4 meters in diameter. It will be located in Chile, at one of the highest and driest locations in the world. The Giant Magellan Telescope will seek answers to questions such as how the present universe took shape after the Big Bang and what is its ultimate fate, how were the first galaxies formed, what is the nature of dark energy and dark matter, and is there life on other worlds.
Celebrate Astronomy Day 2017 with the Northwest Suburban Astronomers and the Harper College Department of Physical Sciences. Club members will be giving tips on getting started in the hobby, demonstrating telescopes and associated equipment, and discussing the latest discoveries in the cosmos. Special attention will be devoted to the upcoming August 21st total eclipse of the sun, which will be visible from southern Illinois and neighboring Missouri. If skies are clear. telescopes will be trained on Jupiter and guests will view its moons and cloud bands. The event begins at 5:30 pm at Harper College, Building Z, 1200 West Algonquin Road, in Palatine. Use the Algonquin Rd entrance.
Kevin Cole, of Harper College, will present information about the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, , including the orbiter and lander. The Rosetta space probe was launched in March, 2004, and arrived at its target ten years later, in August, 2014. Rosetta's lander, named Philae, landed on the comet's surface, but was unable to report the expected volume of data due to its being in shadow and thus unable to maintain battery power in its solar cells. The mission provided information, among other things, on the comet's apparent lack of a magnetic field and the difference between water vapor surrounding the comet and that on Earth. The Rosetta orbiter continued to send data until it was deliberately brought down on to Comet 67P on 30 September, 2016.
This evening club member Mark Christensen will discuss theories concerning the formation of the Moon, its post-formation history, and the future of the Earth-Moon system. This is a tale more complex and exciting than the casual reader might think. The Earth-Moon system is unique in our solar system in that it consists of a rocky planet and a single satellite that is 1/4 the diameter of its primary. The leading theory, based on, among other things, the chemistry of rocks on both the Earth and the Moon, is that the Moon formed when the Earth was struck by another planetary body. However, there is as yet no direct evidence that definitively proves this theory, with which there are dynamical problems as well. After this evening you may never look at the Moon again in the same way!
Come join the Northwest Suburban Astronomers as club members present their own do-it-yourself astronomy-related projects. These range from the simplest to the most complex, from simple, helpful gadgets to quite sophisticated research. This promises to be an interesting, entertaining, and, if past experience is any guide, very enlightening evening.
Please join Jim Kovac, NSA member and NASA Solar System Ambassador, for Mysteries of the Cosmos – The Possibility of Life on the Moons of Jupiter and Saturn. We are either alone in the Universe or we are not; either possibility is overwhelming! Join the exploration of the fundamental question about the pervasiveness of life -- is it common or rare? The focus of this presentation will be the unique environments of the planet-sized moons of the Gas Giants and their potential as abodes for life.
December's NSA club meeting will be our annual swap meet and sale. Members will bring equipment, books, and other astronomy-related items for swap and sale.
Proto-Solar System Formation
Yoram Lithwick, Associate Professor, Dept of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University
Professor Lithwick will speak on the topic of Proto-Solar System Formation, an area of research and simulation he has been involved with for the past several years at Northwestern University. Professor Lithwick works on a variety of topics in theoretical and computational astrophysics. He is especially interested in planet formation, including both the early and late stages of this process. For the early stages, he is interested in the dynamics of the gas disk that surrounds a newlyformed star, and for the late stages he is interested in how planetesimals accumulate into planets, and what sets the architecture of the resulting planetary system. Other topics he works on include the formation of cosmological dark matter halos, magnetohydrodynamic turbulence (MHD) turbulence, and gamma-ray bursts.
October's topic will be “The Astronomical Year in Pictures” (aka Brag Night). This is our annual showcase of astronomical images from club members created over the last year. Many of our members do great astro-imaging work so this should be an excellent show! The public is welcome to attend! See our web site's main page for meeting location.
NOTE: Club members are encouraged to show their work and should contact Mark Christensen (MJCW500@ATT.NET) to schedule a slot during the meeting. Please give Mark adequate notice so he can arrange the schedule appropriately.
Krysti Scotti of Northwestern University will present the work her team is doing with NASA on Zero-G Experiments for the International Space Station.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with the McHenry County Conservation District, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, September 10th at the Marengo Ridge Conservation Area (Shelter #2) in McHenry County, Illinois. Look at stars, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters with the help of NSA member telescopes. Observing highlights may include the planets Saturn and Mars, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), nebula M57 (Ring Nebula), galaxies M81 and M82 (Bode’s Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy), and globular clusters M22 (Sagittarius Cluster) and M13 (Hercules Cluster) among others.
Dress for a chilly 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 7:00 p.m. (sunset is shortly after 7:00). 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 to attend and no registration is required.
Marengo Ridge Conservation Area is located at 2411 North Route 23, Marengo, Illinois (approximately 2 miles north of Marengo on Illinois Route 23).
