President’s Message December 2021

Join us for the club meeting on December 9. Traditionally, this has been a social gathering with a potluck. Just like last year, we won’t be sharing food, but I hope we can share other fun stuff. Please consider a topic you want to discuss, gathering some photos, showing off astronomical equipment, or recommending some observing techniques or locations. We may chat more about Unistellar or purchasing a drive system and camera at the meeting, but that isn’t set in the agenda. The only agenda item for the December 9 meeting is finishing the election of next year’s officers. Since there were no nominees for president on the ballot, the members at the November 18 voted to postpone the election until after the publication of this newsletter. It seemed like we had a good turnout for Paul Geithner’s talk at the last club meeting. It’s cool to see all the engineering that goes into producing and deploying the James Webb Space Telescope. It’s too bad the launch has been delayed so many times, but I really don’t mind that they want to check every possible issue since we don’t have the capability to send a servicing mission to the instrument. I recorded the talk for both the club meeting and for the NASA Space Grant Consortium at the Department of Aerospace Engineering at UIUC. Thanks again to Heidi Bjerke for booking Paul to speak with us! Please continue to give me feedback about our hybrid setup in the planetarium. I am trying to make the speaker relatively visible to the Zoom audience and I circulate microphones so we can try to have a dialogue. In-person speakers will need to repeat questions if they aren’t heard through the teleconference. I believe Parkland will be ending nearly all Zoom licenses this spring, so we will have to move to a new meeting link in a few months. I look forward to seeing what the club will accomplish next year. We have a total lunar eclipse coming up on May 15, the International Dark-Sky Park designation at Middle Fork River Forest Preserve is attracting lots of visitors, and we should be able to set up telescopes at Riggs Beer Company. A full year of Family Skywatches will be great too. Clear skies!

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