Wabash Valley Astronomical Society, Inc.
Wabash Valley Astronomical Society (WVAS) is a non-profit organization that promotes the science and hobby of astronomy. We've been in the Greater Lafayette, Indiana, area since 1971 and our current membership includes people with many different backgrounds and with ages from high school through retirees. People join WVAS because they have an interest in planetary and deep sky observing, locating constellations, astrophotography, telescope making, cosmology, or they just "want to see what's out there". We are affiliated with the Astronomical League, a nationwide federation of astronomy clubs. We are available for group educational presentations and observing sessions. Additionally, we are members in the JPL Night Sky Network, a NASA group to encourage astronomy outreach. WVAS is a supporting organization of the International Dark Sky Association in their pursuit of reduced light pollution through better lighting practices.
Our base of operations is the West Lafayette Observatory at 600 Cumberland Avenue. (Directions to WLO) The observatory is owned by the West Lafayette School Corporation and is operated by the Purdue University Physics Department and is used for teaching and research. The observatory's exact location is 86º 54.39'W, 40º 27.68'N, 216m.
The observatory has a 20 seat classroom and houses a computerized 16" diameter Meade LX200 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope, a 10" Newtonian, an 8" binocular telescope, and an 8" Orion Deep Space Explorer Newtonian. The 10" Newtonian and 8" binocular telescopes were built by WVAS members. The Deep Space Explorer telescope can be signed out by WVAS members and by community organizations. Our dark site observing location is at the Prairie Grass Observatory located within Camp Cullom.
October 2014 - Eclipse Month!
October 2014 brings us not one, but two eclipses to view - first a Total Lunar Eclipse on the 8th and a Partial Solar Eclipse on the 23th. Viewing the lunar eclipse is easy - look to the west early in the morning (before sunrise) and you should see a red full moon when the moon is in the Earth’s shadow. Since the moon sets as the sun rises, you won't be able to observe this after sunrise.
The partial solar eclipse will happen on the 23rd in the evening. Starting at about 5:40 p.m. for first contact, the eclipse will be at its maximum right about sunset. Viewing the solar eclipse is more challenging since you should NEVER look at the sun without the correct equipment. Fortunately, we have the correct equipment and plan to set up our scopes for anyone to safely view. We will be in the Faith Presbyterian Church parking lot in West Lafayette (on SR 26 West) with a good view of the western sky. If the sky is cloudy, we will not be observing.
If you cannot make our solar viewing but wish to view the eclipse, there are ways to do it safely. Look at the Space.com,
Stanford Solar Center and Sky & Telescope. All these web pages give great advice and procedures. Remember, your eyesight once lost cannot be replaced, but there are easy and safe ways to observe. Read first, observe second. Better yet, find a way to come to our event at Faith Presbyterian Church. We plan to be ready for observing the sun by 5:00 p.m.