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Champaign-Urbana Observatory

The Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society was established in 1986 as apart of the Champaign Park District. Today, the group has about 65 members who share an interest in the night sky. Membership is open to the public for $15 per family or $7.50 per individual due annually. Public sky watches are held each Saturday of the first quarter moon. Cost is free but donations are accepted. Click here for a calendar of events. Put Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society Observatory County Road 700 E IL, 61822 into your GPS for directions. 

Notice the dome. Only qualified key holding members have access to the inside of the dome. Once inside, CUAS asks that you not adjust any controls or bolts.

Another view of the dome and setting sun sky. 

Taken at about 9 p.m. Notice the lack of distortion in this shot. I had switched from my ultra-wide (10-22mm) lens back to my favorite 35mm prime lens. 

It may not sound like it would make a big difference but traveling a few miles out of the city really opens the sky up for viewing. This was taken closer to 930pm with the 35mm lens.

You can also take creepy long exposure shots of yourself. Here’s how:

  • Put camera on tripod
  • Turn dial to M (manual)
  • Set shutter speed to 1/10
  • Set aperture to 11
  • Set ISO to 100
  • Set camera to take picture after “x” amount of seconds, enough seconds to push the button and run into the frame

Now push the button, run into the frame, stay very still, let the camera flash, hold briefly, then walk out of the frame quickly. Your camera will still be “taking the picture.” Once it finishes, you should have something like this. If your photo turns out too dark, set it slower liker 1/6 or 1/4; if too bright, turn it up to 1/15 or 1/20.

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