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Twin City Amateur Astronomers
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Getting involved... continued


Your involvement is desired...

Wannabe amateurs wouldn’t believe how many times highly qualified members noted we just aren’t seeing enough new members in the club. While some join to support the club with their dues, many who do join don't get involved much beyond attending public observing sessions. That’s quite okay; we really do appreciate the support. Nonetheless, the experts in the club WANT to help new members learn what it takes to be highly qualified. We have predicated the future of the club on the belief that new members will take over the reins of the club and use the advanced capabilities of our two observatories in the future. If the club is to survive and even thrive, it needs new members to become highly qualified members.

What it takes...

The only thing that new members need to become highly qualified is an interest in the subject matter and an effort to pursue that interest. One of the great benefits of belonging to the TCAA is that members can gain access to world-class amateur astronomical observatories and expert advice. Yes, the equipment is both sophisticated and expensive and can be broken through careless operation, but you will never be put in charge of the equipment until we are certain that you know what you are doing. The only way to become experienced is through practice and there are several key members who can help you learn what it takes to become expert in the field of amateur astronomy.

Your education...

Education within the club is mostly informal, and can be arranged almost any clear evening. Within the past year, several members have learned (and others continue to learn) how to use the TCAA’s observatories and telescopes and cameras contained within. Of course, not all new members are enamored with astrophotography. Not to worry! There are several members who are expert visual observers too. The Astronomical League has recognized three of our members as Master Observers. Each has completed not less than 10 observing programs using a visual approach. They too can help new members learn how to use telescopes. Of course, they want to avoid using the commonly available “toy telescopes” to do so as they are basically unworkable in most situations. Again, not to worry! The members can assist you with either their own telescopes (learning to use a “goto” computer-driven telescope is incredibly easy) or one of the club’s telescopes. You should be aware that the club recently installed an 11-inch Celestron HD telescope for all to use visually within the confines of Prairie Sky Observatory – where experts are available who can provide a helping hand at a moment’s notice.

You won't be imposing...

Gone are the days when new amateur astronomers have to struggle both diligently and alone to learn how to use a telescope to view the wonder of the heavens. These impediments have been removed within the TCAA. As a result, we should expect to see a growing number of members who are actively observing the heavens. All it takes will be a bit of initiative on the part of the novice sky watcher. Come to our events; ask your questions; arrange for individualized training. You’ll be immensely surprised at the results and wonder why you ever hesitated at all.

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