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Tell me about Chicago Area Clubs?

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#1 gravitino

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Posted 13 December 2012 - 11:08 PM

Hi CNers!

In mid-2013, I am going to be moving eastward to Chicago, probably landing in the Evanston area. I've been trolling around trying to find info about the area clubs. The obvious targets are the Chicago Astronomical Society and the Northwest Suburban Astronomers.

Any members of those clubs here? Can you talk to me about astronomy in the area? Observing, club activities and meetings, etc.

Are there other clubs I should know about and be investigating?

Thanks!
Clear skies,
-- Shane

#2 Jay_Bird

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 03:12 PM

I recall the 2 clubs that you mention but can't add any info. When I lived in the area 10-15 years ago there was also a group that was based at or near Waubonsee Valley Community College. They were a nice bunch of people and when I was new to the area having moved ahead of family, I joined them with just my binoculars at a few observing sites in rural DuPage and Kane Counties far enough west of Chicagoland to be notably dark. The community college was not as dark, but it might still have a huge 16-20 inch Cave or Parks reflector on a GEM in a dome. So, there may be a 3rd club lurking to the far west for you to look into.

#3 sirchz

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Posted 14 December 2012 - 05:46 PM

Hi CNers!

In mid-2013, I am going to be moving eastward to Chicago, probably landing in the Evanston area. I've been trolling around trying to find info about the area clubs. The obvious targets are the Chicago Astronomical Society and the Northwest Suburban Astronomers.

Any members of those clubs here? Can you talk to me about astronomy in the area? Observing, club activities and meetings, etc.

Are there other clubs I should know about and be investigating?

Thanks!
Clear skies,
-- Shane


Here are a couple more. I would think Skokie or CAA woudl be the closest to Evanston. If you are a deep sky person you will definitely want to go to a remote site for observing.

Chris

Skokie Valley Astronomers
http://skokievalleyastronomers.org/

Lake COunty Astronomical Society
http://www.lcas-astronomy.org/

#4 gravitino

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Posted 15 December 2012 - 03:19 PM

Thanks, all. That's helpful. I'll look at those other clubs too!

Clear skies,
-- Shane

#5 gravitino

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 11:36 AM

One other question for all you Chicagolanders --- talk to me about dew!

I've been in Utah for the last 7 years, and started my astronomy life in Montana before that. I've never had dew issues (though maybe a bit of frost when it is 20 below out :-)

What should I worry about with Dobs? Should I be outfitting my secondaries with dew heaters before I arrive? What about my primaries? I have Astrosystems dewshields for my Telrads already.

Thanks for any info!
Clear skies,
-- Shane

#6 ASTROLAWYER

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:38 PM

Winter observing is difficult but doable here. Yes, there is dew! :bawling: The farther north you go (like Wisconsin) the more you get.

I am a FORMER officer of the NSA, but haven't been active for a few years. Of the CAS, NSA and Skokie Valley, NSA is by far the most active observing club. (Though there is some cross membership too) They hold monthly meetings on the Friday night closest to the full moon each month in a park district facility in Hoffman Estates. There are plenty of people to share a ride with. There is a speaker at every meeting.

The best part of NSA is the comeraderie which comes from sharing this wonderful hobby. There is a trip to a pizza parlor after every meeting where we get to hang out and know each other. There are also trips to various facilities such as Yerkes, almost always followed by pizza (starting to get the drift?)

NSA has a substantial number of observing sights in the Chicago area, and is very active in using them. They keep good relationships with the suburban park districts so that they can maintain the sites. There is scheduled observing twelve months a year. And did I mention pizza?

There is a wide variety of members, from dedicated astro-astronomers to newbies to physics professors. The group is definately warm and welcoming (even if you don't like pizza)

Northwest Suburban Astronomers


Check them out. :refractor:

#7 oldtimer

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:36 PM

I have lived in the Chicagoland area all of my 67 years. I have been a member the the Northwest Suburban Astronomers (NSA) since 1989. I am also a member of the Lake County Astronomers.

If you are an avid observer the NSA is your clear choice. They schedule club observing at sites within 50 miles of the city every weekend throughout the year with the exception of Full moon weekend on which they hold their monthy meetings on Friday night.

The business meetings are short and informal and are followed by a program about some aspect of astronomy. After meetings all gather at a local pizza pub for food and good conversation. Meetings are open to the public. The NSA has about 150 members with lots of expertise in all areas. Bottom line...a fun group.

#8 gravitino

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Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:59 AM

Hi All -- this is useful info. Thanks! It's still 5 months before I move (my wife is moving ahead of me), but I wanted to get the lay of the land, maybe visit a club or two before I make the final shift.

Clear skies!
-- Shane

#9 fnowat

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 01:21 AM

Shane, looking at your list of scopes -and that they are homebuilt- I think THEY will approach you in a short time! I grew up just a couple of hours from there and still live in the Great Lakes region. Good luck adjusting to the moisture/humidity of the area. I hope you have some patience...it helps.

Frank






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