Naperville Astronomical Association’s History
Naperville Astronomical Association (NAA) began as a high school astronomy club that wouldn’t take no for an answer: when they were told that they couldn’t build an observatory on school property, they convinced the City of Naperville to let them build their observatory on some unused city land, opened membership to the public, and the NAA was born. Today, fifty years later, the club’s observatory is one of the city’s hidden treasures, sited in a corner of the Springbrook water plant.
From its inception, the Naperville Astronomical Association has focused on public outreach. It’s one of the reasons why almost everything they do is open to the public and free of charge.
Like most science-oriented clubs, they support STEM events at numerous schools throughout the west and southwest suburbs, and they always set up a few telescopes outside to bring indoor science to life.
Observatories & Telescopes
The Naperville Astronomical Association is one of a handful of amateur clubs that operates its own observatory. Year-round they host two public nights per month held on Saturdays, members show visitors some of the sky’s most awe-inspiring sights through their own telescopes and two larger observatory ‘scopes that were designed and hand-built entirely by club members.
Members also provide telescopes for stargazing events sponsored by schools, libraries, park districts, Scout groups, and numerous other organizations, at the NAA observatories or at the organization’s facilities. They also present “sidewalk astronomy” on the Riverwalk near the Dandelion Fountain, featuring evening views of the sky and morning views of the Sun.
Because those marvelous celestial sights are even more amazing when you know something about the science behind them, NAA also holds two sit-down meetings each month: their general meeting features a speaker from the professional community talking about their ongoing research or other current topics in astronomy, while the Astronomy Fundamentals series features a club member talking about some of the practical issues presented in visual astronomy or astrophotography.
They encourage everyone to attend their meetings and public nights. The calendar on their website will let you know where and when. They would be happy to see you!
Rick Gering, President
Chris Almanza, Social Media Officer
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