While member clubs run their own events, one NCRAL member club runs the annual NCRAL Convention. Clubs petition the NCRAL and volunteer to host the regional convention for the benefit of everyone. If an NCRAL member organization has an event which is open to all NCRAL members, and they would like to have it listed, you can send your request to the webmaster.

This year, the national convention of the Astronomical League (ALCON) will be held within our borders, as well! See the descriptions of the two separate events below, in addition to a listing of regional star parties happening in 2018. Unique opportunities for observing and fellowship abound — take advantage of all our member clubs have to offer!

NCRAL 2019: Astronomical Voyages Of Discovery: Past, Present & Future

May 3-5, 2019 in Moline, IL
Presented by the Popular Astronomy Club

Full details to follow, but preliminary information is:

New and improved — added Sunday morning: May 3 – 5, 2019 Convention Location: Stoney Creek Hotel & Conference Center, Moline, IL

Why are we giving you little details as plans progress? Because you need to plan for travel to the convention in advance! In order to maximize the bang for your buck, the current plan is to open registration at 1PM on Friday May 3rd with activities starting at 2 PM and finish by noon on Sunday May 5th.

Should you plan on arriving Thursday evening? If you have nothing else important going on, yes! Although some plans are still a bit fluid, there will be opportunities for pre-convention Riverboat ride, John Deere plant tour, Rock Island Arsenal Museum tour, Botanical Garden visit, Blackhawk State Historic Site visit, and more.

Is Moline a family destination? Pack up the whole family! Think Family Museum, Niabi Zoo, and climbing on John Deere Construction and Agricultural equipment.

How do you know there will be something at the convention that interests you?There are four cornerstones of amateur astronomy that are supported by the Astronomical League: The Art of Observing, Joy of Outreach, Coolness of Equipment, and Science of Astronomy. Our goal is to include something for you regardless of why you are into astronomy!

Do you need to wait for the next issue of Northern Lights to learn about updates for the NCRAL 2019 Convention? Absolutely not! To be the first to know as plans are finalized, please send your name, club affiliation, and email address to: We’ll let you know when the NCRAL 2019 website is updated!


Wisconsin Observer’s Weekend 2019

The annual Wisconsin Observer’s Weekend (WOW) will be held on May 30-June 2 at Hartman Creek State Park near Waupaca, WI. Sponsored by NCRAL member society NEWSTAR, this event has a maximum registration of 150 so if you’re thinking of going get your form in sooner than later! Details and registration forms can be found on the club website.

Northwoods Starfest 2019

The annual Northwoods Starfest will occur on DATE TBA at Hobbs Observatory in Fall Creek, WI. See the Chippewa Valley Astronomical Society website for details.

Iowa Star Party 2019

The Iowa Star Party will be held on DATE TBA at the Whiterock Resort in Coon Rapids, IA. Visit their website for more information.

Northern Nights Star Fest 2019

Northern Nights Star Fest in Minnesota will be held on DATE TBA at the Long Lake Conservation Center near McGregor, Minnesota. Visit their website for more information.

Illinois Dark Skies Star Party 2018

The Sangamon Astronomical Society (Springfield, IL) will host the Illinois Dark Skies Star Party October 4-6. The event will be held at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish & Wildlife Area in west central Illinois. Detailed information and registration is available at their website.