What is the Astronomical Society at the University of Illinois?
The UIAS is an organization of University students and faculty who wish to educate other students and members of the Champaign-Urbana community about the wonders of astronomy. Not all of us are astronomy majors; in fact, we are made up of members from all kinds of backgrounds and fields of study. But what we all have in common is a love of the night sky and educating others about it. Oh, we’re also a bunch of nerds who like lasers!
Statement of Purpose
The University of Illinois Astronomical Society has a single main purpose: to educate the students of the University and the members of the community about the wonders of astronomy. We attempt to accomplish this task in two ways.
Our first method is by educating our members. By holding bi-weekly meetings, and by giving members access to the University's 115+ year-old 12-inch refracting telescope, we give them the opportunity to explore the wonders of the heavens on their own. We also increase their knowledge by hosting monthly speakers. The talks given at these meetings are geared towards the layperson, and are presented by various professors and club members.
Our second means of reaching out to the public is more direct. By holding monthly open houses, we give the community a chance to look at the skies through a magnificent antique telescope. The success of our task is judged by the OOOOHHHS and AAAAHHHHHS of the people attending as they finally get a chance to look through the scope at the craters of the Moon and the rings of Saturn.
These objectives will be the guiding light of the club as we travel through the next year.
Club Officers for school year 2016-2017:
- President: Tom Kirsh
- Vice President: Landon Gelman
- Secretary: Dawn Haken
- Treasurer: Emily Ng
- Craig Sutter
- Stuart Levy
- Landon Gelman
- The observatory is one of the oldest University buildings, and was built in 1896.
- The original 12-inch Brashear refractor telescope was refurbished in summer/fall 2013 with a $50,000 grant from the University and with extensive support from the Friends of the Observatory, especially Craig Sutter.
- The Astronomical Society was founded in 1953 in order to revive the astronomy department and bolster student involvement in it.
- On December 20, 1989, the observatory was declared a national historic landmark.
- A more extensive historical record can be found here.