CUAS was formed in 1986 as an affiliate group of the Champaign Park District. The initial members were participants of several park district six week astronomy classes that focused on how to view Halley’s Comet during its last apparition. Our current membership is about 65, with members from all walks of society and various backgrounds. They all share a love of the night sky. The club operates a small library open to any member and routinely participates in civic events and public viewing sessions of the night sky. Dues are annual, just $20 per family or individual, and are prorated to $10 on July 1st of each year.
Monthly meetings are held on the second Thursday of the month inside the 50-foot dome of the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College at 7 p.m. The Planetarium makes use of the first Carl Zeiss M1015 star projector installed in the world, projecting over 7,600 stars, Sun, Moon and five planets. Relevant business is conducted and usually an interesting program follows. All are welcome.
Public skywatches are held the Saturday of the 1st quarter moon. All public viewing sessions are free (donations are accepted) and cancelled in the event of cloudy weather. Click on Events Calendar for the date of the next session and directions. If the weather looks iffy, call (217)351-2567 to find out about cancellation.
Membership benefits include use of our telescopes and observatory, a subscription to our monthly newsletter Clear Skies, membership in The Astronomical League, discounted subscriptions to Astronomy and Sky and Telescope and, after six months of membership, eligibility to become an observatory keyholder (additional requirements are: a $30 annual keyholder fee, taking a training class, and willingness to help out with dome site maintenance and other club tasks). We have several telescopes: a 16.5-inch f/15 Cassegrain on an equatorial mount in our dome, a 6-inch f/10 D&G refractor, two 8-inch Dobson-mounted Newtonians, and a few others. You also become a member of the Astronomical League.
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