Announcing NCRAL 2016!

(NCRAL Logo 2016[1]Normal, December 3, 2015) We are now less than five (5) months out from NCRAL 2016. If you haven’t already heard, the Twin City Amateur Astronomers (TCAA) will be hosting this North Central Region Astronomical League (NCRAL) meeting at Heartland Community College (HCC) in Normal, IL, on Friday/Saturday, April 29/30, 2016. A team of TCAA leaders has been working diligently on this event for about a year now, and things have fallen into place quite nicely. The complete list of invited speakers on Saturday now includes the following:

  • Dr. Michael Reynolds, author, Dean, and Adjunct Astronomy Professor at Florida State College will speak about the many total solar eclipses that he has observed.
  • Mr. Michael Borman of the Evansville Astronomical Society will speak about solar photography.
  • Dr. Carl J. Wenning of the TCAA will speak about the local circums
    tances of the 2017 total solar eclipse.
  • Mr. Tom Weiland & Mr. Dave Osenga of the TCAA will speak about making solar funnels for public eclipse watching.
  • Mr. Tim Stone of the TCAA will speak about the work of the club’s twin observatories at Sugar Grove Nature Center.
  • Dr. David Landess of McLean County Eye Care will speak about the dangers of solar retinopathy.

This meeting will have a number of interesting features:

  • Friday evening open house and optional mission at HCC’s Challenger Learning Center
  • Friday evening 15-minute contributed talks by amateur astronomers
  • Friday evening “unconference” during which informal breakout sessions will be held to discuss topics of mutual interest
  • Saturday afternoon bus trip to the Twin City Amateur Astronomers observatories at Sugar Grove Nature Center
  • Saturday astrophotography contest and voting (static displays)

Everyone in attendance will receive a complimentary booklet “The Great Eclipse of August 21, 2017”s  (sponsored by as well as complimentary solar eclipse viewing glasses.

More information will appear here as final arrangements are made. If you want to be added to the TCAA’s direct email list, write meeting chairman Carl Wenning and let him know of your interest. Also, if you have questions you may write Carl Wenning at Stay tuned for further announcements. Please share this information to help get the word out.

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BREAKING NEWS: The Fargo-Moorehead Astronomical Society has just informed us that they will not be hosting THE NCRAL 2015 convention as originally planned. Their official statement is presented below:

We of the Fargo-Moorhead Astronomy Club regret to inform you that we are unable to host the NCRAL 2015 convention, and the June 5-6 event in Fargo is cancelled. We apologize for any disappointment or inconvenience this causes you. Our club has had a trying year with a series of setbacks. Economic circumstances have affected our university partners and membership;  half of our core members are gone due to job relocations out of our metro area, the state, and even the country. The remaining members have been discussing what the future of the FMAC will be. We wish your clubs the best for the future, and that they may live long and prosper. 


Scarlet Gray Bernard
President, Fargo-Moorhead Astronomy Club

If anyone would like to pick up the ball and host this year’s convention, contact Gerry Kocken immediately; otherwise, there will be no convention this year.

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Welcome to NCRAL

We are looking for club logos to put on the Northern Lights website. If you would like to submit yours, please send an email to the webmaster in GIF format, 150×150 pixels in size.

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