The Ryerson Astronomical Society (RAS) is the University of Chicago's astronomy club. Our club's purpose is to have all humanity (or all University of Chicago students, for starters) observe the celestial luminaries in hushed awe with our antique 6.25" refractor, 10" reflector, and ~60" radio telescope. Our website has information about upcoming club events; details of RAS history; a collection of astrophotographs and RAS photos; the Rchive, a vast index of RAS documents; useful space and astronomy links; and contact information for our members.
Monday meetings: We meet to hear astronomy lectures from students and faculty every Monday night at 8 PM in Ryerson 358 (the classroom immediately at the top of the main staircase in Ryerson). The theme of our lectures this quarter is "Space Exploration". Here's the schedule:
|Jan 3||Lisa Pawlowicz||The Soviet Space Program|
|Jan 10||Aaron Ewall-Wice||"Pioneer" and "Voyager": Extra-Solar-System Explorers|
|Jan 17||No speaker||No meeting; Martin Luther King day|
|Jan 24||Alice Griffeth||The Gemini Program|
|Jan 31||Jose Manuel Zorilla||The Mercury Program|
|Feb 7||Sean Lou||Project Orion|
|Feb 14||Bobby Huggins||The Future of Space Exploration (I)|
|Feb 21||Ryan Zarcone||Colonization of Mars|
|Feb 28||Joe Cottral||The Future of Space Exploration (II)|
|Mar 7||Tad Komacek||"Viking" and "Venera": Missions to the Inner Planets|
Ryerson Wednesdays: Every clear Wednesday night from 7:30 to 9 PM we have public observing at our Ryerson rooftop observatory (all the way up the spiral staircase opposite Ryerson 358).
Special events: We usually spend a night at Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin every quarter to observe on the 24" and 41" reflectors. In spring quarter we have a Friday evening trip open to the public. Over 40 people went on the 2010 trip! We also occasionally visit dark-sky sites such as Willow Slough in Indiana.
Trouble finding Ryerson? Here's a map of campus showing the location of Ryerson.
Trouble getting into Ryerson? Try entering through Eckhart and crossing over on the second or third floor. If Eckhart's locked, call our office and observatory at (773) 702-7625 (that's 2-7625 from any campus phone).
The RAS as a student organization at the University of Chicago has existed since 1952 (when our logbooks begin). Read our constitution here. Our observatory has existed at least since 1900, its beginnings lost to history. We operate a 107 year-old 6.25-inch Petitdidier refractor, along with a modern 10-inch (250mm) f/6 Newtonian, both set on a hundred and ten year old Warner & Swasey mount. The mount is painted blue, the same color as the mount of the great Yerkes 40-inch refractor. More history here.
Carl Sagan was president of the RAS in the 1950s. His signature is in our logbooks: He used to study in the RAS office. Here's another Carl Sagan entry about Chicago temperatures. (This shaky phrase still appears in modern logbooks, especially in the month of January.)
Our 1952-1964 logbook is available here, thanks to John Crocker, who typed in in the entire contents of the logbook. Also available is a RTF version. (Warning: 150KB!) Here's a guide to John Crocker's markup in the typed logbook.
Waxing gibbous Moon
February 5, 2009
NGC 7635, the Bubble Nebula
M27, the Dumbbell Nebula
October 4, 2008
October 29th, 2007
Yerkes Observatory aurora
May 15, 2005
2003 UB313 animation
August 8-9, 2005
Will Vaughan, RAS President: (847) 280-0341 cell firstname.lastname@example.org
Dean W. Armstrong, Observatory Chief: (773) 702-3147 work / (773) 931-9400 cell email@example.com
Tad Komacek, RAS Webmaster: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the University of Chicago Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics for webspace and technical support.