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.
WVAS activities include:
Interested in recommendations for a first telescope? Sky & Telescope has put together a review of several telescopes with recommendations of what to look for and watch out for. A quick read through their tips will allow you to get a telescope that can be used and enjoyed for years instead of frustrating and quickly forgotten.
Prairie Grass Observatory at Camp Cullom, a few miles southeast of Mulberry, has a 28" telescope, one of the largest in the state. It is located in a rural, dark-sky location for far better viewing than is possible in the city of "deep-sky" nebulas and galaxies. The observatory has other excellent telescopes (including the WVAS 7" APO refractor) that are used for public viewing. The observatory is owned and administered by the same group that runs Camp Cullom, the Clinton County Foundation for Youth, a United Way agency. WVAS provides technical and man-power support of this facility. The observatory is available for group or public observing events. For information on the observatory, including a schedule of upcoming events, click here or contact Russ Kaspar or John Mahony.
Each year we co-sponsor a star party with several other area groups: the Indiana Family Star Party. The event is open not only to astronomy enthusiast but also the general public. We schedule at the last new moon before school starts to have a great time in the summer before we all start the fall school and work grind. Pictures from this past year's event are located here.
Thinking of spending good money to name a star? There's a bridge in Brooklyn that could use a more imaginative name too, but it's not for sale either. Save your money and get the straight facts here.
Wabash Valley Astronomical Society, Inc. P.O. Box 2020 West Lafayette, IN 47996-2020
Last modified March 23, 2013