Conventions of the Astronomical League
Astronomical League conventions provide an opportunity for amateur astronomers all over the country to gather together to learn and exchange ideas, techniques, and opinions on astronomy. All of our conventions provide professional astronomers to address the attendees about their field of expertise. This allows the amateur to learn about the latest discoveries in astronomy directly from the astronomers making the discoveries.
Our national conventions, called ALCons (Astronomical League CONventionS) usually take place over a four-day period starting on Wednesday and ending in an awards banquet on Saturday. There are lectures scheduled throughout the event for those interested in astronomy from the beginner to the advanced amateur. There are often parts of the schedule that are geared specifically for the general public. Please check the various convention pages for further information.
The ALCons often include tours to astronomical facilities located near the convention site. We frequently visit local observatories, university facilities, NASA centers, and many other astronomically-related sites. ALCon attendees have visited the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (Pasadena, CA), the Meteorite Lab at Washington University (St. Louis, MO), Mt. Evans Observatory (the highest in the world, Copper Mountain, CO), Dearborn Observatory (Evanston, IL), Kitt Peak (Tucson, AZ), Yerkes Observatory (Williams Bay, WI) , Linda Hall Library (antique astronomy books, including William Herschel's journal documenting the discovery of Uranus, Kansas City, MO) and many, many more. Most of these tours were specially designed for amateur astronomers.
Observing in the evening is usually available whether you bring your own telescope or use someone else's telescope. You can observe all night if you want, but you will probably sleep through the morning papers sessions!
We also try to schedule our ALCons where there will be activities for the non-astronomers in the family. There are frequently tours scheduled to attractions for the non-astronomer. With the ALCon staring on Wednesday, there is plenty of time to visit nearby places of interest before coming to the convention, or you can just relax and enjoy the local accommodations
We hope to see you at our next ALCon! It will be fun and informative!
Objective of the Astronomical League
The Astronomical League's objective is to promote the science of astronomy
by fostering astronomical education;
by providing incentives for astronomical observation and research;
by assisting communication among amateur astronomical societies.
The Astronomical League is composed of over two hundred and forty local amateur astronomical societies from all across the United States. These organizations, along with our Members-at-Large, Patrons, and Supporting members form one of the largest amateur astronomical organizations in the world.
Our basic goal is to encourage an interest in astronomy (and especially amateur astronomy) throughout America. Many people have seen pictures of the other planets in our Solar System from spacecraft, but have no idea that they too can see these objects with a telescope. We want people to get access to telescopes, whether it is through their local astronomical society, school, or their own instruments, and use them to view the beauty in the heavens.
The mission of the Astronomical League is clearly stated in the masthead: to promote the science of Astronomy. The major benefit of belonging to this organization is receiving the quarterly newsletter, The Reflector, which keeps you in touch with amateur activities all over the country. The chance to meet the people you read about there occurs during our annual National Convention, or at one of the ten regional conventions that the Astronomical League sponsors.
The easiest way to become part of the Astronomical League is to join one of our member societies close to you. A benefit of membership in this society is membership in the Astronomical League and part of your society dues goes to pay for your Reflector subscription.