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, September 3rd at the Afton Forest Preserve (main entrance) in DeKalb County, Illinois. Look at stars, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters with the help of NSA member telescopes. Observing highlights may include the planets Saturn and Mars, the Andromeda Galaxy (M31), nebula M57 (Ring Nebula), galaxies M81 and M82 (Bode’s Galaxy and the Cigar Galaxy), and globular clusters M22 (Sagittarius Cluster) and M13 (Hercules Cluster) among others.
Dress for a chilly 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 7:00 p.m. (sunset is shortly after 7:15). 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 to attend and no registration is required.
Afton Forest Preserve is located at 13600 Crego Road, DeKalb, IL (approximately 1 mile east of Illinois Route 23 and 1 mile south of Perry Road).
Club VP of Programs Mark Christensen will provide information related to observing the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse including advice on how to observe and photograph the event. Maps, weather, and special venues for observing will be presented. Club President Bob Pease will then lead a question and answer session and discuss the formation of an eclipse planning committee for club members.
Kevin Cole, Harper College astronomy instructor, will present “The Dawn Spacecraft Encounter with Ceres - Latest Results.” Having completed its visit to the asteroid Vesta in 2011-12, Dawn has been in orbit around its second target, Ceres, since 2015 and has produced some spectacular images and scientific results.
Juno's Mission to Jupiter
Michelle Nichols, Master Astronomy Educator for the Adler Planetarium, will be speaking on the topic of the Juno spacecraft, which was launched in 2011 and will rendezvous with Jupiter early in July. Her talk will review the mission progress to date and will offer a glimpse of the expected scientific results from the encounter with Jupiter.
The James Webb Space Telescope – Its Development and Scientific Goal
- Scott Willoughby, Vice President JWST Program
- Dr. Alberto Conti, Innovation Manager, Space Division, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems, Redondo Beach, CA
The Hubble Space Telescope has provided splendid service to the scientific community by bringing previously unavailable images loaded with scientific data down to Earth. The beauty and wonder of those images have been a revelation and an inspiration to the general public.
The next step in the exploration of the universe using large, space-based telescopes will begin in October 2018 with the launching of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). The JWST will be larger than the Hubble and will be so sensitive that it will be located in deep space beyond the orbit of the moon. This presentation by the developers of the JWST will give an overview of the telescope's development and testing and will also discuss the current planning for the observing program of the instrument.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, May 7th at the Afton Forest Preserve (north entrance) in DeKalb County, Illinois. Look at stars, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters with the help of NSA member telescopes.
A map showing the location of the Afton Forest Preserve may be found here: https://goo.gl/maps/ZhCMnHFk3GU2.
Ceres Mission Results
Professor Kevin Cole of Harper College will present images and results of the Dawn space probe's visit to the asteroid Ceres. Having completed its visit to the asteroid Vesta in 2011-12, Dawn has been in orbit around its’ second target, Ceres, since 2015 and has produced some spectacular images and scientific results.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA) will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, April 16th at the Marengo Ridge Conservation Area (Shelter #2). Look at stars, galaxies, nebulae, and star clusters with the help of NSA member telescopes. A map link for Marengo Ridge may be found below.
Cosmic Acceleration and the Dark Forces Shaping Our Universe
Dr. Brian Nord of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will present the most recent data from the Dark Energy Survey being conducted at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile using the Dark Energy Camera built at FermiLab. Background will be presented on Dark Matter and Dark Energy, including why physicists believe they truly exist.
Gretchen Patti of the Skokie Valley Astronomers will present a lecture on the topic of Black Holes. Are they links to other universes? Can anything escape them? Will they eventually evaporate? And do they even exist? This talk will cover over 300 years of theory, a few decades of data, and a host of fascinating unknowns.
Jim Kovac will discuss NASA's New Horizons mission.
Come to our club's annual swap meet. Buy, sell and trade astronomy and related gear and paraphernalia.
There will also be officer elections for 2016.
This is our annual meeting where club members take the stage and show off what they have been imaging to for the past year.
So much observation of our daytime and nighttime skies can be done without a telescope. Michelle Nichols from the Adler Planetarium will present an overview of celestial observations you can do with just your eyes, including Moon phases, eclipses, planets, stars, and much more in a session suited to an astronomy novice. We'll end the evening by gathering outside (weather and skies permitting) in the southwest corner of our parking lot to see deep sky objects through powerful telescopes set up by members of the Northwest Suburban Astronomers Club.
The Northwest Suburban Astronomers return with their high-tech telescopes to offer you a glimpse of deep sky objects. Since the moon will not be very bright on this date, many stars and planets should be visible. Telescopes will be set up in the back parking lot; you will need to park in the front lot and walk to the back of the building to join in the fun. Weather permitting, everyone will get a chance to use one of the powerful telescopes. In addition, one of the club members will be in our meeting room with a presentation for those interested in learning more about objects visible in the night sky.
Joe Ulowetz of the Skokie Valley Astronomers
Every astronomer has felt the urge to build an observatory, no matter how grand or modest. Our speaker will relate the trials and tribulations of doing this based on his own, sometimes humorous, experience with building his own Temple to the Stars.