NSA Club

Northwest Suburban Astronomers

Club Meetings: The NSA Club meets in the Willow Recreation Center (lower level meeting room at the address above) on the Friday nearest the full moon each month.
Business Correspondence: The club's official mailing address for business correspondence is
PO Box 895, 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.

Apr
7
7:30 pm19:30

April NSA Club Meeting

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.


Mar
10
7:30 pm19:30

March NSA Club Meeting

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!    

Feb
10
7:30 pm19:30

February NSA Club Meeting

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.

Jan
13
7:30 pm19:30

January NSA Club Meeting

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.

Dec
16
7:30 pm19:30

December NSA Club Meeting

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. 

Nov
11
7:30 pm19:30

November NSA Club Meeting

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.  

Oct
14
7:30 pm19:30

October NSA Club Meeting

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.

Sep
16
7:30 pm19:30

September NSA Club Meeting

Krysti Scotti of Northwestern University will present the work her team is doing with NASA on Zero-G Experiments for the International Space Station. 

Sep
10
7:00 pm19:00

Public Star Party - Marengo Ridge Conservation Area (Shelter #2)

  • Marengo Ridge Conservation Area (Shelter #2)

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).

Sep
3
7:00 pm19:00

Public Star Party - Afton Forest Preserve

  • 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, 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).

Aug
19
7:30 pm19:30

August NSA Club Meeting

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. 

Jul
22
7:30 pm19:30

The Dawn Spacecraft Encounter with Ceres - Latest Results

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.  

Jun
17
7:30 pm19:30

June NSA Club Meeting

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.

May
20
7:30 pm19:30

May NSA Club Meeting

The James Webb Space Telescope – Its Development and Scientific Goal

Presenters:
- 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.

http://jwst.nasa.gov

http://jwst.nasa.gov/meet-willoughby.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Conti

May
7
8:00 pm20:00

Public Star Party - 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 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.

Apr
22
7:30 pm19:30

April NSA Club Meeting

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. 

Mar
25
7:30 pm19:30

March NSA Club Meeting

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.

Feb
19
7:30 pm19:30

February Meeting - Black Holes

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.

Nov
27
7:30 pm19:30

Swap Meet

  • Willow Creek Recreation Center

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. 

Oct
30
7:30 pm19:30

Club Member Imaging Show and Tell

  • 3600 Lexington Dr Hoffman Estates, IL, 60192 United States

This is our annual meeting where club members take the stage and show off what they have been imaging to for the past year.

Oct
9
6:00 pm18:00

Public Star Party - Arlington Heights Public Library

  • Arlington Heights Memorial Library

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.

Oct
1
7:00 pm19:00

Public Star Party - Cary Library

  • cary public library

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.

Sep
25
7:30 pm19:30

Building Your Own Observatory

  • 3600 Lexington Dr Hoffman Estates, IL, 60192 United States

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.

Sep
19
7:00 pm19:00

Public Star Party - Marengo Ridge

  • Marengo Ridge

Look at stars, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters with the help of NSA member telescopes.
Observing highlights may include the Pinwheel, Whirlpool, and Andromeda galaxies; Hercules Cluster, Double Cluster and Pleiades star clusters; Lagoon, Trifid, Pacman and other nebula, while planets Mars and Saturn shine low in the southwest; Mercury might be visible with binoculars through the bright evening twilight if conditions are right. Dress for chilly evenings and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves your night vision). Please arrive around 7:00 p.m. or come early and hike the trails. You are welcome to bring your own telescope or binoculars. In the event of inclement weather the event will be canceled.

Sep
12
7:00 pm19:00

Public Star Party - Afton Woods

  • Afton Woods

The Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA), in cooperation with the DeKalb County Forest Preserve District, will be hosting a public star party on Saturday, September 12 DeKalb County, Illinois. Look at stars, galaxies, nebulae and star clusters with the help of NSA member telescopes. Observing highlights will be Saturn, nebulae M17, M27 & M57, the Andromeda galaxy M31 and globular cluster M15 among others. Dress for a chilly evening and bring a flashlight covered with red plastic or cellophane (red light preserves your night vision), also insect repellant if needed. Please arrive around 7:00 p.m. (sunset is at 7:10 p.m. CDT) or come early and 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). Please park in the main parking lot and walk to the west where we will be set up.

Aug
28
7:30 pm19:30

August Meeting: Apollo Mission

  • Willow Recreation Center

Speaker:  Michelle Nichols of the Adler Planetarium

Title: "Apollo Mission"

Abstract: The Apollo Mission was a watershed event in the history of rocketry, space exloration, of the USA and, indeed, all mankind. In this talk Ms.  Nichols will explore this historic achievement including the background, the major events of the program, and the implications for both science and space exploration then and now.

Jul
31
7:30 pm19:30

July Meeting: Show-and-Tell

  • Willow Recreation Center

Speaker: Various club members in a Show-and-Tell format.

Title: "Your Latest Astro-Projects: Mounts, Electronics, Optics and Software"

Abstract: The members of the NSA Club will present their latest and greatest astronomical DIY projects in a show and tell format. Members are encouraged to contact Mark Christensen prior to the meeting to make arrangements to present the fruits of their labors.